Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer's Almost Gone

When the Queen's Wreath blooms, it's fall. I was hoping this was the year this vine would thrive, but it was not to be. The summer was particularly brutal this year, and so many plants struggled for months just to stay alive. It's not a lack of water (even though we've had only 3 inches so far this year) it was the sun's intensity. 

I lost many, probably about 15, perennials this summer, but I think most of them died a natural death rather than succumb to the heat. They were all six to seven years old and had lived their cycle. As my landscape has matured I've replaced fewer and fewer plants, but these latest deaths left bare spots that need filled in. So, I'll be spending some time in a couple of nurseries in the next couple of weeks, trying to make up my mind what the replacements will be. I don't think I'll go beyond the tried and true, I seem to have lost the urge for adventure in the garden.

An early September trimming is all it takes to revitalize the Lantana plants and get them blooming again. By late August, they are quite large and sprawling, with no flowers--dusty and dry looking. For a few weeks after the trimming, they look worse than ever, but look at how symmetrical and full they are just a while later. They will now bloom for months, just like this.

September is Ferocactus cylindraceus flower time, and it looks like I'll have flowers well into October. We had a light rain about three weeks ago--the first in many months, and that prompted this last push. I've collected seed from the fruit for years, and have occasionally started some ferocactus seedlings, but I've never been interested in this aspect of gardening, so I tossed out about a quarter pound of seed recently. I still feel kind of guilty about it for some reason.


David said...

Hi there!
Our recent year(!) with a drought has led me to your garden. I garden in Houston where we should have 48 inches of rain annually. Instead, we've had 11. It's nice to see your lovely garden within the dry conditions of Phoenix. It gives me hope. I've lost so many plants even with watering. I'm glad to find your blog and I've put you on my favorites garden list. We share favorites already...Pam at Digging and Rock Rose. Very nice gardeners!!!
:-) David/ Tropical Texana

Aiyana said...

Hi David,
Seems many regions have had very weird weather this past year, ranging from drought to flooding and worse! I'm glad you visited my blog, Anymore, I don't seem to get around to posting for months, mostly because not much goes on in my mature landscape that I have not previously covered, and also because I haven't planted anything new and interesting. I continue to stick with gardening only, which limits my post variety.

Julie said...

The Queens Wreath is so beautiful. I bet it might grow here...I'm going to check it out!
Hope you and your hubby are doing OK! Come over and see the bud I just posted on the Golden Rat Tail Cactus Claude gave me a few years ago! It is finally growing and flowering.

Claude said...

The summer here in Texas was brutal... finally we're getting a break and I'm having to deal with the casualties. not fun.