July Heat 2012
The pre-winter graveyard
It’s been a good two weeks since my last post. The climate has turned to rain to freezing temps back to chilly. Since we experienced a solid week of sub-freezing wind chills and temps, it’s natural that the annuals have succumbed to the frost. Where certain parts aren’t buried in leaves, my garden transformed into a graveyard in a matter of days. I hope to clear out the debris when the weather turns mild. Thankfully, the man started with pruning the Midnight Blue rose.
Goners: basils, vincas, marigolds, cosmos, ornamental peppers, salvia coccinea.
Dead top growth: caladiums, sweet potato ornamental vines (not sure if these Illusion potatoes will come back next year), callas, Sinaloa salvia, the purple oxalis in the blue bed, most of the asters.
Subject to change: foxtail ferns, Mexican heather.
Surprises: a few of the petunias are still green, all of the coreopsis have green foliage and appear to have grown, the larkspur seedlings appear unaffected by the freeze, one of the Autumn Embers azaleas actually had a (wilted) bloom on it, succulent planter looking pretty.
Annoyances: the yarrow continues to spread, weeds have invaded my lily bed!
Warning: images of dead plants ahead. On my Xmas wishlist: a compost bin from the city’s Park & Recreation dept.
Pre-Thanksgiving look at the garden
It’s that time of the year. Almost every year that I cook for the holidays, I make sure to use ingredients in my garden, even if it is only one sprig of rosemary. But since it’s been 10 days since my last post, I thought it time to do a little inspection.
The Shu ornamental pepper continues to hang on for dear life. Peppers are perennial in zones 9 and beyond, but here in my garden, it’s going to be a challenge to keep them alive in the ground during winter. My potted peppers have been sitting outside since this past weekend when we saw temps reach the high 70s. We’re back down to the high 30s to mid-40s during the evenings, but we will continue to reach the 70s in the daytime for the Thanksgiving holiday.
All the garlic have emerged and are looking tall.
The sage seems to appreciate the cooler weather; I used some sage leaves from this specimen for my turkey brine last night.
Those appear to be larkspur seedlings surrounding one of the irises. Unfortunately, the man sprinkled it heavily on one side not realizing I only had one pack of Shades of Blue Larkspur (Consolida ambigua). I may have to purchase another pack.
Finally, a good macro picture of the Oertel’s Rose yarrow blooms!
I love the white-mottled Snow-n-Summer asiatic jasmine foliage; emerging leaves are a beautiful shade of pastel pink.
The Autumn Monarch azalea is our only fall-blooming azalea this year. It received a fair amount of protection from the neighboring Hot Lips salvia this year, unlike the other azaleas on the opposite end of the bed.
A lone vinca has grown in the lee of an azalea. I had already pulled out its neighbors, but kept this one to see how it would fare. The petunias also appear unstoppable. Even with this crazy weather, they are continuously putting on new growth.
My eggplant doesn’t appear to put on much growth in the last 10 days; though the plant is leaning farther due to its weight. It still feels way to hard to the touch.
Valentine dianthus…what a beauty. All the dianthus in the garden favor this cool climate; most are putting on several buds if not blooming.
A surprise on the camellia: this bud has swelled to 5 times the size as other buds.
Lemon thyme: I plan on cutting several sprigs of this to insert into my turkey. The other herbs of course are looking fabulous. The Thai basil looks amazing with its flowery spires; I just dread how many seedlings I’ll get out of it. The Red Rubin basil also loves this cool weather. I am curious to see if they will endure into next year.
It’s starting to look a lot like…
…well, it looks like fall, but feels a little bit like winter. Today is the first day that rain and cold collided to form a prologue to winter, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s. I dispensed with tank tops and flip-flops today, working the garden in sneakers, sweatpants and long-sleeved thermal top. Most of the work involved finishing the man’s mulching job. He had added another layer to the front flower bed, the shade bed, purple bed, and began the camellia bed. He happened to leave nearly half a bag of cedar mulch left…so I covered up the rest of the camellia bed.
I also ripped out some of the scraggly vinca in the front flower bed. As much as I dislike removing still-blooming plants, the vinca grew into an unattractive shade of yellow and flopped around due to the lack of support. A stand of vinca still remains; I’ll be ripping that out soon. Hopefully, we’ll have a good amount of re-seedlings next year.
I got around to repotting my new Dallas (?) red lantana–not sure if this specimen is winter-hardy. No freezes yet, but I’m slowly transplanting the tender perennials and tropicals into their winter pots. I’m fairly confident I have all the pepper plants and basils I’ll need to carry me through winter, but I wouldn’t mind some color and variety either. (Remind self to bring sedum planter indoors during first freeze.)
I did get to observe a new bloom on the Midnight Blue rose, but it was yet too early in the morning to take a proper picture of it. If the weather permits, I’ll try to post it tomorrow. This may be the last flush of rose blooms before we prune it back.
Tomorrow’s forecast: highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s. Good-bye, flip-flop weather, for now.