Sunday, June 7, 2009

So, what Grows well in Ninety Degree Weather?

Mind you, I grew up in Northern Europe, where a nice summer afternoon came with temperatures in the high sixtees and 80 degrees meant a heat wave. So, living in the Southern U.S. took some getting used to. And being a Georgia Gardener presents its challenges.

This is spring; summer is still a few weeks away, but let me assess the state of growth in my landscape. On the annuals front, the Angelonias and the Sweet Potatoes, as well as many of the Petunias, are doing well. I’ve added a few Alternanthera Joseph’s Coat today, and a bunch or Portulaca. So far, so good.

The perennials that are doing well are another Alternanthera (‘Gail’s Choice’) and most of the Salvias. But some did not come back from last year; that includes an Argentina, a Mystic Spires and the one expensive Black & Blue I added to my garden (the three ‘cheapies’ are doing just great!). The ‘Cherry Queen’ is blooming its little heart out, as are three new ‘Hot Lips’. Several van Houtii varieties are doing well.

A Lampranthus (ice pant) is magnificent again, now in its third year in my garden, but this is the first year in which not one of my Lantana came back; oh, well! Joe Pye Weed, meanwhile, has never looked healthier (or bigger, at this time of the season).

The Daylilies are just beginning to bloom and they look heroic, but one cannot help but wonder if they wouldn’t be happier in Pennsylvania or Kansas. The Lavender is spectacular, as ever, but the flowers droop in the afternoon heat. The Shasta Daisies, if given the chance, would probably vote for transplanting to New York or Illinois. The Verbena Bonariensis (‘Standing Verbena’) is in full bloom and the Japanese Aster is showing its first flowers. I recently added a Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) to my garden and am looking forward to seeing it bloom later in the year. I’m also the fortunate recipient of some Virginia Sweetspire cuttings (three out of four are doing well and the fourth one, though seemingly rather ‘critical’, isn’t quite dead yet).

The Foxgloves have been blooming very nicely this year, but the Hollyhocks, though blooming profusely, don’t look all that happy (the ones I had in my garden in Surrey, England, were so much more perky!). I have a gigantic outdoor Plectranthus, which does not look like a Plectranthus, and a much smaller indoor one, which does – the latter in bloom, the former just getting bigger by the day. The Phloxes are looking great – no blooms yet, but such vigorous growth! And so are the Yarrows (white and ‘Paprika’) – I just bought a new one (pink) yesterday and am looking after it in its pot until I decide on just the right place for it in my landscape.

Last year, without question, the Salvia was my favorite perennial; this year, it might well turn out to be the Yarrow.

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