Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ and Delosperma cooper both ‘succulents’ that are well adapted to heat and though they do best with an occasional summer soaking.
Zauschneria (Epilobium) ‘Select Mattole’. All of these ‘California Fuchsia’ only come into bloom with the heat of summer and are not only tolerant of drought, but abhor regular summer irrigation.
Echium wildprettii. Heat is also not an issue for Echium spp. All of these are thickly haired their epidermis covered with trichomes. These same hairs likely lead to its winter moisture/rot problem as it slows the foliage’s drying.
Agave montana. This one has been very durable for me over the last 18? years. Like all Agave it wants winter/dry conditions, tough here, with occasional summer wet, which I provide with drip tubing.
Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Knobcone Point’. After planting this out last summer and giving it supplemental water to establish, I was thinking that I was home free. It wintered well, or seemingly so, and then we began our normal summer dry season…. I watered it a little bit, left town for a week and came back to it drought stressed, remember the 102º day in June? I watered it more, not wanting to overdo it, was out of town again and, you’re looking at the result. This was planted from a larger, 3 gal pot, could this have been a factor? I have never plant larger plants like this in unamended heavy soil.
Dioon spinulosum, a Cycad from Oaxaca, Yucatan and Vera Cruz and is the largest growing in America. This plant is very heat tolerant and appreciates the occasional summer shower. Its ‘hard’ leaves help it conserve water. For a Cycad it is tolerant high humidity, but prefers some protection from the hottest afternoon sun. My plant, last year spent the summer protected from sun and the consequent softer growth then burned in the intense sun earlier this summer. This new growth, in center, will presumably be tougher as it is in nearly full sun.
This is typical of my Willamette Valley Latourelle Loam soil, even under mulch, drying and cracking wide open.
It’s Sunday, July 30, and 87º outside, our forecasted high. We’re at the front end of a forecast that is calling for two days over our record highest temperature ever recorded in Portland. I’m looking at it now, Monday, the 31st calls for 92º, August 1 for 99º, 108º, a record, on the 2nd, 110º, another record, on the 3rd, before ‘cooling’ to 105º on the 4th and 95º the next day. Our average high for this time of year is 82º. The current record is 107º set on Aug. 8, ’81 and matched on Aug. 10, ’81. That may not seem that high to people in the SW, but it is here and here is what matters. Temperature is a local phenomenon. It’s okay if we whine about it. It’s hotter than we’re used to. Hotter than what the local native flora and fauna are ‘used’ to. For native species it’s not just about preferences, though we may use that word when we talk about their requirements and limits. Continue reading →
I don’t know what this Bromeliad is, but it is statuesque, the inflorescence reaching well above my head. I took this shot next to Burl’s ‘chateau’ at Rare Plant Research just south of Oregon City. He moves a lot of tropical exotics in and out of his greenhouses every year. This is what a lot of people think of when they picture a Bromeliad.
I awaken and come down stairs at about 7:00 am…it’s a warm 66ºF outside. I was up late last night, until after 12:00 am, keeping the air flowing through downstairs in an attempt to cool the house. This is on the warm side for us here in the summer. On rare occasions our lows can drop to as high as the low 70’s…such temps tend to occur more frequently in more recent years when ‘heat lows’ settle in around us and we suffer through ‘heat alerts’, whenthe air stagnates and turns ‘brown’ and we can become caught in one of those cycles of days where our highs remain in the upper 90’s and low 100’s. Our all time record high of 107º, in August of 1981, was during such a cycle that I had the privilege of experiencing as I was here in Portland visiting a friend and attending my brother’s wedding. On the 6th it hit 99º. The high rose the next day to 102º, 105º on the 8th, 104º the next, 107º on the 10th, the humidity at 15%, then cooling to 97º on the 11th. I remember taking turns trying to cool ourselves, without any air conditioning, submerging in a tub of tepid bath water, Continue reading →
Iris x pacifica ‘Tanus’. This is a hybrid Iris of species know collectively as series ‘californicae’, a group of Iris endemic to the Pacific coast of the US, primarily California, some very localized, with several occurring north through Oregon, and one, I. tenax, all of the way to the Puget Sound area of Washington. These species obviously can be crossed. Their form shows the distinctive tri-partite structure of a classic Monocot, in Genus Iris taking this particular form with 3 ‘falls’, 3 stamen and stigma structures angling out from the ovary at center, across the brightly colored ‘signal’ on each fall and the 3 more upright ‘standards’.
I do not recall from high school biology how an individual species was defined to us in our text or class, nor do I in my college Zoology 200 series. All that I have is a general understanding that it is a select population with a shared, narrow, range of physical characteristics, in the case of plants, best determined by their floral or reproductive parts, that is able to reproduce stable offspring with the same range of characteristics. Webster’s defines species as:
“a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding, and being designated by a binomial that consists of the name of a genus followed by a Latin or latinized uncapitalized noun or adjective agreeing grammatically with the genus name” Continue reading →
I use a lot of Monocots in my garden, among them in this picture are the Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ with its huge dark velvety heart shaped leaves, Arundo donax ‘Variegata’, the Giant Reed, whose clasping leaves show us that this is a grass not a bamboo and the white speckled, green, heart shaped leaves of my Zantedeschia x elliotiana ‘Flame’ just behind the reaching stem of Arundo.
Many gardeners are self taught and haven’t formally learned Botany, the science that helps us understand plants in a more formal, academic way, though they may be excellent ‘gardeners’ in terms of their growing of plants. Botany provides a pathway toward the understanding that many of us crave, that for others is an unwanted burden..they are happy with the doing. For them the task of learning botanical latin, binomial nomenclature and the classification system by which we organize and study the various species, understand their structure, development and common history…is of less interest. No doubt a good many fall somewhere in the middle. I have always been among the more curious ones with regards to this. Continue reading →