Bloom Day August 2015: I Declare This Protea Open, A Little

 Our "miracle" rain of July, courtesy of tropical storm Dolores, has significantly affected the garden.  The Clematis were able to produce another round of flowers.  
'Bourbon'
'Wisley'

'Perle d'Azur':
 Many Hemerocallis did, as well.  
'Strawberry Candy'

 The Russellia began to bloom in earnest. It prefers hot weather.
So do many Salvias.


The garden looks remarkably well for mid-August.
Protea 'Pink Ice' is the star of the day.  I thought it might be bloomed and gone by this bloom day, but it only began to open a couple of days ago.  It's unhurried--the flowers themselves are not visible yet, still covered with bracts.   It is only the fuzzy pink bracts that have opened.  The plant has grown; it's about 3' tall now.  New flower buds are forming.   




Protea 'Mini King' is still unopened.  I've been watering it attentively.  If the plant is too thirsty, it will allow its flower buds to dry up in order to protect itself.
The bud looks like a Gothic spire
'Mini King' the plant is knee-high.  Perhaps it will finally be open for next month's Bloom Day.  
New growth and new flower bud:
Dolores no doubt contributed to a huge crop of flowers on the variegated Myrtle (Myrtus communis).  I was so happy to see Bumble bees (Bombus sonorus? ) finding it a good food source.  Several are at it every morning.  Support local bumbling! 
Agave stricta has sent up a flower.  Again, it must have been Dolores. 
I keep meaning to blog about "Bandana" Lantana, a more compact version of the rather weedy but butterfly-beneficial plant, so here it is.  I planted this one last year and it's slowly grown to about 18"x18", blooming all the while.  Lantana is perennial here.  The species can become very large, forming a green, blooming skin over a thick layer of brown, dead old growth.  This compact series is supposed to be better--so far I would say, yes, it is. 

Zephranthes--rain lilies.  They've had a bad year--a rabbit ate this little clump nearly to the ground.  I put a cylinder of hardware cloth around it and it recovered.   A coyote graciously ate the offending rabbit.
The Dahlias continue. 

So much for this month's bloom day.  Perhaps next month 'Mini King' will be open.  Visit 'May Dreams' for more blooms from all over. 

Comments

  1. Beautiful flowers and indeed your garden still looks wonderful in August. Love those Proteas which are unusual in our gardens and your Clematis plants still look so fine and healthy.

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    1. Thank you, Janneke. The Protea are doing well. I hope I can help them maintain their beauty. The rain made the Clematis so happy--all the irrigation water possible is never as good as a rain.

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  2. That's the first Lantana that's ever appealed to me, because of the pale yellow-creamy white effect. I see from poking around online that the Bandana series is also available in the more usual electric reds, pinks, yellows and combinations. Yours has the same fresh effect as those rain lilies, which I keep hoping to find a spot for near the house foundation where they'd come back. We're *just* beyond their perennializing zone.

    Thanks so much for the inspiring wide shot. Is that the most-watered section of the garden?

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    1. It is underplanting a white rose, with Geranium 'Rozanne' and the purple tuteur, they all look good together--perhaps I am finally getting the hang of this color combination thing.

      That is the area with the poorest drainage, so it stays moist on less water than the rest of the property. There are retaining walls around it that hold in the moisture.

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  3. My plant show protea, the species neriifolia, is no more. I've read they want lots of water to get established. I thought I was providing enough! The leaves started to burn and get black edges in full sun. Maybe it should have stayed in a pot and been planted in fall rather than spring? Your success gives me hope! And your garden looks wonderful, for any month.

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    1. Oh...sorry to hear that. A painful loss. Both mine were planted in spring. The Leucospermum is planted where I thought it might get too much water--it gets a relative lot--and its growing like a weed. So my guess is they and the Protea need generosity to establish--supposedly 2 years. You will have to console yourself with that fabulous Strobilanthes.

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  4. I love the slow progression of the Protea bloom - it extends the enjoyment. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. It's like the ketchup that won't come out of the bottle. Happy Bloom Day back atcha!

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  5. 'Strawberry Candy' is a beauty. Your garden looks so good. August leaves mine the worse for wear.

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    1. Well, I didn't take any photos of the brown, crispy areas!

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  6. If I ever get a greenhouse, a Protea is the first thing I will put in it. They are such marvelous, sculptural plants. I'm so glad Dolores paid you a visit - your garden looks fantastic. And there must be some kind of justice in the world, when the plight of gardeners will aid in the survival of coyotes.

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    1. Hope you get that greenhouse. Think how beautiful your Protea photos would be.

      Coyotes are survivors, like gardeners. :)

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  7. I was given a Protea seedling last year and this summer it perished . I believe I under-watered it-since I am underwatering just about everything except the Fuchsias this summer. You have impressed me ! Not only is my Protea DOA, but every Clematis I own looks exactly like hell right now. Where is Dolores when you need her ?

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    1. Regular water when not yet established, drainage, drainage, drainage is what I read. Sorry you lost that...

      Wonderful Dolores! She saved my summer.

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  8. Have you posted your thoughts on the possible el niño winter climatologists are predicting? Would a wet winter be beneficial or detrimental to your garden?

    I wonder if there are protea species that could take the heat of Phoenix? I now want one. I don't recall seeing them at the desert botanical garden.

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    1. I'm not going to count on rain until I get some--want to avoid disappointment. Wet winter very beneficial, likely will be covering some plants (e.g. Aloe thraskii) during prolonged rain storms to avoid rot--not worried about roots, but about foliage.

      Protea--they are native to areas near the coast in South Africa, not to the arid inland desert. They like acid soil. They like fairly hot days but cool nights--I'm only a beginner with them myself, can't tell you much more than that. Not sure if they could handle that much heat. One site I read said, "If you can grow Avocados, you can grow Proteas."

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  9. I got my first Protea this year, which will have to overwinter in the greenhouse here. I hope to one day have flowers on it. It hasn't grown much, but at least it's still alive. Looking forward to seeing yours open next month!

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    1. It must have enjoyed that recent terrible heat wave you had up there. Hope it does something for you--you are a skilled gardener, so there's a chance.

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  10. Protea is a new plant for me, I had to Google it to see what the flowers look like – they are amazing! Looking forward to seeing yours in full flower. Loved your ‘Strawberry Candy’ too, I have 35 daylilies, but are still looking for more….

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    1. I wasn't all that familiar with them myself. Here they are a fancy centerpiece flower for florist bouquets, costing anywhere from $6-$10 for each flower(!). There are growers in San Diego (south of here) that produce them for the florist market, and growers also wholesale plants to local nurseries. I thought to give one a try.

      There are so many amazing daylilies now, aren't there? I like them so much. Here so much hybridizing is going on, there is a lot of repetition--100s of named cultivars for sale that look almost exactly alike. One has to wade through a lot to find something special and interesting that isn't overpriced.

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  11. Very exciting to see your protea open! Your garden looks fabulous; thank goodness for your rain!

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    1. Thank you. The rain was pure magic!

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  12. Very exciting that is it finally starting to open. And good on the coyote

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    1. There's one survivor rabbit left. The Coyote needs to work a little longer.

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  13. The bud on 'Mini King' is very cool. And that bumble! I wish our bees were as cute as those.

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    1. Are not all bees cute? They are here.

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  14. These are all so sweet and beautiful...do any of the flowers have a scent?

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    1. There is at least one fragrant Clematis ("Sweet Autumn"), but none of mine are; there are some fragrant Hemerocallis--it's hit and miss--the Protea had a very slight musty scent, barely detectable. It is the Myrtle that is the queen of scent in this post, though it is the foliage that is scented, a wonderful herbal scent, most alluring!

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  15. Oh, the protea...it is one flower that I am willing to splurge and spend $7 for at the florist every once in a while.

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    1. They are so unusual and archaic, really--in evolutionary terms one step up from a pine cone, but what a big step!

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