Sizzling summer garden report

Gardening in two locations means that I have to plant for long periods of neglect. The first few days of June have brought record-setting heat to Jones Valley, and it’s already clear that only the heat-hardy plants are going to make it.

In the front yard, with full sun and a southern exposure, our lone tomato plant (Better Boy) is thriving. The bell and banana peppers, day lilies, liriope, sasanquas, anise, weeping yaupon, arborvitae and Mexican petunias are happy, too.

Dwarf nandinas, which I chose for their ability to survive at South Alabama rest areas along the interstate, show some sunburn on the new leaves, but not enough to worry about.

To the north side

In the back yard, with part shade, redbuds, azaleas, twist of lime abelia, sasanquas, sweet olives, fatsia japonica, plumbago and old rose of Sharon shrubs are well.

This year’s additions to the old beds, citronella and foxglove, look like they’re growing as they should. The citronella is mostly green with only a few geranium-like flowers, but the foxglove is sending up new flower spikes.

In a new bed by the former carport, the surprise award goes to pieris japonica, or lily of the valley shrub. It should like filtered shade and loose acidic soil. It’s planted in clay, and the sun is filtered except at midday. It’s putting out lots of new growth, and making the aucuba look bad. The allegedly drought-tolerant and adaptable aucuba has dropped leaves, possibly from being too wet early in the season, and now appears washed out, possibly from failing to tolerate a couple of hours of sun. The ajuga and Japanese tassel fern underneath look fine.

Container results

On the front porch, snapdragons and mint from last fall are hanging on. A new macho fern is demonstrating the hardiness of a silk plant.

In the back, hybrid SunPatiens impatiens (which I would call New Guinea impatiens if I didn’t have the label) and double impatiens, both with some shade, have wilted but revived. In the same pots, white bacopa and periwinkle blue lobelia are winning applause for their stamina.

Jacob’s Ladder, a perennial which is supposed to take full sun and medium water, may be dead. In the same pot, two varieties of heuchera are fine. My guess is that the Jacob’s Ladder needs more water than it got while we were out of town. But the bottle tree showed no ill effects.

Striking out

Calibrachoa was beautiful and covered in flowers through May, but by the end of June it proved to be too thirsty for full sun and 97 degrees in a front porch container.

And on the coast

The sea oats along the boardwalk and bulkhead are blooming, and so are the oleanders in the side yard. So oleanders are poisonous. They live in sand and survive for weeks without water. In the fall, I’ll be ready to commit to more than three shrubs.

 

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