I know I'm not in the Rocky Mountains but having lived many years in eastern Wyoming, the climate is fairly similar. I live in Eureka, Nevada altitude 6500ft and the sun is scorching, not made for man or beast. It is very dry, zone 4b-5a and this summer has had, since the first of June, daily temperatures about 95F. While I have had only one fatality in my own garden, things are looking a bit sad. I am looking for ideas of (preferably flowering) perennial plants, herbs, very small shrubs or vines to start a very small hometown nursery (town of 800 people with nearest place to purchase plants 125 miles away). I have limited space so I want to focus on heat tolerance, though not necessarily drought tolerance (assuming that customers will water) though that would be an added bonus. They must meet the zone requirements. I am also looking at deer resistance as our town herd isn't too picky. I have tried extensively on-line but find that, for the most part, heat tolerance comes in zones 8-9. I would very much appreciate your input!
Another Nevadan - very cool! I have found this forum the closest in climate to my area of NV, too.
I am in Silver Springs, NV - About 2,000 feet lower in altitude and a zone higher than you (60 miles & two ranges of hills away from Reno). But definitely High Desert here. Even with watering, I haven't found anything that has made it past one season, even when they are rated for a zone 6. Or zone 5 even. This has been a nice summer - only one 110*F day so far - most of the days hovering in the low 100*F and the nights in the 60*F's (although this week the nights have been nearly in the 70's). Humidity about 10%. Pure sand as far down as anyone has dug (i.e. the electrical guy... ok, the well guy hit some caliche and some clay before he tunneled through to more sand). So, sorry, I am of no help, but I surely can commiserate. My only consolation is that at least I do not have to fear a heavy frost in June...
As for non-perenials, Basil seems to love this heat, and while they didn't really take off until night temps were consistantly above 40, they are doing very well, I have been using some for flowers this year and they are very pretty. I have purple ruffles, blue spice, anise, lemon (plain flowers, yummy smell/taste) and some other purple that I can't think of right now.
Good luck - I would be very interested in anything you might dig up as I am new to High Desert gardening and so far I and the desert have killed a lot of plants. Even plants that are supposed to do well here.
Thank you KMOM246 for your reply. Interestingly enough, I previously lived in Fernley so I will now cease and desist about the heat! My backyard is a true glory. Though quite small, it is completely surrounded on two sides by 40ft pink sandstone undulating cliffs...a spectacle! This however translates to, as you related, sand. I was new to gardening when I built two rock terraces to try to harness the sand and waterfalls (when it rains) filtering into my backyard. "Well-draining" has never been a problem here! I was too novice to amend the soil for my groundcovers. But through due diligence (1 1/2 hours of watering/morning) I have established some plants that do quite well. I have planted thyme, veronica, sedum and also ornamental grasses, miniature pine and spruce species. I hope this may help. Thank you for your news on basil! Good Luck in the this hottest summer.
Fernly is growing by leaps and bounds - the new super walmart is under construction and new housing developments are popping up like flies and mosquitos... yes, no problem with drainage around here :-) Good luck! Lots of experienced and friendly gardeners who understand "adversarial gardening".
Hello there.. I just noticed this thread. I also live in NV. My address says Round Mountain but I really do not live close to Round Mountain at all. I live closer to Kingston NV. If you are familiar with Smoky Joes convenience store, My husband and I live behind it, up against the Toiyabe range. We have been here for 10 years now. We love it so much. I'm still trying to figure out what grows best here. I think that Eureka is a beautiful place. Our Vet is there is also, JJ. He's the greatest. Also my folks live in Silver Springs. Better go now got to make dinner. Have a great evening Whiterock and kmom246
By the way, I have discovered that bearded irises LOVE it here. Once I fenced the dogs and rabbits away from them, they took off and have come back over two winters. There are some photos of this spring on my blog http://highdesertgardening.blogspot.com/search/label/Bearded%20Iris Sorry, you have to scroll through other pics to find them. Besides the wild desert mallow that has taken up residence in my herb bed, nothing else has reliably over wintered for me yet...
Welcome to the RM forum Nevada peoples ^_^ We're pretty relaxed about everything here. I'm no help to you as I have the opposite problem-cold nights but I think the NM folks and some of the CO folks may have some great ideas for you. Also check the 'help with my hill" thread because there are lots of suggestions for drought tolerant perennials there which might be helpful.
If you mentioned these, I missed it... :) Coreopsis (Tickseed) and Echinacea (Coneflowers) are wonderful low low low water plants that are thriving in my beds. Also, Shasta Daisies and Marguerites, which I've grown from seed, and are going nuts their first year in the ground.
These will grow much faster in better soil with more water, but are growing (just much more slowly) in my "let's see what survives here" sandy/clay/rocky bed (full sun) I water 2-3 times a week now. And we're in a heat wave and drought here. All these are listed as hardy here as well (Zone 5/6a).
Did anyone mention creeping phlox (moss phlox) or dianthus (Sweet William)? Also in the same bed and bloomed very nicely. The dianthus is a self-seeding biennial, from what I can glean online. I also have a nice little stand of Liatris (Gayfeather flower) that's doing well. Not so happy are three Peonies my dearest love misplanted... oops!
Hello fellow non-RM high-desert people. Have you tried lavender? They like well-draining "soil" and are supposed to be xeric, once established. You do have to throw some water on them in the winter if no snow cover. I just harvested my first batch of buds - they make the house smell so nice. Russian sage might be another thing to try. My former neighbor planted some, and the new owner there has completely neglected them - no additional water for 2 years now and still they march on.
I planted munsteads in heavy colorado clay amended HEAVILY with builder's sand and lots of compost; holding its own with regular watering in this heat wave, but the buds died immediately and parts of the plants threaten to go brown between waterings.
Hidcote from seed and some kind of french lavender my DH bought me is happy in a moderately amended bed that gets water every day. Only other difference is heat, which is significantly higher for the munsteads that seem less than thrilled with life.
I have 4 russian sage in pots waiting for me to figure out where to put them; they're blooming all over town and in spots I've *never* seen get water. Do you know how they'll do with too much water? Some people show their love by overfeeding; we show ours by overwatering.
I have lavender -- sorry I don't know what kind in two raised beds that don't get a lot of water. They were slow to start but have been coming back year after year. I have never tried Russian Sage but it is all over here and thrives -- seemingly both with care and without care.
The Rusian Sage in Reno where I work gets watered every time they water the lawn. The lawn is Bright Green all summer, so I am guessing they water nearly every night. The Rusian Sage is over 6 ft tall right now, and laughing at the heat. It tends to be invasive at work, but that may be a result of having so much water available. The gardeners cut them back to about 2 ft tall and yank out seedling every spring. Other places that look less pampered don't seem to become so over-run and the height of the plants stay more in the 3-4 ft range... hmmmm, I am feeling like I may come into owning a bunch of little sage plants next spring...
Hi, I just saw this thread. Whiterock, have you looked at the native plants in your area? Maybe some sort of penstemons, chocolate flower, cactus? Blue flax? I'm curious as to what kinds of natives and wild plants are growing where you are.
Hi. May I sneak into the Rocky Mountain group? Although I live in Oregon, it is the dry side you never hear about unless it is on fire. My elevation is 3300 ft, and we get less than 10 inches of precipitation annually. Lots of sagebrush, native cactus, a few junipers, lots of rocks, clay soil, and zone 5 winters, sometimes with snow up to my armpits, and sometimes with so little that I never have to break out my boots.
SnowlineRose, I can appreciate your gardening conditions, having lived and tried to garden at Bend. 4th of July frost is no fun at all. We were east of town, but from your name I would guess that you might be west or south.
Gailardia do very well here, also Blue Queen Salvia, and Russian Sage. They all reseed and I either pull out the unwanteds, give them away or transplant them. I also have a lot of iris, and daylilies, but I must confess, I do water things. Quite a few plants are looking stressed with the heat and bright sun even with twice weekly water. We also get wind that dries jeans in an hour on the line, dries my eyeballs between blinks and pulls the moisture out of plants faster than they can take it in.
Hello fellow eastern Oregonian MaryE. I have really enjoyed "crashing" the RM forum. Super nice, knowledgeable folks on this forum. Yeup, I'm on the SE end of town. A big lava ridge on the south end of our property blocks the wind but also blocks the winter sun; thus we are always the last place with snow in the spring - the "snowline".
Snowline, are you between hwy 97 and the river? We have friends who live down there in a subdivision where the Aubrey Butte fire came through after it jumped the river. They live on Crater street, and there is a cinder butte south of their house. I think the name of the subdivision might be Deschutes River Woods, but it has been so long since I lived in the Bend area, I have forgotten a lot of the names.
MaryE, I'm at the end of Tekampe Rd E of Hwy 97. We have a friend who lives in DRW on the canyon above the river. He looks down on the top of bald eagles as they cruise the canyon.
And speaking of perennial ideas for high desert NV... :) ... I just read art_n_garden's article re: penstemons. Wow - i never knew there was such variety - and they are beeeeautiful! Maybe they would work for you, whiterock? I started a small penstemon garden a couple of years ago, and they seem to be doing well (although they do get some water daily).
Clay. It was quite a challenge after the sand we had at Bend, but with the addition of plenty of barn cleanings and compost, it is workable. Right now I am cleaning the quackgrass out of flower beds, chopping nice edges and removing sod. I try to shake off as much soil as possible, but if it is too wet it is like a wet brick and if too dry, like a dry one. My first clue when I walked here in the spring was that my feet kept getting bigger and heavier.
We have a wildflower here that I think is penstemon. I'll track down a picture for you..
Nice looking plants! I think they are penstemons, but I don't know what type. Where I live the soil is clay, for sure. Traditional adobe is clay and straw. It can be amended to some extent but mine would really like to be made in to bricks. Funny about your feet!
It can also be purchased at nurseries that specialize in native plants -- as plants or seed. It is truly beautiful. I gather your patch was planted by nature? One way or the other, it is an excellent plant for a garden.
I have gardened in Massachusetts, New York, Nebraska, and finally now in Central Wyoming. In Nebraska, I operated a small commercial nursery, specializing in drough-resistant plants. Gardening in Nebraska, was a learning experience from my gardening in the Eastern states. I had to learn all over again since both soil and climate was extremely different compared to what I was used to. Also now live 5123ft above sea level, which makes the sun intense.
In Massachusetts and New York there was too much rain. In Nebraska and Wyoming, never enough, not to mention the drying wind. Also the climate here is dry and temp can go to 100F degrees some summers. I have learned that when it says full sun for a plant, it will most often benefit from beign shaded by the hot afternoon sun. Morning, to early afternoon sunlight is best.
Ofcourse, most of us can't provide shading from the afternoon sun to all our plants. It would cut down on our garden space. I have a small yard and every inch counts.
From 9 years of gardening experience in Wyoming I use Sedums and Sempervivums in hot spots. I have many varieties of both and love them. Both are deer proof. Irises are another good candidate for sun and heat. Daylilies also, but need a bit more water than Irises. These too are deer proof.
In addition, plants such as, Penstemon, Euphorbia, Salvia, Armeria, Oenothera, Hyssop, Delosperma, Scabiosa, Stachys, Rudbeckia, Asclepias, Ratibida, and a host of other plants are all drought and heat resistant.
I am a confessed chickaholic. Inclosing a photo of one of my addictions---Sempervivum 'Pacific Sexy'
What a cute "chick". I like them, too, and agree they are great for the hot, dry west. I like the one covered with what looks like spider webs. And I love the blooms on that one. They have the prettiest pink blooms. See attached photo.
So where do you buy these exotic hens and chicks. I might like some more. Have you tried arilbred irises? Many of them need a little shade, too, I have learned.
Glad to have someone on this forum with lots of dry land gardening experience. BTW, I am at 7300 ft. and altitude does make the sun intense.
The link didn't open to look at your cobwebs. I have a plant that has them and wanted to see if it was the same one. It's small and hasn't bloomed. I keep it in my greenhouse.
I have a few spots that I reserve for succulents outside. Here is one, under an ornamental windmill that we improvised a rebar base for, loaded it up with rocks, covered them with soil and planted hens and chicks and other little succulents. They are just getting a good start. I want it to look like a mosiac.
Yes, I have had times when I couldn't get links to work at all -- probably slow internet or some problem at DG was the reason.
I found the tag for my sempervivum -- it is a Red Cobweb Sumpervium and has been living among my rocks for several years -- growing new chicks each year. It would probably like it where you are.
Here are my chicks to wet your appetite. This is just a small example of my collection. All are named varieties. These are my stock plants since I sell them in my Ebay store during the summer. I have 90+ varieties and love them all.
Blomma, what a great assortment of hens and chicks you have there. Yesterday I just transplanted some in my greenhouse. I have the kind with the spider webs, about 1 1/2 inch across. About a month ago I lost a lot of plants when the furnace in my greenhouse wasn't working, but the cobweb variety survived, as did some that are bluish and a few others. Most of mine came from discount stores, or from local nurserys. I would like to have info about your name on Ebay so I can look at your things, so please send me a D-mail with that info.
Outside, under the snow, I have a couple of patches of succulents, planted at random to form a colorful mosiac. The ones I have in the greenhouse are varieties I didn't have enough of to take a chance of them outside. I don't know how cold it got in the greenhouse but I lost almost all the tropicals, and some cactus, so now that they have all had time to show me if they are really dead or might recover, the process of dumping dead things has begun, and I am repotting crowded ones as I go along, trying to mix the sad part with something happier.
Neat "living rocks" pictures. Those are fascinating plants. I'm hoping to get a couple for indoors in a South window. One of the Nurseries here carries a collection of Lithops, but they move them somewhere else over the Winter.
My rock is slow to bloom. The woman at High Country Gardens told me not to water it but I am giving it a little water because I don't live in a greenhouse and the air is dry. I'll send a pic when it does. I love cacti,succulents, and sedums. I have hen and chicks outside that seem to do alright. I think they are pretty tough.
I think lithops need very little water. I used to have a friend who collected cactus and was forced to move away so she subscribed to the Arizona Republic and watered her cactus whenever it rained in Arizona. We could do that on line -- without even a subscription.
The Lithops come from a very arid climate and require very little water. A site with a focus on growing them in England claimed that they could go two years without water there. I found some care advice here: http://www.lithops.net/lithop7.htm#LithopsCare
This is in Tuscon and the couple differences reflect a the dryer climate and the hot Summer (as compared to England).
I used to grow a few Lithops, including Baby Toes when I lived in a large house. No room for many houseplants in my new small house. Also I have those high window that doesn't give much sunlight.
I just sold a book "Growing The Mesemb" by Ed Storm that I no longer needed. Before I sold it, I re-read it again. Most Mesemb originated from Africa, which will give you an idea of their culture. Their rock-like appearance is to hide to prevent being eaten. They are winter bloomers. Believe it or not, they are easy to grow from seeds. You can buy plants and seeds of different varieties on Ebay. The seeds sprout within 15 days, however the seedlings are slow to grow.
What I came across of interest in the book was that Delosperma (iceplants) are members of the Mesemb family. I have 5 different varieties of them. Four bloom from June until frost. One blooms only June through July. These are great plants for arid conditions. They require little to modest moisture. All are creepers to 3" tall. One is only 1" tall.
Caption: Delosperma nubigenum in June growing with Sempervivum 'Ohio Burgundy' in my rock garden. This is the 1" one that blooms June through July. A great groundcover. The Sempervivum at the bottom of the photo is the common green Sempervivum tectorum.
I have some delosperma in pots waiting to go in the ground. My neighbors have done very well with it. Nice red supervivum with them. I am gradually adding supervivums and delosperma because they do well in my very rocky soil. Also, I really like them and if you can grow them in Wyoming, I bet we can easily grow them here. I also added a Sedum with dark red leaves last fall. Hope it survives the winter.
I love succulents too! I have lots, including several varieties of Lithops. The owner of the shop where I bought the latest ones last fall (in Arizona) told be to only water them a little, and only at the Solstices. The new ones are looking a little shriveled though, so I did give them a tiny bit more water recently.
I do know too much water is death for them, I've killed others in the past :0).
Thanks Kyla, I've had that one going a couple of years now. Last year I just kept sticking in new varieties in it, taking out some of the rocks if necessary. It sits on my front step and I noticed a couple days ago that it looks like squirrels have been digging in it. I patched it but it has holes, here it is today.
Very nice, Lisabees, at least it was, (and will be again). My outdoor buckets, basins and tubs with succulents planted in them are just starting to show their rims as the snow melts. They really need to be redone but that is what I said last year too, and it didn't get done.
Oh... money? and being in a new environment and not sure what is going to work and already committed to a certain approach to creating a garden from scratch... and I have involved myself with succulents before, in the past, and I know how much that would add to the whole picture so am kind of trying to pace myself, like. ;-)
They will have their time with me again I feel sure. There is actually one little area in my chosen new cultivation patch, that I have designated the rock garden, because it already has lots of lovely rocks piled up there... and I intend once everything else is either going or not going depending on success rates, to investigate some succulents for there, but thought that was one bit that might well wait til warm weather. I want to see what if anything is on offer in the local nurseries -- and they do not even open til April.
I think so dparsons for foliage colour alone. Foliage gets alot of weight when determining worthiness for my full sun beds. They are also good landing/lurking plants for good guy bugs. Another check on my 'worthiness list'. It's tough to compete with dahlias in my garden if you're a late summer/fall bloomer LOL. Does anyone else weigh plant worthiness if they have limited space or light conditions? Here is my checklist for perennials/self sowers in my full sun beds:
1) interesting foliage
2) long blooming period
3) feature during a boring time
4) twilight/evening appeal/scent
5) disease resistance/host for good guy bugs
You need to demonstrate at least 3 or you get the punt. I believe in tough luv.
I think everybody has a list, aware of it or not. Mine is a little different. I still have foliage at the top as that is primo. (I hate it when someone posts 8 pictures of JUST the flowers for a plant and I have no idea what the foliage looks like.) Evergreen foliage is a large plus, although a deciduous shade tree to the SW of the house is in. The ability to grow in the environment in my little square of earth with minimal modifications is important. Flowers and a good scent are there. Flowers is not just blooming length, but that I like the flower. Size & shape to fit a particular spot/area/purpose. NO THORNS! Minimal maintanence. My just plain liking the plant.
I love the way you are growing those Semps. So natural. That is what I am considering this spring, and on. I want to redo my borders, one which will have Semps, Sedums, and Delospermas, with a few sprinklings of green-leaved rock garden plants.
I just bought molds on Ebay to cast with concrete. Want to add an owl, turtle, small butterflies, ladybug, and ladybug stepping stone to the rock garden. I have done sandcasting years ago so want to do more to create rocks in specific shapes for some of the Semps to snuggle up against, and Sedum to grow around. Rocks in Wy are hard to find. Did a lot of reseach on the web and found some great ideas regarding concrete casting without molds.
Semps and Sedums are my favorite plants, second is Irises. For those who wonder, Semps are hardy to zone 4. Many, but not all, Sedums are likewise. Right now they look terrible, but come spring, they will sparkle like gems in my garden. Can't wait!!!
Caption: Sempervivum 'Booth's Red' growing amid creeping Sedum in my rock garden in Nebraska in th 80's.
No roses, Dparsons! What next? I love my roses but probably won't plant any more of them. No room. I like plants that bloom, smell good and don't use a lot of water. Roses, once established, are pretty tough. Mine would like more water, more food, etc. but if they can't make it then I'll let them go. I like grasses. I also like plants that are edible and attract bees. Obviously, herbs are great for that and native plants. I love dahlias in pots where I can give them the best soil. My yard is full of competitors, like clover and lavender, savory and thyme. I love iris, too. Their leaves are nice all summer even when they don't bloom. Plus, they are easy! I think my most important criteria for this year will be low water use. Sadly.
Wow blomma, I had no idea there were so many varieties of semperviviums out there. We have some plain green ones and a cute little cobweb one that may not survive (the sprinklers from the lawn were hitting it this summer and I didn't notice until it looked really bad.)
I don't think so. Your Sempervivums are wonderful colors blomma. My Sedums are wonderful shades of red, purple, blue, orange, yellow, and even green. Its one of their positive features. A couple months and many of them will be back to boring green. ;)
No Roses roybird. They were planted in the vegetable planter anyway. When I was a small child Roses popped my plastic ball. I've never gotten past the loss. ;(
I do have Chamaebatiaria millifolium (Fernbush) seeds in pots right now and intend to put several of them in the ground. Its in the Rose family and they beat Roses on foliage - both for being nice to look at and for not having thorns. I also have SunRoses (Cistus and Helianthemum). Nice flowers, no thorns.
Lovely! I used to collect and grow cacti -- but moved to Louisiana where they all died from too much rain. I could have moved them indoors, but didn't have a good place for them at the time -- I had moved them from the Southwest and didn't have the indoor sun in the South that they need. I love those Mesemb. Would do it again in a heartbeat if I didn' t have such a large landscaping problem on my hands.
I love all sorts of succulents. Here's a view of the corner where I keep most of mine in the winter. They have windows on both the South & West sides, but they'll be MUCH happier when they can go back outside.
Bumping this thread. Now that I've been in the high desert for a bit, I've discovered some things that will survive - and a few that are thriving. All of these survived little snow and negative 10 *F last winter
Lemon Balm (although it looks raggy in the summer heat)
apple trees (lost the peach and cherry)
rosemary (I keep reading that it won't do well here, but my 97 cent Walmart "disposable" has been here 4 years now)
other people's things that I've seen
roses (I wonder how much they are pampered?)
many people's cypresses that had survived for years here all perished with our unusually harsh winter last year.
Might have to grow some hens and chicks this year after seeing all the semper posts!
Hi kmom. I second dahlianut's recommendation of Explorer roses. You could also try nepeta (catmint) - Walker's Low and Six Hills Giant do especially well here in the high desert, despite cold dry winters (we had -15*F with no snow cover here last winter).
If you have some time for exploring next time you're down near Tonopah, check out the Crescent Dunes in Big Smokey Valley just NW of Tonopah (off Pole Line Road.) There are some really usual plants growing in the dune margins that would be fun for a garden. I am rather enchanted with the Psorothamnus that grows there but it will not survive by horrid clay soil. Another good place to look for species that grow well in sandy soils is the back side of Sand Mountain (where the ATVs are not supposed to go so there are actually a few plants left.) I wouldn't suggest digging them up but you would at least know what grow there.
Also, try the advanced search at plants.usda.gov. I the 3rd section you can put in characteristics like soil texture and moisture.