Six on Saturday – 10/07/2021 – Rain!

There’s weird weather all over the world right now, it seems, including in my little corner, where it feels July has been a lot cooler and wetter than normal. I’m not complaining – my rain barrels have remained full and the only watering I’ve had to do is the pots on the porch. Weeding is much easier and the birds are happy, as are trees and shrubs and flowers and tomatoes. My prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), on the other hand, likely would prefer more sun and less rain, but it’s still managing to push out a few flowers this week. Its normal habitat is a few hundred kilometres south west of here, on the sandy, quickly draining north shore of Lake Erie. I’m gratified it has forgiven me plunking it into my heavy rocky clay soil.

Every Saturday, The Propagator encourages gardeners around the world to share six things that are happening in their garden. Next on the list from my soggy garden are daylilies – Hemerocallis spp – that, even through the rain, decided it was time to open and show off their brilliant colours. I don’t know the names of any of these…

Last week I had Allium cernuum – nodding onion. This week the last of my alliums has started to bloom – Allium carinatum ssp. pulchellum – keeled garlic. It’s also called witch’s garlic, not too sure why since search engines mainly direct me to nurseries or other vendor sites. Grrrr!! Anyway, it has the same pale blue/mauve colour as nodding onion (although my main patch has had the white version pop up from time to time) and a very distinctive shape. It self seeds quite readily.

Most North American home gardeners, when talking about marigolds, are referring to Tagetes – the annual people either love or hate. The colours are either too bright or cheery. The fragrance is either disgusting or great for warding off pests and rodents. I love Tagetes and usually plant them here and there. This year, I also planted Calendula, which is called marigold or pot marigold by a lot of people. Calendula looks more like a yellow orange daisy, sometimes like a Zinnia, and, unlike Tagetes, is edible and a lot of information about how to use it for medicinal purposes. I’m looking forward to using them as a cut flower in a vase.

Last week I had a photo of a Verbena that I purchased at local farmer’s plant sale. He thought it was V. bonariensis, and it certainly looks like it may be. This week I have another Verbena. This one has tiny flowers atop a tall stem; it seems to self seed as it has appeared in various locations in the garden over the past few years – I did not purchase or plant it although it may have been part of one of those free wildflower seed packets that appear in the mail every now and then. I really like its colour and form, as did these (what I’m guessing are) baby grasshoppers who hopped off when I got too close.

Finally, back to the rain. I have a Tamarisk in the side garden. It’s such an unusual shrub here, with a very incongruous form and foliage for the natural countryside where I love, but it has these pretty great pink flowers (here’s a close-up of the pink flowers, from an earlier post). It hasn’t yet developed a thick main trunk – just a lot of stalks coming from the ground that get taller every year. The rain was a challenge for the shrub, weighed down with thousands of tiny blooms, and its all bent out of shape. I’m hoping the branches will spring back up.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!


    1. The flower looks the same, doesn’t it? The leaves are a bit different – I should have added a photo of them. Mine, this year, is growing in a large container of Sempervivum – so, good drainage. That may help?


  1. The “side garden” is very beautiful. The verbena blue is amazing. Marigolds are edible, the Gem and French taste the best, so those are the usual ones eaten. My marigolds get eaten down to stems every year, so no more for me. Calendulas on the other hand never go away!

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  2. What a surprise to see tamarisk there. I suppose it can grow anywhere it wants to. I just happen to think of it as living out in chaparral regions. I do not know how it gets out to some of the remote places where it lives, but I notice it out in dry grasslands. Sometimes it lives near watering holes frequented by cattle, as if planted there intentionally, and left to migrate over significant areas.

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    1. I guess the risk, when planting a non-native (or a non-native that is unusual in a given area) is you never really know how it will behave. As in this Tamarisk getting so top heavy in a rain, and bending over so much it overcomes its neighbours. It needs a bit more real estate….

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  3. I couldn’t help it — I quivered when I saw that tamarisk. Our species — known as salt cedar — is one of the very worst, most horrid, please kill on sight sorts of invasives. It sucks up water like crazy, and runs proper trees and shrubs right out of the neighborhood. I suppose your climate keeps yours in check. On the other hand, it can be gloriously colored in autumn — a great combination of reds, golds, and oranges.

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  4. The Verbena is splindid, Chris. See, I’m converted to using splendid instead of lovely/nice/fabulous. It does indeed seed liner ally. I love it when the butterflies arrive. Red admiral primarily here.
    I really like the side garden, particularly the stone and the almost-hidden red shed.
    Hope you’ve had a gread gardening week, a chara.

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