There is much to celebrate with the arrival of spring in the Central Arizona Highlands as the land is waking from its winter dormancy. From our vast open grasslands, hillside chaparral, riparian canyons, to our pinyon-juniper woodlands and ponderosa forests, Prescott’s varied landscape encompasses a high diversity of native plants not often found in other areas of the country. With this ecological diversity comes an increased diversity of birds, butterflies, and bees that the native habitats support. If you are desiring to have more of these visitors to your home garden, then plant more native flora!
Diverse native gardens provide food, cover, and nesting sites. When recreating natural habitat in your yard, you want to include a mix of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses that bloom at different times. This ensures that food in the form of nectar, pollen, seeds and berries is available for your winged visitors throughout the year. One of the best ways to get ideas of what to plant is to go on a hike and explore the native plant communities in your area.
SOME NATIVE PLANT FAVORITES:
DESERT WILLOW. Chilopsis linearis is a small multi-trunk tree. Its large sweet-smelling pink flowers are reminiscent of orchids and attract hummingbirds and bumble bees. Blooms April through August and is low water.
WESTERN BLUE FLAX. Linum lewisii is a beautiful perennial wildflower with delicate foliage that blooms April through September. Native bees are attracted to its pale blue flowers, and songbirds love its seeds.
APACHE PLUME. Fallugia paradoxa is a showy semi-evergreen shrub in the rose family with white flowers and feathery pink seedheads that glow in the sun. Bees and butterflies are attracted to its flowers, and birds eat their seeds.
DESERT PENSTEMON. Penstemon pseudospectabilis is a deep coral-pink perennial wildflower. Its tubular flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds in the spring and early summer. Blooms May to June, and is extremely drought tolerant.
BUTTERFLY MILKWEED. Asclepias tuberosa is an important butterfly larval host plant. It’s sunny bright orange perennial flowers bloom May through September, and attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and beetles. All of these plants and many, many more will be available for purchase at the Highlands Center for Natural History Grow Native Plant Sale on Saturday, May 5th from 8:30am to 2pm and Sunday, May 6th from 10am to 1pm. Local experts will be on hand to help you pick the native plants that will be perfect to improve and enhance the natural beauty of your landscape. All proceeds from your purchases will help fund the Center’s educational programs for children. For information and complete plant list, please visit our website at www.highlands center.org.