Above: several days of overcast means intense flower color.
The roses have had a difficult year. Just as they were freshly leafed out and full of flowers in March, we had an intense heat wave. Supporting new foliage and lots of flowers in hot weather provoked dropped or sun burnt foliage, toasted flowers, and two straight months of sulking. May brought late rain and mandatory water restrictions. The rose foliage, already damaged, developed severe fungal diseases. Many roses defoliated, which is unusual here. June finally brought a stretch of cool overcast. The roses re-foliated and are now blooming again. I've missed them.
'Glowing Peace' was leafless and bloomless a few weeks ago:
'Snowbird' (Hatton, 1936) has a somewhat gawky growth habit, but leaning against a tuteur, it looks just dandy.
'William Shakespeare 2000':
'English Garden' was near death back in May. All better, and much richer color than usual.
'Rouge Royale' of the fabulous fragrance:
'Red Intuition' with a few more petals than usual.
The week of cool weather we got just after July began brought forth another round of Day Lily flowers. They provided a happy distraction from ugly roses for many weeks.
Now that summer heat has taken a firm grip, Crassula falcata comes into flower. It hates the spot I gave it--too hot. I need to move it come fall. See how yellow the foliage is?
Aloe broomii finally seems happy. It struggled for months. Perhaps it just needed to establish itself. When I planted the Dorycium about 30" away, I found broomii roots.
The Dasylirion flowers have browned. The whole thing will take years to dry out and fall. It got little bee activity--it is Nolina that is mobbed by bees, not Dasylirion. The plant's lowest leaf tips have browned also--it happened when the scape was forming--I think the plant was robbing water and nutrients from the leaves at that point.
What I have learned as a gardener response to rain is to get out there two or three days after substantial rain and dig out stuff that needs digging out--it will never be easier than while the soil is rain-softened. I removed a Senecio barbertonicus from the front slope. I removed it last year, too. It had grown back. This year with easier digging I hope I got it all. It easily gets six feet tall--not good at the front of the slope.
Temporary fill: Aloe greatheadii. I have plenty, and they transplant easily, even in summer heat. If they die, or if a passerby steps all over them--no problem. There are more.
July is the time of year when Senecio mandraliscae starts getting rotting stems that ooze brown goo. The brown goo attracts flies. This makes up for the winter and spring beauty of the plant.
A low growing, vigorous plant is ideal at the bottom of a slope. Aloe 'Roikoppe' may eventually replace the rampant, summer-brown-goo Senecio for this task.
Aloe wickensii got the spot where I harvested out the greatheadiis. It has been waiting in a pot far to long. Wickensii is from a summer rainfall area, making it a little iffy in this dry area, but there is a sprinkler nearby. A non-offsetting Aloe, rather plain in foliage, but the flower is bi-color and striking.
Also moved two Ballota from the east-facing slope, where they were struggling with dry conditions, to a former lawn area near the pond. They instantly looked happier.
Pulled out a big patch of Arctotis 'Burgundy'. I have fresh starts of it elsewhere. The patch was getting old and ratty.
One 'Joe Hoak' yielded five fresh new offsets--easy harvesting from soft, moist soil, easy potting on a table instead of kneeling on concrete. What a gift!
Plants and gardeners respond to rain, and not just with dances.
This 'Young Lycidas' flower, though, is definitely a dance:
The magic of rain.