Tag Archives: Mojave Sage

Plant Select Videos

Plant Select logo black Plant Select has released three short videos showcasing the plants that have been chosen over the years to receive the coveted Plant Select designation.  If you are looking for plants that are adapted to our harsh climate, bring visual interest and beauty to your landscape, take a moment to watch these videos.  I have long been a supporter of the Plant Select program as a garden designer because they find, trial and market plants that really work hard in our gardens.   Gardening in Colorado can be very challenging and the plants we grew up with back east or down south just don’t thrive at our altitude and intense sunlight.  These plants really give you the most bang for your buck.  When your landscaping dollars are tight, its comforting to know there are some fool-proof, tough-as-nails choices out there.  The videos have been separated into three categories:  

Plant Select groundcovers

Plant Select perennials

Plant Select Grasses, Vines, Shrubs and Trees

If you want to see these plants in person, many of them are planted at the CSU Extension Tri-River office in Grand Junction.  The office and gardens are located on Hwy 50 at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, in Orchard Mesa across from the City Market shopping center.  

Pockets of Greatness

Mojave Sage underplanted with Prairie Zinnia in my garden









Agastache blooms in October.

Agastache blooms in October.


Local garden centers like Bookcliff Gardens, Valley Grown, Meadowlark Gardens and Chelsea Nursery also carry a wide variety of Plant Select plants.

Plant Select Survey Top 20 Plants

Plant Select, a cooperative program between the Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University, has recently published its 2013 Demonstration Garden Surveys.  63 demonstration gardens across Colorado participated in the plant evaluations and 118 plants were rated on a 1-9 scale.   I would like to share the Top 20 Plants by Overall Rating.   You can read the entire report at www.plantselect.org.  

I think we should strive to include as many of these plants into our gardens as possible (with one exception and I’ll explain that later).  These plants have proven to be great performers in many areas of Colorado and could be a beautiful worry-free addition to our gardens.  I have 7 of these special plants in my garden.  How many do you have?

These plants are listed from highest rated to lowest.  All pictures except for the Mojave Sage are courtesy of Plant Select.org  The mojave sage underplanted with Prairie Zinnia is a picture from my front yard.

1.  Buddleia alternifolia ‘Argentea’  or Silver Fountain Butterfly Bush

Buddleia alternifolia Silver Fountain Butterfly bush

2.  Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’  or Blonde Ambition blue grama grass

Blonde Ambition blue grama grass

3.  Acer tataricumGarann‘ or HOT WINGS tatarian maple

Hot Wings Acer tataricum

4.  Fallugia paradoxa  or Apache Plume


5.  Agastache rupestris  or  SUNSET Hyssop

Agastache rupestris

6.  Agastache cana ‘Sinning’  or SONORAN SUNSET Hyssop

Agastache cana

7.  Berlandiera lyrata  or Chocolate Flower

Chocolate flower on wall

8. Penstemon grandiflorus  or PRAIRIE JEWEL Penstemon

Prairie jewel Penstemon

9.  Origanum libanoticum  or Hopflower Oregano

Hopflower Oregano

10.  Zauschneria garrettii  or ORANGE CARPET Hummingbird Trumpet

zauschneria orange carpet2

11.  Salvia pachyphylla  or Mojave Sage

Pockets of Greatness

12.   Sporobolus wrightii or Giant Sacaton

Giant Sacaton grass

13.  Eriogonum umbellatum va. aureum ‘Psdowns’ or KANNAH CREEK Buckwheat

Kannah Creek buckwheat

14.  Prunus besseyi  or PAWNEE BUTTES Sand Cherry

Sand Cherry Pawnee Buttes

15.  Marrubium rotundifolium  or Silverheels Horehound


16.  Lonicera reticulata  or KINTZLEY’S GHOST Honeysuckle


17.  Chamaebatiaria millefolium  or Fernbush

Fern bush

18.  Penstemon x mexicali  or RED ROCKS Penstemon

Red Rocks penstemon

19.  Nepeta ‘Psfike’  or LITTLE TRUDY Catnip

Little Trudy catmint

20.  Rosa Glauca, R. rubifolia  or red leaf rose

Rosa glauca (R. rubrifolia)

As a garden designer, I strive to create gardens and landscapes that are water-wise, interesting year round and colorful.  Many newcomers to our area think that Xeriscaping (or Zeroscaping as its sometimes called) is just cactus and rocks.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  These Plant Select plants show that you can have an inviting and beautiful garden with color, texture and and year round interest without resorting to the barren Zeroscape.  Whether you looking for a special tree, shrub or perennial, there is something on this list that would be perfect in your garden.  And just so you know, there are many more durable Plant Select plants available.  The program has been selecting special plants since 1997.

So now that we have seen the best of the best and what they can do for our gardens, we can talk about the “exception”  included in this list.  Over at the CSU Extension Tri-River area office in Grand Junction, Dr. Curtis Swift, Susan Rose and countless master gardeners have created, cultivated and maintained an amazing arboretum over the last 6-7 years.    The garden contains hundreds of species of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, vines, and grasses.  One of the first shrubs planted was none other than Rosa Glauca or the red leaf rose (#20).  To be sure, this rose is beautiful.  The foliage alone is reason enough to plant it but the single fresh pink flowers and long lasting hips make it a show stopper for most of the year.  What the books don’t tell you and what might not be true in other parts of Colorado or the country is it is a vicious re-seeder.  I call it a Garden Thug!  This rose sends out voluminous amounts of suckers and the birds love the hips so the seeds get spread all over the place.  And, to add insult to injury, because this rose is so darn hardy, it will and can grow anywhere!  Unless you plant it in a native area with no additional water, it will take over your garden.  You have been officially warned.

Speaking of beautiful gardens, now is a great time of year to visit the Chinle Cactus garden at the CSU Extension Tri-River area office in Grand Junction.  It looks fabulous any time of year but in the winter, it glows.

CSU cactus garden 4

Here is a sneak peek of the garden covered in snow.  This is a fabulous lesson in planning your garden for all seasons.

Enjoy the Christmas season and I wish all of you a very Happy New Year.  Soon the seed and garden catalogs will fill our mailboxes and we can start planning next year’s garden in earnest.