Friday, August 31, 2018

Breaking the rules (again)

Every year, I impose a rule against planting anything other than succulents during the summer months.  And pretty much, every year I break it.  I'd already reinterpreted my own rule to include an exclusion for bromeliads as well as succulents but late last week, on a trip to my local garden center, I just ignored it entirely.

I went to the garden center to pick up additional mulch but I came home with more than just mulch.  However, I'd like to note that one of the plants I brought home is a succulent.

This is Aloe labworana, a stemless aloe that grows just 1-2 feet tall bearing yellow flowers in the fall.  I've planted it on the west facing slope in the front garden.


I also brought home three Gomphrena.  Now this particular Gomphrena is an annual.  When I think about it, my rule should have had a special proviso addressing annuals.  They're not expected to last more than a season so, as long as the annual in question is heat tolerant, I should've had a summer-planting exception for that.

Gomphrena 'Pinball Snowtip Lavender' is heat and drought tolerant.  I planted it in the bed fronting our garage.


But my third purchase can't be justified as easily.  In my defense, I've been looking for reasonably priced specimens of the plant in question for a year now.  Last year, it was new to the local garden centers and pricey.  I bought one and have looked for more ever since.  They haven't been widely available here and, when I've found them, the price has made me choke.  So, when I found one-gallon containers for what I considered a very reasonable price, I had to bring home three.

This is Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty'.  The one I bought last year has done well in partial shade with very little water.  They'll get a little more sun here but the soil should also hold moisture better.


Of course, none of these justifications can be used to explain this:

This mail order delivery arrived yesterday afternoon


Oh well.  Rules are made to be broken, aren't they?  I usually wait until September to blatantly ignore my self-imposed rule but I got an early start this year.  Between winter's pitiful rainfall and July's nuclear heat blast, it's been a tough year for the garden and it's hard not to want to step in to "fix" it.

There are 3 Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' in front.  In the back row, left to right are: Epiphyllum 'Monastery Garden', Cordyline 'Design-a-Line Burgundy', and Plectranthus lanuginosa.  I've got spots identified for all of them.  The Erigeron and Epiphyllum were already on my fall planting list.  The other 2 plants were spur-of-the-moment selections to round out the order.


I'll be doing planting my new arrivals this weekend as well as potting up some rampant seedlings, which is a fine way to spend my time.  However you spend the extended holiday weekend, I hope you enjoy it!


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

35 comments:

  1. I have a wish list on Annie's website and they periodically send out emails trying to entice me to buy things that are in stock. That can be hard to resist. That Erigeron is on my list! I buy lots of plants in the summer, but I save planting them till fall. I just keep watering them and hope they don't decline too badly while trapped in their pots.

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    1. I've a running wish list with Annie's too and it seems that I always get notice that something on it has just become available right after my latest order has arrived. Of course, if Annie's was closer than a day's drive away, I'd probably be there all the time so I guess the distance is my saving grace (pun intended). I sometimes pot up my Annie's purchases to await better planting weather as well but keeping the pots properly watered is another source of potential foul-ups on my end.

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  2. Ha! I loved your progression from completely justified to blatant rule-breaking. As you say, "rules are made to be broken." I planted a few things in early July before our real heat hit, but those were all in areas of at least afternoon shade where I was watering anyway. Then I managed not to buy or plant anything until August, and I only started planted again last weekend. September is going to be a big plant procurement month for me as I start assembling plants for all the areas I'm redoing. I'll be getting a lot of that Erigeron from Xera.

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    1. I'm a great one for justifications, at least when it comes to plants and gardening. Your mention of Erigeron glaucus in an earlier post was actually what prompted this particular purchase, Evan. You're an enabler! ;) I've already got the plant in another area of my garden and probably should've just divided what I have but buying more was easier still.

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  3. Very timely...I just finished ordering tulips for fall delivery! I get so carried away with the lovely colors that I totally forget what I have written down and names collected all summer, and just go ahead and impulse buy! Ah well, they will ALL look wonderful come next spring no matter what color.
    Annie's is the only place in this entire country where I can get my favorite Scabiosa plants, not seeds, and this year they seem to be reminding me of that fact almost daily.

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    1. At least the bulb order probably won't be delivered until you're closer to planting time, Libby!

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  4. It seems we gardeners are all the same, no matter what country we’re in, or what our climate requirements are. I shouldn’t plant anything in the summer either, but I always do! I’m sure your lomandra will do well in a hot climate: I think I’d consider it drought tolerant here, though I don’t have any in my garden. I have also planted an Erigeron glaucus, but it’s been very quiet during the winter. I’m hoping it will start to spring into action soon.

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    1. The Erigeron usually blooms in mid-to-late spring year and sporadically in summer here, Jane. I'm sure it'll perk up once your temperatures warm.

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  5. Rules are definitely made to be broken. Moving things around is the issue here in summer. This week: three penstemon, at their full maturity. One is supposed to cut the plants right back, to help them adjust to the root damage. But what if they’re in full bloom? How could I? Think I got away with it..

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    1. Now see, Jessica, that's where we differ. I'd have used the move to justify cutting all the penstemons for flower arrangements!

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  6. I think you're still within the rules. After all, tomorrow is September! :)

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    1. And late August has been surprisingly cool and vaguely fall-like too, Eliza! At least, as long as you consider temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s fall-like, as we do...

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  7. How brazen ! We've had the coolest August I can remeber since moving here in 1986, and if it hadn't been for my travel schedule this summer I would be planting like mad. I have several plants lying in wait but I'm holding off till mid Oct since I'm driving to PDX in a couple weeks and going out to the coast for Digging Dogs fall sale in early Oct.I love Wayne Roderick , I'm going to get a few more the next time I do an Annies run.I wouldn't be surprised if that Gomphrena lives over for you-they usually do here .

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    1. If only freeway traffic wasn't equivalent to a trip through hell in my books, Kathy, I'd wander further afield with my plant shopping too. Best wishes with both trips!

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  8. Rules are made to be broken. I hope all of your plants settle in for you.

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    1. Fortunately, it's been cooler than expected for the past week, Lisa. If that trend continues, all may indeed be well.

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  9. I like your style, a gardener's gotta do what a gardener's gotta do! So glad you found some Lomandra.

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    1. I'd wondered if it was going to take ages and ages for the Lomandra to come down in price, as was the case with Yucca 'Bright Star', but the wait was much more reasonable this time.

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  10. I am sure with fall on the way your plants are in safe hands. Maybe your rule should only apply through the end of August. I must say that at this time of year I am happy to go to the nursery and not find anything to buy. But I did go to the NG the other day and bought a container of liquid seaweed, potting soil and some fall veg. seeds. I felt justified in those purchases.

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    1. Oh, September and October can both be miserably hot here these days, Jenny. But I'm taking comfort in the fact that August was so much more pleasant than July this year and hoping the trend continues in that direction.

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  11. Rules are definitely there to be broken Kris - if not what's the point of them? I hope that your new arrivals soon have their feet planted firmly in the ground.

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    1. All the new arrivals have been tucked into the ground, Anna - well, except for those I picked up today. Apparently, once the rule is broken, I can't stop myself...

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  12. If you have spots in the ground for all of them, remember none of them count! So no rules broken at all. See? It's easy. ;^)

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    1. Okay, HB! I'll be sure to consult you the next time I need to rationalize my gardening behavior ;)

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  13. HB is absolutely right. It doesn't count if there's space for them. Making an exception to the rule, exceptional, just like your garden!

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    1. Well, now that I've broken my rule for the season, I seem to be running over it with a Mack Truck, Peter. I've been plant shopping (twice!) since this post went up.

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  14. I just discovered your blog, and I absolutely love it! I lived for several years in Chicago, and got into gardening there, but southern California is a whole other animal. We've been hobbling along, but I can't wait to put some of your ideas into practice.

    Based on your cover photo, I'm wondering if you are in/near Long Beach. I'd love to see your garden in person some time, if so!

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    1. Hi Jennifer. Welcome to the South Bay! I live on the Palos Verdes Peninsula overlooking the Los Angeles Harbor so, if you're in the Long Beach area, I'm reasonably close. I enjoy showing my garden to other gardeners and would be pleased to show it to you, although it's far from its best in late summer.

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    2. Lovely! (I'm from the area originally so am familiar). It would be fun to take a tour when you really get blooming. And I'd love to have you to "my" garden as well (which is to say, at Rancho Los Cerritos here in LB, where I work).

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    3. What a great place to work, Jennifer! I've visited Rancho Los Cerritos but I haven't been there for a few years now. I'm a docent at the South Coast Botanic Garden so perhaps I can show you that garden as a trade-off for a tour of yours. As to my garden, perhaps we can hold off until the winter rains have arrived to revive it somewhat. We're anticipating a major kitchen remodel starting early next year (provided the city approves our request to push out a wall) so it might be a good idea to target a date before that work starts if possible.

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    4. This all sounds great! You can contact me at jenniferr@rancholoscerritos.org and we can arrange the trade.

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    5. Thanks for the contact information, Jennifer. I'll follow-up with you in a few weeks, by which time I hope to know more about where my schedule is going.

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  15. I love breaking the rules! How boring to follow them. :o) I love your new plants. I would have bought new ones, too.

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    1. It was my own self-imposed rule, Tammy. I should know better than to make them in the first place!

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