Some Like It Hot
Most every day here has been 90F/32C since July 5th, one month ago. According to the forecast, a long stretch of heat still lies ahead, with temperatures close to 100F on Monday and Tuesday and maybe Wednesday.
Less roses, more Tecoma? But I love roses...I only like Tecoma.
Little gardening is being done beyond watering plants enough too keep them alive. The Aloe capitatas, which research indicated are native to areas of plentiful rain, have been getting a watering can full divided among them nearly every day: improvement is noticeable in the form of fatter leaves, less curled leaves, new growth, more green, less I'm-stressed-red coloration.
July 10, in need of increased irrigation:
August 4th, looking better:
More irrigation has been necessary this summer than last because it has been hotter, and because we totaled less than five inches of winter rain this year. The plants are crying for moisture, even well established, mulched, root-shaded plants. I hear and respond.
But dear Protea neriifolia, I am sorry! The response was insufficient.
Some plants actually relish heat, providing they get sufficient water. The Russelia, though they bloom year round, bloom most lavishly in hot weather. I wonder if each flower produces more nectar at this time of year as well--the plants have been mobbed by hummingbirds.
Russelia, native to southern Mexico, is considered a tropical plant, though it easily handles our occasional 40F/4C winter overnight low temperatures without damage. The above plant is the typical form. Below is a more compact version:
Cuphea (this one is 'Vermillionaire®') is also found in warm-temperate-to-tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere. It survives our mild winters looking a little tired, but thrives in heat.
Bromeliads--it's not so much that they love heat, but that they dislike cold.
Another tropical Mexico plant, an Oncidium orchid, has bloomed. Purchased last May, it is mounted on a board hung in the Acer 'Oshio Bene'. The orchid gets spring/summer/fall dappled shade and in winter, full sun. Some humidity rises up to it from the soil beneath. This has served the plant well.
Pentas is native to much of Africa.
The Aloe is 'Cynthia Gitty'
Lantana is at its best in hot weather.
Kalanchoe luciae has a lot of new growth.
'Cara Cara' orange fruit growing. They will be ripe at Christmas.
Grevillea slow down in August, but 'Ned Kelly' has a few beautiful flowers despite.
There's that Centaurea ragusina again. Still flawless. It's fortunate that at least some of the garden is perfectly happy in this miserably hot summer that succeeded a miserably dry winter.
A celebrated landscape designer named Jacques Wirtz has passed away, aged 93. He began not as a landscape designer but as a gardener. First and foremost, he knew plants. "A garden that is not beautiful in winter is not a beautiful garden," he said. Wise words--though here substituting "summer" for "winter" would be appropriate.
I've been very grumpy about all the heat damage in the garden, but there is plenty growing and beautiful still, if I just stop sulking long enough to notice.