Ah, Relief!

It’s amazing how a little rain and cooler temperatures (low 90’s) wake up the yard and plants.  After the grasshoppers, heat, and drought, I am thankful for anything that is blooming.  Let’s take a walk……..

Old fashioned petunia
This is called an Old Fashioned Petunia.  I like this version of the petunia for a variety of reasons.  The first being it never quits blooming!  It can take heat, pounding rain and is not bothered by pests.  And, I think flowers should not only look pretty but smell good, too so these are a definite must have for me.  As with any petunia, you get more blooms if you trim them back occasionally.  This variety will get a little more leggy than the hybrids, so trimming is a must.   This is an open pollinated, heirloom petunia so be sure and save the seeds for next year.  There are several different colors and they cross-pollinate freely.  I have some purple, pink, and white this year and also a striped.  You just never know what you will get and I’m ok with that.
Striped Petunia and Pig
Wasn’t Petunia a Pig?
~
Curly Top Ironweed
Ironweed sounds like something you would find at a railroad track, but this Arkansas native is tough as iron when it comes to surviving our summers.  I have this in my shade garden where it gets a few hours of morning sun.  It is a perennial and grows about 3 ft. tall.  I try to grow plants and flowers that support pollinators and this is a favorite amongst the butterfly community.
Four 0’clocks–one tough plant
Mirablilis jalapa or Four o’clock flower is also a good choice for hot summers.  This one is growing in concrete for pete’s sake!  This is also a reseeding annual and the seeds are easy to collect as well.  The flowers don’t open up until the afternoon (or around 4—hence the name).  I have some in full sun and some in afternoon shade and both do well.  They are also very fragrant.  These also cross-pollinate and I have had several colors on one flower.  This year I have white, red, yellow and pink.  Since these flowers open at night, they also attract the night community of pollinators such as the hummingbird moth.  It is also rumored that if Japanese beetles eat the leaves of the four o’clock they will die. (the beetles not the plant).  I have always planted these by my roses just in case it’s true.
These are not blooming plants but foliage is also an easy way to get color in the garden.  I am loving my caladiums in my night garden.  I use a lot of white in my night garden such as  moonflowers, four o’clocks, caladiums and white impatiens.   The impatiens bit the dust about a month ago but the caladiums are really showing out.   Dusk is my absolute favorite time to walk through the garden and clear my mind and these white beauties light up the way.
Caladium and Toad House
Water lettuce
Water lettuce is a great plant for water barrels.  But, beware!  This will quadruple its size in 5 seconds.  I would not plant it in a water feature unless you want to constantly thin it out.  It works great for me in this small barrel.  This is not an edible lettuce but, as you can see, the grasshoppers thought it was a salad buffet and have eaten the tops off.
Well hello grass! Haven’t seen you since May.
Is it safe to come out?
Lazy Daisy
Daisy got bored walking around with me.  I admit that my idea of a good time is strolling around the yard watching the moonflowers open.  Which reminds me, I have posted a link to a YouTube video showing my moonflower opening up.  So grab some popcorn and get ready for some thrilling flower action.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y2piC773HI&feature=youtu.be