'Cafe Au Lait' Is A Gorgeous Dahlia And Heat Damage

'Cafe Au Lait' was the "It" Dahlia of a few years ago, in huge demand as a cut flower for weddings and for gardeners.  It was hard to find; supply is now better.  I bought tubers this spring.

It is obvious what all the fuss was about.  An ivory petal with a lavender/white striped reverse creates, unexpectedly, a pinkish-pale coffee effect.  You stare and stare and can't figure out why the flower appears a delicate tan.  It's quite amazing.  Huge, bold, and yet ethereal. 

I bought three tubers.  One failed (no bud eye?), one plant is weak and stunted.  The last is is enormous and full of huge flowers.  Allowances can be made for stunning beauty.  Recommended!
 It makes up, to an extent, for the general appearance of the garden--burnt.  
I fear one of the Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite's is dying.  
The healthy one:
 The sick one:
Sigh.  At least it won't be too difficult to dig out. This used to be Leucadendron 'Pisa':
This summer's tasks, normally one (watering) are two:  watering, and in the garden averting eyes as necessary, from painful sights.  

Despite this being summer, a few new plants.  Bougainvilleas are best planted at the start of summer's heat--their subtropical root systems want warm soil to establish, and when the plant is small, the roots are frail.  (When the plant is established, you'll never be able to get rid of it.) The new Bougie is another attempt at a privacy screen for our balcony.  It was too hot there for tough rose 'Iceberg', so one more try, this time with much tougher Bougainvillea 'California Gold'.  The golden Bougie bracts with the gold cypress and blue pot seems to work in terms of color.

  A plant trade brought me unexpected treasures...
Ratibida columnifera 'Red',  Pycnostachys urticifolia, and Hymenolepas crithmoides.  

R. columnifera, common name Mexican Hat for the shape of its flowers, is a tough native of western high deserts--a climate providing a brutal combination of scorching summers, frigid winters,  and little rain.  I've seen it here and there in dry gardens, and love it, as do bees and butterflies.  

H. crithmoides is a shrubby plant with needle-like foliage of the South African Fynbos region (Namaqualand and SW Cape) with pollinator-attracting bright yellow flowers.  Cool!

Also from Southern Africa, Pycnostachys urticifolia reminds me of a Plectranthus (they are both in Lamiaceae) with its fuzzy foliage and shrubby habit.  Here the attraction is intense blue flowers of an odd shape, like witches hats, which is the common name.  

What unexpected treasures!  All I brought for trade was some ordinary Aloes and Agaves, though I did give some Leucospermum and Calothamnus villosus seeds to the kind lady who provided the above three plants.  She's very skilled in growing all sorts of plants from seed.    

A few comforts besides the glorious Dahlia and new plants--the Lobelia 'Queen Victoria' is still alive with flowers imminent.  Yes, it's a bit toasted despite several frantic misting sessions in the worst of the heat each day, but at least it survived.
 And the Scabiosa 'Black Pom Pom' flowers have finally opened.  Cute.  Seriously cute, and the color is wonderful. 

Comments

  1. That dahlia is a beauty! Every time I see blooms like this I think "I should try growing dahlias" but then I have a feeling I'd just be adding something new to the deer's diet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fence. Or maybe add deer to your diet. ;^)

      Delete
  2. Gorgeous colors on the dahlia (cafe au lait), bougainvillea (butterscotch) and scabiosa (chocolate with white pepper) like candy. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delicious indeed! Coffee ice cream...mmmmm!

      Delete
  3. When I hear the hoopla over Cafe au Lait I always think "whatever" then when I see one I end up swooning. Glad at least one of yours took off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looking at the flowers in my vase, I can assure you they are swoon-inducing. I love Eryngiums (like your beauties) as well, but they do not like our climate.

      Delete
  4. I fell in love with that Dahlia when I saw it on a florist's on-line site, If I'd had seen the bulbs sold locally I may have faced my poor history with Dahlias and tried it too. I'm glad you got one really good plant. I'm sorry to see that poor crape myrtle (I thought they were really heat tolerant!) but the Leucadendron's fate makes me want to cry for you. I hope this newest heatwave is more gentle, for both our sakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really gorgeous. My photos didn't do it justice.

      The Leucadendron--that hurt. A "weak cold front" is due Friday. Hang on out there...

      Delete
  5. The dahlia is stunning, easy to understand the hype it had a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I saw the flowers the difficulty in finding tubers made total sense.

      Delete
  6. I had a flesh pink dahlia in a stock tank that I pulled in a fit of irritation last week, replacing it with a colocasia. The dahlias' leaves are always ratty for me. Why do we always focus on small stuff like that? Look at those flowers! I like your boug/privacy idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They require some maintenance here--to make sure they stay inside their tomato cage supports; otherwise the stems flop badly. I'm not attentive to that, my bad. Ratty foliage...Swan Island said best in the ground, perhaps that's the reason? I would think a stock tank would be plenty plenty big.

      I hope the Bougie grows. It would look so good out the bathroom window in the morning.

      Delete
  7. Sold! I'm definitely seeking out that Dahlia next year. One out of three ain't so bad when the results are that spectacular.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so gorgeous. I've been sighing over my bouquet for days. I could have gotten a replacement for the non-sprouter if I'd reported failure within 30 days, but I just didn't get to it. The other is growing, it's just really small.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts