Welcome to Summer 2006

6/19/2006 Red Autumn SageThis is the first official day of summer, and surprisingly, it’s 90 degrees cool. Possible rain in the forecast this week, but for now, I am enjoying the nice breeze outside and the clouds scudding across the sky.

6/19/2006 White Autumn SageTexas summers aren’t like other summers. Summer-blooming lilies don’t behave true in the brutal Texas climate. All of my beds have long shed their colorful blooms and have settled into a green state, storing food for the coming winter. However, a few of my late-purchased bulbs, notably the dwarf lilies, are bravely putting out buds.

Yesterday, I took a pruning shear and started lopping the dead twigs off the Hot Lips salvia and pinched off spent blooms on the Red salvia greggii. The Red salvias still look spectacular, aflame in red buds. The two Hot Lips that received extra pruning are trying to make a comeback, despite looking yellowish. I noticed a scattering solid red and white blooms on them earlier today. The purple greggiis have settled into quiescence, while one of the new San Antonio greggiis flowers profusely. Dad’s white salvias still haven’t been planted, but they are merrily blooming in their pots.

On my nightstand reading list…The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden by Betsy Clebsch.

Lollipop lollipop

06/18/06 Lollipop LiliesOne more surprise greeted me Saturday morning: it appears one of my late plantings of Lollypop lilies had flowered. Standing under 1ft tall, it looks like a thin reedy stalk with 3 flowers crowning it. I have one or two more in different beds with the same reedy stem and heads of buds, just waiting to bloom. FYI, these Lollipops were purchased from Robyns Gardens Ebay store. So far, most of my bulb purchases with them have yielded great results. I can’t wait for the Reinesse lilies to bloom!

Weathering the weekend

6/19/2006 Early June plantings with Harlequin EuonymusCooler temperatures hit my garden this weekend, which proved to be of some relief to my plants. The four specimens of Harlequin Euonymus that I planted in my test bed are looking fairly scorched on the pale leaves. My concerns that they would not be robust have yet to be unfounded since they have sat quietly without any visible signs of spreading.

Needless to say, with the brief showers we experienced, I didn’t have to break the mandatory water restrictions to resuscitate some of the flower beds. The Hot Lips salvia plantings are budding again (I need to prune those) despite enduring the wilting weather from last week. Salvia greggii have proven themselves more hardy in direct sun, showing no obvious signs of wilt. Alas, a strong gust of wind knocked a tree limb on top of one of my purple salvia greggiis. Let’s hope it survives…

Okay, I exaggerate. Lowes had my red/charcoal lodestone bricks reduced to 78 cents per brick, so I naturally bought some more. I was wheeling 50 bricks and 2 bags of mulch to the backyard when I lost control of the silly old wheelbarrow and it collapsed on top of the purple salvia. In the process of extricating the barrow, the salvia and a neighboring lily were squashed, and the remains of an ill-planted fringeflower was uprooted and trashed. Nobody but the dogs saw the accident, so I can freely blame it on an errant tree limb.

Dad gave me two more salvias to add to my new collection. Two quart pots of white salvia greggii will be joining the rest, as soon as I decide where to put them. Happy Father’s Day!

The last of the season

6/2/2006 White LilyThis is the bloom of that withered-looking stalk in the flower bed that I almost cut down. Instead, I let it continue it to grow even though the foliage looked so hideous compared to all the other lilies. It surprised me with the only true cream-white flower out of all of last year’s plantings. It bore three good-sized flowers. No detectable fragrance so I can only assume it is an Asiatic hybrid. I’m not sure if the reflexed petals are due to the condition of the plant or if it has some Oriental or Trumpet in it.

My first Salvia post

6/6/2006 Hot Lips SalviaI first caught sight of this beautiful salvia at Gunter’s Greenhouse and Florist in Richardson, TX. I took a lunch break to search out some salvia greggii, but found this salvia microphylla instead. They only had two pots available so I snatched them up immediately. Incidentally, Gunter’s specializes in orchids and they have several greenhouses full of the lovely flower. It’s the only garden center in the D/FW area that I’m aware of that cultivates these flowers.

A few weeks later I was happy to find that Cristina’s Flowers, a garden center off Mapleshade Lane in Dallas, had several quart pots of the salvia for sale, so I happily picked up two more.