Brittlebush and Penstemon grow where they want to in my garden. For several years, I had only one Brittlebush shrub, but last year, several more came up, and this year, there are about ten growing in one area. They look good in spring and sometimes in fall. The rest of the year, well, it's hard to look at them. They dry out in the center, and become woody. They do last several years if left alone, so I just turn my head when I walk by them except in spring.
The few Bush Morning Glory shrubs left in my garden are now in full bloom. They are quite a standout among all the yellow each spring. When I established my garden in May of 2005, I had 18 Bush Morning Glory shrubs, and each summer, I lose a few more. They are not long-lived perennials, and I although I love them, I haven't replaced the ones lost. I like to try new plants when I have an open emitter, but I'm going to go back to Bush Morning Glory now that I'm down to only six.
Although this Lilac Vine flowers for a only short time in early spring, its green leaves break up the expanse of the unpainted walls of my garden the rest of the year. Although I said in my last post that I don't want to spend any more money on this property, the unpainted concrete block is not attractive. I would like to have it painted a Sangria color. Or maybe a shade of orange. Or, maybe a deep sapphire. Folks from other regions may think this would be madness, but it's fairly common here in the desert to have brightly hued garden walls, usually in colors that have a Mexican flavor. The walls quickly fade in the bright sun, so the shades become more subtle within a year or so. On second thought, maybe I'll just stare at the gray walls. The initial cost is quite high, and then there's the ongoing maintenence. Fading is ok for a few years, but after awhile, they just look tired. Another concern is resale. Repainting undesirable block walls is usually not high on the list of remodel jobs for new homeowners!