My dahlias have started blooming. Unlike Spindrift's garden, mine needs rain. The only time it's really nice is around May -- it's all downhill from there. But water is expensive here, so I only water the pots and from time to time I water the flower beds. But since the soil is clay, with the sun and wind, it just gets hard as a rock and it's impossible to pull out the weeds. For some reason, the weeds don't seem to suffer from the lack of water.
And everything is infested with a white kind of bug, called cochenille farineuse in French. I looked it up and it seems to be called a mealybug in English. I have been spraying, but they are in the roses, sage, on bushes -- they have even killed a kumquat bush and a basil plant. Horrible things.
Yesterday a neighbour told me that spraying them with dishwashing liquid in water helps. I did so last night, so I'll see what that does.
Didn't you have a terribly rainy summer last year too, Spindrift? It seems to me that I remember floods in England.
The dishwashing soap can work but you have to be diligent and keep at it. You may try and add some isopropyl alcohol to the solution as well.(over the counter rubbing alcohol). When plants are stressed due to heat and or lack of water, pestilence ensues. Like us and our immune system. I have gotten more calls in the past month regarding infestations. I can help with some of the small scale situations but many of the infestations are on such a large scale (whole crape myrtle trees and the like) I don't have the equipment or crew to deal with it. So,unfortunately the jobs go to the companies that invariably will end up using harmful pesticides. It's very frustrating,us little guys don't make the money with our piddly organic recipes.
bjd, get one of these hose end sprayers that they sell in garden centers/nurseries or hardware stores. You can put your detergent in there and sray your tree that way. Be sure to get the underside of the leaves which is where the mealy bugs like to hide.
I use one of these on trees,you may not get 100% coverage,if you get on a ladder (or find someone tall) you can get quite a bit.
This is the sparse time of the summer in my garden, partly because the mosquitoes keep me from watering much. If I spray myself with enough DEET I can do it, and then come right in and shower. Stupid urbanish mosquitoes.
I have rudbeckia and purple coneflowers now, good for the goldfinches, but they miss their usual sunflowers; between crops now. Roses are struggling along, thirstily; when Sept comes they should revive. The daylilies are doing the best.
Lots of bloom on tomatos and pole beans. My grape arbor (constructed of bamboo) is sagging beneath ripening grapes that will mostly go to the birds. Nicely fragrant now.
Ours gets really rampant,this one not mine,mine is crawling up my very nervous neighbor's gutter pipe and I'm anticipating him getting compulsive this weekend with the weed whacker and going at it. I keep telling him that I will deal with it when it's done blooming but he's so f'n nervous about any vegetation touching his house. People are weird.
Nothing of note is blooming now, or if they do the blooms are pathetic it is just do damn hot. The only thing that is remotely called blooming is the creosote bushes, and the Texas Rangers. When it rains, the creosote bushes smell like well creosote, and the Texas Rangers bloom with little light and dark lavender blooms. I will watch for the next time they bloom and post a picture as they are quite lovely.
When you're chewing on life's gristle[br]Don't grumble, give a whistle[br]And this'll help things turn out for the best...[br]And...always look on the bright side of life...[br]Always look on the light side of life.[br]Monty Python's Life of Brian[br]
My grandmother and 3 aunts were also big on dahlias,huge dahlias. Up north ,the dahlia tubers have to be dug up and stored over winter. They were always right in there in the root cellar with the onions and other root vegetables. Glad none of us never mistakenly ate one.
Casimira, your neighbor is soulmate of the lady who lived in the downstairs flat from ours once. That same clematis would spend all summer growing up on the fence, not looking like much in particular, and then just as it bloomed and started paying off she'd go out there and hack it all down. She'd have been happiest with a sterilized 50 foot perimeter around the place.
I know the Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) from living in Texas -- quite beautiful and very useful for landscaping. Can't wait to see your pictures of it. I don't know the creosote bush at all.
Speaking of getting pictures, I have to get a photo of what I think is a dahlia bush in my area. It's at least 10 feet high and covered with tight, off-white blossoms that look like roses at first glance. My main plan is to get cuttings or seeds from the owner.
I went out in the height of today's heat and glare and got these pictures. Poor little things are trying to provide color and cheer under difficult circumstances.
I think the glimpse of dry burning soil there by the nasturtiums should give an insight as to one reason why I appreciate succulents so much. This euphorbia provides color and interest all year round while shrugging off heat and lack of water.
Lovely pictures B. I adore the teensy coriander blooms. I think the salvia is one of the many S. microphyllas. There's a ton of them and they're crossing them left and right. Betsy Clebsch(the Salvia Lady) came out with book #2 ,The New Book of Salvias and in it has a bunch of pictures of unidentified micros. It is gorgeous. Do the leaves have a scent to them?
Is that the new geranium you got recently? I wish those did better here. I've tried them and don't have much luck,too humid I think. My mother had some gorgeous geraniums going. I was going to photograph them but then the deer got them . Came right up to the front step of the house and munched it up. I missed seeing it happen but ,the all seeing Mama saw it all. "Those darn deer ate my geraniums for breakfast Cas". But here's her autumn clematis that they don't seem to like. God,it was gorgeous,and oh so fragrant!