Sunday, August 21, 2016

Is It Four o'Clock Yet?


mirabilis jalapa, four o'clocks, marvel of peru, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
Though quite a few new plants have been unable to survive the extended heat this summer, Mirabilis jalapa has been a wonderful exception, establishing successfully and going on to bloom abundantly.  Started from seed indoors last winter, it is one plant that I had been half-sure should be a good addition to the tropicals-able-to-take-the-heat element in the garden.   Though my first trial a year ago failed, due probably to bad timing, this year's attempt is finally proving itself!

A native of Peru (also known as Marvel of Peru), one of the most fascinating things about Four o'Clocks is their ability to grow different colored flowers on the same plant.  This particular variety ('Stars and Stripes') also boasts stripes and splashes as well as parti-colored blooms.
mirabilis jalapa, four o'clocks, marvel of peru, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
And solid pink and simple white.
mirabilis jalapa, four o'clocks, marvel of peru, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
My one disappointment has been lack of scent, which I remember as being quite strong.  This variety was, besides, advertised as fragrant, so I'm not sure what has happened to that fragrance!  Perhaps next year?

I do expect them to go on well to next year.  They are known as tender perennials, but I once had a plant that sailed through several sub-freezing Midwest winters, so I am not sure what the actual cold hardiness might be!  In any case, I expect them to last at least a few years here, where winter lows rarely drop much below freezing.

As the plants receive a fair amount of shade in the afternoon, I am getting to see the open flowers for longer periods -- especially now that the days are getting a bit shorter!  They may actually be opening by four o'clock these days!
mirabilis jalapa, four o'clocks, marvel of peru, desert garden, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography
Weather Diary: Fair (though we had rain last night!); High: 99 F (37 C)/Low: 75 F (24 C); Humidity: 26%-78%



8 comments:

  1. οι φωτογραφιες σου Amy μου ενα ΑΡΙΣΤΟΥΡΓΗΜΑ!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you very much dear Aggeliki :) They make such bright accents in the shade!!

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  2. I've always liked them too. I tried growing Mirabilis multiflora, reputed to be especially drought and heat tolerant, here but lost them - they needed more water than I gave them on my back slope to get established perhaps.

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    1. That's interesting about M. multiflora; I've thought about trying it because of its reputation, but maybe I won't put it at the top of my list just now ;-) I may try M. longiflora this fall since I can source the seed, which gives me the option of several tries over a season. It is native to Arizona, too, though there are wetter and milder parts of the state than this... With the Four o'Clocks, they had the support of nearby plants and plenty of shade; additionally, I simply planted three in a cluster so I could spot water. Otherwise I think they would have failed a second time! It will be interesting to see what they do next summer.

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  3. what a stunning and interesting plant!

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    1. It's one of those plants that never ceases to be exotic somehow :) I grew it for several years in my first garden and am quite happy to see it settling in here!

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  4. Replies
    1. Probably depends on the gardener ;-) I think it's more like spade and wheelbarrow time for me!

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