Thursday, September 17, 2015

Surrender

 My fellow west coast gardeners seem to be in alignment regarding the unacceptability of August. Yes, there are a few plants that actually look good (the succulents, the grasses, the Salvias) but for the most part growth fatigue has set in along with dust, pre-fall foliage garden debris, and the unrelenting dry conditions that are likely to persist well into October. I'm always happy to show August the door, though September this year  has ushered in our first really significant heat wave, with c-note temps and a string of wild-fire prompted Spare the Air days. While waiting for real  fall weather to arrive I assess the damage perpetrated  by August.

 Stachys 'Bello Grigio' was excitedly snatched up in spring and planted in a spot where S. Helen Von Stein, having become elderly and full of dull grey blobs of furry thatch, was dug up.  Daily water after an initial planting is tolerable for awhile, but Bello has begged for water at least every other day all summer long. I finally said to hell with it, I'd rather water the Fuchsias.



Artemesia 'Guizhou' , a plant that I have seen numerous  times with wonderful foliage and dark stems has spent three years sulking. This was it's  'leap' year, and I suppose the 2015 growth was relatively leap-y compared with its' first two lackluster years, but it's not at all the plant I expected. Sited in prime front garden real estate, it's time for it to cede it's spot to a better player. I'm sending it down to  triple-A (the flipside of the island bed in the back garden) for it's last chance to redeem itself.





Origanum 'Rosenkuppel' . I stopped growing Hopleys purple because of the flopping issue, and found this cultivar in fall 2013 at Digging Dog. In it's defense, it was buried by a very robust Lantana most of this summer. In August a  worker hacked back the Lantana to gain access to a utility box, exposing the poor Oregano to view.




Salvia cardonna...what can the matter be ? A Salvia failure just seems so wrong. I have seen splendid stands of these right here in Norcal, yet mine are just utter crap.




Hydrangea quercifolia.. Here is a plant that I have committed untold atrocities upon. A wine barrel full of my beloved black Bamboo (phyllostachys nigra) sits directly upon it's root zone. In 15 years (yes 15) H. quercifolia has grown  no more than 3 feet high, with no more than two branches and no more than 2 flowers.  This summer I decided I would move it at last , but the plant must be so compromised I am considering buying a new one and seeing how long it takes me to ruin it.



 
   It's always good to have an excuse to buy more plants.
 


10 comments:

  1. Last line is great. You must be in California. I say the same things to myself, "To hell with it, I'm tired of watering you and getting no response, out you go,"oak leaf hydrangea comes up never does a thing but hard to get the roots out to replace it, pretty red leaves when it has them, stachys has died out in many places as has oregano. Lantana and bougainvillea very showy right now.

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    1. I don't expect to find much of a root system when I dig up that Hydrangea this fall !

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  2. I feel your pain, Kathy! Our surprise rainstorms in July and last week haven't been enough to maintain certain plants throughout the garden. I'm adopting a new "get tough" attitude toward plant selection this fall in an effort to reduce next year's disappointments (or that's the plan anyway...).

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    1. We got a surprise rainstorm too Kris, enough for me to collect a few buckets from under the roof run-off, but no measurable in the garden. At least it settled the dust and smoke up here .

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  3. What do you bet you keep finding shoots of that 'Guizho' once you try to eradicate it?

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    1. I don 't know Denise, this plant has so far shown few Artemesia -like tendencies, has not moved an inch from it's original spot. I think it's a lemon !

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  4. My Bello Grigos crapped out, and my S. cardonna was utter crap as well. You are not alone.

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  5. Thank you and Hoov for disabusing me of the notion that Stachys 'Bello Grigio' would ever be suitable in my dry Austin garden under the Death Star -- not that I've been able to find it here anyway. I craved that plant when I saw it in Portland two summers ago, but now I can mentally let it go. Float away, finicky Bello Grigio.

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    1. We'll just have to wait for Bello Grigio Improved !

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