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…