Heat waves and backaches

With a pulled muscle in my back and a hideous heat-wave upon us, I am taking a break from the garden. Aside from planting, I have not worked on any projects lately. The terrace project (above) awaits me but for now, the flowers planted in the raised beds are doing great. The site here is dry and full sun. I have been watering this area about once a week except for the Katsura Tree (located in the top bed) which gets more frequent water.

This is a good learning experience to discover which plants can take these conditions.





Some of the plants here -

California Fuchsia (Zauschneria septentrionalis 'Select Mattole') is a plant I have never grown before. It has grown rapidly and just now started to bloom heavily. The hummingbirds love it.

Rudbeckia ('Goldstrum" I think) - you can't go wrong with it!

The Penstemons have become one of my favorite perennials. This is 'Blue Midnight'.

Coreopsis 'Red Satin'

Eryngium 'Jade Frost'

Ornamental Oregano (Origanum 'Kent Beauty'), one of my favorite plants.

Strawflower 'Mohave Orange'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. So beautiful! You've accomplished so much in so little time. I like the mixture of colorful and diverse flowers and especially those raised beds with flagstone.

  2. Those stacked stone walls are fabulous. No wonder your back hurts. Worth the look though. You are getting to grow all sorts of new plants. It is fun to see them. I have never seen an Echnops with variegation. A neat plant. Your garden is coming right along.

  3. Looks like you've done lots ! It looks great , I'm looking forward to seeing it !

  4. The plant you called Echinops is (I'm pretty sure) Eryngium 'Jade Frost.' Eryngiums are all great drought tolerant plants, I love mine. 'Kent Beauty' ornamental oregano is another favorite of mine. Those terraces and steps are looking great! You've accomplished so much, you deserve a break. I despise the heat and the smoke, I've been taking a break too.

    1. Alison, you are absolutely right! Thank you!

  5. Back problems are the worst! Love the Eryngium. It all looks just beautiful.

  6. Wow, Phillip, this area is stunning. I'm so impressed. I hope your heat breaks soon. Aren't you glad you have air conditioning?

  7. I'm in awe of your progress in the garden. The terraced bed beside the steps is wonderful and filled with plants I enjoy. I love Eryngium 'Jade Frost' and used to grow it, but mine reverted to plain green after a few years. Yours looks so trim and fresh, and makes me want to plant it again. I hope your back muscle heals quickly, but it is a good time to take a break!

  8. Everything looks gorgeous! It's very exciting to watch you transform this space into a glorious garden!

  9. The terrace project is looking fabulous! Love, love the ornamental oregano.It is hard to believe you are experiencing such dreadful heat, while this week in Alabama I have 70s-low 80s, due to rain and heavy cloud cover. This has been one of the wettest summers I remember, much needed after last year's drought. By the way, I will be headed to your part of the world next month, visiting my sons. Hopefully, normal temps will back in the Portland/Seattle area by then!

  10. Hope you heal soon, Phillip.

    And that your heat wave breaks and temps get back to normal there.

    Meanwhile, as you say, it's a learning experience to see which plants are toughest. I like the way you're trying to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed you.

  11. I have that exact Rudbeckia. I had it at my old house & brought a clump here 9 years ago. You can't go wrong with this one.

  12. Prettiest laboratory I ever did see.

  13. You've really transformed your new(ish) space over time. And all the plants look wonderfully healthy, despite the drought.

  14. My goodness Philip, your plant choices are always so unique and interesting. Lots of wows in this post!

  15. I love what I'm seeing Phillip! Take a break! You deserve it!


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