July 13, 2012

Hot and Dry -- Pink and Orange

Guess who likes it hot and dry.

Bright pink gaura and hot pink sedum.  Wandflower and stonecrop.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'
Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet'
I did not think the gauras would come back this spring but they did.

Last year I put two wandflower plants along the dry, south facing, impossibly hot and sunny front walk, and they were pretty there all last summer.

Unbelievably, they came back this year. For years guaras performed like annuals for me. I got one season of blooms, and never saw the plants the following year. So I would re-buy and plant anew each spring.

Last year was the first time I tried them in this narrow, sandy, dry, hot strip along the garage wall, and this year is the first time I have seen them return from winter.

They like it here.

The sedum does too. It's a groundcover spreading sedum and I planted it for the deep wine colored foliage. I did not know it would flower profusely in a saturated hot pink at the same time as the pink guara above it. It likes the hot white cement walk, and spreads itself over it with glee.

The delicate wand flowers fall on top of a green bun of heath (Erica) below them, and it makes it appear as though the heath has tiny pink blooms. But those are just the fallen flower petals from above. When it blooms in March, heath actually has little pink flowers for real, and they look just like this. I did a double take when I saw what I thought were heath flowers in mid summer.
Erica darleyensis 'Ghost Hills' with spent gaura blossoms

I have to say I love the complexity of this combination of pink and green and wine red that welcomes you along the walk to the front door. It's actually serene as early evening ends a hot summer day.

Guess who else likes it hot and dry.

Orange nasturtiums are doing well. These are spreaders, and long tendrils have climbed up into the inkberry hollies nearby.

Tropaeolum majus 'Gleam'
Orange trumpets peek out from the dark green holly foliage.  I never expected that effect, and I did another double take when I first saw flashy flowers blooming on holly bushes.

The flowers emerge a soft apricot streaked with orange markings, then deepen to a hot salsa color.

In the past I have grown 'Empress of India' which is a deep red nasturtium, and I have had 'Alaska Mix' which is multi colored with variegated cream-streaked leaves.

I even have a pale yellow climbing nasturtium called 'Moonlight' that is subtle, if that can ever be said about a nasturtium.

They all have big round leaves that are tasty in a salad -- peppery and slightly spicy.

Hot and dry, pink and orange.

These plants are happy in my summer-stressed garden.

They are doing their best to get me through the miserable days of drought and high temperatures.

 

24 comments:

  1. Laurrie, you have a lot of beautiful help getting through these hot times. And with sedum in the mix, you're going to make it.

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    1. Lee, A little rain would be nice. Very nice. These plants like it hot and dry, but most of my garden does not.

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  2. Being in the middle of a drought, I'm so happy to find your eden of lush beauty.. Gaura doesn't do well in the heat and nasturtium in any season - forget about it. Keep up the good work.; Keep the rest of the country in your thoughts.

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    1. Patrick, I have been hearing and reading about the drought in other parts of the country and I know it is awful. We are 18 days without a drop of rain, but that's nothing compared to real drought, it just means things look tired and poopy. I'm praying for rain for everybody!

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  3. Lucky you to get gaura to come back. I have had the same problem with them as they are usually annuals for me. I can see why you like this planting going to your front door. It is very welcoming. That shot of orange is exciting too.

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    1. Lisa, thanks so much. Many people have trouble with gaura. It's pretty but not really a garden performer for most of us. It needs very specific conditions, and probably only likes to grow wild.

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  4. I'd never guess you're in a drought with how beautiful everything is looking. And I'm coveting that nasturtium--I love a good hot orange.

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    1. Heather, It's been almost 3 weeks with no rain, and I have been watering. Nothing like the terrible long drought in other parts of the country, though. They have it really bad.

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  5. I will have to give the gaura a try once again. I like it but it has never come back here. Your combo is quite serene. Love it.

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    1. Layanee, everyone has trouble with gaura coming back... they should sell it in the annuals section of the nursery, not with the perennials!

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  6. What a beautiful combo, Laurrie! Are the Nasturtiums replanted every year? I used to use them occasionally in mixed containers and they melted out in the heat so I was surprised to see yours going strong.

    Gaura grows and actually reseeds in the driest, crapiest areas of my garden. If the current weather pattern persists, I may be planting alot more things like gaura and sedum. When it comes to watering, I'm a minimalist and this year it really shows.

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    1. Sue, I plant the nasturtiums each year from seed. This year I planted them late, so that may be why mine are still going strong even in the heat. I do water, but after three weeks of NO RAIN, that is getting old. I like your minimalist approach better.

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  7. I have the same combo of wine red sedum and a dwarf gaura. I think it's beautiful. Your walkway looks GREAT!! My nasturiums were so unhappy I pulled them. I have no idea what the problem was they just looked like crud. (My a/c went out and the repair guy will be here MONDAY! I just hope the upstairs unit doesn't croak, too. )

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    1. Tammy, oh no, you lost your A/C too? Here's hoping you get away with less than the $300 we just paid. In other years the nasturtiums looked bad in summer, but this year (and this orange type 'Gleam') seem to like it. And I put the seeds in very late this spring, so that may have helped.

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  8. I like the guara and sedum combo. I might have to try it. I have one guara that has come back for four or five years. It reseeded last year and I put a drip emitter by one of the seedlings. I'm in USDA zone 6b, but it's probably drier where I live than in Connecticut.

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    1. GirlSprout, I guess the key to gaura coming back is dry, dry dry. Our winters here are quite wet, and often snowy, so I am sure that is why they don't return very well. That's why I was surprised this year. How great that you get seedlings to pop up!

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  9. Your guara/sedum combo is beautiful! Guara bloomed here throughout the drought of 2011 with a little supplemental irrigation. It is one tough plant. There is a white variety too that a friend grows that has the most delicate little flowers. I hope to add it to the garden some day. I pray you get some relief from the heat soon.

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    1. Cat, thank you. I had the white gaura many years back, but only for one season. I loved it, it was a full, bushy plant with delicate flowers. This pink variety is wispier and thinner, but the pink color is nice. It's amazing gaura actually thrived in your drought. I think I am trying to grow Texas plants in a New England garden and they are confused.

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  10. Laurrie,
    Your pink welcome is wonderful. I'll bet the mild winter had something to do with the gaura returning. I've stopped planting gaura since, like you, I generally only get one season out of them.

    My nasturtiums have been blooming equally as flashy until the last two weeks. They are in a hot, sunny spot and are showing some heat stress. Also, aphids have moved in. Last year these nasturtium (Alaska Mix and Moonlight) grew in the same spot. They reseeded with gusto so this spring all I did was stand back and watch them grow. I sunk potted cherry tomatoes and hot peppers to accompany them in their long narrow raised bed so nasturtium blossoms show up among the veggies. Because of the aphids and their heat stress I just finished cutting them back so they can put on a second, late summer/early autumn show, and maybe some tang to future salads.

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    1. Joene, my nasturtiums are still going strong, although I have heard from others that theirs are done for the summer. How nice that yours reseeded for you!

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  11. I have this exact same combination of gaura and sedums growing in a client's garden in similar circumstances: a planting strip less than a foot wide (left by the contractor, whose thinking I can't begin to fathom) between the asphalt driveway and a small flagstone patio area adjoining the kitchen. We filled it with gravel (and a minimal amount of soil) and the gaura have returned faithfully for the last two years after planting. I know they like heat and well-drained areas so I guess this suits them well!

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    1. Melissa, I'm glad to know you used the same sedum and gaura combination and that it solved a problem in such an inhospitable area!

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  12. We are certainly learning what likes hot and dry this summer! Your gaura is fantastic; I've never had much luck with it coming back for me. Would you mind if I put that first photo on my Pinterest board? I love the combination of the gaura and sedum and want to remember those cultivars.

    We did get a rainshower yesterday--two inches! I hope some rain has fallen on your garden as well, Laurrie.

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    1. Rose, two inches!! You needed it so badly, and that will help. We just got a tenth of an inch today, but it was not enough, and just rolled off the baked mulch. Send more!

      Yes, on the pin, I am flattered, and happy to have you pin a photo of mine. Thanks for asking.

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