Spring 2018 – What’s Growing in the Arizona Desert?

We have arrived at our spring planting season in the Phoenix, Arizona area even when other areas of the nation continue to be cold and perhaps stormy. I had an opportunity to visit the demonstration garden at the Maricopa County Extension Center which is maintained primarily by the Master Gardeners.

There were some interesting plants in full bloom and I wanted to share two of them with you. When I select a plant to grow, it is generally one that has impressive flowers. This can be small, numerous flowers or large, showy flower that are less in number.

I also like to have the flower-to-leaf ratio to be appropriate. I don’t want the leaves to overpower the flowers. The one exception to this would be a plant that has pretty or show leaves. One plant that comes to mind in this category is Milk Thistle. We have lots of critters in our neighborhood and they like many of the plants we enjoy so I need to be very selective.

Then there are some plants that people in our region select because they are unique.

One quite “different” plant at the demonstration garden is Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) – One look and it will be obvious how this flower received its name.

Lion's Tail or Wild Dagga

Here is a close up of the flower…

Lion's Tail or Wild Dagga - closeup

Lion’s Tail is reportedly a fast growing, drought tolerant plant!

You can read more about this unique plant in The San Francisco Gate article HERE. — scroll down.

Another unique and interesting plant is the Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos lablab or Lablab purpurea). This plant is grown as much for its purple seed pod as the plentiful light and dark pink flowers. If you have a place in your garden for a vine, this might be a very good choice.

Hyacinth Bean

Naturally if this is grown in our area, it must be heat tolerant, but the amazing thing is how well the vine tends to do even with the hight temperatures as long as it is given ample water.

Hyacinth Bean closeup

You can find more information about Hyacinth Bean HERE and HERE.

 

Read more gardening posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Hiking: Yellow-Throated Gilia, Sequoia National Park, CA

One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is that it offers opportunities for interesting discoveries; some anticipated and others serendipitous. We were hiking along the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail in Sequoia National Park nearly a year ago when we came across a patch of wildflowers tucked away in a wooded area…


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

It was hard to believe that these were real. The colors were so vibrant and unusual in combination. It was an amazing sight. The next day we were on the Sunset Point Trail and there was a large swath of these wildflowers covering the entire hillside.


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower
Love those standouts adding their all white accents in the middle of the patch!

 
Nature is the art of God.” – Dante Alighieri

Read more about Yellow-Throated Gilia HERE

 

Read more JBRish.com posts:

Hiking/Exploring HERE, Nature HERE, Photography HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



STATUS QUOtes — Picture Quote — 20170714

Today’s Picture Quote

The Amen of nature is always a flower. -  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
“The Amen of nature is always a flower.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. –
– Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: DSC_0520.NEF
Capture time: 5:11 PM
Capture date: August 13, 2016
Exposure: 1/60 @ f5
Focal Length: 40 mm
ISO: 140
Nikon D3300
Location: Nature walk in Flagstaff, AZ

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in OS X Preview

NOTE – The picture above was submitted for sale to a stock photography site (just one) and it was rejected because it lacked “commercial interest.” and that may be. I still like the photo, however, and I want to share it with you. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I thought it was an exemplar of the Holmes quote!

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross


Argentine Giant Cactus Flower – Photograph

Photograph of the Argentine Giant Cactus in Bloom
at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Argentine Giant Cactus, Echinopsis candicans
Argentine Giant Cactus, Echinopsis candicans

I am a member/volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. It is the second most visited attraction in the state after the Grand Canyon. On my way to the Seed Room where I work as a volunteer, I passed an Argentine Giant cactus that was still in bloom. It has been my experience that they generally bloom earlier in the season, but this particular specimen was in a location that enabled it to be in flower now.

The flower is not the most attractive cactus bloom I have seen, but it is very pretty and the size is huge. The flower can be as large as a person’s face. Unfortunately, these blooms only last a day, but what a day it is!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE or gardening HERE.

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Streets of Gold in the Phoenix Desert (Gardening)

Palo Verde Tree in flower

As you can see from the photograph above, the desert is decked in gold this time of year. The Palo Verdes (along with some other flowering trees snd shrubs) produce an abundance of yellow blooms. There are streets that are lined with these trees and they build a seasonal hallway of gold.

Streets of gold

The ground is carpeted with spent yellow flower petals adding even more color to the street. While the neighborhoods aren’t paved with gold, they are covered with pretty yellow hues.

Below is a picture of the branches of the Palo Verde tree laden with its delightful burden of yellow flowers.

Palo Verde Tree flowers


JBRish.com originally published this post
All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved

 
See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE

Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei)

When we first moved to Phoenix more than six years ago, all of our northeastern gardening experience was rendered moot. What we knew did not fit to the Sonoran Desert environment. We needed to be re-educated regarding desert gardening.

I quickly enrolled in the Maricopa County Master Gardener program. Until then, however, I needed to have some plants to care for. After having so many gardens and plants to nurture in New Jersey, it was in my DNA.

One of the first plants we obtained was a Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei) which technically is not a palm tree at all. This is how it looked during its growing season shortly after I first purchased it:

Madagascar Palm First Purchased

One thing about the Madagascar Palm, which I didn’t know, was that during the desert winter, it drops all of its leaves and can easily be mistaken for dead. This is how it looks once the cold weather has set in:

Madagascar Palm Without Leaves

Those stickers keep the pesky critters at bay!

When we first purchased the plant it was between seven and eight inches high. It was a small plant and it was in a relatively, i.e. 4 to 6-inch, clay pot.

This is how our plant looked this spring (nearly six feet tall):

Madagascar Palm Spring 2015

Until this year our palm had only leaves which dropped during the winter and then reappeared each succeeding growing season. This year, however, there was a surprise in store:

Madagascar Palm Spring 2015 with Flowers

There was a cluster of flower buds. They are very pretty white flowers with a yellow center. I am not sure where they go from here (what kind of seed pod, etc.). The flowers last more than one day which is nice. What kind of fruit they will yield or if they will be pollinated at all is yet to be determined.

The flower pictures are not the best because the ladder I used to take them was not set on a stable surface and it was a bit tricky. I think you will still be able to appreciate the plant even with these less-than-perfect shots.

Madagascar Palm Spring 2015 with Flowers

Read more about the Madagascar Palm here and here.