Still Planting Despite the Heat

As crazy as it sounds I'm still putting plants in the ground with temperatures up around 100!  The weather may be hot but sometimes you just have to deal with it and move on with your garden plans.  Usually a plant will perform much better with less water requirements if it has been planted in the ground rather than left in the pot - at least that is my observation.  My plan was to plant more plants in the front garden area where I built the garden sitting wall.  It rests underneath the shade of a Bradford pear tree (which admittedly I'm taking a risk planting anything underneath since the Bradford pear could come down at any time).  What plants did I pick out to plant in this area?  Since it gets mostly afternoon shade I planted a combination of coleus and hydrangeas to go with a few hostas I had previously planted.


Before I could plant anything I had to raise the soil level so that the garden would function as a raised bed.  First I went through and reset the wall so that it was level.  (Previously the blocks were just set on top of the soil, which looked fine but I think it looks even better now!)  Resetting the wall required that I dig into the existing grade of the soil - which is no easy task when it the soil has turned into sun baked brick! I tossed the leftover soil from the excavation into the garden area then I went back to the compost bin and emptied it out into the wheel barrow.  I laid down newspaper over the excavated soil then filled up the area with compost.  The compost didn't fill the area up completely which is fine since I wanted to put a decent layer of mulch on top.

'Zebra' hydrangea
'Mariesii Variegata' hydrangea










Then I planted 4 different types of hydrangeas: 'Nikko Blue', 'Glowing Embers', 'Zebra', and 'Mariesii Variegata'.  I've been wanted to add more hydrangeas to our landscape for a while and these four now join a small collection of other hydrangeas like oak leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia), 'Grayswood' (Hydrangea serrata),  'Annabelle' (Hydrangea arborescens), Lady in Red (Hydrangea macrophylla), and one or two other hydrangeas I don't know the name of!

'Glowing Embers' hydrangea
'Nikko Blue' hydrangea












 
'Pineapple' Coleus

'Wasabi' coleus
Also in this bed are several different coleus plants.  Coleus has come a long way over the years and has been cultivated for increased tolerance to sun but it is still mostly a shade loving plant. 
One unnamed variety is in this garden along with 'Wasabi' (A lime colored green color), 'Alabama' (light red-orange tones with yellow highlights), and 'Pineapple' (yellow and red colors). I have a few coleus plants that have grown from seed that I still need to plant out in the garden.  I hope to collect seed and even try a little hybridizing with these plants once they flower.

'Alabama' coleus
Once I've collected more seed from my heucheras I'll divide and transplant some into this garden.

What are the best performing hydrangeas in your garden? Have you tried any new coleus varieties this year?

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