Bloom Day in July: tropical hibiscus

About 8:30 this morning:
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

Five hours later:
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

Well. . . aloha.
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

This is the second bloom I’ve seen on this particular tropical hibiscus. None of my others are this flashy dramatic.

Surrounding it are several Justicia brandegeeana or shrimp plants, which are always in bloom.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

This is a small planting bed near the entrance to the front terrace. We removed* all the old clipped shrubs from this area early last summer, but in a combination of fatigue and indecision, I just cut this bush to the ground, thinking it could die (or not) in place.

A couple of months ago, I noticed that it had sent up two stems and that flower buds were developing.  I was a little amazed about a week and a half ago when the first one opened.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in July, tropical hibiscus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

It goes well with the shrimp plants, so I’ll just leave it here and keep it pruned to about 4′ – 5′ tall.  The yellow-flowering plant in front of it is a Missouri primrose (Oenothera missouriensis).  It is an American native annual that self-seeds around the garden.

Cactus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

On the opposite end of the showy-ness scale, I discovered last week that our cactus-like Euphorbia (above and below) is blooming.

Cactus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

The flowers are a little over a 1/4″ across.

Cactus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

Cactus in our Kigali garden/enclos*ure

GBBD — the 15th of every month — is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Click here to see other garden bloggers’ mid-July flowers.

*It was among the bushes on the right in this photo. It was always clipped, so it probably hasn’t bloomed for a long time.

(A bit belated) Bloom Day for January

Here are a few of the flowers blooming in our garden this month.

orange tropical hibiscus

This beautiful light orange tropical hibiscus — this large shrub is growing on the middle level of the retaining walls along the front lawn.

orange tropical hibiscus

Below:  Rudbeckia laciniata or cutleaf coneflowers — this is a double variety, possibly ‘Goldquelle,’ ‘Hortensia,’ or ‘Goldenglow.’

Double Rudbeckia

This 3′ to 5′ rudbeckia — usually seen with single coneflower blooms — is native to eastern North America. A double variety appeared in 1897 and became popular as an “outhouse flower,” planted to shield privies from view.

When we arrived in Rwanda, there was one clump in the garden. I divided it, and now, because it is a “vigorous spreader,” I have about 25 plants.


I’m pretty sure the plant below is another American native in our garden: Datura stramonium or Jimson weed or Jamestown weed.

entrance and jimson weed

Because all parts of the plant can produce delirium or bizarre behavior if ingested or smoked, it played a small role in colonial American history when it drugged British soldiers sent to quell a 1676 uprising in Virginia.

The James-Town Weed . . . , being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon; and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves. . . .  [A]fter eleven days [they] returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.

The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705

jimson weed

Below:  Salvia leucantha or Mexican sage — when we moved in over a year ago, there was one clump near the driveway.  I divided it, and now we have the purple and white flowers all around the semi-circle of pavement.

mexican sage

I like its tall, twisty, rather floppy nature, but I think those same attributes annoy our gardener, who keeps trying to stake it upright.

mexican sage and driveway 2

The driveway area is mainly planted with the sage, ‘Fairy’ (I think) roses, yellow daylilies, Jimson weed, and orange lantana. There are also several palm trees, which will eventually add some vertical interest. I’m thinking of adding either some tall, dark pink celosia, burgundy sunflowers, or cranberry-colored hardy hibiscus.

mexican sage and driveway

I am not responsible for the bright yellow and white paint on the curbs, by the way.  I go back and forth about whether I like it or not.

Below:  We have finally stopped using the cutting garden as a holding area for various plants being moved from one place to another.

cutting garden

It is now planted out with zinnias, borage, and cosmos seedlings, as well as some perennials, like the pink chrysanthemums below.

pink chrysatheums in cutting garden

I have really tried to like those acid yellow dahlias in the background, but I just can’t, and I think they are going into the compost pile quite soon.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th day of each month. To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, check out May Dreams Gardens.

Foliage Follow Up

When we were at my parents’ house in September, I went around the garden and gathered seeds from their purple coneflowers, lamb’s ear, and wild mullein.  I put them all in one baggie because I thought I would recognize the seedlings as they emerged.  Of course, now I have no idea whether this is lambs ear or mullein.  I hope it’s mostly lamb’s ear, because I should only need a few of the tall, wide mulleins.

mullein or lambs ear

My mother also gave me some kale seeds, which I forgot about and then mixed in with all the other seeds. Then I went and bought a packet of kale seeds and planted them. So now my vegetable garden is about half kale.  Oh well, it does seem to be the vegetable of the moment.

Thanks to Digging for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Follow Up the 16th of every month.