Southwestern Deserts

October, 2008
Regional Report

Continue Sowing Wildflower Seeds

Good choices for low deserts include blanket flower, blue or red flax, desert bluebell, desert marigold, five spot, golden dyssodia, lupine, Mexican gold poppy, owl's clover and penstemon (canyon, coral, firecracker and Parry's).

Grow a Culinary Herb Bed

Sow seeds for cool-season herbs such as anise, borage, salad burnet, caraway, German and Roman chamomile, chervil, chicory, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, horehound, lemon balm, parsley, and sorrel.

Cover a Wall with Flowering Vines

Covering walls with vines will reduce heat build-up and provide splashes of color during their bloom season. Consider queen's wreath (coral, red or hot pink flowers), pink trumpet vine, yellow trumpet creeper, or Hardenbergia violacaea, whose sprays of fragrant purple flowers are a low desert substitute for lilac bushes.

Continue Planting Vegetable Gardens

Can't recall which veggies thrive in cool weather? A rule of thumb is that if you eat the leaves, stems, roots, or flowers, they are cool-season veggies. Sow root crops (beets, carrots, green onion, kohlrabi, radish, turnip), lettuces and salad greens, and members of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale).

Transplant Trees

Add color with one of these desert-adapted, waterwise trees. Consider desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) for its long season of bloom from spring through fall with pink, purple or white trumpet-shaped flowers, Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis) for yellow, red or gold autumn foliage color or cascalote (Caesalpinia cacalaco) for yellow flower clusters in winter.

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