Watching the Butterflies Flutter By

Queen Butterfly on Asclepias

Tucson is a great place to see a diverse array of butterflies, with some 250 species said to be found in the Sonoran Desert, and verified sightings of 216 different species in Pima County . Many of these species reside here year-round, while others seek their favorite nectar or larval plants as they travel through. August is the peak of our butterfly season, as both the migratory and the sedentary species find their favorite food plants actively growing and blooming after the summer monsoons.

Keeping Up with the Tecomas

 

Take a look around Tucson in the summer, and you’re bound to see at least a few of these tropical-looking but sun-loving beauties blooming like crazy. Tecomas have gotten a lot of attention through the years for their remarkable heat tolerance, speedy growth, pest resistance, and ever-blooming habits. For some of us, the fact that they attract hummingbirds and butterflies from spring through fall is enough to want one planted in every corner of the garden!

There was very little variety in the types of Tecoma that you could buy at garden centers in the past, but we’ve recently seen something of a boom in the development of unique hybrids that offer new variations on flower color and growth habit.

If you’re a garden club member, then you already know that this week’s mid-week special is a discount on Tecoma, so we thought you might like to know the differences between the types that we growing here at Civano Nursery.

Pruning for Flowers

We always get a lot of questions from our customers about the purple bushes that appear all around town after the monsoon rains begin. Texas rangers are drought tolerant plants that are used extensively in our landscapes and along our roadways, and each year they patiently and inconspicuously wait until it’s their time to shine. When summer rains bring higher humidity, these shrubs suddenly explode with beautiful pink or purple blossoms. If the Texas rangers in your yard refuse to bloom year after year, the problem may lie in how or when you’re pruning them. Continue reading for tips on how to prune a Leucophyllum without hindering its flower power.

Irrigation and Rainwater

Looming clouds, lower temperatures, high humidity, and bursts of torrential rain mean that the monsoon season is upon us. The welcomed break from staggering heat and the wet-looking dirt may have many of us thinking that it’s OK to shut off our irrigation systems and take a vacation from watering, but we shouldn’t be so quick to hang up our hoses.

Keeping the Bunnies at Bay

 

It’s understandable that many Tucson gardeners get a little frustrated with nature this time of year. It’s too darn hot to do much in the garden, and every bunny in the desert seems to be eyeballing the lush green plants that you’ve been so diligently watering through the summer heat.

On years as dry as this one, there’s much less for the critters to eat out in the wild, which makes them more likely to venture into our gardens, and less picky about what they’re willing to nibble. It’s hard to know which of your plants will look the tastiest from year to year, but there are lots of plants you can try in your landscape before resorting to Monty Python’s extreme method of rabbit control (the Holy Hand Grenade).

This week’s blog focuses on plants that bunnies tend to avoid, and also shares a few helpful tips for preventing damage in your garden.

By the Light of the Moon

full-moon

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending Tohono Chul’s Bloom Night, Tucson Botanical Garden’s Sunset Saturdays, or the Desert Museum’s Cool Summer Nights, then you’ve experienced a taste of how enchanting our desert gardens can be after hours. When the summer sun goes down (and the earth stops smoldering) many of our desert plants come alive, and we can really take our time to be inspired by the tranquil beauty and gentle fragrances they have to offer.

If you absolutely love to garden but can’t take the summer heat, a moonlight garden might be just your thing. Read-on for some tips on creating a lovely and serene place to relax outdoors after dark.

Apple Picking 101

 

This morning, while touring around our growing farm in search of photo opportunities, I was delighted to find some ripe fruit on our early-season apple varieties. After picking and tasting a few of the larger apples from one of our 15 gallon trees, I was bitterly reminded that fruit size isn’t the best way to judge which apples are ripe.

Apples won’t continue to ripen (or grow) after they’ve been picked from the tree, but ripe apples can get sweeter as starches are broken down into sugars during storage. Harvesting your apples at just the right time will ensure a tasty crop that can be effectively stored for later use. With some apples already ripening on the trees, and much of the harvest season still ahead of us, I thought it might be a good time to share some tips on how to tell when your apples are prime for picking.

All about Bougainvillea Flowers

Bougainvillea

Southern Arizona’s high heat and long, sunny days create the perfect atmosphere for bougainvillea to grow and bloom throughout most of the year, so we’re quite accustomed to seeing their brilliant pinks, whites, oranges, and purples in our landscapes. Since we had such a mild winter in Tucson, our bougainvilleas are really putting on a fantastic show this year.