Sunday
Aug282016

Blooms That Take the Heat

The heat has been bad this summer, or maybe it is the equally high humidity that has made it seem worse than other years. I am grateful for plants that have continued to flower, despite temperatures that cause less stalwart plants to quit blooming.

A lot of heat tolerant flowers are annuals. I don't plant a lot of annuals. If I did, no doubt I would have much more summer color. Among those I have, the one that has impressed me the most is gomphrena, which has bloomed non-stop through the summer. Gomphrena has clover-like blooms in shades of purple, pink and white. Lantana is another great summer bloomer, though its flowers come in successive waves rather than blooming continuously. The following images show pink gomphrena and a creamy lantana, along with silvery 'Powis Castle' artemesia.

My Crepe Myrtle trees have been blooming for months. They thrive on heat and humidity. This one is by the parking area in front of the house:

Salvia 'Black and Bloom' has incredible cobalt blue blooms, and it also thrives in heat and humidity. With larger flowers, thicker leaves and darker stems, it is an improved version of Salvia 'Black and Blue.'

Cat Whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) is another plant putting out successive blooms through the summer. It is a perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 9-11, but it is unlikely to survive my winter. This is the first year I have grown this plant, but I will definitely plant it again.

Cat Whiskers grows to the right of the path shown above.As long as I keep deadheading it, 'Tutti Frutti' butterfly bush keeps putting out pretty flowers. These blooms are not as large as the initial flush, but are still satisfying to me and the pollinators. It will continue to bloom into the fall.

Zinnia augustifolia just keeps on going. I sometimes remember to deadhead it. Here it is, along with Dusty Miller:

'Coral' Drift rose can't be beat. It is a heavy bloomer, and so far it is disease free.

Firebush is not hardy here, but I grow it in a pot and plan to keep it inside through the winter. The hummingbirds love it!

Another plant that attracts hummingbirds is 'Major Wheeler' honeysuckle. It puts out successive blooms into fall:

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer' and Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight', shown below, are a couple of hydrangeas that continue to bloom, despite the heat. 'Limelight'  has many blooms, while 'Endless Summer' has a few.

I will have more flowers once the heat breaks (hopefully soon!). In the meantime, I enjoy these few blooms that can take the heat.

 

Orthosiphon aristatus)

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow A Cat Whiskers Plant: Growing Cat Whiskers In Gardens http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/cat-whiskers/growing-cat-whiskers.htm
Orthosiphon aristatus)

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow A Cat Whiskers Plant: Growing Cat Whiskers In Gardens http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/cat-whiskers/growing-cat-whiskers.htm
Orthosiphon aristatus)

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow A Cat Whiskers Plant: Growing Cat Whiskers In Gardens http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/cat-whiskers/growing-cat-whiskers.htm
Sunday
Aug212016

A Few August Images, 2016

The steamy weather of the last couple of weeks has been so oppressive, I have hardly been able to force myself outside. Instead, I have been doing some painting inside the house. I know that cooler days with fresh breezes are coming, but meanwhile I am in the doldrums as far as gardening goes. Nevertheless, I have few August images to share from various places:

First, I spent nearly an hour outside trying to get a photo of a hummingbird. We have many coming through to visit our flowers and hummingbird feeder next to the patio, but my reflexes were too slow. Wilted and a bit discouraged, I at last managed one image with a recognizable bird:

Here is the view toward my front garden through the jasmine arch. We have had plenty of rain, so everthing is lush and very green:

Nothing like a wagonload of sweet watermelons to make the hot weather more bearable:

The watermelons were a special treat as part of a Master Gardeners class I am taking.

How about a basket of muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) or scuppernongs? Sometimes people want to know the difference between a scuppernong and a muscadine.  A scuppernong is merely a green or bronze form of muscadine, which is a native grape of the South. They tend to have tough skins, but bite into one of these for a juicy, sweet-tart explosion of flavor in your mouth:muscadines
Muscadines on the vine at the Chilton County Research and Extension Service.

scuppernongs

We have muscadines growing wild on our property.We once had a black lab named Jasmine who loved to eat muscadines, especially the shriveled, somewhat fermented ones she found on the ground. I prefer them plump and recently picked. 

This butterfly has tattered wings but is still beautiful:

Check out this great-looking rain barrel, located at the Chilton County Extension Service Demonstration Garden:

A very interesting arbor at the Demonstration Garden is made from rebar, chicken wire, and rusty old garden tools:

Finally, I recently attended a cookout in honor of the volunteers at Aldridge Gardens. We were eating under a large pavillion when a funny thing happened. We noticed rain coming down on one side of the pavilion while on the other side of the pavillion the sun was shining in and there was no rain! We all laughed, but this is typical of the scattered showers that are so common in August. After the rain we had a special surprise when a rainbow arched over the Gardens:

Blessings to you all!   Deb