Monday, August 15, 2011

I Know It's Bloom Day ...


But experts generally frown upon attempts to operate both a camera and a garden hose at the same time.  At least the expert around here, i.e. the Head Gardener, frowns upon it.  She has good reason to do so, based on her observations of my attemps to water the garden and use my iPhone at the same time.  The weather being what it is, watering must take precedence over photography.  By the time I reach a stopping point in the watering process, the Death Star is painfully intense.  Even if I had the fortitude to stay out and take pictures of the garden, it's too sunny to get the kind of shots I want.  

Pink Salt Marsh Mallow (Kosteletskya virginica) was a prolific reseeder in years past. This year I only have one plant.  Dang.
So I decided to solve that problem by using previously taken pictures of plants that are flowering in my garden right now.  I do have blooms despite the heat and drought but they're definitely not as profuse as they have been in years past. Today was the 15th consecutive day of temperatures over 100 degrees, breaking the previous record of 14 from 1980.   Is it any wonder that the foliage on many plants looks like hell and the plants droop from noon to dusk?  The Head Gardener and I are drooping too!



If I had to pick one plant as the most stellar performer during this hideous weather, it would be Peruvian Pavonia (Pavonia peruviensis).  This tough native shrub is one of the few that continues to bloom profusely and hold the deep green color of its foliage.  It does both with almost no supplemental water.  What a trooper!  In years past, I've decried its aggressive reseeding tendencies but all is forgiven and I am grateful for its presence throughout the garden.


Another member of the Pavonia family has also been a reliable source of blooms this summer.  Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) needs a bit more moisture than its cousin if the HG and I want it to look its best but it's certainly no slacker.  It too reseeds itself freely and I'm planning to harvest seeds to sow in other areas of the garden.  



Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthemum)actually prefers droughty/xeric conditions and we've certainly had plenty such weather.  This is one of those native plants I allow to self-sow, which means more often than not I find them sprouting in the cracks between moss rocks or in the granite paths.  (Although I wouldn't try transplanting them to spots in the garden beds right now, I've done it successfully several times over the years.)
  Even though it requires far less moisture than most plants, I've noticed recently that the foliage isn't as deep and healthy a green as it should be.  I'm living with it for now: overwatering them in these temperatures could be fatal.   In years past, I'd find Blackfoot Daisy plants rotting out in one spot or another.  I water in the morning, which means that as the temperature rises, the roots slowly but inexorably steam to death.  I've learned that if I water them at all, it can only be a trickle and only at the root zone, since other gardeners have posited that these plants hate hate hate loathe despise and hate overhead watering.  


The self-sown Gauras (G. lindheimeri) are also thriving in the heat and drought.  I've never had luck with growing the pink cultivars of Gaura; they just don't seem to transplant well.  I haven't tried in a while.  Hmmmm ... I wonder if I should ...   (The HG is sighing and rolling her eyes.) 

All of these plants have two things in common: they're all natives and they all grew from seed.  (The mother plants are long since gone to their fathers, to borrow an expression from the late herb guru Madalene Hill.)  While I don't rely entirely on natives in my garden, in our changing climate, they are becoming not just desirable but necessary if I want blooms year-round.  Elizabeth Lawrence's words on that subject are what prompted Carol of May Dreams Gardens to create Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  If you'll visit MDG, you'll find posts from around the world on what's blooming for other gardeners!



7 comments:

Layanee said...

I hope your heat and dry spell breaks soon. At least there are blooms and lovely ones at that.

RBell said...

Don't the Pavonias do great regardless of the heat and drought. They may look tired, but they keep making those bright pink blooms. Happy GBBD!

Gail said...

I understand watering before photos~If I don't get out there early the plants are already mad at me! Love the Blackfoot Daisy~I wonder if it can be grown here? gail

Rose said...

Oh Cindy, I hope this heatwave breaks for you soon! I'm tired of humid days in the high 80's here, but 15 days of over 100 would keep me hibernating in the A/C. Thank goodness for natives--good to see they're blooming in spite of the heat.

Cindy, MCOK said...

20 consecutive days of 100+ degrees and counting. Sigh.

Tabby Horse said...

The climate is a challenge for us gardeners. We might fail this season but I;m pretty sure for those persistent, we will succeed. I just hope this heat will be over soon. BTW, you got nice flowers.

Doll House said...

I'm really sad to hear about the heat wave... but hope your garden will recover! The flowers look so nice!