Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cicadas, crickets, and hoping for rain

Summer evenings in the Southern U.S. are full of sounds -- cicadas, crickets, tree frogs, with an occasional late katydid. The crickets and tree frogs are melodious; the cicadas produce a harsh whirring sound, hard to describe.

The evening light is a deep purple now turning a peach-apricot color, with clouds hinting of a good chance of thunderstorms. The last two evening's 'isolated' thunderstorms passed us by, so hopefully we'll get more than a few drops tonight. The clouds look thick on the weather radar.

It was a good day in the garden. I put extra lime in the bed near the breakfast room, to make the midwestern Penstemons from yesterday's foray seem more at home.

One of them was labeled Penstemon 'Sour Grapes'. The nursery owner told me it was Penstemon cobea, an adaptable plant of limestone glades and outcrops from Central Texas north to Missouri. An Internet search suggested, however, that P. 'Sour Grapes' is of hybrid origin, possibly with P. hirsutus as a parent. suggests it's of muddled heritage, but is a tough evergreen perennial that attracts hummingbirds. Sounds like it's worth a try to me. Penstemon digitalis 'Husker's Red' is a selection of a widely distributed Central and Southeastern U.S. species. The attractive Heuchera 'Palace Purple' turned out to be a patented selection of H. micrantha, which hopefully will like the partial shade/light afternoon sun conditions in this border.

And the Lavender 'Anouk' - one of the give-aways for speakers and volunteers at the recent Master Gardener's conference was a patented selection of Lavandula stoechas. Hmmm. Patenting plants is a somewhat odd (in my opinion) development of American horticulture.

In any case, I settled them all into the bed, and will see how they do. Gardening is always an experiment.

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