Well, it has been over a week since I have posted or since I've managed to check up on other bloggers generally. As I mentioned in my truncated reply on the last post, we had an emergency with a much-loved dog last Friday night. It has turned into a marathon of care and concern, long nights, medications, and heartache. But fortunately it has not turned into a tragedy. One week after abdominal surgery, Bella is with us, just beginning to eat again, though by no means back to normal. She is an otherwise healthy near-fourteen years old, and healing has been slow.
Meantime, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day has come and gone. I haven't the energy to chase all the wonderful flowers in the garden right now. We have gotten a reprieve from summer; the weather has been gently cool... in the desert... in May! Spring annuals continue just as the true summer flowers are arriving.
So I will be taking a look at some of this transition. And this post is a sort of half-baked Bloom Day post of the "better late than never" variety.
First come the annuals that have been blooming for months. The Calendulas continue to flower, as do the California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), both gold and red varieties.
A second flush of bloom has arrived on Chrysactinia mexicana, following a thorough deadheading several weeks ago.
Nearby is Tetraneuris acaulis, the little Angelita Daisy, which puts up its long-stemmed daisies off and on throughout the year.
The cooler temperatures have no doubt prolonged the season for my handful of Iceland poppies. A white Papaver nudicaule is blooming below thin stems of Gaura "Belleza White" (Oenothera lindheimeri).
The Gaura itself is superb right now. It is another very long-blooming plant here, or at any rate its pink cousin has been, flowering on through the heat of summer.
Salvia greggi is another plant that flowers in any season, according to its lights, though it is best known for flushing heavily late in the year, hence the moniker "Autumn Sage". These flowers belong to a seedling which I transplanted into the North Border last winter. They are a little more red than cherry, probably a good indication they come from S. greggi "Flame". I have enjoyed saving the various seedlings to find out what color they will bloom; fortunately they mix well with other plants!
Berlandiera lyrata is most noticeable in late spring, but it can continue long into summer if it gets enough water. Admittedly, it grows leggier and lankier the whole time, and in our intense sunlight the flowers begin to close in midmorning, but those blooms continue to scent the air with chocolate in the early mornings. I am curious whether the flowers close during daylight elsewhere; I don't see references to it and suspect it may only occur under our more extreme conditions. Any information?
Definitely heralding the transition between spring and summer, the sunflowers have bloomed. Like some other annuals, my seedlings have been sparse this year. The best have come from self-seeded plants, such as this wonderful one; with its large bloom clusters, it's almost certainly the offspring of last year's "Cutting Gold". Rather embarrassingly, the best sunflowers of all are the two that have sprung up far beyond the garden, near the compost piles. Clearly I need to improve the soil in the borders!
A very good illustration of the odd mix of seasons comes from the combination of sweet peas and Lagerstroemia "Rhapsody in Pink". The Crape Myrtle just began blooming this month, which was precisely on schedule. So have the sweet peas, which was not!
These are the heirloom "Old Spice Mix", so they are fairly heat-tolerant, but I don't expect them to last long once real summer temperatures begin. Hopefully I will get some good bloom from them before that! I expected them to grow and bloom through the cooler months, but they decided to try waiting till summer. Unwise, but lovely while they last.
On to summer...
Hollyhock "Creme de Cassis" has been a fabulous addition. It has grown so well that I recently picked up seeds for a deep, dark burgundy which I saw in flower at the garden center the other day.
Unmistakably summer, here are ample blooms from Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar vinca), these from a plant that safely overwintered to flower again.
The classic for summer color here in Arizona, Caeaslpinia pulcherrima originates in the tropics, but it is drought-tolerant and heat-impervious. I look forward to a summer full of its luscious flowers.
Another tropical, Hamelia patens, is just coloring up with its first flush of bloom. I'm not sure whether it is actually more demanding of water than the Caesalpinia; the higher water requirements last summer may well have been due to differences in soil drainage, sand vs. clay.
It has a reputation for coming back well from frosts, but last winter did not demand even that from it. However, it is only now growing vigorously again because, like the Caesalpinia and some other tropicals, it sulks during the cooler months and does not begin properly growing until spring is nearly over. But it then puts on a good showing for many months: flowers, then later foliage color and berries, at some times all three together.
Lastly, a few roses continue to bloom a little though I have been encouraging a slow down for the hot months. It is hard to slow "Wollerton Old Hall"!
Temperatures look set to climb back up over the next few days, and this may push the garden fully into summer. I'm hoping to slip a few more hot weather annuals into the ground safely before that happens!
Weather Diary: Sunny; High: 86 F (30 C)/Low: 59 F (15 C); Humidity: 7%-39%