Staying away from social media for almost two months proved very productive. I don’t mean to offend anyone who has been reading my blog or bloggers I’ve been following but I needed time to reflect, get things done and read books. I did get a lot of things done, have read more books and even started baking again. Now I’m back, refreshed.
Summer is really here with extremely high temperatures and humidity. Aside from sunflowers and echinacea, another flower that represents summer really well is hibiscus. I have two hardy hibiscus in the garden, ‘Plum crazy’ (plum color as it’s name suggests) and ‘Midnight Marvel’ (deep red flower with maroon leaves). Their flowers are almost the size of a dinner plate. I put them in the ground in a sunny spot and left them there. I cut the dead old stems back to two inches above ground in spring, feed them and let them be. They have come back up every year when the heat hits the area.
The tropical ones need a little bit more pampering as they have to stay in pots and go back in the basement in winter. They need to be watered and fed regularly. They also need plenty of sunlight. With food, water and plenty of light they will flower continuously throughout summer. I prune them once a year in spring so they won’t grow too big. Flowers that develop before I take them to the basement still bloom but they rarely produce new flowers until they come back outside again. Spider mites and whiteflies are the main pest when they are inside the house. I spray them with insecticide soap to keep the critters under control inside.
I purchased the ‘Voodoo Queen’ last year because I wanted to see if the color really changes as the nursery claimed, though I hardly have space left for more plants in the basement. She didn’t disappoint me. Here are two shots of the same flower on the same day.
With a few hibiscus on the pool deck and in the garden and 90 degree heat and high humidity, I feel like I’m in the tropics. A little cool breeze would make it seem even closer to that reality.
Today is ‘officially’ the first day of spring. That’s what it says on the calendar but in reality our garden is still snowed in. The temperature is hovering a little bit above 30°F and there will be more snow coming down tonight and continuing until Wednesday night. We expect a foot of wet snow accumulation added to what we already have on the ground. That’s why I say ‘officiallythe first day of spring on the calendar‘ only.
Plants in the little plot right next to the house have started to come up. Daffodils and irises the previous owner planted next to the garage are sprouting leaves. The Siberian garlic are braving themselves in the cold next to melting snow and will be buried again tonight. But they are Siberian, they should be fine. Rocambole garlic that I’ve been growing for many years are still staying comfortable underground.
Inside the house is another story. Amaryllis ‘Red Lion’ that one of my colleagues gave me many years ago welcomed spring with its bright red flowers. Still one more set of flowers from this bulb is just about to bloom. I moved them up from the basement as soon as the flower buds came up.
Hibiscus ‘The Path’ also senses the warmth of spring and welcomes it with a bright yellow flower. I found that the color is paler than when the plant is outside but it’s still beautiful and cheerful as all hibiscus are. I left it in the basement though, since it’s too big to be in the bay window with the other plants.
But, …darn, We’re still waiting for reality spring.