Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dog Days

The hot, humid weather of dog days plays havoc with my carefully planned flower beds. The saving grace is that the grass is green from occasional showers of rain. When the grass seed heads are clipped off and weeds mown down, the garden looks neat despite my lack of attention during sultry afternoons.

What are dog days without a dog?

The picture above has dried seed heads of Black eyed Susans.

Shady spots still boast a few BES.

Butterflies and Zinnias enjoy hot sunny days.

I planted Lantana montevidensis and lilies; 
Melampodium and Tithonia planted themselves.

A Gulf Fritillary enjoys Tithonia.

Licorice Plant and Persian Shield are good companions.

Buffy still enjoys a romp with her Teddy but there isn't much left of Teddy.
He lost all his stuffing, his limbs and most of his head. 

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA. Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Looks Like another Hot Bloom Day

I was afraid I couldn't find a bloom for Bloom Day if the heat persisted without rain. It remains dry with thunder in the distance most every afternoon but few rain showers. I'm making notes of what best takes drought.

The yellow rose bed boasts an occasional daylily and a gladiolus along with scattered yellow roses. Nearby beds have yellow lantana in bloom. Also tolerant of drought is 'Moonbeam' coreopsis.

Meadow builders take note: Laura Bush Petunias appeared from seed in the new bed where everything failed except crab grass. These LB Petunias are in planned areas with Melampodium which also laughs at drought but does not attract butterflies.

Butterflies are attracted to Tithonia and Croscosmia. Both of these are glorious thugs, crowding their companions and easily planting themselves. Notice the crocosmia sports 2 dogface sulphurs. I'll give the dogfaces a post of their own soon, I managed a rare accidental pic of one with wings spread.

Other butterfly favorites blooming now are Verbena on a Stick, Zinnias, Pentas and Porterweed.

Purples! Purple Alternanthera has insignificant tiny clover-like blooms. It is grown for the foliage. Purple Heart has little pink blooms, shown here with Lantana montevidensis. Persian Shield blooms in the greenhouse in the winter, but rarely in the garden. I planted licorice plant not shown here, to bring out the silver in the leaves.  Licorice plant tolerates drought very well, but Persian Shield wants water.

Brazilian Ruellia doesn't mind that it is hot and dry. Neither does Madagascar periwinkle, here in a pale pink that is my favorite.

Among the best tropicals in bloom: Shrimp Plant and two colors of Crinum. Crinums really prefer oceans of water. Pride of Barbados remains in bloom and is putting on seed pods, but I'm not showing P of B as they were not at their best. Yesterday was the first glorious bloom of Tecoma stans, which I'll leave for next month when they're plentiful.

Roses are not the show that they were back in April, but blooms are still appearing. Here: Climbing Peace, Red Cascade and Gene Boerner floribunda.

More roses. The picture of Purple Alternanthera in an earlier pic is viewed from the end of the Rose Rose Bed. Here's a closer look. We are fast approaching the time when rose bushes need an August haircut. Knockout roses are touted as not needing deadheading, but they look better when they get attention. Bottom right is Gene Boerner again, a pink favorite. Top right is Reine des Violettes.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where rose fragrance is noticed along with the fragrance of phlox and an occasional Magnolia blossom. Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her site for links to other Bloom Day Gardens and to link your own.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rain to the South, Rain to the North, Agapanthus Blooming

Rain storms are moving towards the east above and below us. I delayed watering as long as I could. Things like this appreciate a drink to bloom properly. More tender plants are withering almost to the point of no return.

'Storm Cloud' Agapanthus

Succulents will go a long time without water,
but appreciate the occasional drink lest they start to drop leaves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

String Bikini Crinum

Native from NW Florida across to SE Texas along the Gulf, String Lilies Crinum americanum are another of the 'hurricane lily' flowers, blooming when ample rains come our way.

They send out stolons causing new plants to appear unexpectedly.

So far we've seen Milk and Wine crinums, pale pink, dark pink and now the string lily. The fragrant Jagus crinum, pure white and smelling of vanilla is yet to bloom. The big clump that always blooms just hasn't yet decided this year it is ready. A clump of Jagus that He-who-mows ran over two years ago has not recovered. I gave it compost, water and everything. Maybe the mower took off the growing points.

Cameron asked recently how long before they bloom after planting. I've seen some bloom the next year. Some that I planted too deep never bloomed until years later when I dug and replanted with their necks sticking out of the ground.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pick Up Sticks

Every stroll in the garden includes picking up sticks. When there are old, big trees, there are always fallen branches and twigs after the least wind.

It's the time of year when weeds disguise themselves by growing very close to another plant, then suddenly blossoming at the top when they reach the light.

Red, White and Blue:

Brazillian Ruellia

Oakleaf Hydrangea rebloom

A day of celebration, the  Birthday of our Country. We sang patriotic hymns at Church this morning, which was also the day designated as Homecoming. I don't stay for lunch and fellowship because I'm not from this community and the folks who 'come home' are mostly strangers to me. It was precious that the morning speaker, a young man in seminary, was the great-grandson of one of the 'founding fathers' of this particular congregation.

An explosion of bright colors in celebration in the garden:

If you look closely to the right of the Pride of Barbados in
bloom, there is my stick pick-up helper, Buffy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July Is Dressed Up and Playing Her Tune

"Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom.

July is dressed up and playing her tune.
Summer breeze makes me feel fine.
Blowing through the jasmine of my mind." -- Seals and Croft, "Summer Breeze"

We've had breezes, rainfall and cooler temperatures brought in by Alex. By the weekend, it will be hot as firecrackers again, just in time for the Fourth of July.

Pentas show stars for the Fourth:
White Pentas from the Yellow Rose Bed

Pink Pentas with a faux quail
Real quails visit the birdbath rock nearby. 

Paler Pink Pentas. The brighter pinks are all sulking now.

A dark pink crinum brought to bloom by the rain.

Rose de Rescht, fragrant on the breeze.

Crape Myrtle, a staple of the southern summer garden.
Lilacina, a very old cultivar. I plant them everywhere.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where Magnolia fragrance floats on the breeze and clouds hang low. Join us in a dish of the last of the blueberries in a dessert with crisp crust and a layer of creamy and sweet cream cheese whipped with vanilla yoghurt.