Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday View

small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
Is it just my imagination, or do the plants look happier?  We've had an honest cooldown over the last few days, coupled with something like an honest thunderstorm last night.  At any rate the gardener is feeling better!

With the cooler weather and a little additional moisture, the Perovskia has been looking a bit better...
perovskia, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
...much to the approval of the bees.
perovskia, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
And maybe a little touch of pink is returning to centers of the cream-colored miniature rose, along with that rare thing here: rain spotting.
small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
The Perovskia is just visible behind the now-rampant Pennisetum in the South Border.  Muhlenbergia capillaris "Regal Mist" is getting ready for its autumn explosion of bloom.  I hope it will give a good showing, but I've kept it quite dry this summer while trying to make sure other, more vulnerable plants survived.  Here's hoping anyway!
small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
Thanks to Cathy for hosting the Tuesday Border meme at Words and Herbs!  I missed last week as we were in the midst of a mini family reunion, which overlapped with a serious illness of one of our dogs.  This time last week I was rushing to the nearest known 24/7 pharmacy -- a 40 minute drive one way.   Next morning we were sitting in front of the vet's office, waiting his arrival.  All is well now, I am happy to say, with a very sweet mini Schnauzer in full recovery.  This week looks to be a bit more sane... or did till a few moments ago, when our stovetop just decided to act up!

Despite having its own ups and downs, the garden is still a wonderful antidote to many woes -- one of the best places to remember that "God's in his heaven; All's right with the world."
small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden, tuesday view
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 94 F (34 C)/Low: 73 F (23 C); Humidity: 28%-78%

In a Vase: Simplicity

After Cathy's challenge, some weeks ago, to create an ikebana-style vase, I have been hoping to try my hand at it again eventually.  This week seemed a good time to do something a bit different, as the weather is changing and the garden is shifting seasons along with it.  Much of the best bloom at the moment is from flowers that do not last well when cut.  So I thought about possible material for a second unauthentic ikebana, and that was the starting point for today's vase.
One side is primarily stems of Senna nemophila.  These appear as a haze of leafless green branches, but the thread-like "leaves" (technically phyllodes) are plentiful.
Then there are stems of native wildflower Eriogonum deflexum.  These stems truly are leafless, and they are in flower now.
With its network of wiry, leafless stems, this plant takes the common name "Skeleton Weed", among others.  The blooms are quite small and sparse this year, and at present they are still white.  They normally turn a delicate pink as weather cools.  These stems were cut from a plant that seeded itself into a crack between patio and house -- a place likely to retain any available bits of precious moisture.

I also cut some stems of Gaura (now Oenothera lindheimeri) though it does not have a history of cutting well for me.  I wanted it mostly for the long, slender stems, anyway.
And lastly there is a bloom from rose "Wollerton Old Hall", a bit summer-weary but still lovely.
I put all into a stoneware vase which I threw on the potter's wheel last year.  It is covered in a traditional dark brown glaze whose sobriety seemed appropriate to the simple plant material.

Although I usually make my bouquets to be viewed from any angle, the back view of this one is just that -- the back.
I'm sure this won't be the last time I play with the ikebana idea...  Perhaps next time the results will look a little more like the real thing!

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this meme!  It's wonderful to follow along at Rambling in the Garden and see what others have put in vases this week!
Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 98 F (37 C)/Low: 78 F (17 C); Humidity: 26%-62%

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%

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In a Vase: Rapidly

Just a very fast post this week!  We are enjoying a visit from family; and though I could wish the garden were not in the doldrums, still I did have some flowers to cut.  In  particular there were blooms from my recumbant sunflower "Solar Eclipse", the one that was partially blown over several weeks ago but has continued to bloom.  It is proving a very good source for cut flowers!  In addition, higher humidity has given an explosion of bloom from Leucophyllum frutescens, and the Catharanthus are still putting on a very respectable display.  A hefty tuft of Artemesia x Powis Castle supplied some additional structure for the vase.
Please pardon the brevity of this post, not to mention the quickly taken photos!  I didn't want to miss altogether this week!  Thanks, as ever, to Cathy for hosting this wonderful meme!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tuesday View

Once again it's time for the Tuesday View with Cathy at Words and Herbs.  Here is the South Border, early August.

The weather has been tough on the garden this past week.  After a heavy dust storm, followed by a light rainfall, temperatures soared and everything dried out rather quickly.  In fact, I think I depended too much on that rainfall and failed to get water to some plants when they needed it.  The result of it all has been another round of plant losses, most importantly including Alyogyne huegelii, a structural plant in the South Border.

I'm a bit surprised at this one since the Alyogyne seems a sufficiently sturdy plant.  But it was planted last winter; and although it has looked fairly good overall, I don't think it had fully settled in, and this summer has been particularly difficult for new plants.  I do intend to replace it with another as I think it should be a good choice here in the long run.

Nearby, Perovskia atriplicifolia is holding its own, though not able to bloom much.
Sparsely flowered Perovskia with browned leaves of Alyogyne huegelii in front
On the other hand, Iris "Clarence" is set to try blooming again.
Notice the buds on Leucophyllum frutescens also; hopefully it will soon be in bloom as well!

The rest of the border looks fairly good.  The rosemary hedge has perked back up.  And Lagerstroemia indica "Rhapsody in Pink" is in its summer glory, despite its small size.
One of the most noticeable changes as the year wears on is the lengthening stems on both the grasses.  Pennisetum setaceum rubrum is now tumbling over the Catharanthus in front of it.
And finally, despite the weather, I decided to go ahead and plant one new addition: a very small one.
 Melocactus azureus will be protected by the nearby miniature rose so I thought I could afford to slip it into the ground.  As it had been blown clean out of its pot by last week's dust storm, I thought it was just as well to protect it from further indignities of that sort.  I gave it a week without water according to the advice of desert gardening author Mary Irish (though I believe her recommendation applied chiefly to bare root cacti), and then gave it a little nook at the front of the border.  It can just be seen under the rose bush.
It may not last very long here; apparently it is fairly cold-sensitive, which I didn't realize when I bought it.  But I wanted to give it a try in the border as that was why I purchased it to begin with.  I think it is pleased to be there for now after its adventures rolling around in the storm!

There is another chance for rain tonight...!
Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 100 F (38 C)/Low: 84 F (29 C); Humidity: 29%-52%