Early Spring here & I don't know what to do, please advise!

California poppies are one of my favorites but I've never grown them. I've bought seed but have never seen a plant come up! I'm not familiar with the Blue flax, will look it up.
There are some Iris growing in my yard that the previous owner put in. A few scattered here and there, all are in shades of purple - only a few have bloomed. They are gorgeous when they do.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I don't know why your California Poppies didn't come up, but if you plant them in little pots they will come up and you can move them out. Perhaps they need just a little more water than you get there. I don't think they like to be moved -- say from a seed flat to a small pot, but if you start them in a small pot then plant them in the ground they will usually live. Often they will self sow as well -- very beautiful.

Blue flax is one of my very favorite flowers for the southwest. It is somewhat naturalized, here though not indigenous. Sometimes it works to simply broadcast the seed where you want it, but since you aren't familiar with it, plant the seeds in little individual plots that you can keep up with -- even outside is okay, but you want to keep them watered -- not wet, just not completely dry as it can be all over this state. Elephant Butte is probably even dryer than Los Alamos so the little pots might be best for California poppies.

Anyhow, blue flax is a perennial (short lived at my house) and once established will come back for several years. Probably more if you water it. It is one of my favorite xeric plants. It is used around here for natural landscaping though it only lasts for the first few years. It is so easy to grow, that it is no big deal to replace it every now and then.

gosh it would be beautiful to see a field of poppies & the blue flax blooming together

Englewood, CO(Zone 5b)

I'm so jazzed about your 3-yr old grandson who dances! There's not enough of that in American culture. Have you seen the movie "Billy Elliot"? Great movie about a boy who loves to dance ;-) I've seen it several times and I'm always in tears at the end. Another great dance movie is "Tap", with Gregory Hines. And if you're into "manly" dancing, check out Tap Dogs, a group from Australia that has a performance DVD out there. I saw them live -- they dress like construction workers with jeans and t-shirts and workboots, and do amazing dance! You can find some clips on YouTube.
Cheering him on!

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Yes, angele, that would be beautiful and very doable.

Yes, Trisha, I like men who dance. Remember Nureyev? and River Dance? I love the Russian male dances with jumping and kicking out their legs. I saw a guy do it on stage once and couldn't believe the strength he must have had in his legs to do that!

Angele, iris, not just arilbreds, come in a lot more colors than purple. Check out this one.

Thumbnail by pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Check out this xeric beauty. Am not sure where one would get the seeds. This also brings to mind datura -- do you have it in your garden? It is a knockout.


Ennis, MT(Zone 4a)

Trisha, thanks! I will pass the movie names on to my daughter, she is already going to get a copy of River Dance at the library for him to watch. Tap dancing is currently his favorite class.

I love growing flax and poppies together. They even manage to bloom at the same time sometimes.

Santa Fe, NM

I have tried for flax and poppies together without much luck. California poppies don't like me. Flax seems to come and go. Sunflowers and morning glories abound. And violets. Lavender is good. I wonder how it would do in Elephant Butte?

A couple of datura species are very common in the wild here. It has a huge root system so I try to keep it out of my yard but there are several growing anyway. I like them better right outside my yard! Very, very pretty with some being 3 to 5 feet wide and just covered with flowers.
Here are a couple of blooms from out in the desert. There is a large one growing in the sw corner of my yard too.

I haven't tried lavender, I think it is supposed to do very well here.

Thumbnail by angele

here's one more, the one growing in my yard

Thumbnail by angele
Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Ah, congratulations on having one of the desert beauties in in your garden -- whether you want it or not. Do you have liatris? It grows wild here in Los Alamos and would probably flourish in your area. You can by the rhizomes or you can grow from seed. It has a very long tap root so can't be transplanted very well. I do know seed sources for this.


Liatris is one of the roots I just bought, 25 for $5 and they look healthy :-) bee magnet, huh?

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Well, butterfly plant, didn't know about bee plant, but makes sense. It is also pretty and, though it likes a little more water than we have, will make do with what we have. Grows wild here in Los Alamos.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

I agree with altagardener In my Wyoming garden, I trim back all dead growth on my hardy perennials in the fall. It prevents bugs from hiding and makes it easier to rake. Also we have high wind here. Trimming prevents the wind from tearing stems. Also, I have too many plants to get it all done in the spring since I work full time.

Come spring, as soon as it is comfortably warm outside, I trim back level to the ground all last seasons growth that I left behind in the fall, unless the plant is the evergreen variety. Roses I wait until new growth appear before pruning. I like to trim before too much growth has started so I can see what I'm trimming off.

I have never had a plant die from having its dead branches cut in the fall.

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