Sunday, July 16, 2017

mystery lily

Overall, the lilies did not do well this year. The heat and wind caused the buds of many to blast or burn. 'Scheherezade' did okay, although the leaves burned. I also have a mystery lily that was struggling in the shade of a mugho pine, so last fall, I dug it out and put it in a pot. It is much happier there, and I also moved it around as the weather warmed up, so that it didn't stay in a place that got too much sun, or too little. Maybe next year it will be even better. I'm not sure if I think it is a very pretty lily, though! From the side it is nice, but face on, not so nice. Flowers are 7-1/2 inches wide, natural spread.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

rose roundup

With the heat settling in, the rose season is ending. Well, not really ending, but flowers come much less often and are in much less than prime condition. Temperature this week is supposed to hit 107F. Here are some of the highlights of the year, so far. I hope there are more to come once the weather cools down some.

Abraham Darby

Abraham Darby

Alexandra Princesse de Luxembourg

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Bishop's Castle

Bishop's Castle
Claire Austin

Claire Austin




Jude the Obscure

Princess Charlene de Monaco

Pure Perfume

Radio Times


Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel

William Shakespeare 2000

acantholimon halophylum

At Casa Coniglio, I grew Acantholimon hohenackeri, which performed very nicely on essentially no irrigation. Here at The Modern House, I'm trying Acantholimon halophylum, which I purchased from Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe. A. halophylum is supposed to have white flowers that bloom in midsummer rather than pink flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer, at least according to the tag. Other than that, I have been unable to find information on this plant. Planted in 2015 in the sand fill that passes for soil here at The Modern House, my two plants have grown from single tufts to tight uniform mounds of attractive very prickly foliage. No bloom in 2016. This year, flower spikes formed early, in March/April, but flowers did not appear until just a few days ago.

This is a Dr. Seuss plant, with a hemispherical mound of foliage, and numerous spindly flower stems poking out of the mound.

Flowers are much smaller than A. hohenackeri and my plants have pale pink flowers rather than white as was indicated on the label. A. hohenackeri had a much more impressive floral display.  The bracts on A. halophylum have almost more of an impact than the flowers. Although it is not in full bloom, I can't imagine that it will have much more impact when it is. I'll post again if I'm wrong. It's a pleasing plant, but certainly not a showstopping one. It a plant for those that love exotic looking small plants to view up close. I suppose it is also for those who find amusement in touching a plant that appears rather cuddly, only to be shocked by a stab (or multiple stabs) in the finger. I'm not a glutton for pain, but I find myself doing it repeatedly and intentionally with this plant. For some reason that I cannot fathom, it makes me laugh.

Friday, May 26, 2017

clematis 'jackmanii' and 'betty corning'

When we moved into The Modern House, I discovered a clematis buried under an overgrown honeysuckle. It was a tiny thing, with stems that broke with every windstorm. That first year, it gave a couple flowers which enchanted me. I tried to make a point of giving it a little TLC,  although it still struggled under the honeysuckle. I pruned back the honeysuckle and it did a bit better, and when the honeysuckle was removed for re-stuccoing, I realized that I didn't really want it back even though I loved the fragrance. I wanted more clematis. So I planted 'Betty Corning' next to the existing tiny vine of what I assumed was 'Jackmanii'. Out from under the honeysuckle, the 'Jackmanii has grown quite a bit, although nowhere near what I see in some photos from people in milder climates.

Some photos of plants with the honeysuckle.

The honeysuckle was so scraggly, it had to be removed!
'Betty Corning' in her first year.

 And some more recent:

'Betty Corning'
'Betty Corning'

The younger flowers are more red.

I think they make a nice pair.
Some wind damage from the wind storm yesterday, but still okay.

'bishop's castle'

'Bishop's Castle' was the one of the first of the roses I planted in the garden, and the first Austin I planted in the new garden. It is still a favorite (one never has a single true favorite). I had seen this blog entry from hoovb's blog "A Piece of Eden" and was so taken by the appearance that I had to get some, never having seen them in person, or smelled them.

This could have been a big newbie mistake, as I've learned after growing a number of roses, some of them based on beautiful photos. But having had just removed my big backyard lawn, I wanted, no needed, something to plant in it. I bought three bare-root own-root plants from David Austin roses in Tyler, Texas, in January 2015. They arrived in a plastic bag, without any of the sawdust, wood chips or peat moss to retain moisture. I was a bit shocked, but they did have enormous roots 2-1/2 feet long. I got to work, planting them, even digging in the dark to get them into the ground.

April 23, 2015: I had to put a flag next to them so that I wouldn't step on them by mistake.

June 13, 2015, the biggest plant looked like this:

July 24, 2015:

Last year was hot and dry, and the spring bloom wasn't much. By fall, I realized that they needed more water and the monsoon rains had arrived. 

September 4, 2016:

I previously posted this photo, from a few days ago, with 'Bishop's Castle' on the right. 

This rose spoiled me into thinking that all roses would grow like this. They don't. They haven't. But 'Bishop's Castle' has made me quite happy. 

This year, the plants have been blessing me with candelabras of flowers, some with more than 24 buds on them: