Our garden on August 31, at the end of the dry season:
And on September 11, after several days of rain:
Much better. After the first rain or two, everything seemed almost sparkly.
Below (click on any of the thumbnails in the gallery) is a little tour of the borders along the upper and lower lawns, taken on September 11 — just before sunset — and yesterday afternoon.
Looking southwest from the upper lawn.
Kniphofia uvaria and a Kalanchoe. . .
with an orange Lantana camera in the background.
A pot of Graptopetalum with yellow daylilies behind it.
An orange blooming tropical hibicus in the foreground.
The upper lawn beyond the steps. A large Euphorbia in the background.
Walking to the tall pot in the last photo and turning: Cape plumbago, yellow Abutilon, variegated groundcover irises, and a double Rudbeckia laciniata in the foreground.
Turning back to the steps, Cape plumbago and shasta daisies.
Looking down to the next level of retaining wall, a large white rose in the back and (I think) a (purple) Thunbergia in the center.
Walking down the steps, looking south. There are also cream Russelia equisetiformis and a blue blooming Salvia (I think it’s a Salvia).
At the bottom of the steps, looking back at the south retaining walls.
Looking South on the other side of the lower lawn.
Those are pink Pentas in the foreground.
Going back to the top of the steps and looking northwest about sunset.
Looking down on the next level of retaining wall: blue blooming Salvias, Eranthemum nervosum, and a variegated ginger.
Walking down the steps, looking north.
At the bottom of the steps, looking back to the north retaining walls. There are red Russelia equisetiformis above and yellow daylilies and Rudbeckia below.
Walking across the lawn and looking north.
I think this will be my slightly early Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up submission for September. Please go to May Dreams Gardens (Bloom Day on September 15) and Digging (Foliage Follow-Up on September 16) to see what’s happening in other Garden Bloggers’ gardens.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer . . .
by our water hoses.
We are just below the equator here in Rwanda, so technically it is near the end of winter — and of the long dry season, which began in May and normally ends in September.
But last night there was a light rain for about seven hours, so today I don’t need to water anything in the garden, not even the new plants.
We’ve really cut back on watering this year, anyway — none for the grass and a lot less for the planting beds. The grass is going brown, but we still have a lot of flowers, particularly my stalwarts, yellow daylilies and pink gerbera daisies.
My biggest project in the last month has been to tackle our mess of a vegetable garden, which has consisted of several not very productive, but very wide and long raised beds. Their dimensions just weren’t manageable, so we’ve dug new paths and now all the beds are about 4′ x 5′.
Growing among the argula, lettuce, kale, strawberry, and tomato plants are also celosias, nasturtiums, Missouri primroses, and sunflowers.
Recently, I tried to grow American hardy hibiscus from seed (in the vegetable garden, where the soil is best), and, despite the fact that I have always read that this is a very easy thing to do, only about ten seedlings appeared from two packets of seeds, and for weeks they have remained at 2″ tall.
Nothing at all came up from a packet of black-eyed Susan seeds; only one plant from a packet of Verbena bonariensis. However, alpine strawberry seeds have produced about 15 plants.
I have also done well with re-seeding lettuce, dill, basil, garlic chives, and coriander and with rooted rosemary cuttings. I have high hopes for my cherry tomato plants, many of which have clusters of tiny fruit.
In the long flower border along the lower lawn, I have one bloom from several purple coneflower plants that I have grown from seed.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th day of every month. Check out May Dreams Gardens to see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens today.
While traveling in southeastern Rwanda on Thursday, we stopped for lunch in Nyakarambi. I liked the town’s roadside planters, which are painted in the graphic patterns of imigongo art.
All the planters held rather dusty palm trees. We are in the middle of the long dry season, which will last until early September.
Imigongo paintings traditionally decorated the interiors of houses in this part of Rwanda. The raised designs are made with cow dung and painted with white kaolin clay and a black substance made from aloe plant sap and the ash of burned banana skins and Solanum aculeastrum fruit. Other natural colors — red, grey, and ochre — are also used, and today’s artists often add representations of people and houses.
Nyakarambi has a cooperative and shop devoted to imigongo. I added to my little collection with the piece below, which is about 12″ x 14″.
I didn’t take any photos of the cooperative while we were there; the women weren’t working and their stock of paintings was small. But, several months ago, we were at Nyungwe Forest Lodge, which has several walls in the lobby displaying imigongo.