Above is my first flower on Marigold “Cempazuchitl”, a large African Tagetes which is grown in Mexico to use as a floral symbol on The Day of the Dead November 1st.
The plant has an open, rangy ,skeletal look and large pompon blossoms. I bought three plants from Annie’s Annuals in California, and now have an additional six rooted cuttings,. I may use them to replace plants destroyed by a ground hog in the cottage garden. Leftovers will go into the vegetable garden. Marigolds, with their strong odor and unpalatable leaves, do not interest woodchucks. In her classic book on Mexican gardening, “Mexican Plants for American Gardens”, Cecile Matschat describes this Tagetes erecta and says “It has no equal when used in orange and yellow tones as color in the autumn border”.
The Maltese Cross is the fire red that I love. It is a hardy perennial that I put in the front garden last year. It seems to be a favorite in New England, but I never saw one in Nashville, so I assume it is not fond of a summer tropical climate. I have no idea how long it blooms, but since red is so rare in June I will not mind if it lasts only a week.
Above is Cuphea “Hummingbird’s Lunch”, which I bought from Almost Eden nursery in Louisiana. These flowers are very small and delicate , but they, like other Cupheas, are favorites in the Hummingbird garden. Perennial in Mexico of course, where so many of my dream plants grow-
This plant , an Australian shrub, is grown in the US in California and the Desert Southwest. Trying it in containers here was a gamble. I tried to grow it in Tennessee, but the seeds never germinated, and perhaps they knew they would not thrive where the Gulf of Mexico and the Bermuda High smother the land with steam and heat from May to October. Alyogyne has the foliage of a scented geranium and is prickly enough to thwart rodents. Its flower is perfection. It seems happy in the New Hampshire summer when planted in a mixture of sand and potting soil. The experts say it will not tolerate wet feet.
This is a second year bush. It did not die back over the winter, and its foliage is glossy and pristine. Last year I let a cleome too close to it, and the rose was not happy. This year I have to say it is one of the loveliest and healthiest roses I have seen. As each bud goes from unfolding to full flower it changes color, and before the spent blooms fall it has turned a mellow pink with lemon tinges. My other Easy Elegance rose “Pinktopia” has yet to bloom and had dieback and dead canes after the winter. I edit and discard with no mercy, and if it does not improve, I will remove it.
I put this rose in my sister’s garden late last summer. This spring I moved it to my cottage garden, then realized I had picked the wrong spot, and moved it again when it was leafed out. Three moves in six months and this rose did not sulk. It is a better plant than the Red Knockout, which is scrawny and still flowerless. This picture speaks for itself. I did not plant to grow roses when I moved here, but what cottage garden would be without them.
A woodchuck, thwarted by an electric fence around the vegetable garden , has taken its revenge on my cottage garden. It has stripped my African Mallow and my heart leaved asters of their leaves and has tunneled a hole under the house. I tried sticking tines, a knife and a weed puller into the hole, and a day after he has cast them aside.
I will not be defeated by a woodchuck, and will try to remain non violent. I thought about streamers and pinwheels, but those would scare away the birds. Then I thought about how unpleasant it would be if I was a woodchuck, tunneling along only to dig those claws into a mass of bubble wrap, which will go off like a shot gun when punctured.
It may not work ,but we will see-
The large shrubby plants growing randomly are the Evening Primrose, Oenthera biennis. They are volunteers, and I could not bear tearing them out.