Thursday, June 11, 2015

One Morning's Flowers and Foliage

It feels like the mugginess has settled in for the season.  I expect we won't get much of a break from the heat and humidity until the end of summer.  (Maybe mid-to-late September, if we're lucky.)  There might be periods of drier weather, but I wouldn't count on anything truly comfortable for the next few months.

I have a hard time reconciling myself to this kind of weather, but that's simply The Way It Is around here.  If you can stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, you don't really have to think about it much-- as long as the air conditioner doesn't break down.  Outdoor projects are best done early or late in the day-- and then, of course, there are the mosquitoes to contend with-- but those are just as much of a pest in many cooler places, too.

(Can you tell that I'm trying to convince myself that we don't have it too bad, weatherwise?  It's an endless internal sales-pitch type of thing, some days... "Hey, this area's growing by leaps and bounds.  People wouldn't be so eager to move here if the weather was that bad... And our mild winters... They always say all that snow is demoralizing after a month or two... *deep breath*  Okay.  Alright.  I guess I can endure another three... or four... months... of this(?)...")

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The freckle-face plant (or polka-dot plant) is chugging along.  I cut two of them back to discourage legginess, a couple of weeks ago.  Most of the cuttings got stuck here and there into pots, just in case, and now several of those seem to have taken root.  We'll have plenty of this plant, this year.

Polka-Dot Plant, Creeping Jenny

I'm surprised how many coleus came up from seeds set by last year's plants.  I didn't realize they were so easy to grow from seed, but now I'll have to consider trying some store-bought seed, next spring, if they're available cheaply. 

Begonia, Coleus

Here's one rubbing shoulders with my only remaining pink polka-dot plant.  It looks like it might be a little too pushy.  Maybe I'll transplant it elsewhere...

Coleus, Polka-Dot Plant, Japanese Sedge

This is the purple coneflower that is closest to blooming. 

Purple Coneflower Bud

Salvia (such as 'Victoria Blue' here) seems not to photograph very well for me.  It's better from a distance or with a super close-up, probably.  At this "kind of close-up" range, it's difficult to know where to put the focus...  A lovely cool purple, though.  I'd be thrilled to see this plant multiply. 

'Victoria Blue' Salvia

I remembered to take a couple of photos of mina lobata (aka Spanish flag, Ipomoea lobata).  I really like the exotic, distinctive shapes of the leaves-- a nice change from the full hearts of morning glories. 

Mina Lobata (Spanish Flag)

Mina Lobata (Spanish Flag)

The 'Victor' crepe myrtle (which is a dwarf form) is just beginning to bloom.  For the first couple of years, I tried growing this at one of the corners of the front of the house.  It was not happy there.  (Probably too dry, and I didn't remember to water it often enough.)  Transplanted to the new fence bed, it seems happier and is finally blooming for us.

I'll have to keep an eye on it, because I may have been optimistic about the amount of room available in that spot.  That is one of my biggest failings as a gardener-- and one that Donald teases me about.  Just about every time I plant something, I end up mumbling to myself about whether or not it's planted too close to something else, be it a structure or another plant.  I try to visualize the mature plant-- I try to give things enough room-- but it's difficult, and I'm rarely confident.

'Victor' Crepe Myrtle

Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising' is making me very happy.  ~blowing it some kisses~  ;o)

'Mercury Rising' Coreopsis

Aha!  I was thinking these lilies might be "white spider lilies" (aka Hymenocallis latifolia, I think...), and then the very next day or two, they bloomed.  Yes, these are the white spider lilies.  

Until this year (the first time I started paying close attention), I didn't know how to tell the difference between these and the pale pink crinum lilies also growing in my garden-- unless they were blooming, of course.  Now I can clearly see a difference in foliage.  The crinum's have a somewhat wider leaf, I think, and it has a very definite waviness along each edge, whereas the white spider lilies have more strap-like leaves that don't wave along the edges.  Could be useful to remember, the next time I'm transplanting things-- but honestly, they mix together well, I think.  Very similar tropical vibe from both plants. 

Spider Lily

The new English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Ellagance Purple') looks downright dejected (which is code for "almost dead", in this instance).  Unless it puts on some new growth soon, I'll be striking it from the list of "Plants in Our Garden".  Oh well.  It was worth a try.  It smelled heavenly, but most lavenders simply don't have the constitution for this damp climate (unless you're willing to run out and cover or move them when it rains-- and even then not be guaranteed success). 

The "piñata lavender" (Lavandula stoechas 'Pinata'), on the other hand, is bouncing back from its hard winter in the garage.  If it makes it through the summer, I'll be bringing this one inside the house, this winter. 

Spider Lily, "Pinata Lavender"

Some of this year's marigolds have grown like crazy.  Those have yet to bloom, but these have started.  I love the red and gold together-- like embers in a fire.


The tiger lilies are almost ready to bloom.  This one is covered in what I believe are called "bulbils".  They will fall off, eventually-- or can be picked when they begin to separate from the mother plant-- and will grow roots and eventually form a bulb and a new lily plant.  It sounds like they take a few years to mature to the point that they flower, though.  Patience is required. 

Tiger Lily Seeds

Double red KO roses:

Double Red KO Rose

In the background, you can see the heavy-duty weed barrier we put down over the weekend.  We ran out, so we have to wait for more to be delivered before we can finish it.  That area (in front of our garage) will be graveled soon.  (Very soon, if all goes to plan.)  The garden paths are next in line.

Double Red KO Rose

A rabbit cut all but one of the main stems/vines of the morning glory growing on our big trellis.  So deeply annoying, but I guess it's partly my own fault for not having gotten around to putting up chicken wire, yet.  *sigh*

The flowers on the remaining vine go on blooming as if nothing had happened, heartless things.  ;o)  The drooping ruined vines are still withering away, waiting for me to get out there and carefully remove them (so as not to damage what's left). 

Oh!  And I thought I had leftover morning glory and moonflower seeds to plant, but the envelopes are empty.  I must've used them all.  Well, there are several small plants I can transplant-- or I could try planting more mina lobata.  (There are leftovers of those and the nasturtiums... and a few of the black-eyed Susan vine seeds, too, for that matter... Hm...)

'Grandpa Ott' Morning Glory

See?  I have a hard time photographing salvia!  It's a nice color, though.  Reminds me of heather.

'New Dimension Rose' Salvia

The unknown roses are popping open, sweet and delicate and soft candy-pink.

Uknown Shrub Rose

If they had an aroma, they'd be perfect.

Uknown Shrub Rose

Crinum lilies and roses...

Crinum, Pink Shrub Rose

Unknown Rose

Around the Garden

Around the Garden

Around the Garden

For most of the morning, thunder sounded from all directions-- but not a drop fell here, that I could see.

Overcast Morning

Rain chances pick up slightly over the next few days.
Rabbit-proof plant cages need building.
Weeds need pulling/spraying and vegetables picking.
A few plants need placing.
Gravel will need spreading.

No shortage of things to do, at least!

Edited to add:
Almost forgot!  I saw another kingsnake, earlier this week.  It was just beginning to rain, and I was looking out the window of the atrium door when I spied it slithering along the outside edge of the back porch-- toward the "rock garden" area (i.e. somewhat smoothed-out pile o' rocks).  It was definitely not the same one I've seen before, this year, because it was noticeably smaller.  Maybe about 2 feet long?