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 …
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.
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.
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!
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!