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Autumn Foliage, Southern California Version

Leucadendron 'Ebony'  displaying Southern California's version of autumn foliage
It has finally cooled off enough to garden again here in Southern California.  I've been pulling out victims of two months of terrible heat--the Leucadendron in the above photo, as well as the Grevillea 'Royal Fanfare' which looked happy in spring but did not survive the heat.  Two choice plants.  Ouch. 
Some of the Pittosporums also suffered--one of the P. tenuifolium 'Wrinkled Blue's had several branches die.  I spent yesterday cutting them out. There, the center-left one.  Looks a bit better now.  There's still a few dead bits that need to come out.  
The four 'Tasman Ruffles' P. tenuifolium to the right look very bad, much worse than in the photo.  The long drought of 2011-2016 damaged them and they lost their health and beauty.  They should be lusciously dense, not scraggly.  Remove and replace with new copies?  Replace with something else?  Cut back hard, to…

Blooms From A Heat Weary Garden


 Last Canna flower of the year.  Heat loving Cannas soon will go dormant.  I hope. 

We've been experiencing another miserable heat wave, with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s F (35 - 38C) all this week.  

Rose 'Rouge Royale' with Salvia 

Three of the 'Joe Hoak' Agaves are sending up flower spikes.  The flowers may not open until next spring. 
The 'Black Diamond'/'Ebony' series of Lagerstroemias have bloomed lightly but constantly for several months.  They have shown no damage from the heat. 

Yet another flower stalk from a 'Bright Star' Yucca.  They've spread out their flowering so there has been at least one stalk to admire for the past several months. 
More day lily flowers as well.  They are another plant that handles heat well.
In a cooler autumn, the Hummannia plants would have already shut down for the year.  Not this year.
Ditto for the Russelia.  Another heat lover.
The shorter daylight hours may have stimulated another round of flowers from the Callistemons.  This is the very attractive 'Little John'
The strange stapeliad, Orbea variegata is another heat lover.
The spots on the Orbea remind me of the spots on Manfreda maculata leaves.  The Manfreda bloomed several months ago, but like many of this post's plants, it loves the heat.  The more distinct spots are on this side of the leaf, the faded ones on the away side.  Sunlight streaming through the leaves performed this effect. 


 The garden doesn't seem nearly so tired of the heat as the gardener is.  I've chopped down most of the Dahlias, cut back the neighbor's Bignonia vine that grows over the wall and tries to climb the Metrosideros excelsa, planted some old Sweet Pea seeds that probably won't germinate, dug out a big thicket of Salvia 'Amistad', dug out a bloomed out Agave x mitis 'Nova', and dug out the 'Grandmothers Hat' rose  I planted just this spring.  The rose was indeed as fragrant as advertised, but it was preparing to grow a big thicket of canes, and I wasn't in the mood for another big thicket item.  Maybe it was the heat.  


  1. The Callistemon looks like a flower I have used in a Christmas arrangement. The ends dipped in gold glitter. That stapeliad is so pretty. I had a stapeliad long ago. It was such a surprise when it bloomed one summer as I had placed it outside one summer and forgotten about it. Probably the best thing I could have done for it. ha... Sounds like you have been quite busy despite the heat. Cheers.

    1. Yes 'Little John' flowers look like they have been tipped with glitter. A particular delight.

      The stapeliad is an an iffy spot because I wasn't sure where to put it. Happy it has not died.

      Managed to do some gardening first thing in the morning, and a bit more in the shade of the oak tree. Also it has been cooling down at night, which is the really good thing. Makes it so much more bearable.

      I guess you have frost and the like now. Now you can get some rest from gardening. The rest here is about over and we get to work for the fall and winter.

    2. Yes, frost last night and probably more tonight. I so enjoy our winter rest however it does last a little long it seems some years. By about mid winter I get to envying you your ability to work in the garden year round.

  2. Your garden looks like it is holding up well despite the heat. Hopefully the gardener will recover soon. That Russelia is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like the blooms might attract hummingbirds? We are expecting our first big snow storm of the season tomorrow so battening down the hatches and harvesting anything worth harvesting from the garden today.

    1. The Russelias are indeed another hummingbird magnet. The plants are so big and have so many flowers the female hummers and juveniles especially can feed freely from them without being attacked by the males who guard the Grevilleas so jealously.

      Snow. Wow. Sorry but that sounds so good to me. It's roasting here.

  3. I don't usually care for red-flowered Callistemons (probably due to over-exposure to them in my youth) but I admit I'm a little in love with your 'Little John'. I don't think our temperatures have soared quite that high as yours but then I've been hiding out in the house most of the week and not closely monitoring the heat outside. However, I'm SO ready for the heat to be over. This week's heat seemed like a slap in the face after the short break we had from it last week. Unlike you, I've done virtually nothing in the garden since Saturday other than some extra watering. My dahlias and zinnias are still in place in my cutting garden but I think they'll be gone within the next 2 weeks, with the exception of Dahlia 'Gitts Crazy', which is only now preparing to bloom. (I apparently misinterpreted what was meant by "crazy" in this context.) Late-planted Dahlia 'Rancho' is suddenly on a growth spurt too but unless the dose of bloom booster I delivered earlier this week produces buds soon, it'll be going straight to the compost bin.

    1. I remember from childhood nearly every yard in the neighborhood had a red-flowered Callistemon and more than one salmon pink Oleander (our yard did). Also Hollywood junipers, and in our area Fuchsias were extremely popular.

      What continues to stun me is that my Mom & Dad's old house bought many years before I was born has some of the original shrubs--an orange Hibiscus...

      Happy you still have some Dahlias! I miss mine already!

  4. Such beautiful flowers and such an array of colours :)

    I'm missing summer. It's most definitely autumn here with temperatures of between 6-10 degrees today.

    1. Thank you! Our other seasons are much nicer than summer. In other places in the world, it seems to be the opposite.

  5. That Russelia is magnificent!!! Wow... I'm sorry you're still battling the heat. Hope it subsides soon, so you can enjoy being outside again.

    1. It's cascading down six feet or more. Dramatic!

      Cooler today, finally. Not cool, but much better. :)

  6. Oh my goodness: Everything is beautiful, but I'm mesmerized by the crepe myrtle, the yucca and the callistemon blooms. And that last photo...swoon! I'm so sorry to hear about the continued high heat and drought. I hope you'll have significant relief very soon.

    1. Happy you liked the pictures--thank you. Yes, it's finally cooler today. Relief!


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