We are experiencing a heat wave. Having just tolerated the warmest May on record and with summer not even started we are all feeling mighty nervous about what is to come. My second red flowering plant of the month is feeling right at home. Variously named the Japanese lantern flower, spider hibiscus, fridge flower, Hibiscus schizopetalus, hails not from Japan but tropical East Africa.
They are the most exotic of all the flowers I grow. The ephemeral frilled flowers with their lacy curved-back petals and their dangling stamens certainly don't look as though they belong in Texas. And don't be fooled by their dangling over my water feature. The plant is in a pot and barely 2 years old.
The first time I came across the plant was in a greenhouse at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction, Colorado. Then again in the garden of a San Antonio friend. She very kindly brought me two cuttings both of which took. I overwinter the plants in the garage where they remain semi evergreen. As they bloom on short spurs on last years wood pruning must be kept to a minimum. One plant I pruned to a single trunk and the other has three long stems arising from the base. . Every day new blooms open and bring a little touch of the exotic to my garden.
At 2:30 pm the temperature outside is 96º F and with the humidity feels like 109ºF.
Classic and older garden books worth seeking out
14 hours ago