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Drought Tolerant Flowers, Plants and Shrubs for High Desert Gardening

High Desert Blogging

Gardening in high desert terrain can vary from one garden to another, even in the same area. Finding what works is a matter of learning what type of garden soil you have, how much sun or shade a plant needs, trial and error and a whole lot of TLC.

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Water Conservation and Money-Saving Gardening Tips

Since water conservation is of utmost importance in the Mohave Desert, gardeners look for ways to cut down on garden upkeep. One garden blogger advised planting shrubs to save money in the garden. Like she says, they take up a larger space which means fewer plants are needed.

Planting drought tolerant shrubs, flowers, and trees will help conserve water. Oleander, pyracantha shrubs and Italian Cypress trees are evergreen and often seen planted as privacy fences. Although not everyone likes to plant oleanders because they are poisonous, they do grow well in the high desert. The oleander produces pink, white and red flowers from spring through autumn. The pyracantha is thorny and produces bright red or orange berries in autumn and winter and white flowers during spring and summer.

Combine shrubs with perennials and herbs like these:

  • lavender
  • sage
  • salvia
  • lovage
  • lemon balm
  • snapdragons
  • pansies
  • yarrow
  • catmint
  • California poppies

High Desert Snapdragons

Keep plants that require more water in the same area, and use soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system.

It makes sense to use native plants like cacti. A cactus garden when in bloom with bright green and pink flowers is a beautiful sight. Bees and hummingbirds love a blooming cactus garden.

Plant a smoke tree, mulberry or a juniper. These make great drought tolerant choices for a high desert landscape.

Groundcover plants to consider are:

  • Sedum
  • Rockrose
  • Thyme
  • Succulents

Be sure to ask your nursery what the best choices are for your type of garden soil. Keep your receipts. Some garden stores offer a money-back guarantee if you have a receipt to show.

Happy Gardening!


Spring Garden Perennials


Spring Garden

Purple Iris

What are you growing in your spring garden? Do you plant a little at a time, or do you buy everything at once and plant a huge garden?

Iris bulbs are good to plant because they multiply. When my husband and I purchased our High Desert fixer upper, there was a huge patch of irises. Since then I’ve planted them in different garden spots, and they amaze me. They grow wherever they are planted.

If you are tempted like me to buy everything I see at garden nurseries, you know how difficult it is to go flower shopping and only buy one or two. Frugal gardening takes a little effort, but it can be done if you plan your garden carefully.

The ideal way to plan a garden frugally is to shop for perennials and plants that grow well in the zone you live in. A few perennials I’ve been able to grow are:

  • Irises
  • Snapdragons
  • Lemon Balm
  • Pansies
  • Lavender

The iris bulbs have been placed in three different garden areas in the yard, and every spring they produce gorgeous flowers.

Purple Iris

Purple Iris from My Spring Garden

Cuttings from my lemon balm are proving to be successful, too. I took three small pieces and planted them in another pot, and they are growing steadily.

Lemon Balm Herb

Lemon Balm Herb Mint

Lemon Balm

New Tiny Lemon Balm Herb 

Purple Pansies before Spring

Early March Pansies

Snapdragons are usually planted as annuals, but I’ve had success with them as perennials. They can be grown as perennials in zones 8 and above. Deadheading spent blooms will help new blooms to form. I’ve planted pink, light and dark red, and yellow, but the brighter red and yellow ones planted together look absolutely beautiful.


High Desert Snapdragons


Yellow Snapdragons

Lemon Balm Herb

Lemon Balm Herb Mint

Beginning Spring Lavender Flowers

Pre-Spring Lavender

Growing in my kitchen herb garden are rosemary, lavender, and a mint in the ground. The first plants I purchased this month are a basil herb and a tomato plant. It’s a start.

Now tell me about your herbs and flowers and which ones are growing well since spring began.

There’s a reason why traditional works

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and all over the high desert you can see vendors selling their wares for those who haven’t already purchased a gift for that special person. As for myself, I go with the standard gift, flowers. They’re a traditional way to say I love and appreciate you.

There are quite a few locally owned florists, such as Allen’s Flowers & Plants and Fairy Tales Flowers & Gifts (both have been serving the High Desert for many years) with a variety of bouquets and plants to choose from and helpful staff members ready to assist in finding the right gift.

Another couple of options for fresh flowers would be going to local Farmers Markets or reating a bundle of posies from your own garden.

Simple Bouquet

Simple Bouquet

We have Farmers Markets during the week (Hesperia – Wed, Victorville – Thurs, and Apple Valley- Fri). Unfortunately, I missed them all and quite frankly, I was worried about the flowers not staying fresh till Sunday.

Yes, flowers have become the stand-by gift for Mother’s Day but there’s a reason why.

They’re a handful of joy, a rainbow of colors, and nature’s own perfumes being bestowed upon someone as a token of affection.

Should an arrangement of flowers be considered a trite gift?

I think not.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

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