Typical of my small zone 10 Southern California garden, the month of June is as much subtractive as additive. Gone are the winter-growing annuals like poppies, nicotiana, and umbellifer Orlaya grandiflora, and as the hot dry summer bears down, the outlines of succulents like agaves and aloes once again come to the fore. The kangaroo paws are still prominent verticals, though the reds can start looking a little burnt out and scruffy. Annual coreopsis and cosmos, in pots and the garden, can handle the heat to come, and they’re just about the size of summer daisy a small overplanted garden can handle (no to dahlias, rudbeckias, etc). A 20-degree jump from a short, intense heatwave seared stripes into the cuticle on a couple established agaves, but we’re back into the very tolerable high 70s/low 80s again, at least for this week.
The Helenium puberulum has been lightly blooming since planting last fall, but those stunning leaves are of course from eucomis and are a total cheat — one of two gallons of ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ I dropped into the garden in full sun just before the heat wave. So far I haven’t had success with eucomis in the ground, and I’ve probably grown them in too much shade and/or kept them too dry. These gallons were in a nursery’s remaindered aisle, literally bursting through the pots with multiple bulbs, and since one bulb can go for $20 it was an incredible deal. I think I’ll keep them in pots, maybe divide the two gallons into four gallons in fall.