How was your summer? Summer 2015, if necessary. Mine: amazingly fast and unfortunately finished. The sun sets just before 6pm now, and the scent of woodsmoke is in the air. I wish I’d accomplished more in the warmer weather, but at least my summer flowers put on a great display. White, yellow, orange, pink and red, they’re all fabulous and I love each and every one of them.
I’ll start with a food plant: the black passionfruit has the BEST flowers of any of our edibles. They’re so elaborate! And they’re only open for about a day, so I’m cheered whenever I spot one. The passionfruit vine grows on the dark-gray carport wall that got an ivy-free makeover – it produced three fruits this year, one of which is turning black. Honestly, our climate is borderline for successfully growing a passionfruit, but the sunny, west-facing fall should sustain it through winter.
Zucchini flowers don’t last long either, but DAAAANG I didn’t know that they could get this big! I missed my opportunity to eat some zucchini blossoms, is what I’m saying.
Out in the front yard, my tiny ‘Birthday Candles’ banksias are in full bloom and filled with food for the birds. (They’re surrounded by kangaroo paws now.) I love these little guys, but if I’ve learned anything about banksias, or at least in my garden, it’s this:
- They take a couple of years to truly establish
- They grow VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y (or at least mine do)
- They’re pretty tough against drought and cold
- If they get yellow tips, chelated iron will fix that
They also produce tons of beautiful flower cones in autumn, so. (I just wish my seven-foot Banksia marginata in the backyard would actually flower… sigh.)
My succulents on the deck had a great summer, too. I repotted this expanding Echeveria ‘Set-Oliver’ into a larger container and I think it liked it! Even after the flowers dried out, I left the stalks there for interest.
I couldn’t believe it when this tiny Aloe brevifolia started to produce a stalk in spring… and then the stalk kept growing upwards. The individual orange flowers popped out of the stalk around January and opened up, one by one. I hope I get to see more of these in the future.
One of the sempervivums in the succulent planter decided it was time to burst into flower and die off. Once they flower, they’re toast… so you might as well enjoy the show.
I mentioned this crowea when I wrote about Australian backyard wildflowers this spring, and at the time, it only had one or two flowers. Times change: this small shrub has been flowering continuously since early summer. I need more of these shrubs, particularly some of the ‘Rubra’ forms with finely-leaved foliage. Its starry pink flowers are awfully cute.
The blooms on our flowering gum tree didn’t last very long this year, due to the weather being fairly dry (thanks, El Niño). So the best photo I have of them was taken with my phone. I love seeing the pink tree in late summer when not much else is flowering.
I believe I said nice things about this ‘Santa Monica’ hebe in my spring blooms post, so allow me to point out how much it’s stressed me out lately. It looks water-stressed all the time (is it overwatered? underwatered? I don’t know!) and I suspect it doesn’t like having nothing but full sun. So I’m going to shift it in mid-winter and hope it looks healthier next year.
The purple foliage and magenta flowers make it so worthwhile, though.
Speaking of water-loving, possibly-regrettable plantouts: I caved and got myself a fuchsia. They’re so pretty! I planted it in a shady corner next to my tree fern, so I’ll remember to give it extra water in summer. It’ll provide plenty of colour for this corner, if all goes well.
Finally, these tiny red flowers in the baby woolly bush (Adenanthos) are are all but hidden. I didn’t even catch that this plant was flowering until it was almost done. You wouldn’t be able to spot these from a distance, that’s for sure.
And that’s a wrap on our summer flowers! Did you like the colour arrangement of this post?
We’ve been busy with work and the social calendar, but we’re working on another round of prepping and painting our house’s exterior. (Spoiler: it’s going very slowly and it sucks.) I’ve got an autumn to-do list for the garden as well – maintenance, plantouts, removals.
Any plant plans at your place? I’ve got a few months to think over my plans for next growing season…
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I knew I’d be loving this and I am! So many fabulous flowers. Naturally it’s the Banksia that thrills the most. The one I’d manage to get to bloom for me (in a container, protected in the winter) is B. ericifolia, sadly it died this winter and I have no idea why.
Thanks, Loree! I generally have bad luck with grevilleas or anything in the proteaceae family, which has been heartbreaking (and frustrating, when they thrive for two years before instantly dying overnight). The little banksias seem to be doing well, bless them – it’s cool to see how their flowers develop over a period of months.
Those croweas really are cute with their starry flowers. Gorgeous garden.
Hi Trixee! Hope you and the mister have settled in nicely into the new house. You’ll have to share an update with us. 🙂
I got two more croweas in the last few days, actually. One of the ‘Southern Stars’ cultivars (very fine foliage, red new growth) and Ryans Star (an extra-compact variety). I’m in love.
Grow some pretty calytrix, banksias and woolly-bushes for me.
I forgot about the Calytrix, they are gorgeous, must add them to my list too!
The Echeveria flowers look like tiny candy corn. Things are really coming along in the garden Stephanie!
You’re so right about the candy corn! Thank you Vanessa, it means a lot to have you following along.
Gorgeous garden and there are so many plants I recognize 🙂 I must say I’ve never had any luck with fuchsias, I think it’s just to darn hot here in South Africa. Loving your blog BTW
Hi again! I’m so jealous of your native SA plants, omg. Especially succulents and everything in the protea family. I just planted a miniature king protea (surely you’d recognise that one too 🙂 ) and I hope it establishes, fingers crossed.
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