Sunday, July 29, 2012

Big Begonias

During these hot miserable days that are being racked up in the record books it is difficult to be very enthusiastic about the garden. Water water watering is about all that is going on. Looking into my crystal ball would never in a million years would I have seen that my passion for begonias would have been reignited. I must say though I found some beautiful begonias that have taken my mind off the misery of the season.

Begonias you say. Yes I say. These are not your mother's wax begonias I am talking about. These are some BIG-leaved rhizomatous begonias and I am telling you right now that my photos don't do them justice.

When I first brought them home I made a big mistake of trying to plant two of them in a pot. Even though the pot was plenty big for the roots it wasn't large enough to suitably display the big leaved begonias. I had to separate these two.
Art Hodes has large textured leaves. 
If you look close at them you can see that the leaves are hairy and red underneath. The edges are a little wavy and just look at those hairs.
'Bashful Bandit', the one that was crammed in with it has a totally different look. It has huge cleft leaves that are a deep burgandy. (below)
I think my favorite of the lot is 'Cowardly Lion'. It has these huge leaves that are chartruese with deep 
chocolate veins running through. 
The leaves even seem to spiral in toward the stems.
'Black Truffles' doesn't have such large leaves but it has beautiful dark chocolate colored leaves with contrasting yellow/green veins. The back of the leaves are dark red. Yummmmy. 
 While 'Deco Daddy' isn't as large-leaved as some of the others he is a handsome dude.
Obviously the 'in' thing in begonias are the spiraled leaves. Even though 'Palomar Whirlwind' isn't quite as colorful as the others I couldn't leave it behind. 
The last in this series I bought is 'Madame Queen'. Unfortunately she has been a little finiky. She didn't like being potted up with another. When I took her out she has been in something of a pout. I think she will come around now that she is in a pot of her own. I sure hope so because her large glossy leaves that are ruffled around the edges are beautiful. 
Do I have other begonias? Yes, I just love them. The only bad thing about them is that they all have to come in this winter. I wonder how I will be able to get them all in front of the window with the most light?? Oh well I will worry about that then. Have you a new or renewed flower passion this summer?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Flowers and Foliage July 15 & 16

The day after the official Bloom Day hosted by Carol over at May Dreams Garden if find that The Susans are blooming up a storm. A few of the Tall Garden Phlox are giving it a go too. There just aren't
many other blooms in the garden. 
When I went to make a list of blooms the list looks about normal but the garden itself doesn't look a bit normal. Dry and a little crispy around the edges. We have had a couple of pop-up showers the past few days. I was so hoping a good rain would set it. We will have to wait until later. 
The drought hasn't given the blooms much chance this summer. The foliage of many plants are brown around the edges. Many hostas are going to a pale flop but there are a few hostas that are holding up in the drought. I thought I would give them special attention for today is Foliage Follow Up as hosted by Pam at Digging. 
Sagae has been stellar in it's performance in this heat and drought. It even grows under the Apple tree.
Right beside Sagae is Guacamole. It also has withstood the drought. It has sort of become one color instead of the bicolor it usually has but it is still looking good for these conditions.
If you have some blooms or foliage to share please go to the highlighted web sites and join in on the fun. 
If you don't have something blooming I sure hope you have some fantastic foliage.
Blooms this month:
Crepe Myrtle
Hollyhock
Tall garden phlox (White and Pink)
Black-eyed Susans
Yellow Trumpet Vine
Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
Tansy
Lemon Balm
Comfrey
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
Patio Hydrangea
Annuals






Monday, July 9, 2012

Break In The Weather

All I can tell you is that it was a joy to get out this morning for our daily walk.
It was about 20 degrees cooler than it has been in some time even though the sun was out and it was promising that it would warm up.
We got a spot of rain last night. With the front that pushed through the temps fell. Out came a few bugs that have been few and far between.
This bumble bee has discovered that one of the flowers on the hummingbird feeder is leaking. He had to run off the yellow jacket that you can see below right. There were two yellow jackets and they gave great respect to the bumble bee. I don't know who found it first but the bumble bee won the flower.
It has been so dry that the yellow jackets have been going to the bird baths for moisture. This is a first in my memory. At our friend's pool there was a big black wasp landing on the water surface like a water strider getting a drink. That was also a first for all of us. I guess this weather takes desperate measures for them to survive.
 One of the beautiful butterflies had to share its nectar source with Japanese Beetles.
 They weren't paying too much attention to the butterfly though. I almost felt sorry for them, almost I said, because they lay their eggs in the ground and right now our ground is so hard I doubt they will be successful.
I did find evidence of another ground dweller. This casing of the cicada showed up on the Casa (screen house). The cicadas emerge from the ground, crawl up someplace and leave their casing behind.
 Yes, at least one survived. I haven't heard them calling much though. This is going to be a rough year for them. Of course this wasn't an eruption year for them but I do seem many more than one or two. They normally make such a cachophany of sound you know they are around for several weeks during the summer.
Yes, this will be one summer to remember. Not so fondly though.
One thing that has been nice this summer is that weeds haven't been encouraged to grow much. My DB was thinking it was our outstanding attack upon the weeds that made them afraid to show their ugly heads around here. I had to remind him that I think it was more like the lack of rain that discouraged them. You can see that even with a shot of rain it didn't take them long to begin sprouting.
As you see in the picture above the zoysia lawn is not looking too happy but the weeds are sprouting.
Some plants have just given up like this lirope. I am amazed at this. They are so hardy. Other plants like the old fashioned hardy hibiscus nearby just keep on. It isn't as thick or tall as usual yet
 it laughs in the face of drought and so will I.
I hope your area has collected some rain and the temps have lowered a bit like here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Surprises

Summer has been a continuation of the drought that has been hovering here for some time. Record heat has us in it's grip. Since there isn't a thing I can do about this I have decided to try to take the high road and tell you about all the fun surprises I have found in the garden thus far. I will try not to complain, much. After all we haven't had fire or flood to deal with. It could be worse right??

During a drought you certainly learn to appreciate succulents that you might be growing. Of course Hens and chicks are common but when they put on a show of blooms you forget all about that.
 One of my favorite succulents this year are the Echiveraias that have inhabited this pot for the past 18 months or so. They are the first plant that I have had luck growing in one of these pots. I have tried several different strawberry pots and different plants all without success until this combination. The Echiveraias are growing and I think a couple of them are even going to bloom for me.
Another nice combination is this hollyhock and clematis that are blooming together. I am sorry that I can't take credit for anything other than planting the clematis. The hollyhock chose this spot to grow and the clematis is taking fair advantage of a taller structure to climb.
 This hollyhock is TALL. Here is a picture of me standing by it. I am 5'6" tall and the hollyhock towers over me. And yes, that clematis is that blue even though it normally isn't. It's deep blue must be another affect of the drought.
I admit that I bought some Oriental Lily bulbs from a big box store. I have said before that I wasn't going to do that anymore due to the disappointment they often are. When I opened the package I told myself...here we go again. Such little ole bulbs didn't look promising.
I am glad I went ahead and planted them. They have all emerged and just take a look at this beauty.
I know I am not the only one that likes them either. 
The blackberries are fighting valiantly trying to produce enough berries for our new supply of  jelly. Unfortunately after I picked a nice bowl of berries they seemed to think that was quite enough.
Instead of having enough for a mess of jelly I just have enough for a generous topping on my cereal or better yet on ice cream. Aaaa, you will have to excuse me I think the ice cream man is calling. 
Do you have any surprises in your garden this summer?