Saturday, June 25, 2016

June Favorites: Looking at the Positives

If you read my last post, you know I was upset by the impact our start-of-summer heatwave had on my garden.  It's worse in some areas than others but it's hard to walk through the garden without fixating on dead and maimed plants.  Loree's monthly favorite plants post at danger garden forced me to take a closer look at what's looking good despite the impact of what I've been thinking of as the "heat apocalypse."  On the good side, most of the plants I installed in May and early June, including the 5 Xylosma congestum shrubs planted along the street, survived.  The dry garden doesn't even appear to have registered the event.  The backyard bed I featured in my May favorites post still shines and the garden beds alongside the front walk look good.

So here are a few of the plants that lightened my heart as I roamed my garden yesterday:


This Oscularia deltoides, planted in October 2012 from a 4-inch pot, seems to love growing along the stack-stoned wall at the bottom of the front slope.  The succulent foliage is attractive but the flowers, which blanket the plant when it blooms, are spectacular.  I plan to add cuttings of this plant elsewhere along the wall.

Phormium 'Maori Queen' makes the most of the late afternoon sun.  This Phormium handled the recent heat much better than the darker-leaved varieties in my garden, which generally look sad.  There are 6 'Maori Queen' in the front garden, none of which were damaged by Monday's 105F high temperature.

Sitting next to Phormium 'Maori Queen' is Correa 'Wyn's Wonder'.  It's not in bloom at the moment but its variegated foliage makes a refreshing splash in one of the beds that lines the front walkway.  Because it's done so well here, I've added 2 more of these plants to this bed, one of which replaced a group of Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'.  I love the latter plant too but it gets grubby looking in summer so I'm relegating those plants to areas with less traffic.

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' is finally gaining size in the backyard border.  It's backed up here by Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) and a coral-flowered Russelia equisetiformis, which may be the only plant that actually seemed to get a boost from the intense heat earlier in the week.

The red tones of Aloe dorotheae (shown in close-up on the right) and Crassula pubescens ssp. radicans have brightened the succulent bed in the southeast side garden.  Unlike some of the agaves, the Aloes show no signs of sun scorch or the scars of edema.  I can't quite decide whether I like the yellow flowers of the Crassula but I've let them stay for now.

While I've lost a section of thyme in the from garden on the southwest side, the Thymus minus planted from flats last fall in the backyard has done a good job of filling in.  Blooms are appearing here and there too.


My thanks to Loree for nudging me out of my funk.  Visit her to find her favorite plant selections this month and links to posts on the same theme by other gardeners.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Yes, heat apocalypse is right. I can't bear to look right now. Your garden still has much beauty.

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    1. Walking through the garden can be a gut churning experience. It's hard not to focus on the losses. I keep reminding myself that "this too shall pass."

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  2. You have a heat apocalypse and we have our roses ruined by biblical deluges of rain. I can' t help thinking longingly about a bit of heat and being able to plan outdoor events. Anyway, you have much in your garden to be happy about. It looks wonderful.

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    1. You'd love the temperature right now, Chloris - it's moved between the low and mid 80sF (29C). I can almost guarantee that neither your or guests would have much liked the 105F temperature last Monday, especially with the sickly odor of smoke in the air, though. But perhaps a purchase of a sauna is in order? My Finnish and Swedish relatives used to arrange gatherings around a good sweat in a sauna.

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  3. Seeing that the heat was cruel to your plants!
    Luckily some have survived.
    Hope you have more normal temperatures soon.
    Mariana

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    1. I am afraid we are in for a hot summer, Mariana, but fall will arrive eventually!

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  4. In hot Porterville I tried planting black Mondo grass, in the sun - and watched it fade away.
    The succulent on your stone wall is delightful - must look for that one!

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    1. I wonder if dark-foliaged plants are just more sensitive to extreme heat? My dark-leaved Phormium all look awful and the same is true of the Cordyline 'Renegade', which burned to a crisp while variegated Cordyline 'Electric flash' seems fine.

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  5. Doing some catching up reading. Sorry to hear about the damage inflicted by the early heat wave, but great to hear the positive tone of your post today. Glad to see the ones that are doing well at the moment, and thankfully they're plenty.

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    1. I'm trying not to think that summer has only just begun...

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  6. After your last post I was worried that you were so despondent but I'm so pleased to read today that some plants are doing really well and there are still many areas of your garden that are truly beautiful. Long may it continue.

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    1. I can't help feeling a bit gloomy still, Christina, and worried about what the remainder of the summer might bring but I'm trying to treat this as a learning experience. I've already increased watering, drawing on the water savings I've accumulated in prior months, and I'm going to trying providing sensitive plants temporary shade when we get future indications of severe heat. I'm also starting to think through my options for more heat tolerant plants.

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  7. I love your Oscularia deltoides! Your garden is a testimony to your careful planning and adaptation to your climate conditions. Nothing saps my gardening spirit faster than 100 plus heat! Our temps have been in the upper 90s with heat indexes around 106, so I feel your pain! I think we are suppose to get some rain and a little cooling over the next couple of days. I will be grateful.

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    1. Well, as they say here "at least our heat is a dry heat" - the humidity you have to deal with on top of the heat has got to be very draining and I know it takes it's own toll on plants. I do wish we'd get some summer rain here but that rarely happens, although some thunderstorms are expected in the mountain and desert areas to the east of us in the next few days.

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  8. There are many beautiful things here Kris but I have so say that Phormium 'Maori Queen' is especially eye-catching this month...wow!

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    1. The right light can work wonders, Loree.

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  9. I'm seeing Safari Sunset in gallons at nurseries. I didn't realize it was the parent of Ebony! Love it backed by the russellia and grasses. That correa is a gem too. You've got some stunning successes to build on, even with the heat losses. And FWIW, I vote yes on the crassula flowers.

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    1. Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' will eventually block the grass and Russelia behind it but at the current rate of growth I expect I've got some years yet to enjoy the combination. I actually got'Ebony' at a semi-reasonable price 2+ years ago because it was labeled as 'Safari Sunset' by the grower - a lucky labeling issue that worked in my favor.

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  10. I love the Oscularia; it looks so wonderful clambering over the rock. From what I gather, all iceplant types are considered summer-dormant, winter-blooming here; I need to get a bit more information though. I'm glad you were able to enjoy some of the good things in the garden; it's so tough to just watch plants turn brown and die! And I'm intrigued by the question of the dark foliage plants. I suppose they must absorb more heat!? Just a thought... ;-)

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    1. I've got increased sympathy for the conditiosn under which you garden in the Sonoran Desert, Amy! I'm going to need to take a closer look at the dark-leaved plants in my garden to see if there's a consistent trend. Off-hand, the only dark-foliaged plant that I can think of that was unaffected by our intense heat last week is Leucadendron 'Ebony' and it receives some protection from a fruit tree and another, larger Leucadendron nearby.

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  11. Your grit and determination are very inspiring, Kris. You face your climate challenges with aplomb! I esp. love the Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' against the Stipa - gorgeous!

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    1. I think that Leucadendron may be a star when it grows up!

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  12. Ooh, the color of Aloe dorotheae is stunning and Maori Queen in the light is swoon worthy. Good for you for focusing on the positive during your "heat apocalypse." (Heatmageddon?)

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    1. I'm really impressed by that Aloe too.

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