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“Why would you want to live in the desert? It’s so brown!”

“There’s no color in the desert.”

“Nothing blooms in the summer in Phoenix – it’s too hot!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, what a bunch of baloney! The Sonoran Desert is alive with color all summer long, despite temps that can reach above 115 degrees. All sorts of trees, shrubs and cactus have showy flowers throughout June, July and August.

That’s true of any summer in Phoenix. But this summer, the summer of 2021, we’ve had the healthiest monsoon season in years. Awesome amounts of rain all through July and so far through August as well. Shrubs that have been sparse in their flowering (for example, ones that are not on irrigation), have exploded with fresh color.

I thought those of you in other parts of the country (and world) would get a kick out of seeing what a desert city in bloom looks like, so I’ve been snapping pics for the past few weeks. Some of the cactus bloomed right before the rains first started, but the rest of the plants had the benefits of the monsoons. You’ll see flowering cactus, annuals, perennials, and shrubs in the photos below. If you have specific questions about what a certain plant is, just let me know and I’ll ID it for ya.

I hope you enjoy this photo journey of rain-happy flowers in Phoenix.

Here we are at the “look at that purple shrub!” section of the post. These fall under the umbrella of the generic term “sage,” but they’re not Salvias – these are Leucophyllums. And they have been spectacular!

The sages loooove monsoon rains. For a few weeks, everywhere you looked around the city there were pops of purple, or rows of royalty, haha! Definitely a nice addition to any landscape.

The monsoons cleared out temporarily as of last night. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we have a few days of sunshine again. I’ll be keeping an eye out for what’s blooming and take pics whenever I can.


On an unrelated note, there is a certain one of our very own Experts, a lady of charm and distinction, with superior intelligence and unmatched compassion, known far and wide as a National Treasure, aka Dottie Correll, who is turning a whopping 95 years old on Saturday. 95! She’s doing great. If you’d like to wish her a happy birthday, please do so in the comments and I’ll happily pass them along for you.

There’s not a lot of variance when it comes to collecting flower seeds. The seeds may look wildly different, but the method of collecting them is essentially the same.

Which is, look for the flower that is now brown and faded, then figure out the best way to get the seeds out of it.

So I’m not really writing posts like this one as “how to’s” but to show you what different flower seeds look like.

Because once you know what to look for, I’m confident you can find seeds on your own.

As I’ve said many times before, collecting seeds is easy. It’s not rocket science.

Especially when you know what to look for.

Today, the spotlight is on beautiful Portulaca flowers.

My own Portulaca flowers are past their prime, after giving me a summer’s worth of outstanding blooms. Here’s what the container looked like a few weeks ago:

They are prolific bloomers. I don’t bother to deadhead them, because they bloom like crazy without any interference from me.

Portulacas not only come in an array of dazzling colors, but they also can get by on minimal water and attention.

Those are big plusses in my book.

So how do you collect the seeds?

I picked off one of the brown flowers from my own container to show you:

Doesn’t look like much is there, but if you use your fingers to “crush” the brown casing, you’ll see the seeds inside, like these:

The seeds are so, so tiny!

And there are so many of them!

It’s easiest to store them in an envelope or paper bag.

In the center of the photo below, you can see the seeds naturally coming out of an opened pod:

Again, they are tiny seeds, and lots of ’em.

It looks like not only will I have a basil forest in the back yard, but a Portulaca forest, too.

Unless anyone out there would like to take some seeds off my hands. Anyone? Anyone?

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You still have time to guess last week’s puzzler, in which I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

You can leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST).

I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after an all-new Ask the Experts post tomorrow. Hope to see you back here.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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