Friday, August 28, 2015

August Favorites

On the last Friday of each month, Loree at danger garden hosts a roll call of her favorite plants.  I usually participate but I admit I'm having a hard time getting excited about my garden right now.  In the midst of our second heatwave this month, I'm feeling disillusioned with its performance.  When I go out there, I see dead things.  I lost an Agastache 'Summer Glow', my Grevillea 'Bonfire', both of my Philotheca myoporoides, most of my Fuchsias (which I frankly had no business planting under current conditions), and 1 of my 3 Pittosporum 'Silver Magic', among other things.  Additional plants seem to be hanging on by a thread.  Of course, it's not all bad.  The plants I raved about in my Foliage Follow-up post earlier this month, are still looking great.  But beyond those drought and heat tolerant stalwarts, I had to look more closely to find plants I could declare my favorites this August.

With that long-winded disclaimer, here are my August 2015 favorites:

Agastache 'Sunset': Grown in partial shade, it responded well to being cut back by half shortly after I put it in the ground

Dorycnium hirsutum (aka hairy canary clover): It didn't produce more than a few blooms this year but its foliage is fabulous and it has self-seeded like crazy

Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers': It's spent its entire life (5 years thus far) in a pot but it has bloomed prolifically since I put it on a steady diet of graywater collected from the kitchen

Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo Pink' and Yucca 'Bright Star': With apologies for the sun-drenched photo and the over-exposure both plants have received on my blog, the appeal of these plants can't be denied.  The nearby Gaillardias are looking haggard but look at those Eustomas!

Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy': The heat seems to have coaxed the plant into full bloom.  Its flowers, floating like satellites on wiry stems, are tiny but numerous.

Grevillea 'Superb': If my other Grevilleas bloom as well when they reach maturity, I'll be a happy camper.  Summer heat or not, I just added 2 more of these plants to my garden after finding 1-gallon plants in a local garden center.

Lemon (no ID): I inherited this tree, sitting at the bottom of our back slope, with the house.  It's ALWAYS laden with fruit.  I seldom give it any supplemental water.  It survives on our meager rain, run-off from the slope, and the graywater fed by our washing machine (a system we didn't know we had until the Yucca elephantipes was removed earlier this year).

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum': The undisputed star of my late summer garden

Phyla nodiflora (aka Lippia): Its flowers are tiny (about 1/4 inch/6.35mm) but profuse and colorful

Salvia 'Amistad', S. lanceolata and S. 'Mesa Azure': I've had spotty luck with Salvias but these 3 appear happy in my dry soil

It's supposed to begin cooling off beginning tomorrow and the marine layer is expected to return next week.  There are no signs of fall yet that I can see or feel but the cooler temperatures will be welcome.

Visit Loree at danger garden to see what plants have found favor with her and other bloggers this month.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


31 comments:

  1. "Hairy canary clover" Hahaha! :-) But, arrgh--sorry about the losses. That can be demoralizing. To my eyes, though, you have a lot of "pretty" left!

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    1. I already had a lot of holes in my back and side gardens so I think I've fixated on the newer losses brought on by the recent heatwaves. If I could spring into action now and start my fall planting, I suspect I wouldn't feel as disillusioned but it will be a while yet before it's safe to start replanting.

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  2. Your Agastache looks great. Both the ones I planted last spring collapsed and died by mid-summer, leaving me quite disappointed; but they seem to be considered good candidates for growing here. Maybe I should try cutting them back hard after planting? Any suggestions appreciated! Love the Dorycnium, and your Grevillea is to-die-for! Just holding on till fall... ;-)

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    1. I've had mixed results with Agastache, Amy. My best experiences thus far have been with 'Sunset' (although it remains to be seen if these plants will hang on into next year) and A. mexicana 'Sangria', which lasted a couple of years. I think they need a good amount of water to get established. I cut 'Sunset' back because the plants looked wispy after a few weeks in the ground; however, I also cut back A. 'Summer Glow' and 1 plant died, while the other, still alive, isn't blooming.

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  3. My agastache is struggling as metaphor for the entire garden this time of year. Just hanging on, waiting for better. Glad for the return of your marine layer - some protection offered there and hopefully your Lost-This List is done for the season.

    Those Eustomas! They are marvels, aren't they!

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    1. Eustoma doesn't have a reputation for drought tolerance here but these fancy double forms continue to surprise me. The foliage does take on a sickly pale hue for awhile after each bloom cycle but, the next thing I know, they're coming back for another round. And, I haven't given them any fertilizer.

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  4. We've lost similar plants this June-August...but mine are all from cold. Your Eustomas are just beautiful. They sure do thrive in the heat!

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    1. Late summer is the closest we get to sharing the experience of gardeners in colder climes in terms of plant losses. What's disconcerting is that the losses encompass even plants I put in last fall and during early spring when conditions for planting were relatively hospitable.

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  5. I can't get over how tough those eustoma are. Being native Texans, it makes sense. Ooh, if you have doycnium seedlings maybe we can do a trade. I'll look around for something to tempt you. I agree about the pennisetum. I wouldn't mind going from spring to late summer grasses and skipping the middle of summer entirely. And who's your source for one-gallon grevilleas?

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    1. I'm going to dig up the Dorycnium seedlings, Denise, but I'm waiting until the weather cools a bit as the seedlings I dug up in early summer didn't survive long in their pots. I'm already in your debt in terms of plant trades so the first viable seedlings will definitely have your name on them. I got my 1-gallon Grevillea 'Superb' at Deep Roots in Manhattan Beach ($17). They didn't have any other 1-gallon Grevillea at that time. However, Armstrong in Torrance had a supply of Grevillea 'Pink Midget' in 1-gallon pots a few weeks ago.

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  6. I've lost too many plants this summer too, some that I had just planted. It is very demoralizing. I often have the same problem as you when it comes to trying to find a favorite plant. They all look equally bad. I've been tempted to buy Salvia Amistad lately. We have a period of rain in our forecast, I'm looking forward to it.

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    1. I heard you had rain coming up there. I hope you get a good soak! I wish we could expect rain before October but it's unlikely.

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  7. Great pictures! This is such a great idea to post your favorite plants this month. I too am disillusioned with August plants, I'm in the low desert of Phoenix area. I can't decide what my favorite plants are this month.

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    1. It's the heat - it sucks out the joy of spending time in the garden, Brian. At least you got a watermelon out of your garden to bring inside.

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  8. Hi Kris, the light pink Eustomas are simply fabulous in your garden! This is a must have plant for me next year! I am really surprised that they do that well in the heat, as the blooms appear quite delicate to me. I like that you combined them with the Yucca 'Bright Star'. Another plant that I really like is Dorycnium hirsutum, hairy canary clover. I am not familiar with this plant,
    but I could see it growing in my own garden as well.
    I am quite frustrated with my own garden today. A lot of my roses fried in the heat. 97 F in our bone dry climate was simply more than they could take :-(. But there will come better times, again...
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I think all of us in the glare of the heat are anxiously awaiting the arrival of fall, Christina. The Eustoma flower is delicate but the foliage has a succulent-like quality, which may account for its ability to handle these periodic heat blasts when other plants shrivel. The Yucca and Dorycnium are very heat and drought tolerant. The flowers on the latter are very pretty and clover-like in appearance - it has bloomed well in prior years but perhaps its reduced water rations kept that from happening this year.

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  9. Hairy canary clover is striking! So are the blooms on Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' - so cool. Fountain grass is incredible the way it looks good even in the hottest and driest conditions.

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    1. I never grew fountain grass before I moved here, Amy, but now I wouldn't be without it. Some Pennisetum is considered invasive here but this variety presents no problem.

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  10. Still loving the Pennisetum, what a fabulous colour that is. Your lemon tree looks fab too.

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    1. The lemon tree is a wonder. It bears fruit all year - I literally give bags and bags of fruit away without ever stripping the tree bare.

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  11. Some wonderful plants and flowers Kris...I would love to grow a lemon tree. WE had a brief cool down and now back to heat.

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    1. Despite Florida's reputation for citrus fruit, California is a BIG producer too.

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  12. I've lost almost all the plants I dug up and moved this spring. The few things I planted from containers are fine. I love the Dorycnium and grevillea! It's cooled down here and is as windy as a November storm. If I wasn't afraid of branches blowing down on me, i'd be out planting.

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    1. Our heatwave's exit seems to be stalled. It got up into the high 90s again here this afternoon. It's miserable.

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  13. I love that Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' - can't find much on the internet about it thougk. Do you know how hardy it is?

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    1. Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' seems to be sold under various names, Loree. A couple of the Texas bloggers previously reported that they'd purchased it under the name 'Little Grapes'. Avant Gardens lists a Gomphrena decumbens 'Little Grapes' which they originally acquired under the name 'Teensy Weensy'. (I'd have changed the name too.) Avant claims the plant is hardy in zones 8-11. Annie's sells a Gomphrena decumbens it calls 'Airy Bachelor's Buttons' and, although it looks more pink than magenta/purple in Annie's photos, I'm convinced it's the same plant or a close relative. However, Annie's lists the plant as hardy in zones 9b-11b.

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  14. We are definitely feeling a cool-down here; I think the temps may have reached 90 once this past week. I wish the same for you, along with plenty of rain. I am so envious of your lemon tree, something we can't grow because of frosty winters here. I also love your Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum'; I agree it is a star. But my favorite among the ones you featured has to be Dorycnium hirsute, if not for its fabulous looks, then certainly for its common name!

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    1. We stayed below 90F today and got a little bit of a marine layer this morning so hopefully our long-anticipated cool-down has begun, Deb. Any rain, however, is unlikely until later in the year.

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  15. Despite all your heat the plants look wonderful. I wouln' t mind a little of that heat,, just for a few days. What a gorgeous lemon tree and those fabulous Eustoma. Oh and the Grevillea, I would love to be able to grow that.

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  16. If you saw the dead plants, you might be less impressed with the heat, Chloris. I'd gladly exchange some of our heat for your rain if it could be done!

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  17. Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' has caught my eye, it looks like a Sangesorba but might suit my conditions better.

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