December 01, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on December 01, 2021
This shrub can be pruned into a quite tall hedge and should be trimmed to shape twice a year if need be. The red cherries appear in fall and are edible if you get them before the birds do! The plant is evergreen with glossy leaves that smell like almonds when crushed. The leaves and branches are useful for holiday wreathes and arrangements.
November 01, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on November 01, 2021
The jojoba is a native of the Morongo Basin and thrives in home landscapes. Simmondsia chinensis is a wonderful plant for back of the border or to be used as at moderately-fast growing screen. Leaf color ranges from greens to greys. The leaves are small and the shrub can be kept compact in habit through pruning. It can grow from 4-7 feet high and wide. Care should be taken in higher elevations (up to 5000 feet) of our area as a hard freeze can kill a young plant. Despite needing good drainage, jojoba seems to tolerate and even appreciate clay soils. Deer prefer it but rabbits and other nibblers ignore it.
October 01, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on October 01, 2021
One lovely grey-leaved shrub for Morongo Basin landscapes is the California native Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi). This fast-growing shrub (given a small amount of irrigation) is a delicate, multi-trunk contrast in the garden to the broad leaves of agaves or the green of the creosote bush.
September 01, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on September 01, 2021
Texas Rangers are a welcome respite during the dog days of summer. Referred to as barometer plants, Rangers blooms occur with high humidity and rain. When this happens, the plants are covered with purple or magenta flowers.
A native of the Chihuahuan Desert and other locales in Texas, Leucophyllum frutescens is a powerhouse of a shrub for Morongo Basin gardens. When young, hungry rabbits can find this sage appealing, so cage it in hardware cloth for protection. Once mature, it is ignored by foragers. Here is a handy guide (pdf) to the different varieties, which you can buy at big box stores and local nurseries.
August 05, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on August 05, 2021
Willow-like in appearance, the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is actually a catalpa tree, hence its other name: Desert Catalpa. No matter what you call it, this tree is ideal for Morongo Basin landscapes. Attributes such as fast growth, heat tolerance, ease of care, and drought adaptation make it a desirable addition to the water-wise garden. It can be pruned into a shrub or allowed to grow into a tree.
July 04, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on July 04, 2021
A workhorse of a shrub for Morongo Basin gardens is the native Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata). Use this plant as a windbreak, for hedging or by itself as a specimen plant. It enjoys full sun and plenty of space to spread out.
June 13, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on June 13, 2021
A delightful native wildflower for Morongo Basin is the Mojave Aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia). Featuring pale purple daisy-like flowers, Mojave Aster blooms from March to May in our area. After flowering, it often dies back but will return the next year.
May 06, 2021
by Stacy Doolittle 80sc on May 06, 2021
A spectacular blue-flowered sage, Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii) is native to the Southern California coast and Baja. This highly-aromatic plant is a fast grower and a spring bloomer (dried blooms are showy throughout the year). Showcase this plant either by itself as a specimen plant, or create groupings in the landscape. Allow room for this plant when siting as it gets larger.
In November a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment was published by the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and other agencies, proposing actions to manage widespread raven problems in California desert military locations. In response, Ed LaRue of the Desert Tortoise Council sent a comment letter that approves of the raven abatement project so far as it’s necessary to protect desert tortoise, but also recommends a number of changes.
Final SB County Light Trespass Ordinance Published
The San Bernardino County Light Trespass Ordinance is now official. As we noted in our December 8 news post, "Two of the primary 'wins' of the final version of the ordinance are a shielding requirement and modernization of the terminology and measurement process concerning light trespass. Decorative string lights were one of the final issues of contention, and the approved version of the ordinance will only limit the color temperature and...
MBCA Comments Again on Stagecoach Solar near Lucerne Valley
More than a year after submitting initial comments on the Stagecoach project near Lucerne Valley, MBCA has submitted new comments that focus on harm to the Scenic Highway 247 plan and damage to the desert’s valuable and significant natural carbon sequestration. Within the comment letter on pages 2 and 3 are maps and photos that illustrate the potential viewshed deterioration along Highway 247. Photos later in the letter also illustrate...
There is not a more perfect landscaping shrub for our Morongo Basin yards than the ubiquitous creosote bush, Larrea tridentata. Native and very common throughout the Basin, creosote is not fussy about soil and can be trimmed into a specimen topiary or into a hedge/windbreak. With regular water it becomes denser.
Small yellow flowers cover the plant in the spring.
Photos by Heather Sommerfield
In a unanimous vote, the San Bernardino County Supervisors approved the Light Trespass Ordinance that has been championed by MBCA and three successive Third District Dark Sky Committees as part of a decade of citizen action. Third District Supervisor Rowe posted this press release announcing the action. Two of the primary "wins" of the final version of the ordinance are a shielding requirement and modernization of the terminology and measurement...
Federal Action Taken Against Cadiz Water Project Pipeline
The Biden Administration has pulled approval of the pipeline which was approved by the prior administration without required review. The Cadiz water mining proposal has been fought against as detrimental to the health of the Mojave Desert by MBCA and dozens of other conservation organizations for years. Press releases by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Center for Biological Diversity explain the details, as does this Los Angeles Times story....
MBCA Joins Equity Appeal for California's Climate Change Strategy
In a coalition letter sent in late November, MBCA joined with 25 other non-profit organizations to recommend that equity and environmental justice must become key elements in California’s plans to deal with climate change. Numerous specific recommendations in the letter suggest improvements to the draft Climate Smart Strategy document published this fall by the California Natural Resources Agency.