And Now, Let's Add Humidity!

Eryngium planum 'The Hobbit'

Let's make July's heat extra miserable by adding some high humidity.  Yet somehow a little gardening continues.  When plants call, we answer.  

Bougainvillea 'Imperial Thai Delight', planted in 2015 from a one gallon, is beginning to make a visual impact.  If I can confine it to the tower, if it can engulf the tower in an airy manner, as it has the tower's base, happiness will ensue. 
It's time for Myrtus communis 'Variegata' to cover itself in flowers and feed all sorts of bees:  Carpenter, Bumble, honey, and last but important:  small, solitary natives.  
Bumble bum:
Bees are also mobbing an irregularly formed Agave 'Blue Glow' flower stalk.  Being a tissue cultured plant, an oddly constructed bloom stalk is not unexpected.  A regular 'Blue Glow' flower stalk on the right:
 A massive amount of nectar and pollen available:
Not a new plant, but recent:  Neoregelia 'Milargros'.  It has lost some of it's red color in this shady spot, but it seems reasonably happy.  TheAechmea fasciata was once a single plant, it has grown into four.  
The best place for the new black-foliaged Lagerstroemia appears to be here:
The reflected heat from the wall will help the Lagerstroemia bloom.  When it grows to 10' (eventually) it will provide a bit of shade for the hydrangeas on the other side of the wall.  There are just two poorly performing roses to remove.  

Since the black-foliaged version grow very slowly, there will be adequate time to move Dahlias before the Lagerstroemia shades them out.  (Watch this one grow like lightning just because I said that.)

Further west in the same bed, I chopped the Iochroma to the ground.  Though still blooming away, the foliage was all burnt.  It looked awful for the first time ever--overdose of fertilizer?  I gave it fertilizer for the first time ever--no more, I guess.  Its support which is falling apart, needs help.  That chunk of concrete was improvised weight that hung over the wall at one point to keep the Iochroma from falling forward.  It worked.  
I'd better hurry on the fixes--the Iochroma is already sprouting new growth:
The non-commuter tomato is ready for harvest.  The commuter tomatoes plants I discarded after harvesting the fruit.  The plants were a mess.  There are several seedlings already growing in the same pots--replacements.  There's enough hot weather yet to come for them to grow and fruit.  (Oh, joy!). 
Heat, not a problem for the Dahlias.
Heat tolerable too for the Leucospermum seedlings.  This one, in the poorest soil, is the happiest, at 12" (30 cm) tall.  The others, in richer soil, are half the size.  Huh.  How 'bout that? 
I removed the soil and weedy Alyssum growing in this space and filled the space with pebbles.  Very tidy now.
The koi got a new UV light for their 11th anniversary.  July 15, 2006 we got the original four little koi;  the other three were added one at a time over the next two years.  Blondie is missing from the photo;  she died in December. 
She became suddenly ill for unknown reasons when the Big Broil of June 2016 hit.  After many weeks of huddling on the bottom of the pond she was perfectly fine again, swimming vigorously and eating voraciously, and this continued until a day or two before she died.  Did she eat something like a Eucalyptus button the wind flung into the pond, something that blocked her insides?  Kidney failure?  I don't know.  The rest of the koi were fine, and still are.  RIP Blondie.  She was 11 or so years old, had a good life, for a koi.  Good food, good water, hanging with her friends.  I was too upset to mention this before now.   Did she call out something to me, someone unable to hear it? 

Agave 'Rum Runner' called to me yesterday.  That I heard, clear and clear:  "Get me out of this sun.  It's too much for me.  I'm dying."  Done.  Into moist shade for a while, until it is stronger.  Another try at the sun next year. 
We are the ones who can hear them call, if we listen.  

Such is a little gardening, on a sultry day in July. 


  1. I do think I'll purchase a dark Lagerstroemia, if ever I see one. Such a good plant, and I can ALWAYS use more dark leaves. Your garden is looking lovely, despite the heat and humidity. Poor Blondie, I can still hear the sadness in your words. Hugs on you.

    1. Thanks. We can't take koi to the vet, unfortunately.

      Lagerstroemia need heat to be happy, so if you find one give it the hottest spot you have. You would get autumn color--not cold enough here for that.

  2. You've been busy, not that I'm surprised. Your Iochroma is almost scary - mine, in a large pot, is only now gaining some height and blooms only sporadically (when I remember to water it). Interesting about the Leucospermum seedlings - maybe I've been too generous with the soil amendments. I'm sorry you lost Blondie - I remember how worried you were about her following that horrific heatwave.

    1. I get restless in the house and brave the heat for a while, then run back inside to cool off. My parents came to California because they hated being stuck indoors all winter--I must have inherited that.

      Thanks. Koi are not quite as strong a presence as furry friends, but they are a constant friendly and beautiful presence.

  3. The blue glow flower is very strange. Im pleased you listeed to the run runner, it would have bee a shame to loose it.

    1. I think 'Rum Runner' is already recovering. It doesn't take them long. The front slope is so very very dry the small Agaves can't get established.

      'Blue Glow' does that sometimes. The "normal" stem gave zero seed pods and three plantlets. The first one a couple of years ago gave two seed pods and twenty five plantlets. I think the drought limited plantlets on that second one, and come to think of it, our end of the drought may have created the strange bloom stem--extra water as that stem developed.

      The massive amount of flowers, though--a great thing for the bees.

  4. Oh yikes; I'm inside hiding from the things the plants may be calling to me. Tomorrow _early_ I'll go attend...

    1. I've been doing some hiding from the heat myself. Autumn, where are you?

  5. The koi are beautiful, they seem to lead a good, healthy life. Sorry about Blondie though.
    That agave is something! I don't think I've every really looked at one close up.

    1. The koi bring a different kind of life to the garden. It is fun to sit on the patio and watch them swim around. Agaves are beautiful! (One of my favorite genera so I'm prejudiced.)

  6. I'm sorry about Blondie...
    to distract you: have you been to the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu? The most lively koi I've ever seen--plus, beautiful gardens :).

    1. Thank you, Holly. I've never been to Hawaii--not much of a traveler. It sounds like a wonderful place!


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