Thursday, July 16, 2015

Blooming in July

Rose "Crown Princess Margareta", Desert garden, July bloom
This is certainly not the lushest time in the small, sunny garden!  But as it is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, here is a look at what is in bloom just now.  

Because there are some very special plants in flower in spite of the weather. Some of them are one-bloom-at-a-time sorts, like the two Osteospermums that throw off the occasional blossom.  "Blue-eyed Beauty"...
Osteospermum "Blue-eyed Beauty", desert garden, July bloom
...and "Sideshow" are neither of them blooming heavily, but they are willing to smile at the world from time to time.  I look forward to a stronger showing when weather eases up.
desert garden, July bloom, Osteospermum "Sideshow"
Agastache "Ava" continues to bloom with great pertinacity.  I still think she would be wiser to get settled into the ground first, but she has other ideas.  So far the blooms are much more delicate than I expected.  Sadly, A. "Apricot Sprite" collapsed, apparently a watering failure on my part; but it took me entirely by surprise.  "Ava" is set to be a considerably larger plant in future years, and she holds court down at the bottom of the garden, an area still very sparsely planted.
desert garden, July bloom, Agastache "Ava"
Other plants are just beginning a bit of a blooming spree.  For instance - to my great delight - Gaura lindheimeri is opening a new set of blooms.  I cut it back shortly after planting, and it has responded with plenty of bushy growth and now a new flush of flowers coming on.  I suspect this is the variety "Siskiyou Pink", but the plant was labelled only with the species name, so I'm not sure.  Are there any other varieties in this colour mode?
desert garden, July bloom, Gaura lindheimeri
Leucophyllum - variety unknown, in this case - is considered highly reliable here, and it has been growing rapidly after a slow start.  Now it is sending out a new set of flowers.  Here is a close-up of one of the blooms with its lavender trumpet and speckled throat.  They are not overly large or showy but a very nice addition to a handsome evergreen shrub.
Leucophyllum, Texas Ranger, desert garden, July bloom, flower
Lavender "Goodwin's Creek Gray" has been opening its new flower stalks for a week or two.  I have certainly found a favorite in this one!
desert garden, July bloom, Lavender Goodwin's Creek Gray, lavendula
On the other hand, though Perovskia atriplicifolia is blooming, I cannot convince myself that it is really happy.  It has not grown strongly, and I lose a stem or two from time to time for no obvious reason.  This is one plant I had expected to be a good choice in this garden, but now I am not so sure.  Maybe it just needs another year of growth?
Perovskia atriplicifolia, desert garden, July bloom
And now, cheating just a little, I introduce an almost-blooming plant: Galtonia candicans, the summer hyacinth.  This is a summer-blooming bulb, native to South Africa.  Though not particularly drought-tolerant, it has held up well to the heat.  It was one recipient of an olla, which might have helped it pull through the worst of the weather in June - at least I can't help hoping so!  I have never grown it before and am waiting the opening blooms excitedly.  I have a hunch they won't last till next month, so here they are... as far as they've gotten...
desert garden, July bloom, Galtonia candicans, summer hyacinth
And then there are a few plants that have gone on and on, blooming.
Russelia equisetiformis holds the record, so far!
desert garden, July bloom, Russelia equisetiformis, Coral Fountain
Salvia greggii "Flame" has closed the gap made by a resting S. g. "Autumn Moon".  Flame has not been without a flower since May, I think.
desert garden, July bloom, Salvia greggii Flame, autumn sage
Autumn Moon looks set to start blooming again soon; it is already opening a few new buds.  Below it, miniature rose "Daniela" has continued blooming, but flowers at present are single.  Still bright red... and a few pavers have gone in along the Central Bed.
desert garden, July bloom
Crape Myrtles... yes, in the plural now...  Two days ago I happened onto a not-to-be-missed second one.  It is duly installed in the patio awaiting better planting conditions.  This one is "Dynamite", a bright red with occasional white.
desert garden, July bloom, Lagerstroemia, Dynamite, crape myrtle
 I finally did a little research and learned that both of these varieties bloom the summer long.  They start late but can continue flowering into September.  Now I understand why Rhapsody in Pink has gone on and on...  I'm thrilled with these plants. 
desert garden, July bloom, Lagerstroemia, Rhapsody in Pink, crape myrtle, crepe myrtle
And the roses are doing their part.  None are blooming heavily, but several refuse to stop for the heat.  Crown Princess Margareta is closer to her normal colour now.
rose, Crown Princess Margareta, desert garden, July bloom
St. Swithin is doing well, though blooms are only semi-double...
desert garden, July bloom, English rose
...while Wollerton Old Hall has single blooms that look magnolia-like at present!  No, I am not complaining, merely waiting for cooler weather.  (Yes, this really is Wollerton Old Hall!)
desert garden, July bloom
With rain forecast for much of the next seven days, a lot may change in the garden.  It may become possible to plant out some of my finds from the past several weeks.

Better than I expected for July's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day with Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

One more look at the Gaura...
Gaura lindheimeri, desert garden, July bloom
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 106 F (41 C)/Low: 84 F (29 C)


  1. Blooms at 106F! Amy, you are a wizard!

    1. Some plants are made for it! But the amount of shade I can provide seems to make a big difference. More trees needed! ;-)

  2. You have done extraordinarily well in your desert conditions. And what value from that Russelia and the salvia!
    Enjoy the rain.

    1. It's great to find some plants that seem really reliable so far! I have yet to find a Salvia that sulks here if the right spot is found.
      Still waiting for that rain... We stocked up yesterday as our rural roads usually close with flash flooding. It would be a pity to have our efforts wasted ;-)

  3. Plants that bloom over such a long period can be a valuable asset in any garden but those that do so in your conditions must be worth their weight in gold Amy. I am presuming the stress on the roses produce blooms that are single.
    Keep up the good work, you (and your garden) are coping remarkably well in those temps.

    1. I do think it's the heat stress causing the roses to come single, Angie. We kept a fine yellow floribunda in a pot through last summer, and it did the same thing, more or less, with wimpy, pale, half-formed blooms. Then it exploded with spectacular flowers after things cooled off. So I expect the rest will do the same. Luckily so many roses now do have a long period of repeat bloom, which will give them the chance to take advantage of better weather! And I think the little Russelia deserves a medal or something. ;-)

  4. We are told over here in the UK that roses perform better in heavy clay soil, how do you manage to get them to bloom as well as they do in your growing conditions?

    1. I think that would still hold true here. At first glance our soil is gravelly and even rocky, but within an inch or two of the surface it changes to a fairly fine-grained clay. I did try to improve the soil in the planting holes, but that is a big job and I think the nature of the soil at the roots is still basically a light, somewhat tight, clay. There are a lot of different soil types across this desert; and though I expected a faster-draining, sandy type, I think this one may be working better for the roses.