Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mid-summer Acquisitions; Water Your Trees!

New Tillandsia xerographica

In defiance of the miserable heat and drought, Matt & I have actually added to our collection this month. In addition to our Louisiana plants from a couple of weeks ago, I also bought a couple more tillandsias to hang over the pond: T. xerographica (top) and T. concolor × streptophylla (middle).

T. xerographica, T. concolor × streptophylla, and an incomplete ball of T. ionantha 'Fuego' Also, one of Granny's Louisiana irises is in a pot toward the bottom left

Closeup of the T. concolor × streptophylla

And, in the midst of general destruction and misery, a couple of the ionanthas are changing color! I had hoped they would, but I hadn't expected it so soon! Isn't that jewel-like carmine ravishing?

Two red T. ionantha 'Fuego'. This probably means they're about to bloom, and possibly to pup and die. It will be interesting to see how this works out in the context of a dangling grapevine ball.

The sawtooth palm (Serenoa repens) seems to be settling in, but the only iris that looks promising is the one I planted in the pond (see earlier pic of 3 tillandsias).

The beautiful bluey-silver of Serenoa repens

Meanwhile, we've upped our watering to three times a week, rather to my disgust (no water restrictions in Elgin--we have a very robust aquifer, I suppose). And while we're definitely getting more blooms out of our roses because of it, the plants still don't look happy. They're droopy and sulky. And the flowers are wadded and oddly colored.

Believe it or not, this is 'Duchesse de Brabant.' A number of our stouter roses are blooming intently--Archduke Charles, D de B, Souvenir de la Malmaison, Belinda's Dream, Maggie--but most of the blossoms are crumpled or strangely colored or generally off-looking.

A month of 100-degree highs will do that to a plant, I suppose. And--yay!--we still have all of August to look forward to!

The red line is our highs for July--averaging 100.35F. NOAA's seasonal drought outlook folks--who now predict the weather by aiming a flame-thrower at a map of Texas and pulling the trigger--say that for almost the whole of Texas the drought will intensify between now and October. Intensify! How?? How can we get less than no rain, I'd like to know?!?!

I'm not sure if any amount of water could make our plants look happy these days, though they are a little less suicidal now than when they were on the twice-a-week schedule.

Speaking of which, tonight we put a sprinkler on the old pecan, which we usually just leave to Mother Nature's tender mercies. But big old trees can crash abruptly in weather like this--even tough old natives, like blackjack oaks and loblolly pines. In fact, I just read the other day that mature trees are actually more susceptible to drought than young, springy, resilient trees. Plus, of course, people taken them for granted, since they look like they've been around forever.

Water your trees, including the venerable old grandfather trees! They make shade! They keep the heat off your roof/skin/car! They absorb CO2 and provide habitat for our furry and feathered friends! And did I mention that they make shade?

Please: think of the trees.

Don't less this happen to you. Unless of course it's November. Then it's okay.

Pics from, , and

Pondly footnote: two 'Steven Strawn' blooms. I love this weird silver hue he's taken on, presumably in response to the heat. It's not Steven's normal color, but really, everything he does is lovely and full of grace--I do adore that waterlily.


Bob said...

I am really liking the plant balls over the pond. That was such a good idea.

Elgin_house said...

Thanks, Bob! I'm really pleased with the two new tillandsias--I love those twisting, writhing leaves.

By the way, I forgot to answer your question last time: Matt & I don't have a lot of experience growing roses in shade. Our climber, 'Red Cascade' puts up with several hours of shade, and so does the China rose 'Ducher' and the shrub rose 'Burgundy Iceberg.' You might consider 'Belinda's Dream' as well, just because it's so stout and crazy free-blooming. Good luck & let me know what you end up trying!

Yolanda said...

I have some family in New York and they tell us, the sweltering heat of there. They say, hot dogs ...
Good buy! Tillandsias are very interesting.
Duchesse of Brabant is beautiful! I love this rose.

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