Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Little Bit of Not Much

It's been almost two years since the six Natal Plum (
Carissa macrocarpa 'Boxwood Beauty') ground cover shrubs practically froze to the ground when we had a hard freeze. They can't take temperatures under 28°F. Surprisingly, they all recovered nicely, and now they've grown enough that they are mounding in their characteristic manner.

My lone Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) has not done well at all in the three years I've had it in my garden. I love the color of the tubular flowers, and so do the hummingbirds. I really thought this plant would do well as it is closely related to Tecoma stans, a plant that loves our desert climate.

Many of my garden plants did poorly this past summer. They did not look vibrant, the blooms were sparse and the foliage brown on the margins. I've come to the conclusion that they really need more water than recommended by local sources. Next summer, I'm going to water every three days in July, August and September instead of the recommended every five to seven days.
One of the rules when using drip irrigation systems is when changing watering schedules, up the watering frequency rather than changing the length of time at each watering. The length of time should be based on how long it takes for the water to penetrate the soil to the proper depth. This won't change, regardless of the weather. Many folks I know lower the watering time when they up the frequency. This causes salt buildup, shallow roots and weak plants.

This unidentified Agave species was a freebie offshoot that I acquired at one of the local Cactus and Succulent Society meetings a couple of years ago. I love the bright green spikiness of it. My guess is that it is an Agave lechuguilla.

This Emu Bush, (Eremophila maculata v. brevifolia 'Valentine' ) has started blooming. It won't be at its peak until mid-February, but there will be plenty of little fuchsia-like flowers on it until then. This trouble-free Australian shrub is sometimes called Native Fuchsia. This is another hummingbird favorite.


Claude said...

beautiful pics as usual... It's really kind of amazing that you can grow as much as you can in your very challenging enviorment.

Darla said...

Great photos, love the fushia. Good info on the watering.

Dee said...

That rose is really something else-just gorgeous! My Cape Honeysuckle has been blooming pretty well but it has huge long offshoots that I am not sure how or when to prune.

Suzanne said...

All these plants look beautiful to me. I love the bright, vibrant colors of the blooms. Also love the Natal Plum - so pretty!

playsdolls said...

Aiyana your blooms are beautiful.I have never saw an Emu Bush before i love it,wonder if they would grow in our region.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Aiyana--Even though I grew up there, I'm still amazed by how BRIGHT Phoenix can be in the winter (I'm looking out at gray skies and brown limbs & leaves). My mom's cape honeysuckle does very well, but maybe she has the relative you referred to? I'm not sure how to tell them apart. You have beautiful blooms this Tuesday.

Jean said...

Love the Emu Bush and the honeysuckle! Both are great colors.It sure takes a lot more work for your garden than mine! The bright colors must seem even brighter in the desert. Great post! Jean

Carla said...

The blooms of your Emu Bush are to die for! Love your agave and mounding bush:), I think Cape Honeysuckle does well here, in humid East Texas. The blooms are knockouts! Thanks for sharing. (and I didn't know the info about drip, thanks:)

Mary and Skip said...

WELL...just look at that Valentine Emu Bush! Amazing!

And, amazingly, I turned DOWN my landscaper when they asked me if I wanted that plant in my yard last month.

Hmmm...now....where will I find room? LOL!

I have a black tipped agave I picked up at the plant sale over at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum at the end of this summer. Similar in shape BUT it sure isn't that shade of green!

Yours is awesome..I am "green" with envy! Ever get a pup on that one? ;)

Have a nice week!
Love, Mary L.

Laurie and Chris said...

Love the Emu Bush and the honeysuckle!The colors are so pretty.

Rose said...

The honeysuckle and Emu bush are gorgeous! It must be very challenging to know just how much to water plants in your environment, Aiyana. I just got back a couple days ago from Phoenix and was so impressed by all the bougainvillea and oleander in bloom everywhere. I made another trip to the Botanical Gardens, and while not many plants were actually "blooming" it was a wonderful experience nonetheless. I was also lucky that the Chiluly exhibit was there at the time. Have you seen it?