Bring it on! More plants that love the heat

Today reached the hottest temperature in the Dallas area this year. So far. At 105 degrees (not including heat index) it was broiling hot out in the garden. I had made an error in putting out some ornamental peppers from the previous day into a planter trough, and all but one Purple Flash shriveled up in the heat. Haven’t I learned by now not to put seedlings out in summer?

As part of my morning gardening activity, I started watering and weeding the front bed. The azaleas had been looking mighty stressed all week, so I felt they deserved a good watering. Unfortunately, the weeding of the bed looked more like an all-day task, not something to embark upon during a work day. I did hack down the gaura by 2/3rds its original height. It had been slouching over all week, looking rather unattractive. As much as I hated cutting down the honeybee-magnet, it really needed an early summer shearing.

The blooming pineapple mints in the herb bed border also got a much-deserved haircut. I don’t know how readily they reseed, but I wasn’t interested in finding out. All the herbs, for the most part, are thriving in this heat. Even the frail little coconut thyme is looking healthy. Of course, the courtyard beds receive a dose of heavy watering every other day–the potted plants get water every day. The ginger mint is also blooming, but in a way I can’t describe: the inflorescence work their way up the stems, not something I’ve seen before. Is this typical of ginger mint?

7/8/2011 Ginger Mint Blooming

That’s a Calico ornamental pepper seedling and the chinese eggplant in the background. Sadly, the eggplant flower disappeared, so that means no fruit yet. Hard to believe that the 2 ginger mint plants started from one specimen; I’m thinking of evicting 2 pineapple mints and moving them into the cinder block wall.

Among the losses, I counted the variegated felicia as another goner. While weeding the border between the herb and blue bed I stumbled upon its skeletal remains. All I have left now of the variegated felicia are 2 cuttings that have barely taken root. I’m seriously considering a liquid root fertilizer to speed up the process. But perhaps they just aren’t designed to tolerate this weather, despite being in a somewhat protected spot. The regular daisy is blooming sporadically but seems to like that spot it currently resides in.

May herbs and flowers

More photos of the herb and flower garden. Felicias, verbena, and potted yarrows! And take a gander at the variegated oregano in its new home next to the lemon thyme. My Coconut thyme still looks terribly scraggly.

I’m thinking about branching out into vegetable gardening after we spotted a reasonably priced cedar garden kit at Home Depot this weekend. I would love to pick up some bok choy, gai lan and giant green onions, along with traditional vegetables, like asparagus, lettuces, garlic, onions and broccoli. So starts my oriental veggie wishlist.

Some veggie and herb seed resources on the net:


Seed starting 2011 part 5

This weekend I filled up the 2nd tray of Jiffy 7 coir pellets (Professional Greenhouse 72), 72 seeds in all. For the harder-to-grow seeds, I attempted to triple and quadruple some of the seeds in hopes that stronger seedlings result.

The list? Easy Wave (The Flag) Petunias, Seabreeze salvia farinacea, Lady in Red salvia coccinea, Impatiens Xtreme Hot! Mix, Origami Blue and Red Columbines, Stardust Delosperma, Durango Outback Mix marigolds.

On our trip to NHG this past Saturday, we bought a Midnight Blue rose (with several closed buds already on it) and a Lime-scented thyme. For some reason I did not find good specimens of Coconut thyme at NHG…so I will most likely pick them up elsewhere, maybe Calloway’s. I also bought two packets of seeds: garlic chives and lime basil. Too late I discovered that a couple of chives are just now sprouting in the same pot as the Iona Blue pansy. Based on a pot of chives I saw at NHG, I sowed 6-7 seeds of the used packet of chives that I had left over in 2 3″ pots. Perhaps growing them thick is the key.

I brought out the tray of vinca seedlings into the light. With counter space at a premium, I’ve had to do some fancy rearranging in our bathroom greenhouse. I decided to put out all the pepper plants, including the ornamentals, out in the yard to make room. I’ve also set out the tallest of the hosta plants. I imagine I also be putting out the 2 cupheas sitting in the bathtub…they haven’t done anything since I put them in there, so I believe they would prefer a stronger light source.

I noticed that through neglect one of the Oriental Limelight artemisias nearly died back into the pot. Luckily, a little water restored it, though some stalks were lost in the process. I’m still trying to decide if I should turn them loose in the landscape or just keep them potted.

By the way, I found this free online planner that meets most of my criteria for designing a garden bed:

The following sights currently on view in the garden: plumes of foxtail ferns shooting up, a healthy crown of leaf buds on Prairie Sky Hosta, blue flowering Chocolate Chip ajuga, sword like fan of leaves on the hardy amaryllis, daffodil buds peeking through the ground, white loropetalum in full bloom, violas and scabiosa also blooming heartily, purple oxalis looking spectacular.

3/14/2011 Buds (1) 3/14/2011 Buds (2) 3/14/2011 Buds (3) 3/14/2011 Buds (4) 3/14/2011 Buds (5) 3/14/2011 Buds (6) 3/14/2011 Buds (7)

Also this weekend, finally accomplished setting down weed mat on the salvia wall. Next mission: gravel or mulch, not sure yet. In the herb garden, transplanted one of the golden oreganos and the lime thyme. I’ll need more soil/compost to finish transplanting the rest of the herbs in the cinderblock wall.