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:
...an 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:
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?