Friday, August 26, 2016

August 2016 Favorites

It's the last Friday of the month, when Loree of danger garden calls for gardeners to celebrate the plants that earned their favor this month.  August is a month when the plants here hunker down and wait for better days so finding stand-outs isn't easy.  Even though our summer temperatures have been milder than they were in late June and extra irrigation has generally perked things up, the plants I'm drawn to at the moment are mostly those I've already featured within the last few months.  But a few plants are deserving of notice.

Ozothamnus diosmifolius, planted in November 2015, is finally living up to my expectations.

The Australian native isn't in flower at this time of year but I really didn't buy it for the flowers

I love its erect form which makes me think of a miniature pine tree

Also known as rice flower, it's often grown for its flowers, shown here in a photo taken back in April


Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', planted in January 2013, fulfilled its promise long ago while its companion, Leucadendron 'Ebony', planted some 8 months later, has been slower to develop.  The two are finally beginning to play off one another as I'd envisioned.

Leucadendron 'Ebony', a sport of L. 'Safari Sunset', has gained size at last this year, although its growth is uneven.  At maturity, 'Ebony' should grow 3-4 feet tall, or about half the height of 'Chief'.  I trim  'Chief' back each year but have yet to trim 'Ebony'.

L. 'Chief' makes great use of the late afternoon sunlight

In contrast, L. 'Ebony' is dark and moody


Lantana camara 'Irene', planted from 6-packs in May 2015, is at last providing the pops of color I'd imagined around the base of the Pennisetum in the back garden.  Although it's a drought tolerant plant, it needed the boost it got from additional irrigation to produce more than a flower here and there.

Lantana camara 'Irene' has pretty multi-colored flowers which play off both the reddish pink of the Pennisetum 'Fireworks' to the left and the orange Agastache behind.  Hibiscus trionum (to the right) recently made a surprise reappearance after dying off last year.  Considered a noxious weed in some areas of the country, it doesn't present an issue here.


The succulents can be depended upon to look good year round but two earned special recognition this month.

Crassula perfoliata falcata (aka airplane plant) produced its first bright red bloom

Although relatively small, Agave parryi patonii draws my attention every time I pass it.  I love those exaggerated leaf imprints.  It's produced a couple of pups but I don't think I can manage to get them out intact without digging up the entire plant.


Unfortunately, I also had a major loss this month.  My Leucadendron galpinii, a relatively recent purchase, dropped dead in record time.

It lasted less than 2 months in the backyard border, despite the extra water I provided to help it get established


I was excited to find this plant in a one-gallon container for the first time and, perhaps foolishly, decided to go ahead and plant it in the backyard border in July rather than waiting for more hospitable weather.  Even more foolishly, I planted it in the same location as the Adenanthos sericeus I'd lost earlier.  Tracing the history of plants in this area, I realized these aren't the first losses in the same area.  I previously lost both a Prostanthera ovalifolia and a Philotheca myporoides in the same general vicinity.  Based on my (somewhat patchy) records, all seem to have expired relatively quickly.  I'm going to test the soil to see if that provides clues to what's going on.

So as not to end on that sour note, here's a photo of the lovely Pennisetum 'Fireworks' in my back garden.  I think they look even better than they did in last month's favorites post.  Pop over to Loree's site for more August favorites.




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

24 comments:

  1. Love all those touches of red. Good idea to do a soil check. I lost a number of expensive plants in the same area before I realized it wasn't me; it was the soil.

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    1. Australian plants like the Adenanthos, Prostanthera and Philotheca are said to be sensitive to phosphorus and an on-line source reported that the South African Leucadendrons are as well so the soil is conceivably the issue. What to do about it if the soil is high in phosphorus - other than plant a non-sensitive plant there - I don't know.

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  2. Proteas and ericas I battle to keep going. Perhaps one in three survives. I have a tiny king protea, a few inches high, but at least those inches look strong and happy. Others just fade sadly to brown and despair.

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    1. It's interesting to me that the problem seems to be localized to one particular segment of the back border. Maybe I'll just put a large pot there or plant something like borage that's a low-risk investment.

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  3. All of your favorites look great. The Pennisetum has wonderful colors. Is it near the Leucadendron 'Chief'? They might look cool together.

    Ouch, sorry to see the L. galpinii. That is one of the only genera I've tried where larger (> 1 gallon) seems better. Here in my garden there is one spot that has killed several plants. I wonder if the neighbor who lived to the north of us used to dump some dreadful cleaner or something in the spot--back when this was an empty lot of long duration.

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    1. 'Chief' is in my dry garden and I haven't tried growing any grasses in that area (yet). The L. galpinii was a huge disappointment. I'm hoping my home soil test kit can tell me something, like whether there's a concentration of phosphorus in that particular area. I don't think it's a water problem, although I suppose there's a chance I overcompensated in watering the Leucadendron after I lost the Adenanthos.

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  4. Love the moody leucodendron and the crassula flower color is perfect. Mine bloomed last year, but is growing very slowly this year, although perfectly healthy. Your Agave parryi patonii is pure perfection!

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    1. That Crassula has been slow to grow for me too, although that may be because it's in a pot with a number of larger succulents. I planted another of the same species in a bed earlier this year so in time we'll see if more root space promotes faster growth.

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  5. I hope you manage to track down the problem with that patch of soil. I do love the Pennisetum. That one isn't hardy here but I must look more seriously at ways of keeping it going over winter, I'd love to have it in the garden.

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    1. It took a while for that Pennisetum to realize its potential. I'm glad I waited. (I have a tendency to become disillusioned and pull things out.)

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  6. Sorry you've lost that new plant but everything else is looking good. Glad you have some flowers to enjoy from the lantana (mine is constantly visited by swallowtails). Love that agave.

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    1. I think the Lantana just wanted more water than I'd provided the last couple of years to show its stuff.

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  7. That Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a good one, and just the kind of understated beauty that might need pointing out for others to really "see" it. And I'm jealous! My Crassula perfoliata falcata has never bloomed. Oh and that Agave...***swoon***

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    1. The Crassula was in one of the pots I recently cleaned up and repotted with fresh soil (or rather cactus mix) so maybe it got a boost from that.

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  8. Beautiful plants! Nice photos ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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  9. I do love all your leucadendrons, so sorry about the lost one. Are they ericaceous? I love that fabulous pennisetum.I grow it too, but I can never get it through the winter even in the greenhouse.

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    1. Leucadendrons and most protea apparently prefer soil on the acidic side but they're also said to be extremely sensitive to phosphorus and growers warn against the use of fertilizers containing it.

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  10. Kris, your L. 'Ebony' is still larger than mine. I find it maddeningly slow growing.

    Small correction: proteas prefer acidic soils. Elemental sulfur is a good way to make alkaline soils more acidic (and help with chlorosis that can be quite noticeable, esp. in banksias and grevilleas).

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    1. 'Ebony' is an especially slow grower - and a lop-sided one as well. I should have tested my soil long ago rather than allowing one plant after another to die - hopefully, the kit I purchased will be good enough to tell me the soil pH so I can try my hand at adjusting it.

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  11. I immediately thought of a pine when I saw the Ozothamnus diosmifolius, then read that is what you thought, too! L.Chief is marvelous. Your garden gets so much color from foliage, as well as its lovely flowers: the mark of an outstanding garden!
    I am hoping for cooler weather soon! Or at least lower humidity. So far no break in sight.

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    1. I don't envy you the humidity, Deb. Ours spiked today, turning the relatively pleasant temperature decidedly less so, and I'm sure it was still far less humid than here than it is there. Fall can't come too soon for either of us!

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  12. All great plants! But I do especially love the Leucadendrons. I hope you figure out what's going on in that one spot.

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    1. I hope to get around to that soil test sometime this week.

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