In between my driveway and the side of my house lies a strip of hard, compacted clay soil that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Rock roses and grass define our property from our neighbors.Tucked against the house and partially hidden by a robust Prague viburnum is a beige rain barrel. Last year in an effort to disguise the rain barrel, I grew orange and red lantana, which grew prolifically with little help from me. Therefore, it makes complete sense that I would grow lantana again. But did I? Oh noooo....
My husband uses this rain barrel to help water the strip of grass between the driveway and the neighbors yard. It reduces how much we accidentally water our neighbors yard. This picture is from last summer.
Ahhh!! Beautiful lantana! What a smart choice!
Despite how much I love lantana, it's not very fragrant. As a matter of fact, the leaves smell really weird. So I decided to rip out the lantana once the weather grew cold and replace it with four o'clocks, mirabilis jalapa. I ordered a fat tuber and waited for spring. In typical TS fashion, I imagined my four o'clocks as a large annual shrub covered with hot pink fragrant flowers that would infuse my garden, and possibly entire neighborhood, with their rich, heady scent.
I assure you I did not take this picture! It's from http://www.swiatkwiatow.pl
Everything I had read about four o'clocks described them as tough sub-shrubs, tolerant of the worst soils and almost invasive if the climate is warm enough. Knowing our winter weather would keep them in check, I was eager to add this southern beauty to my garden. Would they open at 4:00? Would they show up on Google Earth? I lulled myself to sleep with such inane thoughts and waited for them to bloom.
Fast forward to right now: My four o'clocks hate me and I don't care what time they open!!! No amount of water can convince them to perk up and play nice. They droop and whine, leaning suggestively against the rain barrel. I was sympathetic when the heat index was 115+ but last night it rained (Hallelujah!) and they still look pathetic!!!
The only time this plant looks good is at night, in total darkness, under a new moon. Did I put the wrong plant in the wrong place? Quite possibly. But I'm convinced it may be a vampire and am a bit worried about the viburnums.