hades called, wants its heat back

What a scorcher. Yesterday, while driving around, doing some shopping, I noticed the dashboard thermometer was reading 108 degrees. Gack.

It felt it.

The humans were sweltering and the garden wasn’t exactly exalting in the heat. Add to the heat my recent battles with gophers and you have a garden with some pretty rough-looking tableaux. Here’s a peek at a California fuchsia (Epilobium ‘Route 66’) seen through a chaparral currant (Ribers indecorum) that has defoliated itself in self-defense against the heat, dryness, and having its roots chewed by gopehrs.


Route 66 is the first thing you notice walking up the front steps, and it’s probably the star of the September garden right now. Ignore the dying foliage nearby.

Brown is one of the dominant colors today. Lavender is blooming, but there are way more dead flower heads than new ones. Still pretty.

Same goes for the San Miguel Island buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens).

In the herb/veggie universe the fennel is going strong, but it’s also going brown. I skeletonized the image even further.

There are a few unglamorous typical California garden plants keeping the blooming going. The bougainvillea might as well be made out of plastic. Here it seems to bloom unless it freezes back or meets an electrified pair of hedge trimmers. This is a planting of two different double-flowered kinds, a magenta one and a whitish one that’s tinted with magenta.

Kahili ginger is probably the most charismatic flowering plant right now in the back garden. Ginger-scented early mornings or nights under the stars give you something to look forward to during a season that’s usually more gray and brown than green.

Gaillardia pulchella started out life as a plant or two from the nursery. It doth spread a bit.

Beyond the big and splashy, there’s a fair amount in bloom if you look closely. Here are a few random blooms, shown mostly as closeups because the plants in general are feeling the season change.





Going down the photos on the left:

  • Yucca elephantipes
  • Yellow waterlily
  • Arctotis
  • Salvia nemerosa ‘Snow Hills’
  • Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’
  • Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea
  • Gutierrezia california
  • Galvezia speciosa–no the phot isn’t upsdie-down; this is a strangely long single pendant branch on a plant on the roof deck 8 feet above
  • Orange epidendrum orchid
  • Clerodendrum ugandense, butterfly bush
  • Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, dwarf plumbago

A couple of other sights in the garden:

A potted Stapelia gigantea approaching full bloom.

The flower does has a bit of a dead meat odor, especially up close.

Even closer…

Abundant buds on the stapelia. More stinkiness on the way. Ah to be a carrion-obsessed fly in this garden.

And a final photo: Not a fly but a dragonfly visiting the pond. Taking a break from the heat.

Thanks as always to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Click [ here ] to see what everyone else has to share!

9 thoughts on “hades called, wants its heat back”

  1. Wow, I don’t think it ever got close to 108 when I was in San Diego. It might not seem like a lot of blooms to you, but they’re all pretty interesting, especially the ginger and the staphelia. I wish my cal fuchsia was that full of flowers already.

  2. Rt 66 Epilobium? With that name, it would sell like hotcakes here in Abq, bisected by both alignments of old 66.

    To have “may as well be plastic” bougainvillea to grace our gardens! Not to mention the other plants.

    Really nice, coming from one who only got to 105 this summer. While you are where “summer comes in fall, fall comes in winter”…winter is not at all. Soon this shall pass as another blip, and you’ll be back to the usual 80’s+/- through T-giving!

  3. hi james, love your blog – look forward to heaps more visits. Very interesting GBBD after my own heart. I’m interested in finding out which plants can survive such intense heat, and it’s surprising how many can. Of course they may not look fabulous, but then neither do we when it’s so hot either, unless we have aircon and thank goodness it’s not yet used in gardens (so far as I know).

  4. Wow, you’re really roasting down there. A round of applause for the Route 66 holding the garden together until our rains come!
    We’re dry and crunchy up here, too, and I can’t wait for the smell of rain soaking into dry soil.

  5. If they want their heat back, could they please come and get it already?!? I’m sick of this unending roast…it’s gone on way too long. Do love the photo of the Ginger, though. Stapelia and dragonfly too. Beautiful!

  6. Ryan, 108 is pretty extreme. It’s got to be a record! I’m thinking my cal fuchsia might actually be a little late this year–some cultivars bloom pretty early in the season and others keep the season going.

    David, I’ve heard people say San Diego doesn’t have its seasons, but they’re usually from the Northeast or the Midwest–not from Albuquerque! And I suppose I’m overreacting to a stretch of REAL summer like we seldom experience it. We like our mild weather just fine and complain pretty loud when it gets broken.

    Ricki, thanks, and send cool thoughts!

    Catmint, thanks so much! A giant air-conditioned bubble over the house and garden… Hmmm. Sounds tempting these days!

    Maggie, I see your temps are getting cooler but that dry thing is still with us. I was out hand-watering Friday and enjoying the scent of moisture in the air. Like you I’m looking forward to real rain, the real stuff, not the stuff that comes out of a green tube.

    Hoov, what happened? The heat is still here! Very strange and unpleasant year. I hope you and the pups are staying as cool as you can through all of this…

  7. Well, when I read that post, I couldn’t quite imagine “hot” and thought we were soon ready to turn on the heat. Wrong. It’s been in the low 90s the last few days – now I’m really ready for rain!

  8. Ginger-scented mornings sound pretty good to me, and the heat damage is the perfect excuse for all those lovely close-ups. Beautiful fuchsia, which is not a phrase that leaps readily to my lips. Or fingers…

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