Plant Journal – Summer

I’ve been remiss posting garden pictures and really prefer not to have  a physical paper garden journal, but to have my notes readily accessible online. So, I’ll be writing a bunch of posts with the name beginning with Plant Journal. Photos are more for my record than any “ooh, let’s frame this” kind of thing.  Until I catch up, they’ll be out of seasonal order (say next one might be Spring instead of Fall).Calamint Marvellette b
This is Calamint Marvelette Blue (Calamintha nepeta, aka Clinopodium nepeta aka lesser catmint aka dwarf catmint – take your pick). It’s a 2016 Gold Medal Fleuroselect winner. Ground cover Verbena’s flower and feathery leaves are visible on the right and upper right. Calamint is a dwarf  and technically a shrub. This is its first year from seed from Park Seed. It’s advertised as “offers much brighter blue blooms than the species, which is a pale lavender” but all my blooms have been a light lavender although the spot it is growing in gets shade after 2pm (so it’s not sun bleached).  I’m beginning to wonder if Park’s seed is Marvelette or somehow crossed with the species. At first I was disappointed as the blooms are teeny and mine has more of a progression of blooms up the stem than the all-at-once effect shown in Park’s photos. Supposed to only reach 8 inches high, some of my flowering stems are about 12 inches. But, it’s a very neat mound of a tiny shrub that I’m starting to think could be quite useful.  Next season I’ll see if some of it can handle my sunnier beds.

Calendula Fiesta z
Remy’s Sample Seed shop had included Calendula Fiesta Gitana, a Fleuroselect Bronze Medal winner, as an extra in my seed order and I’ve grown it for a few seasons now. Mine’s always the yellow (orange is also available). It stays compact (under 12 inches) and neat. The pollinators love it. But, it gets pretty heat stressed by early July in my dry sunny bed and starts to look  pathetic. I’ll be adding a note to my recurring Google calendar to just rip it out once it starts to look bad as it doesn’t really recover even with additional water. But, it’s easy from seed so I’ll treat it as a spring / early summer annual. 

Calibrachoa z
Like people, plants have dominant genes. Well, for Calibrachoa – the dominant appears to be pink. I’ve only ever purchased it in Terra Cotta but this is what I have growing now. It does beautifully in the bed with afternoon shade. This one’s a ground hugger, nice and low. Could be the voles, as it’s not handling the full sun bed by July.

Coreopsis Presto b
One of my new little gems that I LOVE is Coreopsis Presto (height < 8 inches).  First year grown from seed from Park Seed again. I’ve been searching out dwarf plants as I live in Northern California and fires can be a problem. Smaller plants with more space between them = less fuel = safer here. That’s a young variegated Liriope coming through it that I’ll move once cooler weather settles in. Coreopsis usually handle my full sun beds with brilliant vigor so I plan to purchase even more seed (it’s an F1 hybrid) to start additional plants this year. Hoping they can help me out in the ‘late summer chopped everything back’ horrid looking space I endure July through September here. This variety was awarded a Fleuroselect Gold Medal.

Echinacea b
I’ve plunked these in with the summer photos – but it’s early summer. Everything was chopped down to 8 inches in July and hasn’t rebloomed. Seed for the Pow Wow Echinacea was shared with me and I don’t know if that plant comes true from saved seed (most hybrids do not). Mine has stayed under 24 inches (good) and although the petals recurve it’s not as pronounced as the species (also good in my book). My main complaint is that it didn’t rebloom. Asked another Master Gardener here and she also finds the Echinacea don’t rebloom as well as say Rudbeckia or Coreopsis. I’ll leave it but won’t be propagating more. Its color does blend beautifully with the Lychnis coronaria (aka Silene coronaria) Rose Campion. Rose Campion is a prolific re-seeder, problematic in areas with easy growing conditions, tough enough to survive and flower here (a plus). Self seeding is reliable enough that I simply yanked out and composted the tall specimens in July, just banging the seedheads about.

Hibiscus syriacus lavender
This photo is more pink where my bloom is actually lavender. I’m thrilled with the light purple as I don’t want any more pink in the garden and have been searching out white and purples. Luck was with me as Hibiscus syriacus, Rose of Sharon, will often revert to pink from seed saved from many different color cultivars. When I grew this from seed, I had trouble finding any information about growth rate. Here it flowered this it’s second summer and grew about 2 1/2 foot tall. I’ll try some of these planted in the ground next season but also keep a few more protected in pots.

It turns out I’ll need at least one additional post to note what I want to capture regarding summer growing. The vegetable garden didn’t do as well as I’d like – my main note for next year regarding veggies  is to plant more Sungold cherry tomato as that one excelled. Off to write more posts, so stay tuned. 🙂 

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