Forty Eight More Days

Forty eight more days of summer.  Last week was mild for late July, daily high about 81F (27C) .  This week more like 86-87F (31C).   The retreat indoors happens earlier, yet some tasks are getting done. 

Weed tree removed, and the Magnolia laevigata--it is not happy here.


Late in spring I made some instruction signs ("Out", "Move", and "Rehab") to place by various plants, intending to do the removes/moves/rehabs in fall when it cools down.  The signs have proven effective--whenever I'm wondering about what to do next, a sign reminds me.     


Speaking of Learning A Plant (previous post),  lesson learned on Aeoium 'Kiwi' and Graptoveria 'Fred Ives':  Wonderful edging plants, prolific off-setters.  Echeveria agavoides spreads much more slowly.  Less resulting green waste to manage (as seen above).  More use of Echeveria agavoides, less 'Kiwi' and 'Fred' ahead. 
Another plant purchase, even thought it is August.  A cherry tomato plant to replace one that gave up...

...another six pack of  Catharanthus, because the previous Catharanthus six pack has been a great success...

Hopefully a bunch grown from seed next spring: individual Catharanthus roseus of incredible color...

'Tatoo Blackberry', plummy yummy:

...and three well grown, inexpensive Myrtus communis 'Compacta'.   The intent is to add them as clipped globes to the entry garden.   Strong architectural shapes to contrast with fountaining Hemerocallis foliage, the stiff verticals of TB Iris, and frothy Geranium 'Rozanne'.  The Myrtle's sweet scent,  deep green color, low water needs, slow-growing habit, and general toughness are added pluses.  The tomato and Catharantus are planted.  The Myrtles can wait until autumn. 

Zinnias grown from seed two months ago are now flowering, but...are they well grown?  

  'Benary's Strain' Zinnias are purported to be 4-6" diameter flowers on 36-40" plants.  Mine are barely 3" wide on 18" plants.  Insufficient fertilizer?  Insufficient sun?  Planted too late (Mid May)?  One reason the Pittosporums on the east side of the garden got chopped 6' shorter was to give tomatoes and zinnias more sun.   Good growing takes practice.--at least they bloom.  Last I looked there were butterflies on the flowers--reason enough.  Butterflies need nectar.   

A few more unhappy Aloes (dorotheae, gariepensis), stems trimmed to re-root, were moved into nursery beds to recover.  They deserve to thrive.  A beautifully grown plant is a beautiful plant, no matter what it is. 

Soon to be happier, we hope:  

Sick spot?   

A 'Rouge Royale' rose died there.  I thought it was the rose.  An 'Iceberg' rose planted subsequently sickened.  I assumed it had been planted too small.  Moved, it recovered rapidly and looks dramatically better.  

 A small but healthy 'Mystic Spires Blue' Salvia went into 'Iceberg's old spot.  It declined.  Another 'Mystic' of identical size, purchased at the same time and planted in another spot is healthy and growing.

A different 'Mystic' in a good place:

 Instead of watching the Sick Spot Salvia die, I moved what was left of it. It may recover. 

 The leaves (what are left of them) already look better:

Okay, so the problem is the location, not two roses and a Salvia.  The sick spot was a low spot so I added some old potting soil there some years ago.   Probably not good.  Probably the issue.  

Summer annuals and the Dahlias have made summer gardening fun again, despite the heat.  Pretty things to see while out there chopping/digging/deadheading.

Australian native Marieana sedifolia, cut back to a stump some months ago, is completely refreshed:
Will there be Erica seeds?  I'd like to try growing some from collected seed. 
Shrubby version of Russellia equisetiformis looks happy:
The garden seems better than last August:
or maybe the gardener feels more optimistic.
Even motivated enough to make a six Zinnia, two Rose, one Dahlia bouquet. 

Do you ever stand in the garden wondering what to do next?   How do you decide?


  1. One year I tried creating a "fall to-do" spreadsheet but, when it came down to it, I operated on memory rather than using the reference, resulting in some omissions in the process. Your visual cues seem a better idea. I love that 'Tattoo Blackberry' Catharanthus! Have you tried the dwarf variety (marketed as 'Soiree Ka*wa*ii' I think)? I haven't planted any Catharanthus this year but probably should give it a try as a filler, although it's so dry I'm reluctant to plant anything. My seed-sown Zinnias are a mixed bag too. The 'Benary's Giant Purple' I seeded in place in mid-April did MUCH better than the seeds I sowed in small pots and subsequently moved to my raised planters once I cleared space in early May. The latter aren't nearly as vigorous. In the future I'll plant Zinnia seeds in April in place.

    1. There's a whole series of those 'Tattoo's--hope to try them next year. Planted the Zins 1 round early May 1, round 2 May 29th, areas were morning shaded by the pittos, which slowed them down. maybe may 1 will work next year (if we get rain this winter). Soil needs to be warm.

      I read Zins "best sown in place" in SWGB, but it did not say WHY. Monty said why on GW (dislike of root disturbance, so yes definitely sow-in-place next year. Wasn't sure about Zins next year until I saw the butterflies on the flowers.

      Have you tried Scabiosa from seed? I tried Pentas this year but nothing came up--I did something wrong.

    2. Saw those 'Soiree' as potted somewhere--Lowes? Cute!

  2. Love the Zinnias...definitely a favorite plant here, too (also grown from seed). Ah, what to do next... Good question! I think it varies depending on my mood and whether it's the beginning of the growing season, the middle, or the end. We are unfortunate (and fortunate) to have a break of about four months. So the enthusiasm is greatest (for me) in about May, when the native perennials emerge and the seed-grown and store-bought plants are put in the ground. I tend to get lazy, and just enjoy the garden, toward the end of September (it will all go inside, go dormant, or die soon at that point).

  3. I do that constantly and I'm amazed at just how many plants I'm planning on moving. I need to start a list soon. I love the Russellia equisetiformis!

    1. What ever you do it is working, because your garden only looks more and more gorgeous.

      The Russellia gives so much for so little effort--lucky to be able to grow it. :)

  4. Very clever idea with the signs. Jogs the memory. I have lists: long term, all that currently needs doing and things that need doing now. Feels good to actually cross things off. You might be feeling your garden is better this year as you have more time to putter and fine tune it. As always it looks wonderful.

    1. I put more effort into the garden for summer, and it has paid me back.

      Thank you!

  5. I always learn something new from each of your blog posts, Hoover Boo. I was unaware that Marieana sedifolia (a plant from my home state) can take that kind of severe chop back - and thrive. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I've chopped the Maireana back several times, once every four or five years when it looks scruffy, and it never fails to come back looking beautiful. It's an AWESOME plant!

  6. Oh and I love your arrangement featuring various plummy shades :)

  7. I love the plant tags telling you what to do. I tend to create lists. But often, in the garden when I am looking at a problem plant or location, I can't remember my plan. So it's is smart to have a reminder right in front of you.

    1. Yes indeed, when the list is on the kitchen table and the gardener is outside, with muddy hands and dirty shoes...

  8. Beautiful bouquet Hoov! Is that a Magnolia laevifolia that didn't make it?

    1. Yes, I put the poor thing out of its misery. :( It surely lives on in glory elsewhere, probably in NW Oregon.


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