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Posts tagged gardening

Flowers to Plant as Spring Nears in the High Desert

High Desert Snapdragons

Pansies and snapdragons make pretty garden flowers even when it snows like it has this evening in the High Desert. How can one resist planting such garden beauty displayed by these vibrantly colored flowers? READ MORE »

Have You Started Planning Your High Desert Spring Garden Yet?


Spring is coming soon but already has shown its signs with new buds on trees. Every year when winter is over, lawn and garden stores fill with eager garden enthusiasts. High Desert gardeners have the dry desert heat to consider, however, and must carefully choose plants and flowers. Many prefer native habitat plants that require low maintenance like Blue Sage, Black Sage, Bird of Paradise, Desert Lavender, Penstemon among other beauties. These plants also attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are not poisonous to pets. Some are fire retardant. The sages, Bird of Paradise, and Penstemon make good rock garden plants. Another idea is planting cacti and succulents for a low maintenance garden, or plant them in a rock garden that slopes for water draining.

Not sure what will grow or look best in your garden? Speak with a landscaper about your garden and landscaping needs.  High Desert gardeners should contact area landscapers who are familiar with the area. I spoke with a Phelan landscaper who said pistachio trees grow well in the High Desert because of the dry heat. We think of flowers and vegetables for gardens, but why not pistachio trees? Plant vegetables, pistachios, and add a fruit tree or two, three ingredients to a healthy diet – veggies, nuts, and fruits.

Pet Friendly Gardening

Fall has greeted us with some quite chilly nights and mornings already in the High Desert but not so chilly that gardener can’t plant flowers. Important factors such as zone hardiness, wind chill, and  the height of plants are to be considered when planning a garden. Evergreen trees make a good windbreak. Joshua trees have always fascinated me with their leaning, wind-blown  shapes. Yet in spite of the wind, they seem to thrive in this High Desert climate. Oleander plants are often used as privacy in yards, and they are so beautiful. But did you know they are poisonous, at least to pets? Another gardening factor is planting flowers and trees that are pet friendly. I looked up poisonous plants and found a long list of flowers and trees that are poisonous to pets (and some to humans)…and I like a lot of these. They’re lovely. Many plants that thrive or at least survive in the High Desert weather are not pet friendly. The best way to solve this dilemma is to fence in an area for your pets. However, I’ve not yet seen a dog or cat eating from one of the numerous oleander trees in my neighborhood or from my tomato plants. It’s interesting, though, that nature’s beauty in plants can be dangerous to animals.

Check out this list of toxic plants:

  • sago palm
  • oleander
  • foxglove
  • kalancho
  • Heavenly Bamboo
  • aloe
  • yucca
  • Tomato Plant (green parts only)
  • onion
  • foxgloves
  • Hydrangea
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil
  • Elephant Ears aka Caladium

I was seriously thinking about planting a Heavenly Bamboo, too. My friend has one, and it’s so pretty. She also has those gorgeous Elephant Ears in her garden. Food for thought.

High Desert Autumn Gardens

Looking for the right kind of plants to grow in your High Desert garden? The Mohave Desert area north of San Bernardino – Hesperia, Victorville, Apple Valley and other surrounding cities – is located in Sunset Zone 10. The following flowering plants and shrubs grow well in this area and are good plants for autumn:

  • Daylilies
  • Sedum
  • Yarrow
  • Salvia (Sage)
  • Rosemary
  • Lantana
  • Dusty Miller
  • Lavender

One of my favorite High Desert gardens is that of my friend, Karen. This week I took a few photos in her garden and was amazed at how huge her flowering bushes are. Here are three of the plants I love in Karen’s garden:

These bushes didn’t grow large overnight. They grew  from their early plantings to the size they are now in at least three or four years. Look at the difference between Karen’s Dusty Miller and my one-year Dusty Miller (the one on the top left):

Karen waters her plants consistently a few times during the week and every day in the heat of the summer. The nice thing about planting arid plants in the High Desert is that they require only a little water if any. I favor the rosemary and lavender plants because of their aroma, and – if I forget to water them, they still thrive.

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