Friday, September 25, 2015

September Favorites

During heatwaves I usually feel as though time is passing very slooowly but despite one heatwave after another this September the month has passed so quickly I feel that I never got my bearings.  Since the last of our lawn was removed last weekend, my husband and I've spent early mornings and late afternoons digging up the soil to remove grassroots, sod netting and rocks.  It's a tedious process but my mind is already skipping ahead to our next steps, including the plants I'd like to add once the soil preparation phase has been completed.  Planting is probably well over a month away but planning has me taking a critical look at what's doing well in my garden for future reference.  And that line of thought brought about the realization that today is the day that Loree of danger garden hosts her favorite plants meme - it caught me by surprise this month.

One of the plants that has drawn my attention over the last couple of weeks is Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'.  I planted 3 of these plants almost exactly 2 years ago in one of the most inhospitable areas of my garden, the dry area with poor soil on the south side of the house that's regularly plagued by raccoon rampages.  Although I'm planning to raise the soil level in that area to improve drainage and plant more succulents, I think the dainty but tough Wahlenbergia will still have a place there.

The plant only grows about 1 foot tall but it has a tendency to ramble and weave itself between other plants given half a chance


As I cruised through the garden with my camera I was surprised to discover 2 orchids in bloom.  I don't have IDs for either, although I believe the first is a Cattleya and the second is a Phalaenopsis.  These orchids get virtually no attention and are watered haphazardly, when at all.  The foliage shows evidence of their mistreatment but, when they bloom, they're always impressive.

The Cattleya on the left was a gift from my husband's former boss whose grandmother brought it back from China many, many years ago.  The Phalaenopsis came home with me when we cleared out my mother-in-law's house when preparing it for sale more than 2 years ago.


The other plants that have drawn my attention this month are ones that have received a lot of attention on this blog but they're worth another shout-out.  The first of these is Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior', which I featured 2 years ago today as my favorite plant of the week.  It's just begun its annual bloom cycle.

I planted 3 cuttings from the plant outside my backyard door (itself the product of cuttings from a plant in my former garden) in a semi-shaded area of the front garden last year


My last 2 selections also appeared in my August favorites post but, as they continue to dominate the garden this month, I've elected to give them their due and include them in this month's post as well.  Plants that perform this well despite heat and restricted irrigation deserve recognition.

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum'  adds drama to my garden and outshines the P. 'Fireworks' in bloom nearby

And even though they're very, very pink, I can't help but acknowledge the prodigious bloom power of Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo Pink'


To find other gardeners' favorite plants this September, visit Loree at danger garden.   Meanwhile, it's about time for me to get back to digging up the backyard.




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

18 comments:

  1. Fountain grass is really looking good all over about now. I think it likes this weather. It is especially nice when there is a soft breeze blowing and the grass flowers do a slow dance. Very refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's nothing like grass to add movement to the garden!

      Delete
  2. I can't imagine your garden without the grass! I know that's a lot of work, but then again, it's a blank slate you get to plant. I loved that fountain grass and the Eustoma -- I'd never seen the Eustoma and it was adorable in your garden. Thank you again for your hospitality, patience, and the great tour of your wonderful garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you and Pam were able to fit the visit into your schedule, Diana, especially with the added complications. Thanks for the wonderful post on my garden too!

      Delete
  3. Just planted my first Pennisetum at last ;-) I've so admired your grasses, Kris; they seem like real winners. The Plectranthus and Wahlenbergia look wonderful too; in my current garden it seems a shade easier to get the bigger plants to survive; but this doesn't seem to be such an issue in yours...? No comment on the fantastic orchids XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Plectranthus needs shade to survive even here, Amy, so I don't know how it would do in your higher temperatures. The Wahlenbergia just looks dainty - it seems to be one tough plant.

      Delete
    2. Plectranthus neochilus is a tougher plant that can deal with heat.
      A more succulent plant than the other Plectranthus.

      Delete
    3. You're right Diana. If only it didn't have that skunk-like smell.

      Delete
    4. muishondblaar is its common name.
      Muishond or meerkat.
      So long as you don't pick or handle it, it doesn't whiff too much.

      Delete
  4. You will so much fun planting up the new area. What sort of grass was it? Here we always seem to have couch grass which is so tedious to remove - I really like the Wahlenbergia, I didn't realise they were readily available (despite many being native to Australia, you almost never see them for sale!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the lawn was originally a mix of cool and warm season grasses but what was left was mainly bermuda and crab grass, Matt. I've only seen the Wahlenbergia at one garden center here so far but those plants originate from a nursery in Northern California, which fortunately also offers mail order.

      Delete
  5. Kris, you don't do things by halves and that digging looks hard work!
    Love the Wahlenbergia, what a pretty little plant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The digging and sifting out unwanted material is a miserable exercise, Jessica. I was hoping to avoid it this time but, in the end, decided that doing a good job of it now will save me no end of trouble down the line.

      Delete
  6. Looking around your garden at what's working is such a smart thing to do when contemplating a new planting space! That photo of the Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo Pink' still sends me. They look unreal!

    A question...what is sod netting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of people compare the Eustoma (aka Lisianthus) to roses but the flowers look like silk plants to me too, especially the pink ones.

      Sod netting is a nasty green plastic mesh material that sod growers use here to make their product easier to roll, manage and lay. (It seems that grass lawns are seldom grown by direct seeding here.) The mesh doesn't degrade and pulling it out can tear up your hands without heavy gloves. Using a sod cutter that gets below the mesh level might be a more effective way to remove it but none of the guys doing this kind of work seem to use sod cutters. Of course, most also prefer to poison the sod with Round-up rather than dig it out too.

      Delete
  7. I can't help seeing in my head a combination planting of your W. blue cloud and pink Eustomas all growing together. Would they do that - tolerate the same conditions?

    That is a lot of back-breaking work you are doing but you know from experience it pays off in hours saved and hours more of enjoyment down the line. It will be fun, especially for those of us who simply get to enjoy the visual payoffs!, to see what new wonders you'll discover and use in these spaces. You have such a great eye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm trying to keep the payoff in mind, Deb, as I dig and sift, dig and sift...

      Delete
  8. Hard work, but as you say worth it in the long term, having grass grow through new planting is even harder work to remove. The sod netting sounds like terrible stuff, they don't use it here. You have a lot flowering considering how hot your summer has been Kris

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.