Desert Bird Gardening
Desert Bird Gardening is a slim pamphlet packed with info on plants that attracts birds to the landscape. Published by the Arizona Native Plant Society and Tucson Audobon Society, it contains color photos of birds and their favored plants and brief descriptions of each. There's also a concise explanation of how to attract birds by providing food, water and shelter. A table lists whether the plants provide nectar, fruit, seeds, shelter or insects as well as the plants' blooming season and water use. This is a terrific little guide for desert gardeners.
Favorite or New Plant
Lion's Tail (Leonotis leonurus)
You have to just love a plant with a name like that. This attractive perennial has smallish green leaves and reaches three to six feet in height. It derives its name from flower stalks that sport whorls of orange tubular flowers, resembling the puff at the end of a lion's tail. The clusters are spaced every few inches along a flower stalk that is two to three feet tall. After the flowers die back, the stalks can kept for an unusual addition to a dried arrangement. The plant grows during the cool season in the low desert, blooms in February-March and dies back when the heat arrives. Although its a perennial, I find it easier to replant each fall rather than try to keep it alive through the summer.