Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Garden at Night

Austin got a little rain yesterday and today. None to speak of reached Elgin, but we did get 2 days' worth of cooler weather. High today: only 89F--woo-hoo!

In celebration, tonight's blog will be all about happy things.

(1) Favorite Justicia (shrimp plant) cultivar, 'Fruit Cocktail', now beginning its third year in our garden, has taken on a particularly tight, compact, round little form--very cute.

A pleasingly plump shrimp plant

(2) A mere 13 years after originally propagating them via tissue culture, I finally get to see one of my 'Ellen Bosanquet' crinums blooming in my own yard. Almost blooming, anyway. V-e-r-y, v-e-r-y close now.

Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet' buds

(3) Both the Echinacea and the '4th of July' roses are doing quite well, blooming and growing (and, unfortunately, clashing horribly. Didn't really think that color combination through when I initally plopped everything in the ground).

'4th of July' rose in the background; Echinacea in the foreground

(4) Our passionflower is about to put on its first blossom. Will it be the deep purple of my dreams? Or that washy pale periwinkle that I find so ho-hum? We shall see.

Our passionflower's first bud

(5) Despite the unprepossessing season in which it was planted, the snakeweed(?) Matt brought home a couple of weeks ago seems perfectly chipper--green and blooming. You can't tell in the picture, but the flowers are actually a nice medium purple.

Rugged little snakeweed(?)

(6) Miraculously, the 'Kaiserin Friedrich' rose lives! It was shipped to us late (the growers forgot our order)--in May, I think--in a very, very expensive 1-gallon ($40! Sheesh! It's a very rare cultivar, unfortunately, so I didn't have much choice) that was poorly rooted. We gave it a couple of weeks in the greenhouse to bulk up the root system, even though that meant planting it in the garden even later than was safe. It's had a few crispy leaves, but it's got plenty of new growth, lots of healthy green foliage--I'm amazed. This rose is named after a British princess who spent her adult life (poor thing) in Prussia--both rather brisk climates. Yet her rose is so far remarkably hardy here in the punishing heat of Central Texas.

Our little 'Kaiserin Freidrich' rose

(7) And finally, our red-leaved crinum has put on its first, eerie, decadent, spidery flowers of the season.

Red-leafed crinum in bloom, possibly C. procerum splendens

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