Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let's Heat Things Up!

You have got to be kidding!  This year has been a wake up call for me in regard to plants that can withstand the intense heat we have had for most of the summer.  Granted, each and every summer is different and not like this one, but we must think in terms of planting what will hold up in our gardens if we have this type of weather.
Pennisetum Hamlin

Believe it or not, but the plants that are surviving this heat are impatiens, followed quickly by coneflowers, zinnias, succulents, sedums, agastache, centranthus, nepetas, verbenas, fibrous begonias, lantana, coleus and of course daylilies.  The phlox has suffered browning leaves and the petunias bought in pre-planted containers have dried up.  The petunias that I planted in my own containers have done much better.  The geraniums have ceased to bloom in this heat, however, the ones that I mossed the top of the containers are reviving and setting buds

Grasses usually love this weather, even the carex on the north side of my home is flourishing.  Hydrangeas are into the wilts and will require extra water as well as the ferns, astilbes and hostas.  The rose bushes look good and do not go into the wilt mode easily.  However, they are continually attacked by insects during this type of weather.
Miscanthus Udine

I will definitely become more aware of plants that will withstand the heat, repel insects and still add color to the garden.  Here are a few:  Grasses, Agastache, Gailladaria, Verbenas, Lantana, Sedums, Nepetas, Coneflowers, Penstemons, Agaves, Daylilies, Dianthus (Firewitch) and many more.  Check out for more ideas.  I am seriously thinking of making the south side of my home into a completely succulent garden.  Xeric plants are not plentiful in my area because intense, prolonged hot weather is not typical.  However, in the past years I have put more and more of these waterwise plants into my garden.

Coleus with Bronze Sweet Potato Vine

Lemon Twist Coleus
I will never again plant a dahlia!  I know this sounds drastic, but I have more bad looking dahlias this year than any other plant I can remember.  Although, maybe it depends on the variety because the large ones that I have in the ground look good (except the insects love them).  We do not seem to have the climate for this plant.  I remember my friend from Scotland whose husband was a dahlia expert, crossing them and growing them each year he was in the United States.  I now appreciate his expertise to make it work.

Coleus Inky Fingers
Even my Dianthus Firewitch has had a problem here this year, but not in Wisconsin.  Mine on the south side of my home is in it's first  year and maybe could not take the heat.
Gaillardia Arizona Sun
Gaillardia Mesa
Phlox Eva Cullum

Fibrous Begonia
Impatiens with Coleus

Border with Impatiens

Petunias in Hayracks on North Side

Verbena Great Expectations (purple) blooms all summer with deadheading.

Sedum Autumn Joy almost prettier than when it turns red

Nicotiana Alba

Coneflower Magnus


Roses and Lilacs said...

The plants you mention are all doing well in my garden too. The phlox took a beating in that torrential rain. My Joe Pye is holding up well (had to have some supplemental water last month) and the various dwarf golden rods and asters are doing well here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, It does seem to be a challenging year for gardens with extreme conditions prevailing from winter through to the present. I do admire your methodical approach to evaluating the performance of your plants which is so sensible. I tend to make the same mistakes year after year as I always believe that next time will be better!!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Marnie, Joe Pye Weed, what a great plant! I had it in my last home but I don't have room for it here, just Euputorium Chocolate - not nearly as impressive.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

I guess you could say I keep doing the same thing on the south side of my house. I just don't want to give up the pretty flowers. Even some of the waterwise plants are struggling there. So, next year it may look like the desert over there.


Becca's Dirt said...

In spite of the heat you have some beautiful bloomers there. Can't believe the impatiens are such good performers. I thought they hated the high temps. Lovely photo showcasing them. Dahlia's seem to be very finicky. Mine are about done blooming and they looks so pitiful. I can't wait to cut down the ugly stem sticking up. I'm ready for some new plants but not till Sept.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi becca, the impatiens surprised me too, they must like the heat. The insects don't bother them, and as long as I water them they keep getting bigger and bigger!

I know what you mean, looking forward to fall. I never thought I would say that.


Karen said...

It is a great idea to evaluate plants for next year. I have a white house and on the south side, the bed is baked with desert-like heat, so our son planted a sedum-succulent bed and it has done very well over the years, but needs some thinning.

I have had the same experience with dahlias and haven't grown any for years, either, and the bugs love 'em up here in WI, too.

With our record-breaking rainfall totals and resulting standing water and high humidity this summer, I was surprised that I had less mildew on plants than in a dry year.

Your garden is just beautiful-looking at your photos, you'd never know you are having nasty weather which goes to show you are an excellent gardener!

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Your photo of Phlox Eva Cullum is "pitch perfect". You've captured the essence of its bi-color pink combination. I discovered this phlox last season and am so glad that I did.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Karen, I am trying to stay one step ahead of all the insects. I can't seem to conquer those japanese beetles.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Allan, I had Eva Cullum at my other home and it never bloomed. This is the best it has looked in six years, blooms a littler later and the leaves did brown this year - but it is hidden behind other plants.


garden girl said...

You still have lots of beautiful blooms in spite of the heat Eileen.

It's summers like this I really appreciate the shade. Impatiens do seem to love hot weather. They make good 'canaries in the coal mine,' letting us know when our gardens are getting dry!

meemsnyc said...

Our zinnias are thriving in this heat. They totally love it.

joey said...

All looks lush to me, Eileen. I agree with you about Autumn Joy! Happy end of July weekend ;) Where did the month go!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Our summers have been drier and drier over the past years (except for the first part of this one) and I've found myself planting many of the ones you've listed as doing well drought conditions. Many of those have become favorites of mine. So many of them not only do well but bloom for a long time and attract pretty pollinators. I planted 'Lemon Twist' at the beginning of our wet summer and it rotted away. I may have to try it again next year after seeing how pretty your is.