Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lots Going On


My garden looks good right now, and will continue to produce cactus flowers, blooming shrubs and ground coverings until about May, depending how high the temperatures get. The Mesquite and Palo Verde trees are not very attractive right now as they are shedding last year's leaves and in preparation for new leaves, flowers and catkins. Around May 1, the Palo Verdes are in full bloom. It's always a spectacular show, but sometimes hazardous for the tree if the branches get too heavy with blooms. This sometimes causes the branches to split if the tree was heavily watered to produce fast growth. Weak wood is the result.



I love the way the papery bracts of the Bougainvillea appear translucent against the blue sky and bright sunlight. This is the cultivar, B. "Barbara Karst".




A field of Parry's Penstemon. The stems on this stand are quite tall, about 40 inches high. If it is too breezy, many of these long stalks will break or bend. It's been calm, so as of today, they are all upright.

Hardenbergia violacea



This Lilac Vine is a new addition to my garden. My nurseryman said it will do well even in summer, but everything I've read says it's a shade plant for summers in Phoenix. Time will tell. Since the nursery guarantees all plants for a year, I'm willing to take the chance. I hope it makes it--I think the flowers, which appear only at this time of year, are quite pretty. The dark green leaves are also attractive.



-------------------------------------------------



Look how much this Agave stalk has grown in just one week. Scroll down to last Tuesday's post to see the difference! Although I've seen the unbelievably rapid growth of Agave stalks, I continue to be fascinated by the whole process. It's no wonder the Agave dies after producing this stalk. It takes tremendous energy resources to produce something this big this fast. The stalk is over three inches in diameter now and ten feet tall! It is now forming flower buds.




Notice the long flower coverings with sharp points. This is protect the buds as they are emerging. These eventually wilt and dry, exposing the flowers to pollinators like Hawk-moths, hummingbirds, wasps, bees, and butterflies. Bats prefer the branched inflorescence of other Agave species.

20 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

Aiyana ... your garden amazes me everytime I see such wonderful plants .. it is so alien looking compared to the regular but also pretty North American ones .. this soutn western ? look with such unusual plants, grabs my attention hands down ! LOL

Claude said...

wonderful, beautiful blooms and pics... it must be so amazing to watch your garden explode into bloom every year... I'm amazed at the agave too... I can't wait to see the blooms... thankd for sharing with us...

Darla said...

Just beautiful!!!!!!!

Dee said...

That is amazing! I am fascinated by the "bloom and die" as well!

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Absolutely gorgeous! What's the ground cover with the white flowers?

The agave flower stalk is something else! WOW! It takes all this time to prepare to flower, and when it's time, BAM! All at once, no messin' around. Very impressive.

Carla said...

WOW! Your dry region plants always amaze me!

Susan said...

I love the colour of the Bougainvillea.

Jean said...

Your gardens must be amazing with the beautiful bright colors aganist the landscape beige! Love the lilac vine. The agave must be spectacular when in bloom. I answered your question in my comments. Jean

playsdolls said...

beautiful as usual,I always love looking at your gard.

beckie said...

Aiyana, I was hoping you would have beautiful spring blooms and you do! I have always loved bougainvillea and wished they would survive here. Yours is spectacular. Also, a plant of envy is the penstemon. How lovely to see that sea of pink. I am going to check out the Lilac vine to see if it will grow here. The purple against the dark green leaves is wonderful. How amazing the agave stalk is. How old is the plant when it produces the stalk? What a shame to lose it though. Can't wait to see the blooms on it. Thanks for sharing your delightful garden.

Aiyana said...

Not so angry redhead,
The shrubs with the white flowers are Bush Morning Glories (Convolvulus cneorum).

Aiyana said...

Beckie,
Agaves usually don't produce stalks until they are about 8-10 years old. Some are much older. The reason Agave americana is called century plant is that some believe it sends up a stalk after 100 years. This is not always true--they can produce a stalk after about a decade.

I bought the 2 Agave lophantha when they were quite mature. They came in a 24" boxes, and I only had to pay $10 each. The nursery just wanted to get rid of them as they were getting huge and pups were growing from the cracks in the boxes. They delivered them, and I paid for the planting--another $10 each. Well worth it as it would have been impossible for me or my husband to do it alone. I've had them for 4 years. The other one shows no signs of sending up a stalk this year.
Aiyana

Ashraf shreif said...

I like your garden many plants and seeds,thanks Aiyana for photos

Anonymous said...

I think your Hardenbergia violacea will grow with no worries. It is native to Australia in some places it grows where tempertures well above 40 celsius for days even weeks at a time plus no rain for months. Hardenbergia can be found in a meny habitats from coastal sand dunes to dry scrub and tall woodlands, therefore can be used as a ground cover or climber. If your lucky it will self seed in other spots in your garden.

kate smudges said...

The lilac vine is lovely as are the penstemons. The agave flower stalk has grown incredibly.

Pam/Digging said...

Your desert garden is fascinating, especially at this time of year, Aiyana. I love that penstemon and lilac vine, and the agave is going to be a sight to see as it flowers. I'm looking forward to the palo verde bloom.

Lancashire rose said...

That penstemon is wonderful.I wonder if it would like Texas?

PC said...

Love the variety your ARizona climate gives..thanks so much for sharing - so educational to me! Paula in Idao

Sugarplum Cottage said...

I love visitin' your garden so many unique plants. Beautiful lilac. Hugs,Rosemarie

WiseAcre said...

The Hardenbergia violacea reminded me of sweet pea so I looked it up. The color is wonderful and I love climbing vines. Too bad I can't grow Purple Coral Pea here.