Tuesday, August 2, 2011

GOOPS - The Big Ugly

The beginning of every month Joene sponsors GOOPS - Gardening Oops, which I think is brilliant. I first learned about GOOPS last month on Laurrie's fabulous blog, My Weeds Are Very Sorry. My list of GOOPS is embarassingly long. Personally, I prefer to blame most of them on my dogs, but I guess that would make them POOPS - Pups OOPS, except my dogs aren't puppies... so I guess that just leaves me.

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.  



16 comments:

  1. Maybe it's a 4:00 in the morning flower? ;)
    I like the GOOPS idea! And your post is really funny! I'm sorry you're having troubles with them though. Do you think moving the four o'clocks to a shadier spot would help?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Angela - It definitely wants total shade! It blooms in the late evening but is probably at its best at 4 am!! I have a second one in a pot in complete shade and it's much happier.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always smile when I read about lantana. It is lovely looking & I actually don't even mind the smell, but in Australia it's a declared weed because it invades bushland.
    Love the iadea of GOOPs too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had four o'clocks in wyoming when I was in grade school. I would go outside in the summer and collect seed for mom, which she would replant the next summer. A memory I enjoyed.

    In adulthood, we planted some in San Antonio. They turned into trees! and invaded the garden. Had a roundup, literally.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Greggo - I'll have to pass that info onto my 4 o'clocks. They seemed to have missed the memo. I'll bet your Round Up involved a big white bottle!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmm, after seeing Greggo's comment, I may have to misplace the 4'o'clock seeds my aunt recently shared with me. I saw a Dallas red lantana recently and really liked it. I'm not a lantana fan (it's everywhere here) but it really was pretty...and drought tolerant! And a butterfly magnet...maybe we both need to add it back to our gardens.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never planted Lantana but I've always loved the colors. Sounds like another one to add to the list...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Four o'clocks are droopy and whiney in hot weather, but they should perk up after a rain. Sorry they haven't worked out as the fragrance is heady.

    You asked about Meadow Beauty ~ it's in the Rhexia genus. We have two species here, the Viringia and the Maryland. They like damp acid conditions and bloom all summer.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Would they show up on google earth"!! Ha, I loved that. I'm glad you found Joene's meme to join. I have been posting garden oops on the first of each month with her for ages, and it is oddly cathartic. So many mistakes. So much good advice (or at least sympathy) from commenters! Welcome to GOOPs. Sorry about your 4 o'clocks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, just imagine if your entire blog were a GOOP. Here's my 4 o'clock story: bought seeds, forgot to plant them. But the photo on the seed packet is lovely, and no watering issues.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Don't you hate it when you have high hopes for a new plant that turns into a dud?! I think I'm with Cat. I'd replant the lantana. Yes, the don't smell the best, but they are pretty, drought tolerant and the butterflies (when we have them) and hummingbirds LOVE it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Everyone - It's a bit cooler today than it has been the past several weeks and after a touch of rain they're a bit perked up, but not enough to redeem themselves. OUT: 4 o'clocks IN: Lantana!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had 4 O'Clocks in Virginia and they were a big disappointment. I moved them to the back of the garden where I saw them when they were open and full, when they weren't, they disappeared behind the other foliage.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The ones I transplanted look like that, but the ones I planted from seed look better. I think you have a great idea...it would cover the rain barrel. I hope things improve.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    Great post as always! Dashed hopes-we have all suffered from just a few. I find that plants tell you pretty quickly that they aren't happy. I used to try to appease them. I move them or pamper them with extra love and affection. These days I don't fuss as much. I figure really difficult plants are just not meant to be.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved your description of lying awake dreaming about plants to come. How many times have I caught myself doing that? and just as many times had complete failure to create the vision in my head. I'm glad you tried the four o'clocks, now you know for future exploits.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment on the posts or photos.