No need to fret if you missed the many Tucson-area fall plant sales. Time remains for selecting new plants and getting them in the ground while the soil is still warm.
Even if not a gardener, it can be a delight to visit Green Valley Gardeners’ Annual Autumn Plant Sale in the shady northeast corner at Continental Shopping Plaza. It runs this Thursday through Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.
Plant Milkweed and vivid Asclepias to encourage the fluttering of gentle, silent butterflies around us as we experience the calm of the autumn garden. The plight of Monarch butterflies is a grim story which can be made happier by adding additional milkweed. Available at the sale will be five varieties of food and nectar plants including Pineleaf and Desert Milkweed, plus Red and Silky Gold Asclepias. These colorful plants add unique character to the landscape while allowing enjoyment of seasonal butterfly antics.
If you enjoy observing butterflies, undoubtedly hummingbirds are also favorites.
Salvia plants with their bright tubular flowers attract these flying acrobats. Any of the many salvia cultivars are easy care and cold hardy to 15 degrees. Among available colors at the sale will be red, purple, apricot, raspberry, and Mexican blue. Who can’t use another salvia, the brighter the better? Be sure to plant where hummingbird viewing can be most appreciated.
Why not consider a dependable evergreen shrub with bright orange tubular flowers that will also invite hummingbirds into the landscape nearly year-round? Mexican Honeysuckle provides a lush, nearly tropical effect, in filtered shade to full or reflected sun. Gallon-size plants will soon grow to 3 feet tall and wide. The naturally light-green leaves will also add noticeable contrast in the garden.
To fill in a bare spot or to plant in a small space, consider perennial Angelita Daisy with its low mound of grass-like foliage sporting a profusion of butter-yellow daisies. Maturing at 12 inches high and wide, this Arizona native is drought tolerant, able to survive in the desert on only annual rainfall.
Also available will be a number of small Trichocereus cactus which produce the large, eye-catching flowers during spring and monsoon seasons. At The Arid Garden, these cultivars bloom randomly throughout summer. When planted now, they will have produced a healthy root system by springtime.
From a variety of cactus and succulents, old favorites to newer hybrids, prickly plants to velvety smooth, unique textures and shapes, dazzling colors … Master Gardeners for more gardening ideas … even a supply of “orphan” plants that are bargains just waiting to be adopted … there will be many choices. Pick from a world of garden choices available at this fundraiser which supports community outreach and beautification projects. Stop by and take a look at the possibilities!
Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area. Her articles are featured weekly.