At last! We've been blessed with a bit of much needed rain, and although
it's come a little late for a good desert wildflower display you can bet
there'll be a good display of grasses and weeds. Looking lush and innocent
now, these green carpets become great seedy rascals when mature. With that
in mind you'll find it much easier to eliminate them when they're small.
One weedy seeder we actually recommend planting, though, is the native
(Erigeron divergens). You might wonder why a plant would have a
name like that. Is it a bane to fleas? What is a bane anyway? Well,
says Webster, a general bane is "something that ruins or spoils" as in he (or
possibly she!) is the bane of my existence." When applied to a plant,
however, it implies a poisonous one. Thus there's
Henbane, Wolfbane, Baneberry,
even a Children's Bane.
But sorry, we carry only
These plants are actually a
widespread group related to Asters,
and in olden times the smoke from burning plants was purported to kill fleas and
other insects. Our natives are dandy wildflowers that become a sea of
little white daisies and really spiffy up that desert landscape. Plant one
or two plants now and they will reseed themselves with just a little extra
moisture. Butterflies like them too!
Now is a good
time to plant Ice Plants.
Native to Africa, these succulent-leaved plants make tough, drought
tolerant, spring blooming groundcovers. They also make great hanging
baskets and drape beautifully out of pots.
them around the bases of potted cacti and succulents to lushen up
the effect. Especially desirable are the
Leaf or Red Flowered Ice
with deep red to bronze flowers, and the
Rocky Point Ice Plant
with yellow flowers. These two
have long blooming periods.
makes a brilliant pink flower display in spring and spreads to make a
fairly dense groundcover.
Red Spike Ice Plant
forms only small slumps of finger-like leaves and blooms only in spring
with bright rose flowers. Unfortunately we feel it's only fair to
mention a rather uncomfortable drawback to Ice Plant use. Our
feathered friends that we love so much become our feathered enemies around
a nice juicy patch of Ice Plants. In some cases, especially last
summer, they will almost pick them to death searching for water.
It's been suggested that putting water out for the birds will keep them
from massacring your plants.
that tough vine that looks slightly lush through the summer? Try
Purple Lilac Vine
This Australian native is unrelated to our familiar Lilac, but it does
sport an array of dangling purple flowers in late winter and spring.
It needs support for its twining stems and will form a dense leafy mass
over walls and on patio roofs. It has no thorns and it is fairly pest
free. Moderate water through the hottest months will keep it looking
best. As with most plants, it prefers good drainage.
gardening things to do in February include but are not limited to: plant
plants, feed established
plants, plant all kinds of trees and shrubs, sow seed of
Beets, Bok Choy, Carrots,
Collards, Mustard Greens, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips, divide Chives
Did you know that giving too much nitrogen fertilizer to your
trees will make fruits have extremely thick skin?