Friday, July 15, 2016

Bloom Day - July 2016

With one notable exception, there aren't many large splashes of floral color in my coastal Southern California garden this July.  As I've mentioned ad nauseum, our horrific heatwave in June left destruction in its wake.  However, the Eustoma grandiflorum (aka Lisianthus) generally took the heat in stride despite their delicate appearance.  I credit the succulent stems and foliage that characterize the plants, particularly those that have been in the ground a year or more.

The top-heavy plants look somewhat ungainly in the backyard border.  I have to use supports to keep them from falling over.  The plants have as many as 6 stems, each of which can have a dozen or more flowers.

The newer Eustoma I put in as plugs in spring didn't fare quite as well in the heat as the pale pink varieties planted last year but they're providing spots of color here and there.

Clockwise from the left: The pale pink Eustoma planted last year (the 'Echo Pink' and 'Mariachi Pink' cultivars appear identical), a deeper pink plug planted this year, an unnamed blue form, a yellow form, and a green form

A few other plants have managed to put on a good show, albeit on a smaller scale.

Abelia x grandiflora is in full bloom

With regular deadheading, Achillea 'Moonshine' continues to produce new blooms, although not in the same abundance as the 2 prior months

Unlike the Anigozanthos (kangaroo paws) in the background, this one in the foreground withstood the heat, perhaps helped by the shade it receives in late afternoon

Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' shows no signs it even noticed the heat

And there are a few plants I can count on to bloom continuously from spring through fall (and beyond in some cases).

These include, clockwise from the upper left: Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink', Gaura lindheimeri, and Grevillea 'Superb'

The Gazanias keep flowering too.  From the left: G. 'Strawberry Shortcake'. 'Sunbather Otomi', White Flame' and 'Yellow Flame'.

Finding other blooms beyond those requires a scavenger hunt.  I looked high and low.

The Magnolia grandiflora continues to produce a steady supply of blooms but they're best viewed from a distance.  I can get a close-up of the flowers only when blooms open on the lower branches.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (aka Toyon), designated the official native plant of Los Angeles County, is also in full bloom but most of the flowers are well beyond my reach

Not to be missed, the creeping thyme (Thymus serphyllum 'Minus') planted between and around the flagstones throughout the backyard is blooming, to the delight of the bees who manage to ignore me as I tromp through the area

The blooms that dominated my garden last month are largely done.

There are just a very few Agapanthus and Hemerocallis 'Sammy Russell' in  bloom

There were a few surprises.

Alstroemeria 'Claire' (left), which I thought was a goner after the heatwave, has produced some new flowers and Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin', which I cut back hard in early June just before the heatwave, has produced another burst of flowers

My latest plant crush, Phylica pubescens, has thrived in a pot on the back patio, although 2 plants in the back border were fried beyond recognition and show no signs of coming back

Beyond these, there was just a little of this and a little of that.

Top row: Catanache caerulea, Convolvulus with Brachyscome, and Duranta 'Sapphire Showers'
Middle row: Lavandula angustifolia, L. stoechas, and Osteospermum ecklonis '4D Silver'
Bottom Row: Nierembergia linearifolia, Leucanthemum x superbum (back from the dead!), and Salvia greggii 'Mesa Azure'

Top row: Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', G. 'Gallo Peach', and Helichrysum italicum (aka curry plant)
Middle row: Leonotis leonurus, Jacobaea maritima, and Lantana 'Samantha'
Bottom row: Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard', noID P. peltatum, and P. hortorum 'Tweedle Dee'

I'm irrigating more.  Our water service provider allocates us a monthly water budget equal to 64 percent of the water used in 2013.  Anything that isn't used in a given month becomes part of the total water balance I have to draw on.  As my rainwater collection is gone, I've begin drawing against the savings I've accumulated.  If I'm lucky that may give me flowers to show in August.  In the meantime, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, to see what's blooming elsewhere in the world this month.

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


  1. Nice mix of blooms, both delicate and showy!

    1. I don't think of my garden as being particularly flowerful right now so my collection of photos surprised me. Cameras don't lie, I suppose.

  2. The magnolia is beautiful Kris. And it's been blooming for a while?

    1. The Magnolia began blooming extraordinarily early this year - it's been going well over 2 months now. It was pruned back harder than normal in December so perhaps this is a reaction.

  3. Looks to me like you still have plenty of beautiful flowers!

    1. It's always a surprise (to me, anyway) when I look over the photos I've collected after one of my floral scavenger hunts, Alison. It never seems as though there's that much in bloom when I start out but things do turn up if you peek into all the corners.

  4. Hi Kris, despite your June heatwave, things are looking colorful! You have so many drought tolerant varities and I'm sure they will continue to produce into August :)

  5. Glad you're being able to increase your irrigation a little; hopefully it will give the plants what they need to tide through to cooler weather. I'm having to kick mine back up. I soaked everything quite well through May, and it seemed to allow me to leave things drier in June, which should have tided the garden over till monsoon rains; but now I've got to start over again as we're still not getting any monsoon weather to speak of. Next week there's a chance...
    I'm fascinated by your Anagallis; it's always good to find another low-growing plant that can take the heat! The Lisianthus is super, of course! Hope I can find some plugs :) And Cuphea is a wonderful plant, isn't it? Mine went from newbie to garden workhorse in about one month!

    1. Oddly, the Cuphea 'Starfire Pink" has always done better here than the orange-flowered varieties. I hope those monsoon rains reach you soon, Amy!

  6. Kris, I'm late to the party, but I was wondering if you could help me to locate where to buy Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'. I saw it in Morro Bay this year and fell in love with it. Would you be willing to sell me a plant or three of it? Many thanks
    Marie from so cal.

    1. Marie, I believe I found my original plant at a SoCal garden center but I've no record of which one. I'm almost certain I've seen it offered at least once at Armstrong but it's not commonly available there. However, Annie's Annuals & Perennials in Northern California offers an identical plant, albeit under a slightly different name: Gomphrena decumbens "Airy Bachelor's Buttons." It looks pink in one of their online photos but it's the same plant as I ordered it from there once for another area of my garden. I checked and it's currently listed as out of stock but, if you create a wish-list with Annie's, they're good about letting you know when it becomes available. Good luck!


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