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)


  1. 114F! I feel pathetic whining about 103F, especially as we've had it relatively easy thus far this summer. Still, I'm ready to see summer in the rear view mirror and hopeful that El Nino will bring life, not floods and mudslides. I hadn't heard that Gaura has been reclassified - really, I can't keep up with the constant classification changes. Russelia seems to like your climate better than my more temperate one - your plant always looks more vigorous than mine. As to your roses, they continue to amaze me.

    1. I was very surprised to find out about the name change for Gaura - only discovered it as I was searching for the ID of my pink specimen. I can't help wondering how long any of these new classifications will last! The Russelia seems to think it's in the perfect spot; it has overy half a day shade and the best drainage in the garden :) I do hope for the best with El Nino; it hurts to think how much vegetation has been lost that would help protect against mudslides...

  2. I always think that high humidity is the worst thing about living in hot climates - here, however, it is almost beginning to feel autumnal ... some lovely blooms and I love the vivid pink of the Gaura which I can see working well in a border.

    1. I can feel the year moving on here, but I can hardly use the word autumnal... yet. It will come! I've been so pleased with the Gaura; it does work beautifully with each of the flowers around; the foliage blends well also, with its dark new growth and airy, open habit.

  3. You ended on a high with the Bougainvillea, I can't believe I spelt that correctly without having to look back. It's a beautiful colour. The Gaura is doing well and I hope it continues to do so for your Amy. I love the tangly yellow blooms and growth of the Chinchweed. I hope it cools down for you and the garden. In particular the roses, to allow you to enjoy them fully again.

    1. Isn't the Bougainvillea a stunner? I'd put some in the little garden in a minute, only I'm afraid it would quickly outgrow everything! Apparently there are some smaller ones... I admit that I'm growing weary of looking at the roses and saying, "How lovely these will be when it cools down!" Today was a bit better, and I'm hoping we don't have any more extended bouts of extreme heat. Counting the days till autumn... :)

  4. The Bougainvillea is a wonderful deep red, the lavender looks very different to any I have seen before. Great photos, wishing you some of our cooler weather.

    1. I think that's a standard species colour for the Bougainvillea, Brian; and some of the "fancy" colours quite literally pale by comparison! L. "Goodwin's Creek Gray" seems to be a bit of a mystery, but is said to probably be a form of L. dentata. It's quickly becoming a top favourite here! Will take a break in the weather gladly - thanks ;-)

  5. It's incredible anything survives those temperatures. I could do with a bit of warmth. We've descended into a rather typical and disappointing British summer. Grey skies, rain and cool temperatures. In fact it feels like autumn has arrived already. My plants all look a bit forlorn after several days of heavy rain. If I send some rain your way can you send some sun over here? ;)

    1. I'm astonished at the capacity of the plants to grow through this weather. Actually I'm most astonished at which plants take it best; it's been quite a learning curve! And I admit that though the heat is difficult, I think I would fall apart if I didn't get some heat and sunlight during the summer. I'll try to send you a bit of sun; we do have more than enough... ;-)