This year represents my first real try at desert gardening. The plants and soil and climate are so different from what I knew back in New Hampshire.
I'm learning to group plants by their water needs. The tomatoes and roses are near each other because they like being watered; the cacti, off in the background in the picture below, are baking up against the adobe wall of the house and rarely get any water from the hose.
|The tomatoes were slow to grow and slow to bloom, but they suddenly took off and spread across the path, engulfing the roses, the crape myrtle, and the little hollyhock plants. Next year I am hoping for some spectacular hollyhocks, as they will shoot up and bloom in the second year.|
I had never seen vitex trees in bloom until this summer, but I loved their color. Ours was three feet tall when I planted it in June. I learned that if the first blooms are cut off after they turn brown, you will be rewarded with an even more abundant second blooming. I love their color with the pink of the crape myrtle, petunias, and geranium; and with the lavender-blue of the sage (not shown in these photos). The little tree fills the porch and the front yard with its spicy fragrance, which comes from both the flowers and the leaves.
|Here is the Texas lilac (vitex) when it was planted in June; it only had a few blossoms, and just came up to the top of the fence|
|The Texas lilac in mid-September is full of blossoms and is a lot taller than I am. I love looking through it at the mountains.|