Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Slowdown

When summer arrives in our area of SoCal, it generally ushers in a period of high temperatures, low humidity, and recurring episodes of dry Santa Ana winds.   These conditions usually persist well into October.  It's a poor time to plant here and, every year, I tell myself that I'm not going to put in any new plants after the official start of summer on June 21st.  I've reminded myself (again) that planting during this period is a poor investment of time and money.  However, in advance of my summer gardening slowdown, I embarked on a frenzy of new planting activity.

Here's a look of some of what I've put in during the last few weeks:

Okay, this Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' isn't in the ground yet but it was purchased before the official start of summer!

3 Angelonia 'Angelmist Dark Pink' were added to the dry garden to complement Hemerocallis 'Russian Rhapsody", a reblooming daylily, and Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'

Agastache 'Acapulco Rose' was added to fill a hole created when a raccoon shredded an earlier plant purchase (and it looks good with the daylily too)

Echinacea 'PowWow White' was added to the back border

As was Gomphrena globosa 'Las Vegas Mix', which filled an area formerly occupied by pansies

A group of Angelonia 'Serena White' went into the front border to replace other fading pansies

3 Euphorbia 'Breathless White" were needed to fill the spot formerly accupied by annual Nigella 'African Bride' in the side yard

Some Milium 'Flashlight' was added to give the back border another pop of chartreuse

And I had to pick up Solenostemon scutellariodes 'Fishnet Stockings Coleus' when I finally found it in a local nursery

I decided to give Strobilanthus dyernus (Persian Shield) another try in a pot in a partially shaded area after failing to keep it alive in a sunnier spot last year

While looking for Teucrium chamaedrys, I found this relative, Teucrium cossonii majoricum, a low growing groundcover said to bloom almost continuously  - it's a bee magnet

I picked up this Viola, described only as a perennial variety with double blue flowers, to replace some annual pansies in a partially shaded area
After endless debating as to whether to buy another hybrid tea rose to fill in an empty space in my rose bed created when an inherited 'Sterling Silver" rose suddently died last year, I capitulated to 'California Dreamin'

I'd like to say that this was all the planting I did this month but that wouldn't be truthful.  However, most of the rest of what I planted isn't ready for a spot in front of the camera yet.

Despite all this planting activity and my resolution to hold off on further planting during the summer months, I'm afraid I'm already bending my own rule.  I have plans to join a friend on a nursery shopping trip later this week.  I'm telling myself that the June 21st cut-off date is a bit arbitrary, especially as we've been experiencing cooler than normal conditions near the coast this year.  And I'm planning to buy just a very few things to fill in some empty spots before I really put a final halt on new plantings for the season.  Although, when the last of the pansies go, I may need more annuals to fill the empty spaces...

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