Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Palo de Arco

Tecoma stans is native here, as well as many areas of tropical america. It is a large shrub with incredibly fragrant flowers and the wood is used for a woven type of construction called chiname. It is drought decidiuous and needs water to keep it flowering and green.

Mushrooms in the Desert?

All of a sudden I started seeing mushrooms everywhere in the garden. I think it is related to the wood chip mulch that we spread around from our trusty shredder. We shredded Palo Verde wood and maybe the spores were in the wood. Regretfully, the shredder is being retired, due to neighbor's complaints about the noise. The mulch is so valuable, that I barely noticed. Oh well.

Xantus Hummingbird at Agave Flower

This is the male Xantus or Black-fronted Hummingbird. There are many of them dive-bombing around the garden right now, and this Agave is quite the bird magnet.

Mexican Blue Palm

Brahea armata is found only in Baja California, Mexico. This one is in my neighbor's garden. I'm crazy about the silvery leaves and want one of my own. They are slow growers.

Spring Color

I'm not sure of the name-- maybe Pachyphytum. I bought one little plant five or six years ago and I keep starting new cuttings. In early winter the birds find these quite delectible and gobble them down to the stems. This time of year, luckily the birds aren't interested and the plants recover from the trauma.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Garden

This is a painting of my garden that I finished a few months ago.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hummer Family

My neighbors, Barry and Kani have a beautiful garden and are so lucky to have hummingbirds nest there. There are two nestlings, and the mother bird is busy ferrying food to them all day long. These are the Xantus hummingbird, native to southern Baja and quite common in Cabo Pulmo.

Kalanchoe fedshenkoi


I don't know the real name, but I call it Kalanchoe Ruffles.

Cactus Fruit

This is the juicy pink cactus fruit of Melocactus popping up and out of the plant. You can plant the tiny black seeds and get lots of little cactettes. Everyday it seems to pop more fruit out.

Pitaya Dulce

This native cactus is just starting to grow.

Salvia similis

This native is blooming now and needs pruning to keep it from getting super-leggy. In the wild, the cows do a good job of pruning. The leaves smell salvia-ish too.


This cactus has a number of names--I won't go into it. I've found that if I grow it in the ground, it will rot--seems to like a terra cotta pot and a little Blossom Booster fertilizer.

Scrub Jay Enjoying Self and Bath

Ferocactus glaucescens

Another Weed

This annual is Sphaeralcea coulteri. Most people in these parts pull the seedlings out as weeds, but I like them.

Desert Rose

Probably Adenium obesum. Luckily, these are starting to show up in the nurseries here. They seem to bloom most of the time.

Another Agave Spike

Always an exciting event since you can see the spike grow every day! I guess I'll have to collect some seed from this one since it hasn't sent any pups out and the plant will die after blooming.

Sedum nussbaumerianum

I am a sucker for succulents with color--especially reds, oranges or purple. I keep trying to propagate more of this beauty--I want it everywhere...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Aloe ferox Seed Pods

I collect seed since they don't make divisions. It's best to collect the seed just when the pods start to crack open.

Mixed Company

I'm growing baby lettuces in a container and I had a few extra seedlings so I plunked them down in one of my shady succulent mosaic garden areas. They seem to be thriving and I'm thinking of adding more to make a larger green area. I give them extra squirts of water to keep them happy. Red lettuces would make a nice mosaic patch too.

Another Weed

This is Coulterella capitata--a native I found growing in some sand dunes near La Paz a few years ago. Surprisingly, it is in the Sunflower family. It has a strong odor/fragrance when you touch it--kind of a medicinal smell--unlike any other. I'm trying to propagate it and it looks like at least one cutting is going to make it.


One of the best things I ever did, was put this birdbath in view of my studio window. Today I saw goldfinches, orioles, green towhee, scrub jay and these guys (house finch and cardinal) bathing and drinking in it. Yesterday, I saw a couple of male hooded orioles actually rolling around in the dust, fighting--mating season is starting.

Flower of the Day

I can't remember the name of this little gem that faithfully flowers every Spring.

Mangos Flowering

Our Mango is finally flowering--it's a little later than many--probably because it is in more shade than it should be. We planted it right next to a small Coco palm, at least the palm was small, but now it towers over the Mango. Hopefully we'll have more of its delectible fruit in June or July.

Jimson Weed

African Ocotillo


In my garden, Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is in peak bloom right now. I like the white leafed variety best. They benefit from a harsh pruning once a year.

Another Weed

Weeds have become my friends, and I'm finding so much beauty that I couldn't see in my more prejudiced days. This is Datura discolor, an annual Jimson Weed. I can't tell you how many of these plants I have ripped out over the years. Now I even give them a little water treat, now and then.

Caught Him!

Agave desmettiana just started blooming and the birds didn't waste a second. Every morning I've been seeing this male Costa's Hummingbird sipping nectar at the Agave. Moving birds are really not easy to photograph!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Colors?

I think this African Ocotillo (Allauadia procera) is getting ready to drop its leaves and sprout a new batch. We'll see....

Native Potential?

Here's an example of my "don't pull it til you know it" policy. The blue-leafed Proboscidea planted itself among these Kalanchoe luciae and while it isn't be best place for it--and most people would have yanked it out, I really want to see what it will do and whether this native has horticultural potential. It's almost like we are in the dating phase of our relationship and I need to decide whether we should get to know each other better.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Brittlebush (Encelia), Aloe and Kalachoe.

Virginia Creeper

I just bought my first Virginia Creeper vine (Parthenocissus sp. I think) and I'm impressed. It has little suction cups on its tendrils that stick onto the wall. It's in full sun and climbing away.

Palo San Juan - Desert Olive

Spring is here! This tree completely drops all its leaves before flowering--at first we thought it was dying. It is covered with fragrant blossoms and there is a constant hum of visiting bees.

Soft Morning Light