Sunday, August 16, 2015

Foliage Follow-up: Standing up to the heat

It's hot!  Maybe not Texas "death-star" hot but hot.  Our temperatures soared during the middle of last week and reached 103F (39.4C) yesterday.  We're hovering around 100F now.  Even Agave 'Jaws' appears to have a sunburn.



Some plants have a built-in program to handle the hot and dry conditions.

Aeoniums curl up and turn a bronze to red color as heat intensifies


I used my stored rainwater to give selected plants and extra drink early this morning but some plants are still suffering.  However, as it's Foliage Follow-up Day, I thought it was a good time to give a nod to the plants that are taking the heat in stride.

My established Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' are doing well this summer, although the smaller, more recently planted, specimens are struggling

Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' and Carex testacea don't seem to even notice the heat

Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid', planted in mid-March to replace a tree removed to accommodate a neighbor's issue with her view of the harbor, is thriving despite very little attention

Echium fastuosum 'Star of Madeira' has formed a good-sized mound in the front garden

Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point', planted in late November, looks great
Phormium 'Maori Queen' and Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze', also planted in late November, seem to appreciate a little shade

Yucca 'Bright Star' is SLOWLY gaining some height in the back garden


The Leucadendrons as a group are standouts.

I'm really happy with Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', which has occupied space in my dry garden since January 2013

Leucadendron 'Pisa' has gained size dramatically since I moved it from a pot into a new bed in the backyard garden early last November

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' is my newest purchase in this genus, planted in the backyard border in March

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' remains my favorite in this genus.  The one on the left was planted from a 1-gallon pot in November while the one on the right moved in with us almost 5 years ago, going from a pot into the ground.


There are other plants worthy of recognition for their heat hardiness but, frankly, I couldn't stand being out in the heat to take more photos this afternoon.  To find other foliage stand-outs, visit Pam at Digging, the host of this monthly foliage celebration.


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

24 comments:

  1. Dear Kris, very interesting for me seeing which plants do well in the heat for you in your garden, because we live relatively close to each other. From the plants that you are featuring today I like Echium fastuosum 'Star of Madeira' best. This one I would love to see in my own yard! In general I have noticed in my garden that established plants do so much better in the heat than newly planted ones. Unfortunately I lost quite a few plants so far this summer that were just planted :-(. It would be better not to plant new things in the summer at all, but since I have to garden when I have time, means plant when I can, I think I have to accept that there will be some losses.
    Stay cool!
    Christina

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    1. You've put your finger on the universal problem faced by SoCal gardeners, Christina. None of us should plant anything in summer but most of us do because that's when we have time to garden or it's when the plants we want become available. It would be so nice if all the growers made available the plants we want in the fall and we had a holiday of a month (or more) just to plant. I lose a good percentage of anything I plant in summer too and every year declare I'm not going to do it again - but then I come across a plant I've been wanting forever and that plan falls apart.

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  2. Looks good for such high temperatures. It is hotter there than here, now.

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    1. Unlike NorCal, Jean, we've had a relatively comfortable summer (at least if you discount the early heatwaves in March and May). We had very tropical (humid) conditions in July but the heat's on now. I hope it dies down early in the week as predicted. An early - and soft - start to the El Nino rains would also be nice.

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  3. Surprised to see you are hotter than here. We've topped at 94F so far this wave.

    Your 'Cousin Itt's look so excellent I am tempted to try again. Are you giving them any fertilizer? Afternoon shade? They looks so lush and happy and green. Your Leucadendrons have wonderful color also. My 'Pisa' is growing also, and seems to not mind the heat--I was concerned, but have seen no damage.

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    1. The 3 'Cousin Itt' doing well were planted in the fall of 2012 at the based on one of my peppermint willows (Agonis flexuosa). They get morning shade and afternoon sun. I've mulched the area around them but I haven't fertilized them. It was probably a good 2 years before they gained size and density, which is the main reason I haven't given up on the others I have scattered elsewhere in the garden, all of which still look rather spindly. The only problem I've had with the original 3 is some broken stems (probably the fault of a raccoon or another fumbling visitor).

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  4. Love your Leucadendrons, I especially like 'Safari Sunset.' Your Star of Madeira is gorgeous. I have one too, but it's nowhere near as pretty (plus mine's in a pot). Get back inside to the air conditioning and try to stay cool.

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    1. I go nearly crazy in the house all day, Alison. I went out and did a bit of work in the garden (rainwater delivery) in the late afternoon when the temperature got down to 94F. Ugh!

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  5. Your leucodendrons are fantastic, Kris! And it's great to see your new Callistemon doing so well; we have some dwarf varieties that came with the house, and I can't understand how they survive with so little attention, e.g. water or shade. If your succulents start to sunburn too badly, you might think about using shade cloth. I've not done it so far, but if I had this summer to do over again, that would be one change I'd make! I keep eyeing Echium varieties, but I understand they have prickles that get in the skin? I have to watch out for my sister's Schnauzer, whose coat collects anything prickly even if she just walks past it... But I'd love to grow some Echium ;-)

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    1. The Echium's leaves are described as "hairy" but I wouldn't consider them prickly. (I just went out and felt the leaves to check.) It's possble that the flower spikes , described as "spinelike" by Sunset, might be prickly but it's been awhile since I've seen a flower spike and I can't remember if that's the case.

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  6. Hot hot hot here too. All I want to do is sit under a fan and veg out.

    Lots of foliage standouts in your garden. Your leucadendrons look great. Mine do, too, always a pleasant surprise. They're much tougher than leucospermums in our climate. I'm going to look for a 'Wilson's Wonder'.

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    1. I lost 2 Leucadendron last year, both suddenly and one within just 2 weeks of purchase, so I try to be very careful not to kill them with kindness (overwatering in summer or exposure to fertilizer of any kind). They seem to do rather well on a regime of benign neglect. As to Leucospermum, I definitely do NOT have the touch there.

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  7. Your gardens are looking great--bushy and full. It's hard to remember, sometimes, how new some of your garden are. How is your stored rainwater supply holding out? Are you on target, do you think?

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    1. Even with the predictions of a "Godzilla El Nino," it's anyone's guess when the rain will arrive, Emily, but it's unlikely it'll happen until October at earliest. Nonetheless, I decided I've been too stingy about using my rainwater so I stepped up my use last week by delivering water to plants I thought were at particular risk during our heatwave. I'm drawing down the 265-gallon tank first as we've have problems with the valve and I'd like to get that replaced before El Nino arrives. I haven't tapped the 160-gallon tank at all yet but the 50-gallon tank was emptied early on.

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  8. I love all of your success stories, but of course the Leucadendron are extra wonderful to my eyes.

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    1. I freaked out a little last year when I unexpectedly lost 2 Leucadendron but so far, so good this year. I'm choosing to believe that last year's experience was an anomaly.

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  9. My favourite just has to be the Festuca - it looks wonderful as it punctuates that spot.
    It's good to see what is doing well Kris. All you've shown seems to be coping pretty well considering. A credit to your efforts.

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    1. That Festuca was new to me last year, Angie, but it's done so well since I planted it that I wish I'd bought more starter-plants when I got these. I haven't seen it in the garden centers here since but I'm hoping to find more this fall.

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  10. Sounds like it's time for a nice visit to the cool Puget Sound!

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    1. The family residing in the Pugent Sound picked last week to visit here!

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  11. Lots of great foliage, Kris! You have a gift for balancing repetition and variety in the garden.

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    1. It's mostly one big experiment, Evan. I keep trialing new plants and, if one takes off, I try it in other spots.

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  12. I'd say whenever you are hitting triple digits you can claim Texas Death Star status (though why anyone would WANT those bragging rights is another question!). We seem to be easing away from the triples again thankfully, though there is a lot of extra crisping going on now. I loved the extra rain we got earlier this year, but it really did us no favors short term.

    Your beds are holding up really well, and hopefully we'll all manage to make it through to easier weather yet to come. Home stretch!

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    1. I really want to believe we're on the home stretch, Deb, but September and October can be brutal months here. My husband and I actually toured our current house in early October several years ago at the start of a really awful heatwave and my husband initially refused to even get out of the car. Although he liked the house and the setting as much as I did, he maintained his objections to a move here for a good month, while I checked out properties on the cooler side of the peninsula (with lower temperatures but unimpressive houses and no views at a price anything near what we could afford). He finally caved but every summer he reminds me that I chose this house...

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