Friday, July 29, 2016

July Favorites

During the dog days of summer, it's hard to get really excited about the garden here.  The heat is oppressive and most of the plants are acting as though they're in a witness protection program, hunkering down and trying their best not to be noticed.  It helps to take one's camera on a stroll just after sunrise, when the garden feels freshest, which is what I did this week.

There are plants that are adept at standing up to the heat.  I got a jump start in calling those out last week with my post entitled "the good, the bad and the ugly."  I complemented the Leucadendrons and showed photos of 'Wilson's Wonder' and 'Safari Sunset' but 'Pisa' also deserves recognition.

Leucadendron 'Pisa' with the sun showing through its silver leaves (left) and the cones decorating its branches (right)


In the bed opposite that occupied by 'Pisa', Melianthus major is also looking good in the early morning light.

Melianthus major is nestled in between Arbutus 'Marina', Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' and Leucadendron 'Jester' where it gets a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day


The ornamental grasses are also coming into their own.

Pennisetum 'Fireworks' also makes the most of the morning light

Seslaria 'Greenlee's Hybrid' mimics the display of Pennisetum 'Fireworks' on the other side of the flagstone path

It's probably too soon to get excited over Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' as the 5 small plants here have only been in the ground a few weeks (hey, it was on sale and I couldn't resist - and it's drought tolerant!) but I love that they're already sporting the flowers that look like blonde eyebrows


On the back patio, Phylica pubescens (aka Featherhead) has managed the heat thrown at it.

Okay, the 2 plants I put in the bad border were quickly killed by that miserable heatwave in June but this one in a large pot has settled in nicely


On the other side of the patio, also in a pot, I'm amazed that Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers' is blooming well on a steady diet of graywater from the kitchen sink.

Anything that can get by on weekly infusions of graywater alone is a winner in my book


Many of the Echeverias are blooming now but Echeveria 'Afterglow' is my favorite.

'Afterglow' has survived in this pot for about 3 years now without complaining and gets watered only every couple of weeks (if I remember)


Out along the street, the last of the three Chondropetalum tectorum (aka Cape Rush) I planted in 2013 has finally come into its own.  Situated in front of the Xylosma congestum shrubs we planted in spring as a continuation of our existing street-side hedge, it's responded to the extra water provided to those shrubs.  I'd like to find a few more of these to add elsewhere in the garden when the fall planting season comes around.

Rush viewed from the street (left) and from the dirt path in the garden with the late afternoon sun shining through (right)


That's it for my July favorite picks.  Visit Loree at danger garden to see what plants she and other gardeners are excited about this month.


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

25 comments:

  1. I love your reference to the witness protection program. That made me chuckle.

    The plants in this post are looking extraordinarily well. I'm still loking for Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'. Why isn't anybody in the Sacramento area selling it???

    Hoping to score a Phyllica pubescens at the Ruth Bancroft Garden tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    103°F here today in Davis. The only thing that makes me feel better is checking the temperatures for places like Death Valley, Las Vegas and Phoenix, LOL.

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    1. I got my "Blond Ambition' from Annie's by mail order during their recent sale - maybe you need to make another trip there?! In terms of temperature, it's moderately better here - we're down to the mid-upper 80sF right now but our AC just died and the repairman can't get here until Wednesday!

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    2. Oh no!!! You'll be miserable until Wednesday. The AC in our minivan died last weekend but fortunately it was only a $200 repair.

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    3. I'm very afraid that the whole thing needs to be replaced. We slapped a band-aid on it before and the time of reckoning is upon us, I think.

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  2. Your garden really shows how the grasses come into their own for summer interest! I'm fascinated by your Cape Rush - totally not familiar with it. I'll have to keep my eyes open now ;-) Too bad about your AC! Out here the portable air conditioners are helpful in emergencies...!

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    1. The Cape Rush, which has been used extensively in The Getty's garden, purportedly needs little water once established but I think it takes more than I anticipated to get it there (based on the fact that I lost 2 of the 3 I originally planted). Re the AC, it's been on it's last legs practically since we moved in. We should've replaced it last fall. And I'm really wishing now that we hadn't given away the portable unit we had at our previous house...

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  3. I'm blown away by how good your Melianthus major looks, it's leaves seem so tender and fragile -- I wouldn't think it could hold up to your conditions so well.

    BTW thank you for being such a faithful contributor to the Fav's posts each month, I love seeing what you're enjoying in your garden.

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    1. The lower branches of the Melianthus did get fried but I cut those away, leaving the surrounding plants to cover the plant's bare legs. Mine is partially shaded by the Arbutus, which I think helps a lot. The one I planted in full sun in an exposed location last year didn't make it.

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  4. Kris, despite the oppressive weather conditions you have some spectacular garden highlights. Just saw a comment you left that you plan to attend the 2017 Fling. I've never been to one but hope to make that one also.

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    1. For various reasons, I've never made it to a Fling either, Susie, but I'm planning ahead for this one. I hope I'll have the chance to meet you there!

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    2. I am thrilled to read that both of you are planning to attend!

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  5. So many good things to keep building on this fall, Kris. Really, you've accomplished so much! You must have found the perfect exposure for 'Afterglow' - it looks perfect, no leaf burn, etc.

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    1. It's funny you should mention the exposure I selected for 'Afterglow', Denise. I just moved it a couple of feet and I'm a little nervous that it's less protected and could get singed.

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  6. I have the same Blonde Ambition grass but mine is being crowded out by other plants and needs more sun. It will be interesting to see how it does between our two very different climates.

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    1. Mine seems very happy but it's probably too early to judge its fitness in my area. I got the plants by mail order from Annie's as I've yet to see them offered locally (in any size container); however, they were used to great effect in Tongva Park in Santa Monica (designed by James Corner of New York High Line fame).

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  7. Enjoyed seeing what's doing so well in your garden Kris! I'm glad the ones you have in pots have done well too.

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    1. Pots are always a bit of a challenge for me as I don't always remember to water them!

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  8. Your garden is looking great, plants maturing and settling in. It will only get better and better from now on.

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    1. I hope you're right, Hoover Boo! It's cooled down quite a bit here and I hope you're enjoying the same this Sunday afternoon.

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  9. Your first paragraph is an accurate description of how I feel about gardening right now. I have promised myself not to complain, but I am really looking forward to fall! Your Pennisetum 'Fireworks' is something to get excited about! Your garden looks lovely and refreshed in the early morning light.

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    1. I always look forward to fall too, Deb!

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  10. I love all your July favourites, they all seem to be coping very well with the heat. I have Echeveria ' Afterglow'. It is such a lovely colour. Is the Pennisetum' Fireworks' perennial with you?

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    1. We share a plant - an uncommon occurrence, Chloris! Yes, Pennisetum 'Fireworks' and cousin P. 'Rubrum' are perennial here. The latter was here when we moved in 5+ years ago and is well established. I introduced 'Fireworks' in 2014.

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  11. I love your description of plants behaving as though they are in the witness protection program. A few days ago, after yet another promise of rainfall evaporated (or, more accurately, went out to sea to our south), I realized that I needed to either give up on the garden for this year or water. I've opted for watering (no water restrictions here, but I'm on a private well so I need to be cautious), but I think it's too little too late to get the garden back to looking good. I'm already looking ahead to next year. -Jean

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    1. I can sympathize with the problem of "your" rain heading elsewhere, Jean - that's essentially what happened to SoCal with El Nino this year. I hope fall and winter bring healthy amounts of rain and snow.

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