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Chroma Chameleons

August 29, 2010

Hot colored

Have I mentioned that it’s been warm lately? At least one day last week the temperature was 107º! Such heat makes everyone — including some of my favorite succulents — look a bit haggard, droopy and in need of a good long drink. Needless to say, we’ve been watering everything more frequently lately but still some of the Rancho’s plants look the worse for wear. Our once-gorgeous angel’s trumpet is now more stick figure than celestial, and even a prized yucca has given up the ghost. Some plants are thriving and seem to relish the steamy atmosphere, but most seem to be waiting out the heat. Working in the yard today I couldn’t help but notice a distinct lack of color overall, with some exceptions. Take the echeverias above; they seem to be thumbing their ruffly noses at the heat by putting on an off-color show, replacing their former purple-y/mauve fleshtones with more subdued yellow/green/blue tones edged in rust. Still striking, but now they have the effect of vintage hand-tinted photographs. And, speaking of rust, it seems to be the garden’s color story for Summer …

Rust backlit

These aeoniums benefit from sunny backlighting, the better to emphasize the touches of green and yellow they’ve taken on for late Summer. Almost black just a short time ago, they no longer look they belong in a goth bride’s bouquet.

Radiant, gradient

Klanachoe flapjacks are also rocking a rust-to-yellow-to-green look. These guys have been laying low during this heated season and I can’t wait for Fall when they can perk up and begin spreading out again.

Where's the fire?

Normally an intense presence in several spots on the grounds, my sticks-on-fire seem washed out and tired. At various times orange, red, hot pink, or even yellow, they’ve traded their usual hot hues for a color that reminds me of hot dogs. Ick!

Emerald flames

A pleasant color surprise was this agave, looking like a fiery, green-flamed torch in the afternoon sun. It had been looking a bit wan and jaundiced until recently, when suddenly it took on its current smooth lime, white and yellow Summer stripes. It’s nice to see some living creature relishing these diabolical temps and not going rusty! As for me, I’m hoping triple digits are not what September and October have in store. Mercifully, today was 20-degrees cooler than during the week and tomorrow should be the same. I’m hoping we can just segue through to Thanksgiving with the thermostat at this setting, but I won’t keep my fingers crossed!


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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mrs. Marriott permalink
    August 29, 2010 7:28 am

    Today was almost nice! Well under 110 out here in Palm Springs, which was a nice change.

    Also, I’m glad it’s not just my Brugmansia that looks like heck. I mean, I’m not happy yours looks bad, but… yeah. It’s hard to see something you love in such obvious distress.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 29, 2010 4:33 pm

      Hello.. well, as bad as our brugmansia looks today I know it’ll come back… last year it seemed to go dead-like only to spring back … enjoy your mild temps! I know I am…

  2. August 31, 2010 12:58 am

    That first photo is just stunning. What richness of color, yet nuanced so as to sooth rather than overwhelm. But I am anyway …. overwhelmed, that is, by your echeverias and that magical purple succulent flower stalk behind it. The rusty green aeoniums are lovely, too.

    I can’t honestly conceive of temps as hot as you’re having. We suffer here in PDX when the mercury exceeds 90 degrees although my small collection of agaves just loves it!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 31, 2010 2:57 am

      I find our temperatures inconceivable myself at times! Thanks for a great comment, and welcome!

  3. Megan permalink
    September 8, 2010 2:29 pm

    Those echeverias are awesome! All these shots are great. Hope nothing got sunburned. One of our agaves got a little sunburned when it hit 85 a week or so ago. It’s a wuss….

    • reubix1 permalink*
      September 8, 2010 3:07 pm

      Sorry about your sunburned echeveria; and I’m surprised mine have survived so well (if a little faded); it was 117º a week ago, although it’s really cool — even drizzly — today… bring on Fall!

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