Sunday, September 14, 2008

End of Term Report Card

Knockout Rose : A+
Showed great resiliency in the face of high temps and drought. Blooms continued, though they were drained of their true color by the heat. Go to the head of the class.

Plumbago: A
I only have the white flower kind and it did well, despite a tendency to go chlorotic. This could be due to the fact that they are in terrible soil and in day-long brutal sun near the street. I recently planted 6 more of these during the worst heat and they are establishing quickly.

Annual Vinca: A+
I normally hate this bedding plant and associate it with soulless parking-lot landscaping. But I was taken by a variety that has a clear lavender color with a white eye. I bought a flat of them and put them in every pot I could find. For most of the summer they have been the only spot of prettiness in my otherwise wind-and heat-parched garden. I have dragged this strawberry pot around for 20 years and nothing has been able to endure its drainhole construction--except the vinca. Bravo little commercial bedding plant wonder!

Variegated Ginger (Alpinina Zerumbet): A
I inherited this plant when I bought my house. Not my first choice, due to its streaky yellow/green coloring. But it has won my respect for its drought-tolerance and robust growth. It's in dappled shade. I'm seriously thinking about planting more in my other shady zones, since it clearly loves the soil conditions here at Aurora.

Port St. John Creeper: B+
I would give this an A, except that it does love its water. If this is invasive, sign me up.

Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi: Incomplete; taking course as Pass/Fail
Gotta love its dingle-dangle blossoms and lemon-cream perfume. Whether it will survive the winter and get established as small ornamental tree is in Mother Nature's hands.

Palm Grass: C
This really should be doing better than it is. It's planted in full shade at the foot of a water faucet, for gosh sake! I first fell in love with this at Big Red Sun. The lush tropical fronds. The gentle rustling sound it makes. Maybe it just needs more time.

Inland Sea Oats, Salvia Greggii, Flame Acanthus: C-
This is a disgruntled group. They were all brought over from my previous house where they were star performers. They appear to be nursing a grudge against their new environment and exhibit no interest in settling in, growing, or expanding. I can only assume they were happier in caliche than the miserable clay they now live on. I'm counting on time to sort this out.

Over Hybridized Lantana: D-
These were here when I arrived. They are the variety that have a fuschia-orange-yellow bouquet. Very pretty. Also require deep irrigation a bazillion times a day in order not to look like they're keeling over. I will be digging these up and giving them a last chance in pots next year.

Pink Indigo: D-; recommended for Remedial Studies
This shrub has some fine qualities: lacy foliage, melted-strawberry ice cream blossoms throughout the summer. But it definitely is a Big Fat Baby when it comes to water. I plan to dig it up and move it to either a more deeply shaded location or to a large planter and keep it as a patio plant.

Elephant Ears: F
Okay, I should have known better. But I was remembering the ginormous ones in my mother's garden and I succumbed. I forgot that she was the Lance Armstrong of the San Antonio water system and stood over her elephant ears with a running hose 24/7. My bad.


Diana said...

Cool post idea! My variegated gingers are in full sun and are 5 feet wide and 3+ feet tall. I love them. Your Brumansia is cute - mine is a stick with 20 leaves. Not sure it will get past an F. And my elephant ears died this year, though I had a good one last year, it didn't survive the 100's. Your St. John's Creeper is amazing! It must love the heat.

vertie said...

Great idea on the vinca! I'll have to try that with my strawberry pot, which also hasn't successfully nurtured any plants.

Rock rose said...

You give tough grades at your house! I hope they don't all drop out of school! I do think this was an incredibly tough year for plants. My native lantana only just started to flower and is getting it over with quickly and this is a time when it is at its most glorious.. Do you have Salvia leucantha? It is just now starting to flower even in my areas where it gets no water. Your vinca is the pot is lovely. Such a reliable plant, whatever is thrown at it, and there are some better colors these days.

Unknown said...

I like the white plumbago. Good for you grading your plants- now, can you stick by your grades and stand to expel the few that aren't up to par?

Lori said...

My elephant ears died this year, too. I inherited mine from the previous owners, and wasn't inclined to give them the gallons of water they seem to require every day.

And I'm with you on the Knockout roses. This is my first year with them, and I am SOLD. Is yours in the picture the Blushing Knockout? It looks like mine. :)

Annie in Austin said...

I hear you on the salvia greggii, Libby - it was so easy and full when it grew in caliche at our last house, but is not dependable at this one. The blue plumbago has also been a star in this difficult year.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose