Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

The unrelenting temperatures of high nineties is discouraging much gardening. Fall cannot get here soon enough. Right now it's still in the high 80s at 8 pm at night. Can't wait for the cool weather and being able to leave the windows wide open for cool air to flow through the house. The garden always looks long in the tooth in August and early September. Everything's wilted and appears baked. Checking in on what's doing well or not so well in the garden, I discover that the five coneflowers I planted are not faring well. Three are already dead.

I love coneflowers. They're leaves are scratchy and their heads hurt if you lean down to fast and end up smacking your nose onto them,  but oh do they put off such a sweet scent. No garden should be without their perfume, particularly early evenings. And the white version, Virgin, glows at dusk. But unfortunately this plant, along with Marigolds and Lavender, seem to be plants that I am destined to be unable to grow. I suspect the sprinkler system has a lot to do with it. Guess I'm just going to have to accept that this and stop buying them annually.
Did I mention it's miserably hot here? At 10 this morning Yertle waddled over to his "pool" for a short swim. I was so surprised to see him climb into the dish that I quickly ran for the camera to document it. In the five weeks that I've had him, this was the first time I saw him soak and drink out of the pool. It was so cute to see him climb into the center, sink down with his head underwater for a bit and then come up and almost sigh with relief. I'll have to go look for a larger drainage dish next weekend so he can have a larger "pool" to soak in. Now if I could only get him to eat something besides the dry Iams cat food.
This lovely hardy hibiscus survived the winter despite part of it dying off. It was such a nice suprise to find it blooming along the back fence where much doesn't want to grow, other than the morning glories, which I love but have had to pull out because they keep strangling everything. Too bad the hibiscus doesn't have any scent.
Turk's Cap should do well here... theoretically. The one I planted two years ago did not survive the winter. And the two I planted this month are already dropping leaves. I saw a huge clump of them growing on the east side of Rudy's Barbeque this weekend, so perhaps I'll get lucky and mine will flourish. Course, there's that tricky problem with the sprinkler system again.
The Ruella, thankfully, has prospered in the spot it was planted in two years ago. Planted along the west side of the fence, one 6 inch pot has expanded to about two feet long and a foot wide and stands over three feet tall now. It's such a beautiful shade of purple and I'm hoping to plant more of them around the yard next year.
This plant has proved to be such a great surprise. Three years ago I found this little 6 inch pot at either Lowe's or Home Depot, can't remember which, with a few brillant red flowers. The tag read "Flame Acanthus, Hummingbird Bush" [or Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii]. There was even a cute little hummingbird icon on the tag, something I had not seen before, or since. The bush has grown a bit beyond the 36 inches the tag promised and is covered with blossoms. I haven't seen a hummingbird on the plant but dragonflies and bees don't seem to mind it at all. I'd love to plant more of these if I could find it again!

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