File under things that are counterintuitive: the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina area, which I perceive as being fairly sunny year-round, receives more than twice the annual rainfall of notoriously damp London, England. Part of the answer to this apparent conundrum is that London has more drizzly days (RDU has 109 days with some precipitation vs London’s 164). Furthermore, we tend to have tropical-like afternoon thunderstorms during the summer, so many of those 109 rainy days are mostly sunny with thirty or forty minutes of heavy rain around the evening rush hour.
But sometimes we do have prolonged wet periods. The freeze warning two weeks ago proved to be a false alarm, but this week has also been cooler than normal. It was the cool of clouds and heavy rain, though, not the chill of dry Canadian air driven south. Between Monday night and Friday morning, we received 6 inches (~15 cm) of rain. The garden is looking particularly lush, but some plants are a bit floppy after growing like crazy for a week under heavy cloud cover.
Despite several of this week’s Six on Saturday originating in South America, all are garden plants that grow outside in the ground year round. Most of these photos were taken last Saturday, before the heavy rain. They’d look a lot more bedraggled if I photographed them today.
1. Cypella herbertii subsp. brevicristata
Cypella herbertii is a small iris-relative from Argentina and Uruguay. I have previously written about C. herbertii subsp. herbertii, and everything I wrote about culture applies to this subspecies, too. Technically, the two subspecies are distinguished by the length of the stigma lobes, but the two forms that I grow also differ in their color: my T. h. brevicristata has flowers of a clear yellow, while those of my T. h. herbertii are more orange. This is the first year that my T. h. brevicristata has flowered, so it will be interesting to see if I get a mixture of colors among the volunteer seedlings in future years.
2. Hippeastrum x johnsonii (St. Joseph’s lily)
I featured this hybrid in my very first blog post. At that time, I was growing it in my greenhouse, but I have since transplanted it to several places in the garden. The best clump grows in full sun beside the bird bath, in soil that stays damp year round. H. x johnsonii, a cross of H. reginae (southern Brazil) and H. vittatum (Peru), was the first artificial Hippeastrum hybrid. Its name commemorates Arthur Johnson, an English watchmaker and horticultural enthusiast who first made the cross at the end of the 18th century. Surprisingly, given the origins of the parent species, H. x johnsonii is reputed to be among the most cold-hardy and vigorous of all Hippeastrum hybrids.
3. Clematis ‘Rooguchi’ (?)
The first flower on a Clematis that I planted last autumn. I’m not entirely sure that it is correctly labeled. The flower looks right, but Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder says that C. ‘Rooguchi’ is a non-vining hybrid lacking the twining petioles that help the vining varieties climb. My plant definitely has twining petioles and is enthusiastically climbing some deer fencing stapled to the pergola. Some websites agree with MoBot, while others say ‘Rooguchi’ is a climber like my plant. Perhaps there are several different clones of the same cross all going under the same cultivar name?
4. Foundation plantings
A two-for-one entry. Along the south-facing foundation of our house, I planted a row of Rosa ‘Home Run’ and a clump of Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage) which is slowly spreading to surround the roses. The Home Run rose is single-flowered (which I like) but lacks fragrance (which I do not). Most importantly, though, it is very resistant to blights and mildews during hot, humid weather.
P. fruticosa is marginally hardy here, so planting along the south foundation gives it sun in winter and protection from cold north and east winds. Even so, it doesn’t flower very well and is sometimes damaged by snow and ice sliding off the roof. I do like the foliage, though, and the contrast with the glossy rose leaves.
5. Oxalis tetraphylla ‘Iron Cross’
O. tetraphylla is from central Mexico and is one of the Oxalis species that grow from little corms. I received it as a freebie in a bulb order five or six years ago and decide to chance growing it in the ground. So far, it has been well-behaved in the garden, tolerating freezing temperatures and showing no tendency to spread and become a weed like some Oxalis.
6. Oxalis articulata (syn. O. crassipes)
I found this plant growing on our property when we first moved into our newly built house. O. articulata is a South American species with a long history in cultivation, so I suspect that like the Gladiolus ‘Eno Orange’ it may have been planted by previous owners of the land and survived the intervening years when the property was left fallow. I have since dug it up and distributed the knobbly little rhizomes to several places in my garden. O. articulata can apparently become mildly invasive in some climates, but my plant seems to be sterile, at least in the absence of another clone, and shows no inclination to spread on its own.
The Propagator is the host of Six on Saturday. Head over there to see his Six and find links to the blogs of other participants.