Friday, August 2, 2019

Bright Spots in my Midsummer Garden

It's easy to get fixated on the ugly bits of my garden during summer's seemingly endless stretch of hot, dry weather but, despite the the challenges of our Mediterranean climate and our ongoing home remodel, many, if not most, sections of my garden still look halfway decent.  (It helps that we've yet to have a truly horrific heatwave this year!)  Last Friday, I shifted my attention to the trees that add so much to my garden but this Friday my eye was drawn to some of the plants that manage to flower during this difficult time of year.

As I scanned my garden, I realized that there's suddenly a lot of pink!

Somehow, Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' always manages to surprise me.  Instead of showing up one at a time, the flowers seem to appear en masse.  Yesterday, I looked across my garden and there they were.  The bees are fixated on these flowers and I expect heightened butterfly activity too.

As I mentioned in my Wednesday Vignette, Albizia julibrissin is also now in full bloom

The flowers of Cotyledon orbiculata, more peach than pink, are also making a strong showing at the moment

Several of my roses have thrown out a bloom or two this week too.  This is Rosa 'California Dreamin'.  She's pretty but not vigorous.

Amaryllis belladonna, aka naked lady (left), has made an appearance, as has a single Lycoris squamigera, aka surprise lily (right).  The Amaryllis were gifts from Tammy of Casa Mariposa years ago.   I planted Lycoris bulbs in 2016 and this is the first bloom I've ever seen.


Much of the flower action at the moment is in my cutting garden, which will probably be true until rain returns in October or November.

The blooms of Dahlia 'Otto's Thrill' are absolutely huge.  The view of this first bloom of the season is marred somewhat by the tomato cage I use to support the plant but the stem on this bloom is very short and I didn't have the heart to cut it.

Dahlia 'Hollyhill Karen Lee' didn't impress me when she first began to unfurl her petals but her appearance changes dramatically as she matures

I've long admired the blooms of Amaranthus caudatus when I've seen them featured in the vases of IAVOM contributors but this is the first time I've tried the plant for myself.  I bought 3 plants in 4-inch pots 2 weeks ago and they've already grown nearly a foot.


Not quite everything that caught my eye was a shade of pink.

The Zinnias are kicking off at last.  The first seeds I sowed were those of 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose' and they're the first to bloom as well.


Last but not least is this noID Scaevola, which has the deepest purple color of any of these I've ever grown.  Now, if I'd only kept the tag...


That's it from me this week.  Have a pleasant weekend!


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. For once I'm not feeling completely frustrated with my own garden either at this time of year, which usually happens for me too. You have some particularly lovely bright spots. I keep buying Zinnia seeds and then never get around to sowing them. I've been focused so heavily on sowing perennial seeds, I keep overlooking my stash of annuals. Plus, we had rain last night, an unusual August occurrence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rain in August - I'm envious! I was tardy in getting my Zinnias started, partly because the cool season plants in my cutting garden held on far longer than usual this year, restricting the space I had available for the sowing seeds directly as I prefer to do. That's becoming a general problem with my relatively small cutting garden space and suggests that I may need to get seeds started in pots or trays in future years.

      Delete
  2. I love the slope of the entrance.
    Wonder of plants.
    Good entry from August.
    janicce.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is good to have fairly decent weather this year. We have just gone into our drought spell. July was below average in rain and it is continuing this month. The lovely perkiness of the garden is over but overall it looks ok. I love that first tree you pictured. It is pretty with those fuzzy looking blooms. No wonder the bees went gaga. Have a great weekend of quiet around the house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Callistemon was a great find. While the red-flowered forms of bottle brush are common here, I've never seen this peachy-pink variety for sale in my local area. I hunted this one down at a nursery 3 hours north of here. I'm very glad I was lucky enough to find it.

      Delete
  4. The blue of the Scaevola is electric - it would make me stop in my tracks. Don't you just hate that re - the missing tag. A few of the plants that I did, in fact, label have subsequently faded in the summer sun. I used a sharpie instead of pencil but then buried the writing beneath the soil, thinking this would protect it from the UV - oh well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually hang onto tags until I plug the plant's information into my Excel file but I'd planned to treat this plant, perennial in my area, as a seasonal pot filler so I tossed the tag. On-line sources list a 'Bombay Dark Blue Imp' so it may be that, although the photos posted in connection with that cultivar name don't show flowers as vivid as those displayed by my plant. Hopefully, I'll come across it again.

      Delete
  5. Lots of good blooms still in your garden, Kris. Love the Scaevola, one of our great performing annuals, so tough. Seeing your Amaranthus makes me a bit sad, as I can't grow it because it is deer candy. :(
    Enjoy your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Critters can be so difficult! While I might be charmed to see a deer in my garden - as I was on a couple of occasions when a peacock visited - I count myself lucky that's one garden pest I don't have to contend with.

      Delete
  6. Cotyledon orbiculata has sooo many forms and is such a good landscape succulent. The 'Cane's Hybrid' is incredible -- it all looks good to me, Kris!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really shouldn't be surprised to discover 'Cane's Hybrid' in bloom now as my records show it bloomed in early August last year too, but it doesn't signal that a bloom show is imminent as so many other flowering plants do.

      Delete
  7. Pink is good. Stay cool this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm already sweltering, HB! The temperature outside is a good 5 degrees lower than that inside, even though I have a fan running. It doesn't help that the humidity level is trending high again.

      Delete
  8. I am really trying to focus on the positives of the mid-summer garden. Let's face it,August does arrive every year and it's unlikely that I am ever going to grow only plants that look good in August. I'm also in denial --where did June go ? Looks like you have a few nice things to look at, and I bet you're relieved that the Albizia came out of it's funk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, August is most definitely the pits but I'm counting myself lucky that we didn't have a horrid July like last year's. I've got a few areas begging for a thorough overhaul but I know that tackling them now would be a foolish waste of time and money so, for the moment, I'm focused on my cutting garden and general upkeep. And I am relieved that the Albizia plans to hang on for a bit longer.

      Delete
  9. Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' seems like the perfect partner to your Albizia julibrissin. Oh and I love the form of the Albizia, I know it's due to pruning, but it has such a romantic wind-swept look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the wind does blow here on a regular basis, Loree. Some of the plants do develop a natural slant. If we had to lose half the Albizia to the nasty shot-hole borers, at least it was the front half - the litter dropped by the tree on the backyard patio was greatly reduced, which I'd enjoy if the patio weren't currently covered in construction debris!

      Delete
  10. I think that the amaranthus plants will grow like triffids in your climate Kris. What beautiful dahlias. I know what I'm going to be singing for the rest of the evening 😂

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some reason I'd always assumed that I couldn't grow Amaranthus here, Anna, possibly because I so seldom see the plants in local garden centers. So far, the 3 plants I picked up are doing really well despite the fact that temperatures have zoomed upward. Of course, the extra water I give everything in the cutting garden helps.

      Delete
  11. Hi Kris, your garden is pretty in pink! I am particularly drawn to the Amaranthus caudatus. I saw this plant last year when I visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Oregon. I may try it for myself if I can find it locally; I am not sure how well it would like it here -but I think it should be Ok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amaranthus provides drama in a garden and a vase, Deb. I picked my plants up in a garden center but next year I plan to try growing it from seed. There are a ranges of cultivars in interesting colors.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!