Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mixed Bag

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

My Red Bird of Paradise bushes have finally started to bloom. I've been seeing them all over town, lush and full of flowers, but my shrubs don't look so hot this year. The foliage is sparse, and although all the bushes have some flowers, they just don't look right. It's my own fault because I did not prune them back last fall. You can prune these shrubs down to the base each year and they will come back looking great.

Gasteria bicolor (Lawyer's Tongue)

I just love this tiny clay pot. It's 2-3/4 inches high and 4 inches in diameter. I bought it last year at a cactus show and sale, and it was already planted with a tiny Lawyer's Tongue offset. The offset has grown to the point I need to repot, but I'm wondering how I'm going to get it out of this pot without damaging the pot or the offset. The pot maker sold out of these popular little pots by mid morning.

Parodia horstii

I showed this same cactus in last week's post, but because it has been so prolific, I took another photo again today. These flowers are the latest of 12 so far. It's supposed to be a repeat bloomer with intermittent flowers over the summer. If so, it's going to be on my list of favorites!
Gymnocalycium saglionis

The second year for blooms on this Giant Chin cactus. I had it for years before it ever flowered, and the blooms have always been sparse. This year it has about 12 buds--a record for this specimen. The flowers are not as attractive as many other Gymnocalycium species. Most collectors have it for its form rather than the flower.
Ruellia brittoniana

One of the hosts at a garden tour stop gave me a cutting of Desert Petunia about four years ago. I can always count on it for a few spots of color. This is another plant that can be cut back to the base in the late fall, and it will come back almost immediately, looking fresh and full. It provides flowers off and on all year except in December and January.


We've had thirteen consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees since May 1st, which is a record. Today was 108 degrees. This does not mean it will be hotter than normal the rest of the summer, but normal is not pleasant!


Claude said...

hey Aiyana - I put the plants I received from you in my post - just thought I'd let you know. I've found that the easiest way to get an overgrown plant out of an unusual shaped pot is to use a strong stream of water to kind of blast/wash all the dirt out. And I agree, it's a great little pot... love the parodia. The vibrant flowers are very festive.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Good Morning Aiyana !
I can't imagine living in those temperatures .. even with dry heat .. I would melt : )
I love that tiny pot you have .. it certainly is an eye catcher .. the plants are always remarkable .. I can count on seeing the unusual with your posts : )

Darla said...

Your blooms are great......good grief that's some hot weather you have had!

Carla said...

Glad to know I can cut that Bird Of Paradise down to the base. I don't know why I find cacti blooms so fantastic, but I do, and always have. Loving that orange color, and what a cool pot, I can see why you snatched that one up fast:)

Suzanne said...

Beautiful flowers and beautiful photos once again. Love the crisp, clear pictures you always take.

Paula said...

Love that Bird of Paradise. I don't know how you handle the heat. Thanks for sharing your great pictures! Paula in IDaho

~~Rhonda said...

I hope you can extract the plant from the little pot. Let us know how that goes!
We have Ruellia humilis in our yard. Called wild petunia around here. It was in the yard when we bought the house in 1994. Not blooming here yet.
You cactus flowers are beautiful. Thanks for sharing! ~~Rhonda

Dee said...

Love your pictures! You have such gorgeous plants! I learned the hard way with the Bird of Paradise and Mexican Petunia. I put both in last summer, but didn't realize I needed to prune them back. Neither have put on ANY growth at all. I pruned both back when I realized what I hadn't done, but that was only a few weeks ago- did I ruin them completely? I finally went out and bought two good sized BOP today - I won't take the others out, but I'm not waiting around for them to decide to come back.

Aiyana said...

I don't think you've ruined them--but they will struggle to re-establish in this heat. If they make it through the summer without foliage, they'll both come back in the fall, but then, the BOP will go dormant in about late November. You should prune back again so it can get a good start for spring and be really for blooming in May. I think the Desert Petunia is impervious to everything, so it should have no trouble coming back, albeit more slowly in this heat.

Jean said...

I can understand why you love that pot! One of a kind, I hope you don't hurt it when you repot. The red bird of paradise bush is amazing! Nothing shy about that flower! Jean

Teresa said...

Hi Aiyana,
I have never seen that bird of paradise. It is amazing! Do you think it would do well in Georgia? And I love those orange cactus blooms. Gorgeous photos.

Aiyana said...

Red Bird of Paradise is recommended for USDA Zones 8b-10. I think you may fall into this Zone. It takes deep infrequent watering once established. Hardy to 30°F. To keep it full and compact, trim close to ground in winter and it will come back in mid-spring compact and lush. Starts blooming in late April, early May, and flowers until fall. Looks good en masse.

Lancashire rose said...

I remember seeing the red bird of paradise in full bloom when we were visiting last July. It was gorgeous, and that little pot is fabulous. It looks a lot bigger than you say. I have been looking at a succulent I have, in the house, and thinking it deserves something better than the red clay pot it is in.

Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

You always have such beautiful plants to show and I love the Red Bird of Paradise. Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Love the pictures.

verobirdie said...

Aiyana, I love your ceasalpina pulcherrima!
My rose by David Austin is William Morris.

islandgal246 said...

I thought that my island home was extremely hot for this time of year but it seems that it is all over. That red bird of paradise bush is our national flower ...pride of Barbados.