Do Plants "Like"?

First 'Pink Ice' Protea flower of the year

It's been too hot and humid to garden since Tuesday.  Outside for  quick photos Friday, I considered something I'd read a few days ago:

Leucospermums don't like root disturbance.

Do plants "like"?  I've read elsewhere: 

Proteacea have a dense network of fine roots just below the surface of the soil and no cultivation should take place below them as disturbance will damage the roots and possibly introduce fungal disease, resulting in the death of the plant.

I like the second statement better than the first.  It provides more information.  It provides the why.  Often there is no time for more information, so we fall back on the verbal shorthand of "like".  But I don't like it.   

The plants have liked--uh, enjoyed--the recent humidity--no, start again.  The recent humidity and resulting cloud cover has reduced stress on most of the plants in the garden, because the humid air reduces their need for moisture.  Hmm.  Maybe I like verbal shorthand after all--it involves less typing.  
Happy in humidity
 Little Bismarkia noblis was looking stressed in full sun--I dragged the heavy pot to a place somewhat shaded by the Japanese Maple.  The Bismarkia is happier now.  "Happier" meaning the palm has quickly sprouted four new fronds and there is less purple stress color and more blue green (photosynthesizing) in the foliage. 
One of the Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite' is happier--no, make that larger and lusher than the other.  For their first two years they were identical in size.  One began to grow more and look better.  
The one on the left:
  I realized at one point that the previous trees in that spot,Cercis occidentalis, performed the same way.  The one on the left was always bigger and healthier than the one on the right.  The one on the left may be getting more water, and the one on the right may be planted on top of a large subsurface chunk of sandstone.   I remember hitting some stone when I planted it, stone too large to excavate.  So, not a matter of "like".  There are reasons. 
Favorite plant of the month/bloom day star already decided:
 Spinosad on the tiny unopened rosebuds means we have roses in August again.  I'm the one liking that.  The roses are merely able to photosynthesize and set seeds. 
Thripless!
 The Dahlias last year suffered some Chili Thrips damage as well.  I've been spraying the tiny unopened Dahlia buds as well.  Beauty this year.  Me likey.
 The humidity has brought forth a scattering of Clematis flowers.
Happy?

The gardener will be happy when it cools off. 

Comments

  1. The plants looks splendid! Summer is a hard time for my garden too, much worse than winter. Your Lagerstroemias are stunning! mine will never look that good because when I planted them with my grandfather 20 years ago we also planted a tiny little Fénix canariensis palm tree too close.. now the palm is huge and blocks the sun from shinning on them like a giant umbrellla.. they are somewhat stunted because of that but I don't want to remove the palm tree. I really like that purple Clematis, beautiful plants but never saw one in person here neither in nurseries nor gardens but seemingly they don't mind heat. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Fénix canariensis truly are magnificent, aren't they? I thought about planting a pair of them in the garden at one point, but decided I could just as well enjoy the ones in the neighborhood. That has proven to be a good strategy.

      There are some Clematis that will be fairly happy without a winter chill, what they like is plenty of winter rain and spring rain and some summer rain wouldn't hurt. If they get plenty of water the heat is fine. The hybrids of C. vitcella, like 'Etoile Violette' or 'Perle d'Azur' (my favorite). There are a couple of species native to Southern California (Mediterranean climate).

      Have a beautiful weekend!












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  2. You've hit upon a pet peeve of mine: attributing human characteristics to plants. How the heck do scientists know how a plant feels? It gets worse when "plant rights" are discussed. In your usual sardonic way you did a good job of uncovering this topic.

    There is no joy in being outside these days. A heck of a lot of pruning, grooming is piling up, a jungle of grape vines, plumbago, bougainvillea, honeysuckle has "invaded" my yard. Or better said "has grown up as a result of copious winter rainfall."

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    1. It does take more typing, doesn't it?

      "Rights" are an interesting concept these days. Animals didn't used to have "rights" when they had a chance of endangering our interests. Now that we are killing off species on a daily basis and many of the most magnificent are reduced to a handful of individuals...perhaps "rights" are a concept that needs to be thought out for our era.

      Do people have a "right" to medical care in a for-profit medical care system if they cannot pay for it? Or is it that the for-profit system is becoming unaffordable, and is damaging not only poor individuals, but the security and prosperity of the entire nation?

      Shall we call your vines illegal immigrants? ;^)

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  3. I love you big. I look forward to reading it and learning from it. I'm in Zone 9b.

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  4. Humid warmth vs. dry heat is our battle, and maybe our thin air helps comfort in either one? But this year's abundant monsoon moisture (atmospheric humidity and rainfall) really had sparked plants and blooms like yours' has. Your crepe myrtles look great, as do many below me in our irrigated, fertile valley. Agreed on fresh blue-green foliage, not purple-ish stress.

    As our humidity starts to mellow out...bye bye blossoms. Then humidity comes back...blossoms.

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    1. I've been watching the AZ/NM area on the weather maps this summer. Indeed it looks like you are having a great rainy season. The Leucophyllums must be gorgeous this summer. Enjoy the rain!

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  5. As a society, we've become awfully fond of over-simplification, haven't we? Making good decisions requires the development of critical thinking skills, which are in turn dependent on the collection of facts and the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Shorthand descriptions (like slogans - and tweets) may be easy to remember but they don't help unravel complex problems.

    I'm glad your targeted Spinosad treatments have worked. Your rose and dahlia are perfectly gorgeous!

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    1. Life is becoming more and more complicated so we try and simplify, simplify. Nuance, subtlety, the greys, and science are lost. Sound bites, click bait, slogans, tweets... :^(

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  6. I admit to taking frequent dips into the "they like/don't like bucket", it is so much easier! My pet peeve lies in the telephone game of repeating and repeating advice which is totally unfounded and unproven. Prune this way, plant at this time, plant this bulb on it's side, add this to the soil to improve drainage or whatever... Although I'm to lazy to research much of it, there is a thing called science which could tell you what to really do.
    Of course that said I usually just drag the heavy pot to a new spot! But sometimes I just don't prune my roses to an outward facing bud. Take that unproven advice!

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    1. I found that the new rose sprout doesn't come from the outward facing bud, it comes from the bud on the sunny side! I'm also not a fan of unproven advice and look for evidence whereever I can. I do try to relate experience as particular to my garden. I know my results can be very different because of the light silt here, while most of the region is adobe.

      Climate is also something that gets overlooked. In my dry climate using cardboard as a layer under mulch creates a long term eyesore, in a hot humid rainy summer climate cardboard decomposes swiftly.

      Yeah, that science stuff!

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  7. I think the terminology shorthand, although inaccurate, builds more of a connection between people and the plants. I know that I personally want my plants to "like" what I'm doing for them. That said, I would much rather know the scientific explanations. Why not both? :)

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    1. Yes, both! But that takes even more typing and talking! Have a great Sunday, Alan!

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  8. It is odd how humans tend to anthropomorphize everything. Some scientists do believe plants are sentient. They use electrical signals within themselves and communicate with other plants through chemical signals. Some even believe they can process and store information. I find the concept fascinating, regardless of whether they have likes or dislikes.
    Sorry you're dealing with humidity. That does make working in the garden unpleasant. The air is very dry here, though the humidity is suppose to increase for the next few days. Most people prefer dry air, but it wreaks havoc on my sinuses. As long as it's hot, I can't win either way, humid or dry. I'm just pining for the cooler days of fall.

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    1. The term I've seen used for plants that seems appropriate is "consciousness", a level of awareness, of sun and rain, even perhaps of being pulled out...I wonder if their chemical or electrical signals have some way of communicating with us as well. Sometimes it feels at some level as though they are calling for water or warmth, or shade.

      I too await the relief of fall. After Labor Day it is much more pleasant here, at night and at the edges of the day.

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  9. I agree with Alan. It's an easy-to-understand verbal shortcut even if it's not perfectly accurate or applicable. Plus, scientific descriptions can sound dry and academic. I'm all for dynamic language, ideally combined with a degree of scientific validity.

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    1. Shortcuts are good, but deeper knowledge requires more explanation. I'm tired of being shallow. ;^)

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  10. I am nervous of fertiliser or digging near proteas - I battle to keep them alive.
    Saw this explanation on FB today.

    https://www.facebook.com/capeflatslife/photos/a.739711422793609.1073741829.738006149630803/1375485865882825/?type=3&theater

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    1. Thank you for that link, a good explanation indeed. No fertilizer or digging near mine here--I learned when I moved one and it died. A lesson I won't forget!

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