When I was working I used to say plants were no problem but it was people and the weather that gave me challenges and problems. Well this summer in Palm Springs has certainly been challenging for gardeners and I blame it mainly on the weather! I have shied away from talking about my own garden for weeks as its been a rather sorry tale of losses and failures. Earlier in the summer it was persistent strong winds for weeks that shredded foliage and although the winds have now dropped, it is still breezy here. Its been an exceedingly hot summer with temperatures persistently above 110F with one notable day when it rose to 122F, resulting in widespread scorch to many plants throughout the area. Added to this I have had snout nosed weevil that has attacked some of the Agaves and mealy aphid that's popped up here and there just for fun!
|root system totally eaten away by the weevil|
My nice established Agave 'Medio picta' was obviously too attractive to the weevils and was the first to succumb. Two others have followed although I'm now drenching with a systemic. Several cacti have died. The one common factor seems to be Rebutias which don't seem to like the extreme heat. One Opuntia, amazingly has died too.
|Scorched euphorbia and skeletons of dead succulents|
My attempts at summer color have struggled. Out of the three original pots of Catharanthus, Madagascar Periwinkle, only one has thrived. These do normally love the heat but mine suffered soon after planting from wind damage. A later planting of the new double one has survived but they are poor creatures! Out of my mixed pot of bedding, the purple leaved sweet potato has thrived and the a pink flowered bedding plant whose name eludes me, is still alive. All the rest have died or been smothered by over-exuberant purple leaves. A pot of yellow celosia has survived but is distinctly boring! I have had mixed results with the blue flowered Alyogyne over the years. My first attempt was planted in a border, thrived and flowered like crazy but died mid summer. Last year's version was left in a pot and performed similarly. This year's is still alive but has given virtually no flowers all summer and provided a haven for mealy aphid. Not sure why I struggle with these but they are so exquisite when they do flower.
|Hardly a summer display|