Even with applications of supplemental water before and during the heatwave, the results aren't pretty. The garden has suffered the impact of scorching heat before but this event matches or exceeds the horrific heatwave of 2016. This time, the temperature peaked higher; that heat was sustained over a longer period; and it was accompanied by strong dry winds.
As mentioned in my last post, the first sucker punch was the sight of my Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'. Although temperatures moderated in the days following the 110F scorcher, the appearance of these plants has worsened.
As I continued my survey yesterday, I saw this. I was heartbroken.
Some plants are just burnt. Their foliage may look ugly for the rest of the season, but they should recover.
|I pruned this Echium webbii of its dead flower spikes last month. Its new growth fried. Should I have pruned it sooner, or perhaps later?|
|Arthropodium cirratum (Renga Lily) is an evergreen bulb. The flowers were dying back before the heatwave but the foliage dried out badly in its aftermath.|
|The Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) usually drops leaves gradually at this time of year as the tree produces new green leaves. I've never seen them turn gold in place like this.|
|This is Heuchera maxima, a California native. I'll probably leave the foliage alone until the plant starts producing new growth, much as it pains me to look at it.|
A lot of flowers fried.
In other cases, the plants themselves were beaten down hard but I still expect them to recover in time.
Unfortunately, there are a few plants that look to be dead, or close to it.
|It took me a minute to even identify this plant. It's ribbon bush (Hypoestes aristata), a plant that grew well in my former garden. It struggled here even before this heatwave struck and I think I'm going to give it up now.|
|The loss of some Salvias surprised me. This is Salvia discolor, which I've had for several years. Salvia macrophylla, also a long-time resident, is toast as well.|
I find it hard avoid becoming fixated on what's ugly but I know I should celebrate the plants that came through the heatwave with their looks intact. Some look great when viewed from a distance, although a close examination shows signs of stress.
|Cuphea hybrid 'Starfire Pink' looked fine from a distance but, viewed up close, I found that its interior foliage was glowing red|
Others plants just look great. It's possible that some of these may show the ill effects later but 4 days out from the heatwave's peak, here are some of the those that were seemingly unfazed by the event.
|Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' doesn't even show signs of tip burn on its new foliage|
|Maybe I haven't previously looked at it closely enough but I'd swear the Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' shown here has put on several inches of new growth this week|
|Unlike Echium webbii, Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' is unscathed. It cut back its flower spikes less than 2 weeks ago and it hasn't produced any substantial new growth yet. It also gets a bit of shade from the nearby Magnolia.|
|Gaura lindheimeri laughs in the face of heat. The Agapanthus in partial shade in the background fared far better than the plants in full sun.|
|Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' is continuing to pump out sprays of flowers|
|The plants outside the lath house, like those in the window boxes and Euryops 'Sonnenschein' in the foreground, fared better than some of the plants inside|
|Leonotis leonurus is finally blooming|
|Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is also producing its first flowers|
|The gray-leafed Santolinas look perfect|
|Senecio candicans 'Angel Wings' was drooping at the height of the heatwave on Friday but I gave it a bottle (that dripped water to its roots) and it looks great thus far. However, my other plant, in a pot near the front door, doesn't look as good.|
|Trichostema 'Midnight Magic' is blooming happily. The flowers on the green-leafed Santolina could use some deadheading but the plants themselves are fine.|
So, post-heatwave, the garden presents a mix of good with the bad. I'm trying to look at the event as a learning exercise. Our temperature today is hovering near 90F (32C) as I complete this post. We're hoping for slightly cooler temperatures next week but, as summer conditions can extend well into October here, I'm sure the heat will be back. I just hope that we don't hit 110F again this year - or get any wildfires.
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party