mirabilis_sphaeralcea.jpgI’m particularly pleased with two native plants that are thriving in my garden this spring. They are planted in my “no irrigation” area and you’d never know it from looking at them!

The orange flowered plant is Munro’s Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea munroana), also known as Orange Globe Mallow or even as Cowboy’s Delight. Technically, it isn’t native to Colorado, but is instead native to the northwestern U.S. coast up into British Columbia. However, it is very closely related to Sphaeralcea coccinea, which is native to Colorado. S. coccinea is a bit shorter and has deeply lobed leaves. The flowers look identical to S. munroana, both looking like the flowers of miniature hollyhocks. According to my garden journal, this plant has been blooming since early May! (The photo is from just a few days ago, so you can see it is by no means done.) I bought this plant at a local plant sale last year (and of course bought three more this year!). I’ve also seen it for sale from High Country Gardens.


The purple flowered plant is Desert Four o’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora). This plant almost feels like magic to me. It gets big and lush, and then in the fall, it turns brown and all of the plant material can easily be pulled from the ground. Then in spring, it pokes back up with a tiny bit of purplish foliage before rapidly filling the bed. I think mine could use a clock though. It tends to open the new day’s blooms reliably at about 5:30 p.m.. Those blooms last through the next day until about 1:00 p.m. This one is a bit tricky to get started. I started mine from seed collected at the utility company’s xeriscape demonstration garden where I volunteer. I started them inside and then transplanted three of them outside. One survived…but that’s all I need!


My “no irrigation” area truly receives no water beyond the rain that falls. In between these two guys is a tiny little agave (inside the orange ring in the photo) that I probably should think about moving. I can think about stuff like that for a good long time…..