Ten Flowers

small sunny garden, ruellia brittoniana
Ruellia brittoniana

This month I decided to try posting for August's Ten Favorite Plants at The Blooming Garden.  This has been a lovely August so far - warming up again at present, but this summer's monsoon season has seen a good mix of rain and sun - by desert standards anyway - and slightly cooler temperatures overall.


First is one of the smaller ones.  Salvia farinacea is a very consistent source of blue through the summer months.  It's a particularly refreshing medium blue.  The bees like it too!  

small sunny garden, salvia farinacea
small sunny garden, salvia farinacea

However, the prize for reliable summer color surely goes to Catharanthus roseus.

small sunny garden, catharanthus, roseus

There has also been plenty of brilliant color from Lantana "Denver Red".

small sunny garden, lantana, denver red

Pennisetum setaceum rubrum puts out a long, long season's worth of bloom...

small sunny garden, pennisetum rubrum

...while Russelia equisetiformis manages to flower throughout the year.  It is having a fine blooming spree right now.

small sunny garden, russelia

Among the chiefly summer-blooming plants is the wonderful Lagerstroemia indica "Dynamite"...

small sunny garden, lagerstroemia, dynamite

...also Ruellia brittoniana, which blooms heavily in the mornings and drops the blooms in the afternoons.  It is quite a vigorous plant; in fact, it's the one plant I'm concerned about having added to the borders.  I'm already having to yank runners out of the ground.  But it takes the heat well while requiring very little water, and the hummingbirds love its flowers.  So for now it stays.

small sunny garden, ruellia, brittoniana

There is no question about Caesalpinia pulcherrima.  Tropical shrub that it is, its brilliant flowers and lacy leaves are one of the privileges of desert gardening.

small sunny garden, caesalpinia, pulcherrima, red bird of paradise

I rarely mention bougainvillea, but it deserves better.  This one is not in the garden proper but in a rather difficult spot on the west wall of the house.  It belongs in any list of favorites for August.  I've added a still-small, multi-colored variety at the back of the East Border in hopes it will be as tenacious a plant as this one.  It has a lot to live up to!

small sunny garden, bougainvillea

 Lastly, but such a special part of the garden, come the miniature roses.  Clockwise from top left: "Lavender" from Kordes, "Daniela" also from Kordes (normally fully double; the semi-double blooms are a response to the heat), and a noID scarlet growing beside some lavender.

So there are my ten for the month of August.  Looking forward to September!

small sunny garden, caesalpinia, pulcherrima, red bird of paradise

Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 104 F(40C)/Low: 82 F (28 C); Humidity: 21%-45%

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Comments: 10
  • #1

    Chloris (Thursday, 24 August 2017 07:07)

    Thank you so much for sharing your Top ten August favourites. What gorgeous bright colours. It is lovely to see so many tropical beauties that I can't grow here. I have seen Rusellia equisetifomis in the Caribbean and fallen for it. It reminds me of a huge firework. Fabulous. I would love to grow Caesalpinia pulcherrima too. I have young plants of it grown from seed but they never bloom even in the greenhouse.

  • #2

    Kris P (Thursday, 24 August 2017 14:03)

    I REALLY need to find a spot for a Caesalpinia! I've debated adding Ruellia but wonder if aggressive spreading would be even a bigger problem here. We've enjoyed unusually cool temperatures of late but predictions here are that we're heading into a heatwave - ugh!

  • #3

    Lynn (Thursday, 24 August 2017 15:39)

    Wow, what a beautiful selection of plants, and in such a harsh environment! Hats off to your accomplishment!


  • #4

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 25 August 2017 12:20)

    Chloris - Thanks so much - I'm hoping to join in regularly now! I do rely heavily on the tropicals for summer color here; the desert natives are mostly programmed to wait the season out... ;-) Russelia was love at first sight on my first trip to a nursery here!

  • #5

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 25 August 2017 12:31)

    Kris - I have seedpods from my Caesalpinia, if you'd like to try starting it that way. :) I agree about the Ruellia - it might be a monster in your climate. Even here, mine gets watered perhaps twice a month and still sends out vigorous runners :/ Ruellia peninsularis is said to be a much better behaved plant, and I'm considering using it as a replacement if I just can't deal with this one!

  • #6

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 25 August 2017 12:46)

    Lynn - It seems we are working at opposite ends of the gardening climate challenge - I can't imagine dealing with Z3 winters! It's been wonderfully rewarding to discover the plants and seasons here; there is such a lot of beauty in this place.

  • #7

    Brian Skeys (Sunday, 27 August 2017 11:14)

    Such a striking range of plants completely unknown to me except for the roses and salvia. The blues certainly add a wow factor amongest the others.

  • #8

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 29 August 2017 02:50)

    Brian - I've really appreciated those blues - very refreshing on hot days!

  • #9

    Annette (Tuesday, 29 August 2017 03:49)

    Hi Amy, I've very much enjoyed your top 10. It's so interesting to see what thrives where and you've introduced me to some true beauties which I probably shan't be able to grow because they're too tender. Ruellia and Russelia strike me as particularly pretty. Love Pennisetum setaceum too - I once grew it in pots with creme-coloured Bidens, just fab. Yesterday's vase is delightful - me too, I'm looking forward to cooler days. The dogs and myself are hiding in the study these days ;) Have a good week :)

  • #10

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 31 August 2017 14:07)

    Hi Annette - Yes, it is about time summer gave way to some pleasant autumn weather... ;-) In fact, I'm glad to get to present my top ten as I think they deserve some credit, blooming so well even in our latest burst of high temperatures :/ I love the idea of your container with Pennisetum and Bidens; they would be so lovely together! Most of my container plantings now are tender cacti and some of the more resilient succulents. Hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend!