Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Vase: August Treasures

Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden, amy myers photography
No introduction is needed for any of the material for today's vase.  I can only say how nice it is to have it all in bloom at once!

Rose "Crown Princess Margareta"...
Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden, amy myers photography
amy myers photography, Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden
...Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite" (featured in yesterday's post) and L. i. "Rhapsody in Pink"...
Monday vase meme, Lagerstroemia "Rhapsody in Pink", Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, small sunny garden, desert garden
Lagerstroemia indica Rhapsody in Pink, Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden
...and the foliage of Convolvulus cneorum...
Convolvulus cneorum, small sunny garden
Convolvulus cneorum, amy myers photography
One rose and some of the Lagerstroemia were cut very short so I used them in a low, unglazed stoneware dish that I made some years ago.  I filled it with rock from the yard to provide support for the stems.  Since the rim curves inward strongly, the rocks do not show; but the flowers stayed in place nicely despite the nipped off stems.
Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden, Lagerstroemia Rhapsody in Pink
This worked even for the rosebud which, being the only one open of a cluster of buds, was cut quite short indeed!
rose Crown Princess Margareta, monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers photography
As always, I'm linking this post to Cathy's meme at Rambling in the Garden, where many more late summer vases can be enjoyed!
Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden
Happy Monday!
Monday vase meme, rose Crown Princess Margareta, Lagerstroemia "Dynamite", Crape Myrtle, Convolnulus cneorum, small sunny garden, desert garden

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Bit of Dynamite for the Garden

Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite", Whit II, Crape Myrtle, desert garden, small sunny garden
Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite" must have suddenly gotten its roots fairly down in the garden.  Planted back in late July, it has been giving a good try at blooming, but just in the last few days it has exploded (appropriately enough) with a burst of rich, strawberry red flowers.
Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite", Whit II, Crape Myrtle, desert garden, small sunny garden
According to the breeder, Dr. Carl Whitcomb of Stillwater, OK, it is highly resistant to powdery mildew and is cold-hardy to -5 F (-21 C).  (This information comes from the National Arboretum's page, where it is listed as "Whit II".)  The Missouri Botanical Gardens notes that Lagerstroemia perform well in loamy, clay soils; soil alkalinity can be a problem.  Let us hope, not too much of a problem...

I have it well supplied with my heavy-duty desert mulch, otherwise known as pelleted pine bedding (see earlier post).  So far this is proving satisfactory at keeping moisture available for more extended periods with fewer waterings.  The Crape Myrtles seem to be responding very well.

I've been thrilled with the intensity of the hue from these blooms.  They are perfect for the Central Bed with its mix of red tones.  I think these are the first flowers I have seen which actually make me think of fruit whenever the colour flashes in front of my eyes.  They are typically described as cherry red; I've described them as strawberry red... you can tell the effect!

In a period with temperatures generally well over 100 F (38 C), this Crape Myrtle has not only settled in after an emergency planting, but has gone on to bloom profusely - quite a magnificent performance!
Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite", Whit II, Crape Myrtle, desert garden, small sunny garden
Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 109 F (43 C)/Low: 81 F (27 C)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday Vase: Late August

Monday Vase meme
I present yesterday's vase today...
Monday vase meme, small sunny garden
Although there are some nice blooms in the garden, they are coming mainly from plants I have featured over and over.  And while I have no complaints whatsoever about the floriferousness of Russelia or of Crown Princess Margareta - that marvelous rose - I thought a little cool green would be a welcome note for this warm last week of August.

So the vase began with stems of Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", which generously has a couple of blooms on it in any case.
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", small sunny garden, amy myers photography
This low-growing, wide-spreading Eremophila is slated for a move when the weather cools off.  Its lovely sulphur yellow blooms do not mix well with the lovely fairy pink blooms of Crape Myrtle "Rhapsody in Pink" to my eye; therefore the Eremophila will be transferred to the predominantly orange and yellow East Border.  My ideas on this have been undergoing a good deal of fluctuation lately, so no plans are permanent yet!  But I thought the Eremophila could take a little trimming without harm so it supplied some stems of its glossy green foliage, plus a couple of  its elegantly elongated blooms.

Slender stems - with no sign of bloom stalks yet - from Muhlenbergia capillaris "Regal Mist" were added, along with a few stems from another Eremophila, this time the dusky foliage of  E. maculata "Valentine".
foliage of Eremophila "Valentine"
It was perhaps an error to cut a stem from my still very small Caesalpinia pulcherrima.  It would have been a wonderful effect, but the fern-like leaves closed immediately.  I slipped them in anyway; their blue-green colour is pleasantly cool.  Here they are, all folded together.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima foliage closed, desert garden
And at last I couldn't resist putting in a pop of colour.  With the yellow Eremophila, a sprig of lantana seemed just the thing.
I used my handthrown stoneware jar again.  Its tin-white glaze has a nice cooling effect of its own.
Monday Vase meme, small sunny garden
So here is my postscript version of a Monday vase for the meme at Rambling in the Garden!

Happy Tuesday!
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", Monday Vase meme, small sunny garden, desert garden
Weather Diary: Cloudy with some rain; High yesterday: 105 F (41 C) - should be cooler today!/Low: 85 F (30 C)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Waiting in the Wings

Ozothamnus diasmifolius
The collection of plants waiting in pots is growing.  Growing in more ways than one.  Some will need a trim when they are planted!
containers to be planted
Leucophyllum frutescens "Compacta" (which is NOT a vine) and Convolvulus cneorum  
I have finally collected all of them in one spot.
small sunny garden, desert garden, summer
From left to right: Eremophila hygrophana, Ozothamnus diosmifolius, Rosmarinus "Tuscan Blue", Leucophyllum frutescens "Compacta", and Convolvulus cneorum)
I had worried several times that I would be forced to plant the Convolvulus no matter what the weather.  But it has very obviously taken its life on the patio quite well even without repotting!  I love this foliage.
Convolvulus cneorum
A couple of selections were already planted on into the garden despite full summer temperatures.  Caesalpinia pulcherrima went in because it was growing so well in high heat that I thought it might just as soon put that energy into garden growth.  So far my decision is borne out by its robust appearance.

Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite" was more of a rescue case.  It was already reaching the dangerous stage when I bought it - hence its bargain status - and it continued a cycle of frequent wilting when I brought it home.  Despite this the plant looked good overall.  I assumed it was rootbound until I checked more closely.  The problem was simply that the soil in the container was so open that the pot could not retain enough water for the roots.  Rather than repot, I plonked it into its permanent spot in the garden and have been thrilled with the results.
Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite", small sunny garden
The rest of my summer-purchased plants, however, are simply waiting for cooler weather.  I would like a bit more rain, too, to soften up the ground and make digging easier!

It's not a bad little collection, consisting entirely of blooming shrubs with attractive foliage.  It's an unusual posting for Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day, hosted by Christina at My Hesperides Garden; but I think these shrubs represent a good start for the next planting season.  

The most recent addition to the group was Ozothamnus diosmifolius, which I bought just three days ago after standing at the GC doing an emergency search as to what in the world...  Turns out it's another Australian native.  The flowers are said to be small and remain budlike, and are useful for flower arranging.  The height ranges from about 5 ft - 6.5 ft (1.5 m - 2 m), but growth habit seems to be upright and narrow.  We shall see...  This variety is simply labelled Dark Pink... or was that Deep Pink...?  I don't think it's a varietal name, just a description!  Anyhow, I like the feathery green foliage which, like some of the other Australian plants, is brighter in hue than many of the drought tolerant American species.
Ozothamnus diasmifolius
An exception to that statement is the silver-leaved plant next to it, another Aussie, Eremophila hygrophana, which blooms with soft lilac-blue bell flowers.
Eremophila hygrophana foliage, desert garden
Convolvulus cneorum and Leucophyllum frutescens "Compacta" (this is the sister plant to one already in the garden) have received their due in other posts.  And there is a nicely rooted cutting of Rosemary "Tuscan Blue".  After clipping my baby hedge last spring, I tried starting some cuttings; but since I had no way to keep them humid without intolerable heat, most of them failed.  Of course!  But two did pull through.  This one looks particularly good, and I am inordinately proud of this little plant.  I'm hoping to start a good many more come autumn.

Just waiting!  It won't be too long now...
autumn, desert garden
Weather Diary: Sunny; High: 104 F (40 C)/Low: 84 F (29 C)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Vase: Three is Company

rose "Daniela", Monday Vase meme, small sunny garden
Having said my say about the weather in the last post, it is not surprising that I didn't find much material for a vase today.  But after all, how much does one need?
Monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers ceramics, roses
Especially when a few roses are available...
monday vase meme, rose, David Austin roses, small sunny garden, Kordes rose, amy myers ceramics
One St. Swithun bloom...
rose St. Swithun, Monday vase meme, small sunny garden,  roses, david austin rose Crown Princess Margareta...
rose "Crown Princess Margareta", Monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers ceramics, roses, david austin rose
...and one Daniela...
rose Daniela, Monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers ceramics, roses
...all in my small handthrown stoneware dish that is proving so useful for floating a few flowers.
Monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers ceramics, roses, stoneware, copper glaze
The worst of the heat wave seems to be over, so who knows what next Monday will bring?  In the meantime, here is today's post for the wonderful Monday Vase meme, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden!

Happy Monday!
rose Crown Princess Margareta, Monday vase meme, small sunny garden, amy myers ceramics, roses, english rose
Weather Diary; Fair; High: 107 F (42 C)/Low: 90 F (32 C)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Garden Bloom in August

Crown Princess Margareta rose, English rose, david austin rose, desert, hot climate, small sunny garden
Central Arizona is once again in blow torch mode, with temperatures rising above 110 F (43 C) daily.  It did this regularly in June, but now it seems a little more intolerable.  Perhaps it's the humidity which is still hovering around in the mornings, or perhaps I'm just ready for summer to be over.  But summer is not ready to be done, and the garden goes on!

That's the best thing.  The garden does continue its own life in the face of high temperatures and a long season.  I've switched into emergency mode for watering, but I notice that most plants are not showing stress as quickly now.  They are settling in to their rather hot little home!

In the meantime, it is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day with Carol at May Dreams Gardens so here is a look at what is still blooming.  It may be a lean time in the garden here, but there are still some flowers to enjoy.

One of the happiest surprises has been the Gaura.
Oenothera lindheimeri, Gaura lindheimeri, desert garden, small sunny garden
 Planted late - June, if I remember rightly - it has spread and burst into beautifully delicate bloom.  Native to Louisiana and Texas, it can take the heat... and go on blooming!  It has required less water than I expected as well.  I need to measure it; I think it must be around 3 ft (.9 m) across by now, with a lovely, vase-shaped growth habit.  Name?  It arrived simply as Gaura lindheimeri, which, alas, is apparently now incorrect, the botanical name having been changed to include it in the genus Oenothera!  So it is Oenothera lindheimeri; and as for the variety, who knows...?  It is not the straight species for that is white-flowered.  I assumed it was "Siskiyou Pink", but I now find that there are any number of pink hybrids out there these days.  At any rate, it is perfectly lovely and just the colour for the Central Bed!
Oenothera lindheimeri, Gaura lindheimeri
Moving into the middle of the bed, the Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite") has a few blooms although they're a little crispy at present!  I'm very happy with its colour relationship to the nearby Gaura.  It will look even better once the Crape Myrtle is distinctly the taller of the two.
Also nearby, Lavender "Goodwin's Creek Gray" is blooming still.  A highly satisfactory plant, but I need to see about those fire ants!  I hadn't noticed them till I was taking these pictures.
Lavendula "Goodwin's Creek Gray", small sunny garden, desert, lavender
Back at the top of the bed is the redoubtable Russelia equisetiformis.  Need I say more?
Russelia equisetiformis "Big Red", coral fountain, small sunny garden, desert garden
Here it is blending with rose "Wollerton Old Hall".
Rose, russelia, desert garden
Which brings me to roses.  Several are trying to begin seriously blooming again, and the blooms were just beginning to be properly formed.  (Most - such as the flower above - went more or less single if they appeared at all over the last couple of months.)  Sterling Silver put out a full flush of bloom, but yesterday's is the first halfway presentable one.
Sterling Silver rose
Tiny "Daniela" has put out any number of blooms over the past weeks.  (It gets nearly full shade - as full shade goes here.)  Most were single, then there was a beautifully near-perfect blossom, then the blooms burnt again.  I can't resist adding this shot from two days ago.  I love this little rose! 
Kordes' "Daniela", miniature rose, desert garden
Other roses in full sun have simply crisped.  Here is a bloom of St. Swithin, but it has a bud ready to try again!
summer, desert garden
And Crown Princess Margareta keeps opening so many flowers that there are usually some in perfect form even though I think they only last a day each in this heat.  Here is one, rather pink again though the bloom at the top of this post is hers also, and more the right colour.  She is - forgive me - undoubtedly the crowning glory of the Rose Border.
Rose "Crown Princess Margareta", amy myers photography, small sunny garden, david austin rose, desert
Graham Thomas is testing August with a few more buds.
rose "Graham Thomas", David Austin rose, small sunny garden
James Galway gave one nice-ish flower about a week ago, so I think he is just waiting for milder weather now.  That bush and Graham Thomas have taken all summer to get established.  They receive more direct sun than any of the others.

And now for a few miscellaneous plants.

Sedeveria "Sorrento" is looking good, the only classic succulent to come through summer unfazed... so far.  A few creamy blooms still on this very low-growing plant.
Sedeveria "Sorrento", desert, small sunny garden, amy myers photography
Berlandiera lyrata deserves more mention than it has received over the past several months.  To the best of my knowledge, it has actually been in bloom throughout the summer.  The difficulty is that the flowers close in bright sunlight, which means that the most I ever see is a few half-open daisies at night, or this in the early morning.  (Those petals are furled for the day, not spent!)
I need to consider how to deal with this plant as it is in many ways a very desirable one, having no issues with the soil or the heat here and sending up hundreds (I suspect) of yellow daisies.  As my garden slopes eastward, the problem of intense morning light is proving knotty with some plants.  This is a somewhat amusing version of the difficulty!  Since this plant is growing happily underneath Acacia salicina, the problem may resolve itself as the acacia grows and supplies more shade.  I like the pairing so I'm not anxious to move the Berlandiera.

In my last post I showed my welcome interloper, the yellow-flowered Chinchweed (Pectis papposa) which I have let grow on under some plants.  Here are a few pairings to enjoy because the Chinchweed is certainly in bloom at present!  First the plant itself...
Pectis papposa, chinchweed, sonoran desert, arizona, wildflower, growing by the lavender...
pectis papposa, chinch weed, wildflower, desert, sonoran
...then glimpsed through the now rapidly growing Muhlenbergia capillaris "Regal Mist" (perhaps it will be in bloom by next GBBD?)...
...and finally in the Rose Border, where it ought not to be, but I can't resist showing the combination for once...
rose crown princess margareta, chinchweed, pectis papposa
Moving back to the regular garden selections, there is another very faithful yellow-flowered plant which also deserves more mention that it usually gets.  This is Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", growing in the South Border.  The blooms are not many at this time of year, but there are nearly always a few peeking out from the dark, glossy foliage.
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", australian plant, desert garden, small sunny garden
About the only other plant in bloom in the South Border is my other Crape Myrtle.  Lagerstroemia indica "Rhapsody in Pink" is still blossoming in spurts and always has a light crown of this luscious pale pink.
Lagerstroemia indica "Rhapsody in Pink", crape myrtle, crepe myrtle, small sunny garden, desert, hot climate garden
Lastly, a plant not even in the garden itself, simply stuck in a hot spot against a blank west wall.  Bougainvillea is an incredible plant, doing this on only a few supplemental waterings this season.  It deserves more care than I've been giving it!  It was cut clear back by frost last winter and has grown again to a four foot shrub since. 
bougainvillea, desert garden
A nice splash of colour for a very hot August day!

So the garden is still alive and well in August.  We're just waiting for some cooler weather!  Well, most of us are...  Some seem to like it this way.
Oenothera lindheimeri, Guara lindheimeri, amy myers photography, small sunny garden, desert. arizona garden
Weather Diary: Sunny and hot; High: 114 F (46 C)/Low: 90 F (32 C)