Monday, September 13, 2010

Garden Winners and Losers...

I don’t know what your garden looks like but mine is a little rough around the edges right now. The hottest August on record and a limited amount of rainfall took its toll on a good number of plants. But – I also had some fantastic performers that thrived in the hot/dry weather. As summer draws to a close, I always like to make a few notes about those plants that did well and those that were a disappointment. That way I have a bit of a game plan for next year versus relying strictly on impulse purchases at the garden center.

Before I get started I should mention that my garden on Galveston Island is very small. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in diversity. In fact I’d say I have more of a plant collection than a landscape. Something my wife doesn’t always appreciate.

My “biggest” success story is the esparanza (yellow bells) I planted directly in front of our fence. I was hoping it would reach 3’ – 4’ feet in height. I’d say it’s up to 7’ in height and has been full of flowers since mid-June. Although the plants are doing great, they may be too big for the space. You decide…

Another strong performer was my Pride of Barbados. It too is almost 7’ tall and has been blooming non-stop all summer. I love the red/orange flowers and in combo with the esparanza it is a real show stopper. Again – it may be a little over grown for the amount of space allocated.

I planted a coral vine on the fence and it has now spread at least 20 feet. The plant obviously likes the location. Problem is – no flowers. Oh, it throws a flower cluster now and again but nothing to brag about. I was speculating that perhaps this plant was just not suited for the area. Then I ran across this specimen around 25th St. and realized – it’s not the plant, it’s me. I just don’t think mine gets enough sun light to induce heavy flowering. It’s shaded by the over-grown esparanza.

The petite pink oleander in front of the house is flowering like crazy and looks great. But the 2 dwarf red oleanders I have planted directly behind the pink one are not doing as well. The plants look great but the flower production has been disappointing. Those might have to go next spring if things don’t improve in the fall.

I hade some spectacular purple Homestead verbena overhanging the brick edging in the front bed. They finally succumb to the how/dry weather and are now totally burned up. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some of the plants will survive despite the fact that they look like they’ve been hit with a flame thrower. BTW – I am 100% sold on this selection and would NEVER plant a different type/cultivar of verbena.

This is just a quick overview of some of the plant materials in our landscape. Feel free to share some of your experiences with fellow Galveston Gardeners.