Thursday, May 15, 2014

Surviving the Heat

Hope everyone survived the heat spell, a real knock down drag out four days. And of course the heat is hell on gardens, especially those that don't have an irrigation system installed. Mine survived fine but only due to extensive watering. The heat reminds us to mulch, mulch, mulch and to water deeply to encourage deeper root systems and thus plants less dependent on frequent watering. Personally, it makes me glad I'm not living in an area that gets this kind of heat for five months of the year.
Okay here are some photos of the garden, starting with my lovely Apricot foxglove. It rebounded very well this spring, helped by getting more light and a little fertilizer. Looking at its pink flowers, I'm reminded of the amusing tendency for those naming varieties/cultivars to use any descriptive name besides the word 'pink' for flowers that are indeed pink. There are so many plants with pink flowers that describing something as 'Pink' is a kind of death sentence. So, here, we have Digitalis 'Apricot' for a flower that looks pretty darn pink to me.

Plectranthus 'Sapphire Dream' and Campanula muralis. It's my 'Shady Lane' bed, though with my Brugmansia mostly deciduous right now this bed's getting more sun than usual.That seems to have been beneficial especially to the Campanula.

I love how the morning sun seemed to almost add a Creme Brulee glaze to these nasturtiums.And it reminds me once again that in taking photos, sometimes your eye is not able to process what is going on in your viewfinder, leading occasionally to some wonderful surprises.

Likewise, I love the play of light and shadow on the first of my Nikko Blue hydrangea flowers.This I did see in lining up the photo, in this case making each little floret a kind of well that light disappeared into.

For some reason it's hard to get a good picture of my Anomatheca flowers. This comes closest to capturing their elusive charms. Rosy-red? Coral-red? Reddish-pink? Color, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Everyone's favorite Calceolaria (Kentish Hero), with its burnt orange 'pocketbooks.'After a poor year in 2013, it seems to have rebounded.

Scrophularia calliantha's flowers may not be big but compared to other species they're huge. Love the contrast of the lime throats and red petals.They have an amusing common name - figwort.

I'm still over the moon for Lupinus pilosus. Those royal blue flowers and silver-limmed, shimmering leaves!

Phacelia grandiflora. Less known but just as beautiful as the bluer species. The lighter color really shows off the radiating lines.

It's Lily season and this 'Honey Bee' is always one of the first to bloom. No fragrance but the burnt red splotches are certainly eye-catching.

Echium Blue Bedder. This guy just exploded with flowers seemingly overnight. Like other echiums, it's a bee magnet. Guess I must have a little bee in me ...

Everybody's favorite poppy (Papaver commutatum). Called Ladybird poppy, it makes me wonder if that is a homage to Ladybird Johnson. The first lady was famous for her love of gardening.

Centaurea gymnocarpa. For some reason, this year the flowers are more lavender than pink. Just as fabulous, no matter the color.They look great, flaring out from the species's silver foliage.

Dracunculus. This arum member with the long, wide deep chocolate spathe is one of the more striking "flowers" in the world of gardening. If you can ignore the stink, it's the most wonderfully exotic plant to grow.

Platycodon (Balloon flower). Just so cool, both closed and then open.One curious note -- this plant is used in many Chinese herbal formulas.

Echeveria subrigida. One of my favorite Echeverias. Love the red rims and the way the color of the leaves varies from mint green to a bluish green.

Asclepius curassavica 'Apollo Orange.' An orange twist to an old favorite.

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