The upshot of all this is that I've lost some plants. I attribute most of these losses to the combination of our last heatwave and my miserly water usage. One of my saddest losses was Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink.'
|Loropetalum chinese 'Sizzling Pink' in early June|
As this is the second Loropetalum I've lost in the backyard border, I'm guessing that something about this location is inhospitable. Maybe the loss is attributable to a sprinkler coverage problem or something is funky with the soil in this area but I'm going to replace the Loropetalum with a different plant this time.
A vigorous Cuphea aff. Aequipetala died quite suddenly and unexpectedly after nearly 2 years in the garden. This plant had been a rampant spreader and I'd considered removing it but, without an immediate replacement, I'd let it be, cutting it back when its size got out of bounds. Perhaps the last haircut was ill-timed or a touch too severe?
|Cuphea aff. Aequipetala in January|
|Dead Cuphea this week|
A small seedling is visible at the lower left side of the plant in the above picture. I may allow it to stay - or I may relocate it to an area where its mature size won't present an issue.
In addition to some annuals that expired quickly as the heat turned up, my other losses in the back border were smaller-sized perennials such as the 2 shown below.
|Mostly dead Fuchsia thymifolia, foolishly planted in a spot that got too much sun|
|Osteospermum 'Zion Copper Amethyst,' dead even though 4 others in the same area survived|
Some plants are hanging on for dear life. The question I ask every time I see one of them is: should I put it out of it's misery? The most disappointing of these is Phormium cookianum 'Cream Delight.'
|Transfer to rehab clinic pending|
The plant's condition is disappointing because it's pretty clearly my fault. I moved it from one spot to another in my dry garden earlier this year. It didn't get the water or attention it needed after transplantation and it hasn't recovered since I put it on life support a month ago. I think I'm going to move this one to a pot and make one more try to revive it.
When the 60 foot Eucalyptus tree was removed from our side year in February, the surrounding area was transformed from a mostly shady bed to a full sun area. Among other plants, I had 3 Acanthus mollis in that area, which I was concerned would fry when summer hit. Amazingly, one of these thrived, blooming continuously. I suspect this variety is Acanthus mollis 'Summer Beauty,' which is said to be more sun tolerant.
However, a second, purchased at the same time and possessing the same leaf shape, has fared less well. I'm nonetheless keeping it in the same area for now. The third, shown below, has had a harder time. This past weekend, I moved it to a shadier area, where I hope it'll be happier.
|Acanthus mollis with sunburn|
|The same Acanthus mollis, looking happier already|
Plant losses always hurt but, looking on the brighter side, they can provide insights into cultural needs for future reference, as well as opportunities to try out different plants. It's too bad, though, that the heat and drought doesn't take out more weeds...
|Weed, thriving in the hot sun with no water|
I'm sorry for your losses. However, in another way it makes me feel a little better about my own.ReplyDelete
It's all a learning experience but it's too bad our pocketbooks also take a hit.Delete
I am so sorry for about your droughty conditions. That is tough! The loropetalum especially was beautiful. Every year there are losses in my garden for one reason or another. At first I took it personally, but I have come to accept it as opportunity to try again, with the same plant or another. I am always amazed at how well weeds flourish under the harshest conditions. I guess their tenacity is what makes them weeds!ReplyDelete
The drought is becoming a larger issue each year. I've introduced a lot of drought-tolerant plants but haven't been able to bring myself to remove all the water-suckers (except the grass, which I'm slowly winnowing).Delete
It's that time of the year. I can hear them shouting from the street, "Bring out your Dead." Sorry about your losses. It's amazing how the weeds can make it through just about anything and keep on growing.ReplyDelete
I may need to hold a seasonal "Day of the Dead" for my plants...Delete
Sorry for your losses but on the brighter side you do learn from them and it's all part of the process of gardening :)ReplyDelete
I just came across a reassuring quote: "If you're not killing plants, you're not really stretching yourself as a gardener." (J.C. Raulston). I may have it made into a plaque and post it in my garden.Delete
How frustrating for you. Loropetalum like to be really moist. They can take heat as long as they never dry out. I've lost tons of plants over the years. I look at it as a lesson in what not to do but it still stings. Maybe you can find some great replacements at fall nursery sales.ReplyDelete
I think I underestimated how much extra water that plant needed before it became sufficiently established to survive on my standard irrigation schedule. Although, my other 3 Loropetalum aren't exactly flourishing...Delete
That's such bummer about your Loropetalum. I have mine under the canopy of a Doug fir where it gets almost no water and it's been fine. I think it must miss the worst of the midday sun.ReplyDelete
Despite mountains of added compost, the soil in the back border is still pretty crappy so that, combined with too little supplemental water and too much sun, probably signed the plant's death warrant.Delete