Saturday, August 4, 2012

Big bushy hibiscus that volunteered ibeside the headhouse parking lot

It appeared three or four years ago, probably germinated from seed that fell off Pat's Mitsubishi. He has a large drift of these in the Holly Magnolia Collection. In a horrible environment: soggy in the winter and parched in the summer, it's been getting progressively larger each year. It's about four feet high and as wide. I don't know exactly what it is: Hibiscus moscheutos occidentalis, H. lasiocarpos occidentalis, H. occidentalis?? I t doesn't really matter; it is what it is. The cheerfully optimistic flowers that arrive, dozens at a time, in the crushing heat of August belie the general malaise and languor that is the cumulative effect of too much summer. This July just ended as the second hottest July on record. It was edged out by last July only because of an inexplicably anomolous high temperature of 71F two weeks ago. Maybe we can get the hottest August. Unlike last year when we had major irrigation problems, the systems have run, we've had some rain, and the Arboretum grounds are green and inviting.

The tropicals do love this heat, provided we can supply them with plenty of water. Katie fertilized roses, bananas, and gingers in the Asian Collection yesterday. Now we wait for rain, or Sunday when our major irrigation happens, and stand back. I bought three cutting of crazily colored plumerias just over a year ago and potted them together. I put a piece of Chrysothemis pulchella in the pot. The plumerias are finally putting on heavy growth and the chrysothemis is flowering. Since all three can sit through winter basically bone dry, it's a good combination.

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