eNature: America's Wildlife Resource
On eNature Field Guides, the National Wildlife Federation has made it simple to compile wildlife lists of species you've seen, grouping them as birds, butterflies, fish, insects and spiders, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, seashore creatures, seashells, trees, or wildflowers. Lists can be managed separately or combined, and sorted by family, common name, scientific name, and region. Each species page contains a photo and detailed info, depending on the category (family, description, habitat, nesting, voice, flowering, range, etc.), as well as links to related articles if available. There's a "notes" field and "sighting date" to record when and where it was spotted. After adding an entry to your list, it appears in red type within the master database, so you don't have to switch back and forth to verify you've covered it.
Subtropical and Dry-Climate Plants
During summer's heat, it's fun for desert-plant-lovers to stay cool indoors and comb through books and catalogs, seeking something different to try next fall. Author Martyn Rix has compiled possible choices in his book, Subtropical and Dry Climate Plants (Timber Press, 2006, $44.95). It showcases garden plants with native origins in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands & Madeira, South Africa, California, Mexico south to Chile & Argentina, China & India, and Australia & New Zealand. Included are descriptions of the regions that you can compare to your own gardening conditions for plant compatibility. The Plant Directory covers trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials, bulbs, annuals, and cacti and other succulents. Rix notes that "In most cases only one or two plants of each genus have been included, giving as wide a range of different-looking plants as possible." Thus, not all the plants included will perform in all areas of the Southwest, but a careful reading of the description can help you determine whether to give it a try. Check the Native Geographical Region, Drought Tolerance, Hardiness, Cultivation Information, and Climate symbols (Desert, Mediterranean, Subtropical, Wet) and other details. If a plant isn't suited to your region, beautiful photos may send you in search of another species in that genus that is!