New Plants June 2024


A few garden flowers:   Roses 'Firefighter' and 'Silas Marner', two white Dahlias, a fringe-y Leucanthemum.  The foliage is Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'.  No use leaving the flowers on the plants--Sunday's near-90F temperatures toast many flowers to a crispy brown.  

As for recent plant purchases...

Impulse purchases are sometimes problematic

 Summer plant purchasing in Southern California can be iffy because of summer's dry heat.  There are exceptions.  Warm season annuals can be added if kept well watered until they get going.  Sub-tropicals or true tropicals need warm soil to establish, and some are sensitive to even our modest level of cold weather.   

Otherwise, summer plant purchases are best tucked into shaded, irrigated locations to survive until fall planting time arrives in October, or planted and given temporary shade and attentive care. 

Last week, I could not resist Hibiscus syriacus 'Minsyble9'  (marketing name 'Chateau de Versailles'):

One botanical site describes the species as "weedy" and it is considered an invasive in KY, PA, TN, and VA--far higher rainfall states than here, but certainly a call for caution.  On the plus side, it is said to be beneficial to pollinators.  I'll call it an experiment, not an impulse.

There's a recent new H. syriacus called 'Purple Pillar' which may have been a better choice:  its flowers are sterile.  Even better, Alyogyne huegelii, a species from southwestern Australia, also in family Malvaceae, is far more appropriate to this dry summer climate.  Perhaps 'Chateau' will be a very temporary experiment.

Two other new plants tucked into irrigated shade, one temporarily, one until October arrives:

A tall Pentas lanceolata with lavender-pink flowers, 'Orchid Illusion', and Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth', a native shrub found in the wild only in small, scattered locations.  'Elizabeth' is a selection of the species with a more refined growth habit and more, though smaller, flowers.  'Elizabeth' will wait until October for planting. 

Tall (once it grows) 'Orchid Illusion' planted in the former location of springtime Sweet Peas:

There are already several compact Pentas lanceolata in the garden:

They grow to a height of 18-24 inches.  The new purchase grows 48-60" tall, with a more open growth habit.   Pentas is native to tropical Africa.  Here in Southern California it is a wonderful warm season producer of butterfly-feeding flowers.  Our winters are just cold enough to make Pentas miserable, blackened with fungal disease.  If a Pentas survives, spring can revive it, but I often pull them in January because they look so awful.  

Planting one in a location with reflected heat from walls or pavement increases its chances of surviving winter.  

IFLAS recommends:

 "Plants can be dug, cut back, and stored in a container of soil over the winter in climates that receive freezing temperatures. Water occasionally to keep roots from drying out and re-plant and fertilize in the spring. Heavy mulch applied over the crown of plants cut back to the ground will help plants overwinter in hardiness zone 8. In most years, plants re-grow from the partially buried stems in the spring."

I'll consider trying something besides throwing the Pentas out come winter.                                                                        

An annual new to the garden 2024 is Cosmos bipinnata:

I now see the advantage of Zinnias over Cosmos for summer color.  Cosmos have prettier foliage and a more graceful growth habit, but Zinnia flowers last a whole lot longer.  Cosmos will need frequent deadheading.  So noted.  Next year the Zinnias may return. 

Other photos from the garden.  I wonder when Agave parrasana's flower stalk will further develop.  The stalk appeared last year but stopped growing for winter and spring:

Another Dahlia starts to flower:
Color now on Trachelium.  The flowers look good with yellow roses like 'Molineux'...

...and red roses, too:
I also note that existing plants in pots need protection from heat as much as new purchases do.  I moved potted 'Tamora' and other plants off pavement and onto moist soil for the summer:
That's what's up here lately, besides spot watering.   


  1. I love your bouquet. Other than my recent 'Vancouver' Dahlia impulse buy, I expect I still have a long wait before I see any other dahlias here despite the babying they're receiving right now. Your garden looks terrific. I hope the soaring temperatures do no harm. We peaked at 94F today and we lost power at 8pm throughout the area. We're currently running a generator but it only powers a few things, like the fridge and my PC ;)

    1. Thanks--flower arranging is tough for me. I'm trying but its a challenge. I think it is extremely educational tho to help understand what plant flower and foliage looks good with what, and why.

      Garden is suffering, and I'm watering. I realized the irrigation was still on the mild-days-marine-layer setting not the miserable-heat-summer setting, so fixed that--hopefully in time.

      OMG you lost power yesterday? Yikes. Generators--a neighbor has a nat-gas generator she can switch on--I think she got it for free. No need for filling the thing with gasoline. We have the ability to switch to using the solar panels during daylight hours with our new inverter, but I've never needed to try it, and it will run just a few things. When we really need A/C is so we can sleep night when it doesn't cool down. I can manage fine sitting in front of a little fan during the day.

      I hope you got your power back on!! It seems even hotter today. YUCK!

  2. The hibiscus are hard to beat. I planted 'Purple Pillar' last year (or maybe 2 years ago) and it has really put on a lot of growth this year. I don't think I've ever grown pentas.

    1. So you like 'Purple Pillar'? Worth the space? Has it stayed columnar in habit?

      Pentas would likely be an annual for you without a greenhouse and they are relatively expensive to grow as annuals. They are not easy from seed (and slow) which explains the higher cost.

  3. I love the arrangement with the eucalyptus leaves. I can't seem to resist a few purchases this time of year, although I know I shouldn't. The Trachelium purple and yellow roses look so nice together. Do you have to support the Trachelium, mine is a bit floppy.

    1. If you see something good, it's hard to say no, isn't it? I've gone to protect-for-the-summer and that seems to work out, tho your summers are even hotter than here!

      Yes indeed the Tracheliums flop. I grow them so they are supported by surrounding plants and then any Trachelium stem that invades a neighbor plant too much I chop off. They produce lots of stems so chopping off some doesn't seem to be a problem.

  4. Of course it's the Agave parrasana that stole this show for me. How interesting that it hasn't resumed growing. The first year we lived in Portland we rented a house while we searched for ours. We moved in July and the rental's long driveway was bordered in a profusion of cosmos. They were gorgeous!

    1. Since plants survive when served by pollinators, I figure it is waiting for the time of year when it's pollinators appear--perhaps soon? It still looks great, so I'm not worried.

      "Profusion of cosmos" -- sweet! That must have been a joyful "Welcome To Portland" from the local photosynthesizing community. :^)

  5. Yes, that Hibiscus is beautiful...and the other plant purchases, too. Great bouquet at the start! I'm drooling over your Roses, and that Dahlia. Lovely. And the Agaves and the Pentas...sigh. I'm a huge fan of Cosmos, which I grow from seed sown directly in the garden in May. They're almost ready to bloom. (Yay.) I also grow Zinnias in the same garden bed. Both are such great cut flowers, and they bloom (with deadheading) from early summer through first frost for me.

    1. I tried direct sowing Cosmos two years ago, and Zinnias a couple of times--and they sprouted nicely than vanished overnight. Blankety-blank rabbits, perhaps. Much of the garden now appears to be rabbit-secure, so perhaps I'll try again. I did the Cosmos seeds in cells and last year did the same with Zinnias. Direct-sow would be easier!

  6. A tall pentas! And in a color that blends well, I'd say that's worth trying to protect over winter.

    1. Yes indeed, I'm going to try to overwinter with warmth of some sort.

  7. I did some impulse buying too last week. Planted, watered in, thought I was good, then four days later I see some have burnt to a crisp. Sigh. How does a 1 gallon plant, watered deeply and with an already moist root ball, dry out that quickly? It's that time of year for me to stop buying plants or wait to plant until fall like you so wisely do.

    1. I have to water the new ones every single day, otherwise--- :(


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