As of this afternoon a major milestone has been passed on the road from spring to summer. The wind blew hot. While we have had strong winds off and on for days and even weeks now, they have blown cooler than the ambient temperature. No more...
So here is a look around the South Border just as we are crossing over into summer.
There are actually two arrivals: one has followed its own timing entirely. This is love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena which seeded itself with astonishing freedom from a single plant last spring.
Another is some newly planted plugs of Catharanthus roseus, known variously as annual vinca, Madagascar periwinkle, and so on. It is one plant that ensured bloom through the hottest weeks last summer, and I am relying on it similarly this year. It is very reassuring to enter the garden's third summer by planting something I am now reasonably sure will see both itself and me through the season!
Another bit of newness is the first open bloom from Crape Myrtle. Lagerstroemia indica "Rhapsody in Pink" has just begun flowering.
But it will be some time yet before the Perovskia blooms. All the same, it is nice to see the silver-leafed stems growing steadily as we enter the warm season, and to know that eventually there will be a soft haze of blue around them. They are just visible now in the usual view, just in front of the Eremophila, but here they are from a much closer angle.
Actually there is another newcomer to the border, a very unexpected one. Here is Kalanchoe x "Pink Butterflies", a variegated version of mother-of-thousands. According to common wisdom online, it does not become invasive, unlike its forebears, because the lack of chlorophyll in the pink plantlets prevents long term viability.
This was an entirely unplanned purchase; the plant caught my eye, so I stood in the aisle hunting up information on my phone, and finally plonked the pot down in my basket. I do love the pink and gray leaves.
There is, possibly, a promise for the eventual return of cooler months: zinnia seedlings which were very slow to start during winter and spring are now looking a little more sturdy and viable. I have no idea whether they will last the summer months, but I am hoping. I planted a cactus-flowered lavender-colored variety with every intention of using it in vases this past spring. Why they got off to such a slow start I don't know; I had pretty well given up on them until quite recently. We shall see...
And that is the maxim for the entire garden as we enter summer here: wait and see what the season brings...
Thanks to Cathy for hosting the Tuesday View at Words and Herbs!
Weather Diary: Sunny and breezy; High: 97 F (36 C)/Low: 60 F (16 C); Humidity: 8%-36%
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Ian Lumsden (Wednesday, 03 May 2017 06:46)
I note that the weather has peaked at 36C. Quite some heat as you enter summer. I've allso done some reading about the Sonoran Desert so I feel more equipped to understand your gardening woeas, foes and triumphs, Amy. How many of the native plants do you grow? I know you introduce plants that I would not expect in your conditions.
Cathy (Wednesday, 03 May 2017 14:06)
The Nigella are a lovely colour Amy. Lovely that they reseed for you. Mine have done in the past, but I think it depends how cold the winter is. Your Perovskia looks so fresh and that zinnia seedling looks very optimistic! Thanks for sharing'
Kris P (Wednesday, 03 May 2017 16:44)
We're entering summer too, although our temperature today is running about 10 degrees cooler than yours was yesterday. I remain impressed about how well vinca does in your climate - it's far less happy here and I think I'm going to swap out the few specimens I have hanging on from last summer with lanatana. I love the Kalanchoe too - mine melted away after blooming without ever self-seeding.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 04 May 2017 12:47)
Ian - I'm holding my breath a little, heading into summer; last summer was a real stinker as the July/August rains passed us by (this was not true across the region, just our little bit of it). I'm hoping we get better balanced weather this year, but it will be hot and dry, no matter what!
I grow a fair number of native plants, which includes species from both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. I don't know what percentage as I've never counted them up. Also I include many Australian plants as I find their reliability here to be almost equivalent to the natives. Then there are the Mediterranean plants - often good. And always a few must-tries that turned out to be adaptable to our crazy conditions. Most of those are annuals, so they don't have to survive the summers. And the roses... a class to themselves; I should post my thoughts on roses in the desert... ;-)
I need to finish my 'About 'page. I stalled just as I was reaching the section on plant selection. I'll see if I can finish it this week or next!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 04 May 2017 12:54)
Cathy - I actually had a packet of Nigella seeds ready to plant when I realized how well these were coming up :) After all, they're another Mediterranean plant in origin, so perhaps that explains their comfort in my dry garden. I really hope my few zinnias take hold; what is really starting to come up in there is Vinca seedlings - wish I could send you some!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 04 May 2017 13:24)
Kris - I begin to think the Vinca prefers it really hot... might explain why it doesn't seem to be grown much in Europe?! Fingers crossed on this Kalanchoe - it was too pretty not to try... ;-)
Annette (Friday, 05 May 2017 05:50)
I love the colour of the Nigella, Amy, just beautiful, I must look out for it. I only have the blue one. The Kalanchoe is also a delight and would be perfect for my conservatory. Some people don't like them – I don't know why as they just grow without any pampering and that alone makes them most desirable. ;) Have a good weekend! Now I have to look up your kingsnake!
David C. (Saturday, 06 May 2017 13:09)
Your plantings signalling the spring-to-summer change is telling, including existing plants like Perovskia. But the largest signal to me is the wind now warmer than the ambient temperature...you must have shared that with us today!
Jenny (Saturday, 06 May 2017 17:04)
I smiled at you comment about Nigella. Like yours it has made its way into every single one of my gardens. And yet I love it. Like you it came from one packet of seeds planted in one spot years ago. The great thing is that they stay rather low when planted in dry gravel. Great for the rock garden and so English!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 07 May 2017 02:58)
Annette - Well, I have been wishing there were more blue among my Nigella flowers... ;-) I think there were during the first year, but these self-seeded plants are giving me mostly the lovely soft purple flowers.
I thought I should post a link for the kingsnake; here it is: https://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_kingsnake.php And today I had to flush a young Mourning Dove out of the garage... It has become lively around here! ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 07 May 2017 03:08)
David C - Yes, the weather was just switching over. Now, we have has something of a reprieve, with the latest winds blowing cool again, coming in from the west coast apparently. The garden and I will be grateful for the slower entrance into summer!
By the way, I really enjoyed your feature of Krameria parviflora - not a plant I'm familiar with at all, but one I would like to see. The Chihuahuan natives tend to be very good plants here, the more so as we can get just a bit of frost in winter... I trust them to be fully hardy summer AND winter here!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 07 May 2017 03:15)
Jenny - I agree completely :) The Nigella has been filling in so perfectly that I can't imagine finishing the border without it now... Thanks for dropping by!