Summer is my least favorite season. It's hot and it's very, very dry. Many of my plants shut down or go into hiding. Gaps develop in spots throughout the garden. I hesitate to fill them as new plants need more water and, with California's request to reduce water consumption by 15 percent, there's too little to go around. Try as I can to shut my eyes and wait out summer, hoping for rain in the fall, I usually break down and do at least some planting. I consider succulents fair game but this year I've gone a bit off the rails.
|Clockwise from the upper left, the plants I used included Echibeckia 'Summerina Orange', Dymondia margaretae, Gazania 'Tiger Stripe Mix', and Plectranthus scuttelariodes 'Rustic Orange' (aka coleus)|
|Deciding that the coleus wasn't going to branch out unless I cut it back, I did just that. Now the area looks scruffy again but I'm hoping the coleus bounces back quickly.|
|The coleus stems I cut were trimmed down and put in water to root. If the plants in the ground die due to exposure to full sun, at least I should have some rooted cuttings to plant elsewhere (in the shade).|
I've added some small plants here and there to fill gaps in other beds too but this week I focused on sprucing up selected containers.
|Actually, I augmented this half barrel in early June, filling in a gap left when I pulled out rust-encrusted snapdragons with a Dahlia 'Waltzing Matilda' tuber purchased during a last-chance sale and a strawflower seedling (Xerochrysum bracteatum) given to me by Denise of A Growing Obsession|
|Even through the dahlia isn't blooming yet, I love the look of the barrel. The yellow and orange Lantana has been in the barrel for at least 2 years now but I cut it back hard in June and it's looking great again.|
Earlier this week I read a post by Margaret at The Gardening Me about refreshing her front door pots and decided I really should do something about the two largest pots by my own front door, both of which were looking truly awful.
|I filled in with two groundcover plants at the base. As I'd allowed the soil in the pot to dry out more than I should have, I used a wetting agent (surfactant) when I watered. It seems to have helped.|
|The groundcover plants I used were Calibrachoa 'Double Lemon' (top) and Scaevola 'Bondi Blue' (bottom)|
I haven't entirely ignored succulents this summer. I filled two new containers, one of which I inserted in a garden bed to fill a hole.
|I booted the plant that had been in this pot and popped in my new Mangave 'Night Owl'|
|Another recent purchase, bromeliad Orthophytum 'Gerkenii', went into an empty pot I had tucked behind our garage. It's new home is my lath (shade) house.|
Do you plant during the summer months, or wait until temperatures are cooler?
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party