Some years we hit the wildflower jackpot, and this year is a true winner. Here’s what happens when the desert gets steady winter rains, mild temperatures and a bit of luck (always luck with gardening). These Arroyo Lupine – Lupinus Succulentus – were scattered as seed in mid-October in Amy’s central Phoenix backyard. The seeds were watered about every 10 days until mid-November and have been totally ignored until now. This stunning display is 3 weeks old on March 12. What you can’t see is that the Lupine extend around the right side of the red Eremophila Bush (commonly known as Valentine). BTW, the Valentine is a wonderful landscape plant – cold hardy, an early spring bloomer and its dark green leaves offer an unusual contrast with the other arid-adapted plants. Plus, hummingbirds love it.

Here’s some info on Arroyo Lupine, courtesy of Wildseed Farms: “This plant is a hardy annual native to California and the western U.S. The amount of fertility and moisture generally dictates the height of the plant. Flowers are concentrated on an upright spike with rich purple blossoms.” Best of all, this seed prefers most clay or heavy soils in full sun.

A big thanks goes to my friend Maggie Cobb for generously collecting and sharing her Lupine seeds. Maggie collects seed pods each year in big paper bags and then listens as the pods pop open inside the bag. It sounds just like popcorn.

In Phoenix these seeds are best planted in the fall and we always carry them at Southwest Gardener.