Ahhh! I'm In Heat!

Ferns in full sun?!?  (The orange flowers are an Epidendrum hiding behind the ferns.)
July has been hot.  We've had a long stretch of hot that is bleaching foliage, shutting down plant growth, driving gardeners into the house, where they fume and sulk.  Nowhere near as bad as last June's devastating Big Broil, but sustained heat is tough on most plants.     
Not Salvia clevelandii 'Winifred Gilman', though. July has not fazed her.
Heat has been tough for bees.  They've been thirsty.  An orderly stream of bees visit the wet moss in the top of the koi shower all day long, like the airplanes that line up to land at LAX.  I guess you could called it a beeline.

Huh.  Come to think of it, where did that moss come from? 
 The ferns that appeared on their own in the top of the koi shower look happy, despite being in full sun.   Highly aerated, nutrient infused water constantly flowing over their roots apparently compensates for full sun exposure.  Who would have thought?
 
Drinking party
 In Summer the koi hang in the shade, out of intense sunlight.  A drowned bee floated on the surface of their pond.  I got the net and fished it out.

 The apparently drowned bee was alive after all;  it dried off then flew off, thirst thoroughly quenched.
She's okay, but not thirsty
Opposite the pond, a lovely rose, 'The Prince'.  This past winter I removed it from its third spot in the garden due to miserable performance--it had done no better than it did in its previous two locations.  I was planning to throw it out, but for some reason didn't, instead planting it in a fourth place, part shade to the north of the wall near the koi pond.  Fourth time was the winner:  finally, finally it has thrived, and has produced more flowers in the past 3 months than it did in its first twelve years.  Surprised the heck out of me.

Waiting all that time for the right place. 
 Still doesn't hold up to a heat wave, though. 
 Some plants can handle heat.  Some gardeners can too, but no sensible gardener is shopping for plants in the heat of July, unless it is casual perusal on line.  It's not time to plant.  It's time to deep clean the house with the air conditioning on, and dream of October.  Naturally,  a few days ago I went plant shopping.   

Some weeks ago I bought an Eremophila glabra 'Fire and Ice' at Lowe's, of all places.  A wholesale grower in Arizona, Australian Outback Plants,  supplies some Lowe's in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California with Australian plants.  (Note: no connection to this company beyond buying a couple of their plants; this is not an advertisement.) The company appears to limit species to Australian plants that can handle extremely hot and arid climates (Arizona, Nevada, Utah).  In otherwords, not Grevilleas. 

Eremophila glabra 'Fire and Ice':

 'Fire and Ice' is doing well despite being planted in June, so I thought I'd check to see if any other Australian plants were available at the local Lowe's (this is not an advert for Lowe's, either).   Just to get out of the (unusually clean) house. 

Selected another Eremophila,  'Red Sensation'.  The plan is to plant it in the back gully, so we can watch hummingbirds fight over the flowers there, too, not just on the front slope, the west slope, in Proteana, the walled garden, the far side of the driveway, the entrance garden, and the veggie garden. 
Want to sit here and watch birds:

There are a couple of Salvias but nothing else for hummers in the gully.  Never enough hummingbird plants. 
 I was innocently making my way to the register, when I saw...
 Yes. A third black-foliaged Lagerstroemia.  I love, love, love these.  Besotted.  Major Plant Crush.  If I don't have a place for it, I'll make a place.  (I have a place...I think). 

Here is the first one I got two years ago.  It's now over five feet (150 cm) tall. 
Here's the one I got last year.  It's doing very well also.  These are slow growers, perhaps because of the black foliage.  Slow is okay. 

I decided black foliaged Lagerstroemias are a fair substitute for Leucadendron 'Ebony'.  'Ebony', while beautiful, is not overly vigorous, not easy to find, and pricey.  The Leucadendron is smaller, and evergreen, but the Lagerstroemias are close enough, and half the price at double the size.    

This 'Ebony' is doing well.  The other died--too dry, maybe.
Buying plants in July?  What can I say?  I'm in heat. 

Comments

  1. So glad I'm not the only one who says 'no new plants in this heat!' and then buys new plants. Love your beeline!

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    1. It's not just me? ;^)

      Bees are cool!

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  2. Hilarious! Said to myself upon reading title.,"Oh, no, she didn't mean that!" Turns out you did. Twisty story. Well done.

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    1. Well, I meant it in a certain respect.

      Gardening is kind of twisty, don't you think? Many wrong turns, u turns, reverses, re-routings before arriving at the desired place.

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  3. I love those Lagerstroemias too but haven't figured out where to put one. That bee pic is wonderful. I've noticed the bees hanging out at our fountain so they're thirsty here too, even though we haven't been nearly as hot as you are by the sound of it. The marine layer has been very helpful of late; however, it appears to be lifting early this morning, which is too bad as we have yet another planned power outage and our generator doesn't run the AC. I too went plant shopping recently. My quarry was succulent 6-packs but, of course, I bought a few other things. Roger's had a new-to-me variegated Lomandra ('Platinum Beauty') and I couldn't pass it up!

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    Replies
    1. Those Lagerstroemias are WAY tidier than Mimosas. Just sayin'.

      Darn, now I want a 'Platinum Beauty'. Why'd you have to mention that?

      The house indoors stays pretty cool even without A/C. It's not being able to go outside and garden that raises the grouchy level dramatically. Good luck with the power outage. We had that here a couple of times when they were replacing old power poles. What a PITA.

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  4. That new Lagerstroemia is very shapely. I'd fall in love with it if I spied it on my way to the register too. 'Fire and Ice' is pretty yummy too, and I'm not a hummingbird, but I do like sugar as much as they do.

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    1. Imagine eating your fill every 15 minutes all day long and never weighing more than an ounce. The hummingbird life must be interesting.

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  5. That is a very astute comparison between the dark crepe myrtle and 'Ebony.' And thanks for the tip on Oz plants at Lowes!

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    1. Isn't it true that there are substitute plants for just about everything? Can't grow "A", but "B" has the same presence in the garden...doesn't apply to herbaceous Peonies, but we get Proteas instead.

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  6. I had never seen a black Lagerstroemia! It looks beautiful! I love the dark aeonium in the last picture, Lately I'm falling in love with aeoniums.

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    Replies
    1. Well, now you've seen three. :) The dark Aeonium is a striking plant. I'm finding that dark foliage accents amidst green works very well.

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  7. I, too, draw the line at planting new stuff in the heat of summer...then immediately cross it. Isn't that what hoses are for?

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    1. No. Hoses are for breaking branches, snapping flowers off, kinking, sprouting leaks, weighing a ton, and generally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are thinking of watering cans and Sun-Block.

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  8. I loved this article! Plants can be so addicting! They beg us to take them home and nurture them. We fall for it because they're so cute, then we become their willing slave...

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    1. And they give us beauty in return. Good arrangement, no?

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  9. I'm hoping to plant a few of the July purchases tomorrow. I've already crossed the line and now need to make amends.
    The bee line is quite a sight! I guess it is dry by you... unlike here, where our monsoon summer continues. The heat is good for my own dark leaved crape myrtle, maybe it will get enough roots down that it survives the winter. That would be a nice contrast to the other two I've already killed.

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    1. Yes, very very dry here despite some humidity in the air. Best of luck on the crape myrtle--maybe some temporary shade for the first summer? Mulch? I do love mine. I don't even care if they flower--just love the foliage. I got the new one planted, but oh, it was hot work even at 9am.

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