Rocky Petersen – Lead Designer at Neighborhood Ventures / Rehab Artist
I have a thing for plants. I love them. Unlike children and husbands, they respond to feeding, watering and tending with only unmitigated love back to me. And when they get sick, a plant patiently waits for me to attend to it, instead of the high demand middle of the night co-sleeping.
But very much like children, plants are at their best when one considers the potential. What begins as a small spot of green, can become a rambling spray of green leaves and flowers.
Thoughtful landscape design produces a result that money can’t buy. One cannot buy a mature bougainvillea plant that has intertwined with another plant, over years of growth. One cannot buy a 5-year-old climbing rose that scales a pergola, in and out through the rafters.
It’s for this reason that intentional landscape design is so valuable not only because it increases the value of a property, but it is so incredibly satisfying to see a vision come to life before one’s eyes.
So allow me to share my favorite flowering shrubs for Arizona landscape design and why I lurve them.
Purple bougainvillea – you’ll see these vines from Arizona to Greece. They are one of the hardiest plants I’ve ever cared for and are drought resistant. They really like something to climb, like a trellis, but if they are kept trimmed, they will stand on their own. They come in several varieties, which gives them a slightly different shade of purple and can be a vine or a shrub. I particularly love them against surfaces that would normally look cold, like concrete or stone.
Plumbago – one of the few blue flowering plants, this one likes a little shade, so it’s perfect for a spot that gets half sun/half shade. It can be almost a ground cover or if trimmed back properly, becomes a full shrub.
White iceberg roses – these are my favorite in the history of ever. If you choose no other new plant, choose these.
They are stunning and they bloom all year long in Arizona. If pruned back just a little in the fall and then more aggressively in the early spring, they will produce abundant blooms. They don’t have a strong smell, but they make up for it with the prettiest flowers.
There are so many choices to make when landscaping in Arizona, but these are pretty much no-fail options that give a lot of bang for the buck. The most important thing to consider when deciding on design in landscape, as with most things, is not what they look like at the nursery or Home Depot, it’s what they can become.