Today’s photos are from Bryan Fischer, who gardens in northern Colorado and embraces the dry climate there to create beautiful gardens.
Volunteers help Bryan keep the shortgrass section of his prairie garden in shape. Using lots of native, locally adapted plants makes for a beautiful, water-wise garden. Notable plants here include Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feather grass, Zones 6–9) Oryzopsis hymenoides (rice grass), Gutierrezia sarothae (broom snakeweed, Zones 6–8), Liatris punctata (dotted liatris, Zones 4–9), and Lupinus argenteus (silvery lupine, Zones 3–9).
Erica carnea (Zones 5–9) is a super-early spring-blooming miniature shrub that looks delicate but is actually quite durable. It is one of the few members of its family that will thrive in the alkaline soils of Colorado.
Mahonia repens (Zones 5–8, aka Berberis repent) is a beautiful little ground cover. Bryan grew a bunch of it from seed, and this individual seedling had these beautiful leaves with extra-long spines on the leaf margins, giving it an unusual texture.
A closer look at the antennaria shows the individual clusters of tiny white flowers rising above the mats of tiny foliage.
Yellow Physaria and a purple-blue Penstemon make a simple but intense combination of plants. These are native plants that thrive in well-drained, dry conditions and reward the gardener with pretty wonderful displays of spring flowers.
A monarch butterfly lands on Liatris ligulistylis (Zones 3–8). All species of Liatris are great for butterflies, but this one—which isn’t as commonly grown in gardens—is an absolute magnet for monarchs, and quite beautiful as well.
An over-the-top wild stand of Castilleja (probably Castilleja miniata, Zones 4–9). This beautiful plant is a hemiparasite—meaning that while it does photosynthesize and produce its own food, it also attaches to the roots of plants around it to siphon off extra water and nutrients. That unusual growth pattern makes it a little difficult to cultivate in gardens sometimes, but it has to be one of the most beautiful wildflowers of western North America.
The genus Epilobium (formerly Zauschneria, Zones 5–9) has wonderful displays of intense red flowers and is a great choice for dry gardens. This particular individual is an exceptional seedling that blooms earlier and heavier than most other varieties.
To see more from Bryan, check out his instagram: @b.w.fisch
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