Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Bloom Day - September 2021

It's hard for me to get excited about my garden in late summer, especially this year when the garden never got the boost normally provided by our winter rainy season.  The downside of sandy, well-drained soil is that it doesn't hold onto moisture long enough.  I'd like to give everything a really good soak but I feel guilty about providing extra water when our drought is so serious.  Even when I find something new in bloom, I can't avoid seeing what's dead or dying out of the corner of my eye.  However, my Bloom Day survey helped put things in perspective!  I may not have as many flowers in bloom as I did last year or the year before but I've still got a good supply to share this September.

I haven't watered my cutting garden as much as I usually do during the hot summer months but it's still watered much more liberally than the rest of my garden.  The dahlias and zinnias are once again playing starring roles.

Dahlia 'Akita', which I'm growing for the first time this year, is my favorite.  These are three views of the same flower as it aged.

Other Dahlias blooming at the moment include, clockwise from the upper left: 'Cafe au Lait', 'Cafe au Lait Royal', 'Enchantress', 'Gitt's Crazy', 'Summer's End', and 'Waltzing Mathilda''Loverboy' and 'Breakout' have buds but haven't yet bloomed.  'Iceberg', 'Kogane Fabuki', and 'Magic Moment' look like they're nearing bud stage but that may be wishful thinking on my part.

Like my Dahlias, the Zinnias got a late start.  The top row features 3 varieties in the 'Profusion' series, purchased as plugs.
Second row: seed-sown 'Benary's Giant Wine' (first 2 photos) and 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose'
Third row: seed-sown 'Queen Red Lime' and 'Queen Lime Orange'

Several plants surprised me by putting on strong showings in defiance of summer's heat.

Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschein', a common plant putting on an uncommon performance in partial shade with relatively little water

The #1 bee magnet in my garden this summer is this African blue basil (Ocimum hybrid)

All my Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) are blooming in my shaded lath house.  I don't have proper names for any of them.

However, the most unexpected blooms were these:

This Plumeria was a gift from a neighbor who found this cutting and others in a trash can.  I've had another, larger Plumeria in a bigger pot for years and it's never bloomed.

 As many of the summer bloomers begin to shut down, others are just getting started:

This twiggy Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree) needs a good trim, which will have to wait as it's full of flowers (most well above my head)

This year, I managed to get Clematis terniflora (aka sweet autumn clematis) to climb to the very top of its arbor, also putting the flowers above my head (and making them difficult to photograph in the process)

Correa 'Ivory Bells' (aka Australian fuchsia)

The Japanese anemones have apparently been reclassified as Eriocapitella hupehensis

I thought this hybrid Nepeta 'Blue Prelude' had given up last month but it came back to life this month.  Even more miraculous, the neighborhood cat that spends a lot of time here hasn't eaten it to the ground as he's done with every other catmint I've planted.

I was late in cutting back the ornamental grasses this year but Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is getting its bloom on now

I've tried growing Plectranthus ecklonii twice before without success but it looks as though I finally found a spot it likes.  Planted in March, it's still well shy of the 6 foot plant it's supposed to become but it's alive and flowering.

Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea' (aka Arabian lilac) is also difficult to photograph but it produces a lot of these delicate flowers and the leaves are also attractive

As usual, the dependable Grevilleas continue to deliver.

Grevillea 'Superb' (left and top right) and G. 'Peaches & Cream' flower year round in my climate and both bees and hummingbirds love them as much as I do

I'll close with my usual color collages showing blooms found here and there in my garden.

Top row: Centranthus ruber, Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', and Eustoma grandiflorum
Second row: noID Gladiolus, Rosa 'Pink Meidiland', and Pentas lanceolata
Third row: Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Rose Pink', Daucus carota 'Dara', and Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'

Top row: Duranta repens, Leucophyllum laevigatum, and Lycianthes ratonnetii
Second row: Pelargonium peltatum, noID Scaevola, and Symphyotrichum chilense
Third row: Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic', Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop', and Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'

Top row: Amaryllis belladonna, Angelonia 'Archangel White', and Cosmos bipinnatus
Second row: Crassula pubescens radicans 'Large Red', noID Gazania, and Globularia x indubia
Third row: Lantana 'Lucky White', Pandorea jasminoides, and Zephyranthes candida

Top row: Achillea 'Moonshine' Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', and Lantana 'Lucky Yellow'
Second row: Gazania 'Red Stripe' and Lantana 'Irene'
Third row: Xerochrysum bracteatum in red and orange

To see what's blooming elsewhere in the country and the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, September 13, 2021

In a Vase on Monday: A few more dahlias

The dahlias are oh so slowly making an appearance.  There are more buds each week, although the plants still haven't delivered an overwhelming number of blooms and, at this point in the season, it's unlikely that I'm going to see an end-of-season extravaganza but I can hope...

My first arrangement features a single bloom of Dahlia 'Summer's End'.  I'd initially planned to combine it with other dahlias but in the end I decided it had more impact with a collection of supporting players in harmonious colors. 

'Summer's End' is called a water lily dahlia because it resembles a water lily in form.  I complemented its soft peach color with other plants that echoed that color.

Back view: I just happened to notice that the berries of Auranticarpa rhombifolium were ripening.  Including stems of Zinnia 'Queen Lime Orange' as a filler was a no-brainer.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Auranticarpa rhombifolium, Leucadendron salignum 'Summer Red', Dahlia 'Summer's End', Eriocapitella hupehensis (aka Japanese anemone), Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream, and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Orange'

I collected flowers of two dahlias in the 'Cafe au Lait' series, thinking to combine them but, the more flowers and foliage I collected to accent them, the more I disliked the pairing.  So I ended up with two separate arrangements, the first of which stars the creamy blooms of Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait'.

The Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait' blooms, especially the one on the lower right, are somewhat distorted.  The upper part of the lower bloom didn't fully open.  Both dahlias were full of ants, which I spent time carefully flushing out with water.  I checked online and found that, while ants won't cause any damage to dahlia blooms, their presence suggests that there may be an aphid problem and aphids can damage dahlia plants.

I dressed up the back of the arrangement with colorful coleus foliage (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Dragon Heart')

Top view
Clockwise from the upper left: Correa 'Ivory Bells' (aka Australian fuchsia), Dahlia 'Care au Lait', noID Gladiolus, Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Dragon Heart', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'

The two blooms of Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait Royal' I'd already cut ended up in a third arrangement, with a few stems of Dahlia 'Enchantress' thrown into the mix to flesh it out.  Once 'Enchantress' starts blooming, she never hits the pause button.

Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait Royal' changes a lot as the flower matures, starting off a dark purple infused with pink and fading to a much paler pink

Back view, showing the splashier Dahlia 'Enchantress'

Top view

Top row: Angelonia 'Archangel White', Cosmos bipinnatus, and Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'
Middle row: Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait Royal' in its later and earlier colors
Bottom row: Dahlia 'Enchantress' and Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata'

For  more IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, September 10, 2021

Focusing on succulents

I shifted my focus to succulents this week.  Succulents can generally take the hot, dry conditions of late summer in stride without going into transplant shock so I don't feel guilty buying them.  With temperatures running high this week, I concentrated on containers rather than taking on any large-scale projects.

I couldn't walk past the large blue pot outside our back door without cringing so that was my first project.

This was the pot as it looked after it was last renovated in July 2018.  The Aeonium 'Sunburst' rosettes were holdovers from a prior planting.  I have no photos of its original incarnation.

This was the pot earlier this week.  To be frank, once it started looking sad earlier this year, I mostly stopped watering it so it's mildly surprising anything was still alive.

This is the pot after it was replanted this week.  I used Aeonium 'Sunburst' once again, despite the fact that every one of the rosettes my local garden center had in stock looked bedraggled.

Overhead view

Clockwise from the upper left: Aeonium 'Sunburst', noID Crassula (possibly C. capitella), Curio (Senecio) peregrinus 'String of Dolphins', Echeveria compressicaulis, and Echeveria 'Miranda'

As I went a little overboard on my succulent purchases on my last trip to the local garden center, I pulled out one of the empty pots stored behind our garage and planted that up too.

I used bluish succulents with reddish highlights in this pot, which sits on a stump facing the street

Overhead view

From left to right: Echeveria 'Afterglow', Kalanchoe marmorata 'Partridge', and Othonna capensis 'Ruby Bead'

The Echeveria 'Afterglow' in the above photo is very blue now but with more sun exposure it may turn pink like this one:

This one has been stressed by sun exposure and low water

I used some of the succulent cuttings I'd saved from the blue pot before I dismantled it to fill in around a tiny agave I received by mail order a few weeks ago.

Agave 'Blue Emperor' can eventually grow 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide so this pot is just a temporary home until it bulks up a little.  The succulents surrounding it with echoes of the same blue color are cuttings of Graptopetalum paraguayense.

Creating succulent combinations in containers is a satisfying small project but I'm anxious to get onto bigger projects when we get cooler temperatures.  Next up I may tackle a section of my south side succulent bed using some of the Aloe divisions I recently received as gifts.  I've tentatively identified the Curio ficoides 'Mount Everest' I received along with my last succulent shipment for inclusion in the same area.

The 'Mount Everest' specimens I found at a local garden center were very pricey so I purchased 5 very small specimens by mail order and potted them up.  I like the deeper blue color and upright habit of this Senecio (now reclassified as part of the genus Curio) much better than the more common blue chalksticks.

That's it for me this week.  Best wishes for a pleasant weekend free of any climate-related drama or emergencies.

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

There's only so much space

It's still too hot to get any major projects done in the garden and too early to go ahead with replanting areas that need an overhaul.  However, I've taken advantage of some cooler days here and there to start small-scale cleanups in a few areas.  In the process, I've pulled up a lot of agave pups.  I hate to throw them away so I've been potting them up and storing them behind the garage and next to my compost bins.

Agave 'Jaws' has become something of a pupping machine.  In addition to the pups you can see under the mother plant's arms (left), I discovered four more pups feet away (right).

With the noID agave pups I pulled out of the dry garden on the northeast side of the house late last month, the Agave 'Jaws' pups shown above, and another handful of Agave 'Medio-picta Alba' pups I pulled out of my south side garden earlier this week, I'd accumulated more than I wanted to store.  Time for another plant giveaway!

This batch of 24 plants were placed at the corner of our driveway late yesterday afternoon

I labeled everything as best I could.  These pups came up in the vicinity of several Agaves in my northeast dry garden and, at this size, I'm uncertain of their parentage.

I was able to identify most of the rest.  The exception was a stressed-out pup of what may be Mangave 'Lavender Lady'.

While reducing some of my surplus plant stock, I somehow managed to pick up other plants courtesy of a few friends at the same time.  Funny how that happens.  Here are the plants currently awaiting placement somewhere in my garden.

Aloe lukeana, received from Gerhard of Succulents & More.  It needs a lot of space so I'm debating whether it should go in my street-side succulent bed or on my back slope.

Aloe 'Moonglow', received as bare root pups from Denise of A Growing Obsession.  I potted them up while they await placement.  At least one or two of these will go into my south side garden.

Mangave 'My Dog Spot', received yesterday from my friend Kay, who can be found on Instagram @kaeru.niwa

Of the twenty-four plants I put out late yesterday afternoon, only nine of the smaller ones were still left when I checked this morning but, with the marine layer still firmly in place, there's a good chance more of them will find homes with neighbors who walk the area when the temperatures are still comfortable.  I'll leave them until late this afternoon to see if more disappear.  Twenty-four small plants out in exchange for four larger ones in isn't bad, though!

All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party