As June arrives, so arrives the most intense sun, the highest temperatures, and
lowest humidity of the year. Even the most hardened of outdoor people
prefer the retreat of a shady patio. One group of plants that can make any
patio or atrium more inviting without greatly impacting the
water bill are the Asparagus
These tough plants are not ferns but are
as you can see by the mini spears that arise from the soil during growth.
Now, we know that some of you (plant snobs, perhaps?) may look upon these plants
with disdain because they are just so common, but they should be credited
for greening up many a bleak area - and with very little complaint.
densiflorus var. sprengeri)
is widely used as a groundcover or container plant in shady areas as well as
full sun. The presence of tuberous water storage roots makes it quite
drought resistant, but regular watering keeps it better looking. It also
remains greener with partial shade. Anyone who has ever tried to maintain
any kind of green plant in a hanging basket through an
summer knows what futility is.
to the rescue! One somewhat vexing problem we've had with our
baskets, though, is that doves think they are there for their personal nesting
use. This would be acceptable and even desirable, except that the unlucky
person wielding the hose has a heart dropping experience as a startled, wet dove
barrels noisily out of its nest. Nobody wants to be the villain that
waters the dove, so of course the
is the loser, eventually becoming a clump of straw colored sprigs sporting a
plump, happy dove in a nest of sticks. If planted in the ground
also has the potential to consume other plants in its path and can be difficult
to remove. It is also slightly frost sensitive in unprotected areas.
An occasional cutting back will rejuvenate old, leggy plants. Pretty red
berries follow the starry, white flowers.
An elegant addition to any patio container in partial shade is the
or Meyer's Fern
densiflorus v. meyeri).
This plant is very well behaved. It's fairly slow growing and its stiff,
green plumes only get a couple of feet tall. Another less common but
interesting and unusual container or ground plant is
The erect, fluffy plumes get many feet tall and lend a unique look to any patio.
such a ferny looking plant that it is used instead of the real thing in floral
arrangements. Since it looks extremely delicate you wouldn't suspect that
it's actually a tough vine for your covered patio. It will even twine up
posts and fences.
It seems that
blue is an in color these days, and there is always the quest for blue
flowers, especially in a desert plant. Look no further, as
a large intricately branched shrub, has eye-stopping, electric blue
flowers. The big burst of bloom occurs in May with just sporadic
flowers into summer. A short blooming period in a plant is always a
turn-off, since most everyone wants to see flowers all the time. But
have you noticed that when plants do have a long flowering period you are
awed by them for a few days or even weeks, then you hardly notice them?
It's easy to become jaded by too much of a good thing! So you won't
have this problem with
Even without flowers it's still
an interesting shrub. It will take full sun and heat but is fairly
frost tender so would be best in your most frost free area. We have
some 15 gallon size plants available in the nursery.