Late July - Mid August 2022
Like so many people across the world, we are experiencing high temperatures with very little rain. The garden is suffering. There have been a few bright spots though. What is doing well in the heat and drought? The Texas Star Hibiscus. Why? Most of the plant is in the garden pond. One stalk that creeped out of the pond and onto dry land actually wilted and died.
A native cardinal plant is also happy in the garden pond. Something strips its leaves each year, but the plant still makes a comeback and blooms. This is a good plant for hummingbirds.
The passion vines are thriving. In fact, they will take over, if you let them. The bees love these. They are also host plants for Variegated and Gulf Fritillaries.
The fennel is giving us some color in the herb bed. There's another passion vine trying to dominate. I haven't seen any caterpillars on the fennel in a while, but we did see small tiny intarsia stage caterpillars on the top of a carrot plant this week. These will be Eastern Black swallowtails.
Some plants like these celosia are making a comeback after a recent rain and a drop in temperatures. I planted these in pots in early summer and they have struggled until recently.
The carnation style dianthus at the foot of the climbing roses are also re-blooming.
The verbena bonariensis seem unfazed by the dry heat.
Amazingly, Ian's Heavenly Blue Morning glories that are in a small pot facing west are producing some beautiful flowers, if not a full vine. That's probably down to the size of the pot.
I wish I knew the name of this wild flower that comes up between the patio stones each year. I love them. They look like fairy flowers.
I've turned my attention from plants to the Green Man pedestal this summer. Many years ago we removed a swing frame to dig the hole for the garden pond. Ian removed two massive concrete footings in the process. We kept one to use as a pedestal for the Green Man. I thought that ivy would quickly cover the pedestal, but that has only happened in spots. This year I beat a shopping path to Etsy, Mandala Gems store and ordered several small stones and ammonites to decorate the pedestal.
A couple of weeks later the pedestal is decorated. The two iridescent stones come from the Diana Maria mine in Country Durham, England. These are Aura flourite. The stones are treated to create the iridescence. I purchased the Green Man in Arundel, UK many years ago. I think its appropriate that he has a bit of "home" now.
The Mexican petunias are blooming nicely, but they have lost some of their turgidity with the lack of rain. While I like these plants, I wouldn't recommend them for pollinators. I don't see the bees or butterflies use them. We take out the garden hose every few days to keep our plants alive. This period of summer it is about survival, not flower production.
To demonstrate the point. The tall gladiola to the right of the photo hasn't bloomed this year. The hybrid monardas didn't bloom either. The wild bergamot (also a type of monarda) did bloom earlier in the season though.
The Black n Blue Sage is so reliable. They will bloom all summer ,if I periodically dead head them. They are loved by hummingbirds and bees.
Another summer favorite, zinnias! My neighbors, Susan and John, gave us "Forecast" zinnia seeds this year. They are shorter than other varieties and look great. They intermingle with Southern Charm verbascum, verbena bonariensis and muhly grass. I have ordered Art Deco zinnia seeds for next year. I should include some shorter varieties like Forecast. They should make a great combination.
I'm not sure if this is a female Tiger Swallowtail or a Spicebush swallowtail.
There is another bright spot in this summer heat. I can make "sun" tea in less than an hour. No boiling required.
I bring the water and tea bags outside and add a little hummingbird sugar water to sweeten when it has "brewed". Don't add the sugar syrup until you bring the tea jar inside. Otherwise, lots of pesky creatures like ants will be all over your tea jar.
Cooling whites: the new garden sculpture and white caladiums. I hope I'll be successful in overwintering this caladium inside. I would love to have it again in 2023.
Cicada sounds on a summer evening.