November Bloom Day: early summer

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Technically, because Kigali is a few degrees south of the equator, it is early summer here.

But  — given that the temperature is almost always in the 70ºs or low 80ºs — it is more relevant that we are almost three months into the end-of-the-year rainy season.

In late October, I came back from five weeks in the U.S. to rampant growth in all the planting beds.  Now, I need to wade in and do some serious cutting back all over.

To see what’s blooming for other garden bloggers, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens here.

Our garden in November

It has rained almost every day this month, and everything in the garden has been growing accordingly. Here’s a little tour — from some photos I’ve taken in the last few days.

November garden tour:enclos*ureAbove: Looking across the upper lawn from the north side. The front terrace of the house is to the left.

Looking to the south. At the top of the retaining walls, there are daylilies, evolvulus, and kniphofia. . .Above:  Looking across the upper lawn and the planting beds of the two retaining walls.  In the narrow border at the top, there are yellow daylilies, the bright blue-flowering (in the morning) groundcover evolvulus, and orange Kniphofia uvaria (red hot pokers).  At the right is an orange tropical hibicus.

There is a cluster of the bronze-tinged succulent graptopelum in a pot, and steel-blue Kalanchoe daigremontiana (mother of millions) thread their way throughout.

This whole area is mostly yellow, with some blue and orange at the edges.  The yellow works well with the blue hills and the sky in the distant view (see below).  It also picks up the pale yellow of the exterior house paint and the yellow/gold/beige tones of the living room immediately behind the terrace.

and graptopelum in a pot.  To the right of the hibicus is a Clerodendron thomsoniae var. delectum.Above:  To the right of the orange hibicus is a Clerondendron thomsoniae var. delectum.

Across the lower lawn, the new (well, from a year and a half ago) border is filling out well and beginning to have more flowers.  In the hedge above it, I have let various vines, shrubs, and the crowns of little self-seeded acacia trees emerge to provide additional form and texture.  We clip the bougainvillea flat behind them.

November garden tour:enclos*ureAbove: A view of the middle border between the two retaining walls that divide the upper and lower lawns.  On either side of the step railings, the flower colors are mostly blue/purple, with yellow as a secondary color.

In the border between the two retaining walls are blue eranthemum bushes (at the far right side). . .Above:  In this section of the middle border are Russelia equisetiformis lutea and an orange Lantana camera (both at the edge), bright blue eranthemum bushes (at the far right), a  lemongrass (beside the railing), and. . .

and this perennial -- possibly a salvia.  Does anyone know its name?Above:  this blue-purple-flowering perennial — possibly a salvia. Does anyone know its name?  It’s about 3′ to 4′ tall and almost a weed, but I use it all over the garden for the color and its quick, robust growth.

Looking back towards the north, our big acacia tree is blooming. . .Above: Looking back towards the north, our big acacia tree was blooming last week, looking very impressive with the bright red Mussaenda erythrophylla vine.

in white puffballs.Above:  Its flowers are small white puffballs.

A tall croton in the center, with Kalanchoe daigremontiana, kniphofia, and variegated groundcover irises in the border.Above: There’s a tall variegated croton in the center, with  more kalanchoe, kniphofia, and variegated groundcover irises along the border.  Behind the croton, Heliconia rostrata (lobster claws) are peeking out.

Behind the pot is a pink lantana and the stems of a shrub that looks like a privet and has heavily scented white flowers.  I limbed it up like a small multi-trunk tree, but some brown birds (they look like small parrots, but they aren’t) keep eating off the leaves.  I think I will have to give up on it soon.  Behind it are some old scarlet hybrid tea roses and coral pink zonal geraniums.  This area is about 50/50 red and pink with a little blue around the edges.

Looking back from the south side of the upper lawn.  There are Rudbeckia laciniata in the foreground.Above:  Walking to the south end of the upper lawn and then looking back. There are double Rudbeckia laciniata in the foreground and more graptopelum in the pots.  At the left, is a clipped yellow-foliage shrub that I don’t have the name for yet.  It’s really a liana, but it is extremely popular in Kigali for shearing into hedges and various balls because it grows so fast. (You just have to clip it back about every month.)

Behind the tall pot, you can also glimpse a few low-pruned  light blue cape plumbago and some shasta daisies.

There are graptopetalums in the pots, among daylilies and more kalanchoe.Above:  Turning around and looking back to the south.  At the far end of this border are light pink  Abutilon x hybridum or Chinese lantern bush.  The cactus-like plant is a euphorbia.  There’s a huge traveller’s palm behind that.

November garden tour/enclos*ureAbove: Our view of Mt. Kigali, from the steps in the center of both lawns.  Just beyond our hedge, the land dips down into a valley and then up again — so the brick buildings that you see at the top of the hedge are on the other side of the valley, maybe a half mile away, as the crow flies.

At the bottom of the steps, on the north side.Above:  Standing at the bottom of the steps, looking at the north side.  The orange lantana from the photo above hangs over the lower retaining wall.  Below it are rudbeckia (not blooming), yellow daylilies, some calla lilies, and some shasta daisies.  Beside the railing is a Brunfelsia latifolia (aka B. australis) or yesterday, today, tomorrow shrub, more russelia with cream blooms, and a vine/shrub that looks like jasmine, but has unscented yellow blooms.

There are Russelia equisetiformis in red and cream, Rudbeckia laciniata, dayllilies, and shasta daisies in this border.Above:  This red and yellow section is going strong at the moment. There are lots of Russelia equisetiformis in red, as well as cream, more double Rudbeckia laciniata, dayllilies, and shasta daisies in this border.  At the end are more kniphofia, which I use throughout the garden.  I love orange, so I put them in every color-themed section, regarding them as a sort of  repeating “neutral.”

Looking down the lower lawn from the north side.Above:  Standing at the north end of the lower lawn, looking to the south.  At the far end are two pots setting off a group of pine trees.

In the center on the retaining wall is a huge white-blooming rose that is about to get pruned.  Lamb's ear edges the lower border.Above:  Standing back at the bottom of the center steps looking south.  In the center on the retaining wall is a huge white-blooming rose that is soon to be pruned. Below it are orange bird of paradise, variegated ginger, lamb’s ear, Verbena bonariensis and some small purple alliums.  A little further down are more double rudbeckia, yellow daylilies, Missouri primrose, and dill.

At the very end is a mix of red and yellow-flowering plants to match the north end of the retaining walls (above), but they are not so well established yet.

Looking down the lower lawn from the south side.Above: Looking at the lower lawn from the south end. At the left, is a red section, with pink as a second color and blue around the edges.  There are red-blooming cannas and cannas with burgundy leaves, red ornamental sage, shrimp plants, and red roses.  The pink comes from gerbera daisies and an azalea bush.

After it, are sections with light purple, then yellow, then pink flowers predominating — finishing in the center, across from the steps, with yellow flowers and foliage (and beyond that is a section with light orange, light purple, coral pink and a bit of red).  But this long, newer border is not yet as colorful as the other side of the lawn.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: Evolvulus ‘Blue Sapphire’

The green of life requires blue. . .*

Entrance to our garden/enclos*ure

At the front of our house, in two curvy planting beds, the Evolvulus ‘Blue Sapphire’ is thick and blooming heavily — in the morning.

By early afternoon, the flowers close up, and I’m left with just a small-leaved, grey-green ground cover — which is still pretty nice.

(Above:  that’s a pink-blooming crape myrtle tree to the left, doing so-so — I’m going to give it a light pruning pretty soon and see if it will fill out a bit.)

Front entrance and Evolvulus 'Blue Sapphire' blooming/enclos*ure

I planted out little sprigs of the evolvulus last July. This open area used to be occupied by a large Norfolk pine.  However, it was dying (see here; sixth photo) and had to be cut down.

I’m not very happy with the grass and stone arrangement on the left side of the center planting area (below).  It looks rather ragged.   One of these days, I plan to remove the turf grass (I really like to have a wee bit of Round-Up) and plant mondo grass between the stones — as well as take up a few stones and add a two or three mounding plants.

Entrance and Evolvulus blooming/enclos*ure

Below, the blooms of Evolvulus ‘Blue Sapphire’ are a true blue.  It is a tropical plant, hardy to U.S. zones 8-11.

(Click on any of the photos to enlarge them or on ‘Continue reading’ below to scroll through all the bigger images.)

Evolvulus for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day in March/enclos*ure

Below, I’ve also used it to edge the planting border along the upper lawn in front of the terrace. (A plan of our garden is here.)

Front border edged with Evolvulus/enclos*ure

Below is the same border from the other direction, standing at the center steps.  (The red-flowering shrub/vine at the end is a Mussaenda erythrophylla.)

Border with Evolvulus 'Blue Sapphire' and yellow daylilies

Below, the border continues on the left side of the steps. The tall yellow flowers are double Rudbeckia laciniata.

Our front border/enclos*ure

Below, the zinnias in our cutting garden (from last month’s GBBD) continue to be beautiful.  The tall grass in the back is lemongrass.

Zinnias in our cutting garden in Rwanda/enclos*ure

To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens today, check out May Dreams Gardens.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th of every month.


*by Robert L. Jones, from “Blue.”