Monday, August 4, 2008

Perfect Summers Day

Last night as I listened to the 10 o'clock Fox News Weather, I heard her say that Sunday was a perfect summer day, 10 out of 10. I'm not sure it was meant to describe their comfort index rating but more along the lines of holding this day above all the rest as far as having everything weather-wise that exemplifies summer.

Regardless of the exact connotation, I agreed. I have some pictures to illustrate.

As we move into the first week of August, 3 weeks until school starts, the gardens are still unfolding.

The agapanthuses have been blooming for about 2 weeks now. I try to pick up a new agapanthus every year to add to the fray. I first noticed this spectacular beauty in 2002 when we were in San Francisco. They were as common a landscape plant as they are uncommon here. The color was striking to me and I had to have them. After seeing the price for 1 plant at the local nursery, I decided to start small with catalog purchases and waiting for them to establish. I’m sure they would prefer a spot in the yard that is not as hot and sunny as they are in but they are doing well. They might thrive in a different spot but I’m happy with what they are doing for now.

2 of our plumeria plants are blooming and the others will as the weeks progress. These are from the original stems we purchased in Maui in 2001.

For the first time, I have tuberose stems with flower buds on them! I cannot wait for these. If I could add fragrance to the site, I would share the plumeria, gardenia, Abraham Darby pink rose, and the tuberose. I believe we brought home Tuberose seeds from Hawaii but they never amounted to anything. I believe we got this from a vendor at one of the Home and Garden Shows in Richmond in 2004 or 2005. The plant always looked healthy and grew to a size that needed dividing. This past Spring, I divided the plant into 3 and it is finally ready to flower. Let’s hope it doesn’t pull a silversword on me and die after it flowers.

I’ve also discovered some Virginia Creeper coming up in the front garden. We were lousy with this at Norton in NJ and now this is the first I’ve seen it here in VA. I think I will relocate it before it takes over out there.

It’s time to start taking some coleus cuttings in again to root. I am determined to minimize my Spring annual purchases by keeping descendants of my annuals alive in the house over-winter and propagating them enough to put out again in the Spring. Certain plants make that task simple. Others, not so much.

Of all my plants, if I had to choose a favorite it would have to be the coleus. The versatility of this colorful genus with its 150+ varieties warrants it being set in a class by itself. I was first introduced to coleus with the wizard mix varieties. I still love them. However, I have been branching out a little into some of the less common varieties.

I am searching now for the name of my most productive plant and the closest I am getting is Velvet Lime, chocomint, chocolate mint. It grows to be a tall bushy coleus as opposed to the others, which tend to be shorter, more mounding. It has a dark burgundy purple red almost black color with green. It roots so easily, I can just break a stem off and put it into soil and it takes off. I mostly root the cuttings in water and once they have a really strong root system, I plant them in soil.

While searching for my coleus info, I stumbled across many interesting articles by coleus addicts and then found this interesting NY blogger - 66 square feet who has some gorgeous plant photos. I think I will check it out more thoroughly another time.

I also found myself at Dave's Garden site as usual more often than any other.

That’s all the time for now. Enjoy the day!

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