|[ Mint (Mentha x piperita 'Eau-de-Cologne') | Posted on April 18, 2021 ]
The leaves of Eau de Cologne mint have a delightful sweet floral citrus scent with only a subtle undertone of mint. This plant completely died back during our two-month stretch of night temps in the 20s and lower (dropped below 10 degrees a few times) but survived, being heavily mulched and protected under plastic sheeting. It was slow to emerge this spring but looks like it will bounce back.
|[ Lime Mint (Mentha x piperita 'Lime') | Posted on April 18, 2021 ]
This Mentha piperita Lime mint is a striking plant and in only one month is proving to be the standout in my mint garden. The dark green rounded 1 1/2-inch leaves have wine-purple veins and undersides, the same color as the sturdy upright stems. It has so far grown robustly during our windy, chilly early spring; looking forward to discovering how well it tolerates our brutally hot summer.
|[ Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues') | Posted on February 27, 2021 ]
The name Schizachyrium derives from the Greek root word schizein, "to split" (same as the psychiatric term schizophrenia), and achryon, meaning "chaff," because the lemmas (bracts in the flower spikelet) are divided.
|[ Evergreen Wisteria (Callerya reticulata) | Posted on November 14, 2020 ]
I tried growing this vine in the high desert in zone 7b knowing it wouldn't be evergreen but had been assured it would withstand the cold winters. I wanted something wisteria-like to grow on a trellis that didn't take over. It did lose its leaves and smaller branches in the freezes, but it re-emerged in late spring. However, the leaves emerged severely chlorotic every year. A heavy application of iron and high-nitrogen fertilizer always corrected the chlorosis. It withstood summer heat but sometimes the leaves got sunburned. Although it bloomed well it never fully filled out (a few tendrils did make it up the trellis to about 6 feet) and it was apparent it wasn't at home in my climate and alkaline soil. I finally pulled it out after four years (I really did want to give it a chance!). I think in the right climate and soil it would be a rewarding vine. The flowers are luscious!
|[ Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua Louis Hamilton™) | Posted on November 10, 2020 ]
I purchased this plant in late summer during an extended heatwave. It was scraggly and nearly leafless with no flowers, but I had researched this cultivar and took a chance on this xeric, hardy desert plant. The bright orange desert globemallow is a common sight in New Mexico, but this was described as having larger flowers than the orange ones that grow wild, and "watermelon" colored. I put it into a new rock garden in October and didn't expect to see flowers until spring. It snowed and froze at the end of October. A week later after warm temperatures, it produced two lovely watermelon-hued blossoms. I'm looking forward to a full blooming cycle in the spring.
|[ Echibeckia Summerina™ Blazing Fire | Posted on August 14, 2020 ]
Found this on a goal-less ramble around a local nursery in blazing August. The Echibeckia (TM) is a cross between Rudbeckia and Echinacea and makes for a bit of fun and flash. I'm not certain if all the irregularities are intended in this line or are a result of it being rushed to market before it was perfected, but they provide interest. Little mutant petal-like growths, fuzzy tips and tiny bits of green poke out from under the disks, and the occasional tubular petal appears in the rays. I look forward to seeing how this performs and whether the bees like it.
|[ Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum 'Orange Peel') | Posted on July 30, 2020 ]
The Cestrum Orange Peel is hardy in zone 7b, but dies to the ground every winter. It blooms steadily from late spring until the first frost if deadheaded, reaching about 4 feet in my garden in New Mexico. Hummingbirds adore it. Not bothered by most insect pests. Takes some shade in very hot climates.
|[ Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) | Posted on July 30, 2020 ]
This plant is hardy in zone 7b. It is a desert plant and needs no irrigation, but will welcome a drink occasionally. It has several interesting features: The yellow flowers with red stamens look almost tropical. The ripe seed pods split in half with an audible SNAP and it flings seeds up to 30 feet away. The twisted, spiraled pods litter the ground and some stay on the plant. It continues to produce new flowers while throwing seeds. The seeds start sprouting the following summer wherever they land. This plant is basically a weed where I live in New Mexico and it grows fast on a single trunk, but if cut at the base in fall it re-emerges with multiple trunks. I'll usually let one grow for a few years then dig it out, letting others come up in different places as I choose. It does not have a pleasant smell. Not recommended for the manicured garden, but is a fast, flashy filler for difficult dry spots.
|[ Red Mountain Sage (Salvia darcyi Vermilion Bluffs®) | Posted on July 30, 2020 ]
Salvia darcyi Vermilion Bluffs Pscarl is not a flashy plant, but has a deep, monochromatic intensity that deserves a second look. The leaves have just a hint of lemon under the "salvia" scent.