Monday, July 21, 2014

What's Blooming in July?

Seems like it's been an odd summer?!?

It's been too hot too soon. Then yesterday was so much cooler, I felt like I needed a sweater.

I'm trying to keep up with my watering to make the perennials happy and to settle in my new Cercis canadensis 'Merlot'. The grass is on the way to "beige" in some spots.

 The veggie garden is beyond crazy. I still haven't had a tomato to eat yet. I'm a good month behind, but getting there!

Enjoy all the blooms!

Dahlia 'Mingus Art' - Simple yet beautiful.
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) in bloom in the veggie garden. So pretty!
An odd double flower on Belamcanda chinensis (Blackberry Lily)
Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower)
Unknown Daylily
Echinacea purpurea 'papaya'
Magnolia x Jane has a second flush of flowers.
Gentiana tibetica (Tibetan Gentian 西藏秦艽)
Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'
Rudbeckia maxima (Giant Coneflower)
Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)
Eryngium agavifolium (Sea Holly)
Yellow Squash
Gladiolus papilio (Butterfly Gladiola)
Echinacea 'Mango Meadowbrite' ?
Clerodendron trichotomum (Harlequin Glorybower), Phlox paniculata 'Sandringham'
Harbinger of fall? Garden mum in bloom.
Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue' about to pop!
Hemerocallus 'Courts of Europe' (Daylily)
The garden looks better from far away!
Crocosmia pottsii 'Culzean Pink'
Crazy veggie garden!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bottlebrush Resurrection

Oh Winter 2013/14! Why'd you have to be so mean?!? 

I forgave you for murdering my cute little Acacia bormanii...

I forgave you for beating up my Palm trees and Pittosporums..
I forgave you for a multitude of other little sins too...

But I wasn't going to forgive the loss of my favorite Lemon Bottlebrush (Callistemon pallidus).

The summer before
Callistemon pallidus (Lemon Bottlebrush) spring 2014
Oh the horror!
While not a particularity special or pretty variety, it was my first, biggest and oldest Bottlebrush and it was special. It was my first foray into zone pushing, slightly inappropriate for our climate plants

In late spring, it was so sad to see it wither away and then explode in a pile of dead leaves everywhere. It looked VERY, very bad.

It was well into April/May and there was not much sign of life. I just kept looking at the dead stems, thinking I should at least get my pruners and cut them off. They were sticking out like sore thumbs. I wasn't going to dig it out just yet though.

In June, I noticed new growth at the base and was hopeful.  I was almost afraid the new growth was a weed or some other plant trying to trick me.

Presently, it's put on about a foot of growth and I am relieved. It may be awhile before I get flowers again, but at least it's still with me! 

Now I can FINALLY cute those stems off!



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Veggie Garden Update

We are now well into July.

It seemed like in one week all the veggies doubled in size, especially the zucchini, cucumbers and pumpkin. The sorghum is going nuts too.

This week the weather has turned to HOT. I'm watering every other day, trying to keep up with the heat.

Some of the Haitian veggies are off to a slow start, while others are settling in nicely. The okra seems especially slow, but even these small plants are starting to flower. Each plant has several buds about to pop. They have grown for sure, just not as much as I thought they would.

Okra 'Jing Orange' (Left and Center) and 'Cow Horn' (Right)
Okra 'Jing Orange'
Okra 'Cow Horn'
The Roselle seems quite happy and has grown taller. The deep red calyx are already apparent and very pretty. I'm looking forward to making "agua de Flor de Jamaica" and perhaps preserving some of the flowers in syrup for champagne cocktails. 

Roselle #1
A closer look at the flower buds.
Roselle #2
The squash/zucchini/pumpkins are all taking off. I have already harvested many Hungarian zucchini and yellow squash.

The collard greens are taking off too. If anybody has a good recipe for collards - please share it with me. I have no idea how to cook collards!

Collard greens in the front left and squash/zucchini/cucumbers in the back middle.
Pumpkin Jamaican in the back with Calabash, Romanesco broccoli on the left.

The sorghum is growing like gangbusters!

Sorghum 'Rox Orange'
I thought it would do better closer to the fence because of the warmth, but the inner row seems to be outpacing the row near the fence. It is about hip-high at the moment. Perhaps the inner row is blocking the sprinkler from the second row?

It might be hard to see, but the other weeds are Horseradish starts from the clump I dug out 3 years ago. They are still popping up from roots that didn't get removed! There is even one coming out from under the garden shed.

It's pretty - I like it!

The tomatoes are finally kicking in too. Surprisingly, the largest green tomatoes are on one of the Haitian varieties. All of the other heirlooms are getting to the second rung of their cages. There are lots of flowers on the plants.

There were no red fruit though by July 4th, so looks like they will be a few weeks behind this year.

The closest two are Olirose de St. Domanique and Plate de Haiti.
Olirose de St. Domanique has nice small fruits forming.
Plate de Haiti
The Scotch bonnets are doing well, although the one on the left is twice as big as the other two. 

Scotch bonnets surrounding cilantro.
The Pigeon Pea is settled into it's pot, but has not taken off yet. It does seem to be happy though with it's Gazania neighbors. I hope to see it put on some growth over the next few weeks. It still amazes me that the cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back 3,500 years!

Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan)
Happy veggie gardening!