Southwestern Deserts

June, 2014
Regional Report

Books

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). 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!

Clever Gardening Technique

Have Containers, Will Travel
Take your containers with you to the nursery and mix and match potential plant combinations on-site. Look at container combos at the nursery for ideas and ask personnel for recommendations. This helps maintain your color scheme and you head home with sufficient plants. It's so annoying to arrive home, start planting up a masterpiece and realize it needs just a little something else.

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