Friday, July 12, 2024

That was a hot one (a weather and garden report)

This post is simply an excuse to share photos of the garden and talk about how hot it's been. Since you're all gardeners I trust you'll understand. Of course our heat is nothing compared to what friends elsewhere have been experiencing (Gerhard in Davis for example). Yet the assumption that the Pacific Northwest is a land of benign, "goldilocks" temperatures—where it's never too hot or too cold—needs challenging now and again.

Above, Artemisia versicolor 'Sea Foam' mixing with Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' in my front garden. 

So how hot was it? The breakdown for Portland; July 4th was a nice 92F, Friday the 5th temperatures increased to 99, Saturday 99, Sunday 100, Monday 102 and Tuesday 104. The heatwave broke on Wednesday and the temperatures moderated, topping out at 93. Over the course of the event Portland broke five consecutive record highs and tallied three record warm nights (lows). For those of us who like it warm and also have air conditioning it wasn't bad. For those who do not have a/c (the majority of homes here I'm afraid) and/or have to be outdoors for extended periods of time, it was brutal. 

There are many blooms on my recently acquired Aristolochia sempervirens. ..

After 5? 4? 6? years, Clematis 'Polish Spirit' finally has its first blooms. Since I regularly kill clematis, the fact this thing is even still alive is a miracle.

Same plant, but a backlit five-petal bloom.

I plopped down on the lawn and was pulling some Lysimachia nummularia gone wild (it's a weedy ground cover, but I still like it), when I took the next five shots. Rhododendron williamsianum...

Blooming Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens', the lysimachia, and Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.

Berberis triacanthophora 'Cally Rose'

And part of my "taboret", aka vignette in the corner of the upper back garden...

I'Conia Portofino Dark Orange Begonia

Watering containers near the front door I noticed three different yellow blooming plants doing their thing, Bletilla ochracea ‘Chinese Butterfly’.

NoID opuntia...

And a volunteer verbascum seedling...

I even managed to fit them all in the same photograph.

I thought for sure all the buds on the opuntia would open with the heat, but they did not. The one that did open closed up an orange tone. I love it!

Watering in the back garden leads to some plants weighted down and lying across pathways, like this Syneilesis aconitifolia.

Passiflora lutea is on the march up the tallest trachycarpus trunk.

Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra' likes the heat.

Sadly the Yucca filamentosa flowers have been pushed along quicker than normal with the high temperatures, and a couple stems have toppled over with all the weight. Thankfully I have some heavy-duty vases and we're enjoying them indoors.

You might remember the pair of all-yellow Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' I've shown in the past? One of them died last January, with the cold, however the other has been doing great.  

I am worried it may take a turn though, since the mama plant is in flower. These yucca are monocarpic and eventually die after blooming. I'm concerned the all-yellow plant won't be able to live on without help from mom.

Love those flowers.

The tall front-garden Tetrapanx papyrifer have recovered from winter's ugly.

Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' bark peel, always gorgeous. 

Back at the front of the house to admire the Agave ovatifolia. I was concerned the one closest to the steps was on it's way out after winter 2022/23, but it is still going strong. A couple leaves are yellowing, but overall the plant is looking good.

Last week I mentioned there was going to be an orchid bloom, and here it is!

Crazy looking thing.

The Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' that we cut back in February has sprouted back with a full head of hair, and then some. I'd planned to thin out the sprouts and then realized they were providing some pretty dense shade, better to wait until after the heat passed.

Shade for the hanging staghorn ferns that is.

Across the lawn is the one plant I covered with a protective layer of shade screen, the Aechmea fasciata ‘Primera’ looked a little bleached out after our first 99F day so I kept it covered thru the heat. The chair is shading a smaller bromeliad closer to the ground.

Just behind the bromeliad bowl (above), a mash-up of Calluna vulgaris Sempervivum flowers and an Agave ovatifolia.

Ah, Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart' is blooming! This and the yucca mark mid July in my garden. It loves the heat...

Okay, just a few ugly bits to close out this post. This Pyrrosia hastata did not like the heat. Not one bit. I thought it was the afternoon sun that was getting it but nope, even with a bit of shade cloth it still looked sad.

Thankfully it revived and lookes good in the morning.

This patch of Saxifraga urbium 'Aureopunctata' got a little toasted. All I can think is that the  larger canopy of  Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' used to provide just enough dappled shade to keep it happy.

Ditto for the Saxifraga x geum 'Dentata'.

One more sad saxifrage, this one is the worst, poor thing. 

There were a few other crispy leaves here and there, and a brown frond on the tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica), but all in all my garden did fine through the heat. Our forecast for the week ahead is high 80's and low 90's with cool nights.  I wonder what the rest of summer will bring?

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Fern frame

Yep, when I typed the title of this post I did hear the J Geils Band singing Freeze Frame. I never did like that song, and now (if you're of a certain age) it's probably in your head too. Sorry.

So, my fern frame. I scored this metal piece at a plant swap last fall. The person who brought it thought it was for a vertical gardening system but the frame is all there was, no inserts and it was open on the back, the blue plastic was my addition.

I don't have a photo of it before I added the plastic, but here you can see it, with it's open back, hanging on the fence in a photo from April.

I cut up a thin plastic cutting board and folded pieces for the back, bottom, and sides.

I then worked the excess soil off a couple of ferns I'd been saving for this project, leaving just the root ball.

This phlebodium came from a visit to Raintree Tropical last winter. It had a lot of healthy leaves on it then, but unfortunately when I was away for Mother's Day weekend they were severely sunburnt. I suppose it was easier to work with sans the leaves.

This Microgramma vacciniifolia came back with me from my visit to Lotusland last November. It was planted in a 4" pot with a light fluffy soil mix, but I've had another of the same species happily growing mounted on a stick (from Andy's Orchids) with just sphagnum moss around it's roots—so I knew it would be fine with this treatment.

The next step was to shove them in between the metal supports, up against the plastic back, and wire them in place.

That's when it became obvious I hadn't reinforced the back panel like I should have, so I added a few wires. This would have been much easier to do before the ferns were wired in, but hey, this is another of those projects where I'm just making it up as I go...

Fast forward and I'm done, the finished fern frame is hanging on the fence. You can see the gap between the plastic and metal, handy for pouring water in, although I usually just water it from the front.

Pulled back view...

There are so many round shapes on the fence and around the garden, it was fun to add a a square, it works nicely with the Platycerium grande mount to the left.

After the ferns were wired in place (and the back reinforced) I added a little more soil, some sphagnum moss, and then lots of local "Oregon moss". I even managed to wedge in a mossy piece of bark along the far left side, and a piece of Scaphyglottis-amethystinum (an orchid) I broke off an Andy's Orchids "on a stick" plant I had—that's the long thin leaves.

Here you can see the bark piece, a bit better.

I built this piece and took the above photos mid-June. Here's an updated look at the frame, photos taken last week, early July. You can see the phlebodium has a lot of new foliage.

The Microgramma vacciniifolia is also putting out new growth along it's fuzzy brown rhizomes, green arrows point to the new growth. I think they'll be leaves/fronds?

This was a fun project. I love taking something someone else is getting rid of, then using my problem solving skills and plant knowledge to turn that thing into a plant feature in my garden. This one will have to be overwintered indoors (in the basement garden, ha!), since the Microgramma vacciniifolia won't tolerate cold temps.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.