As we get into the hot and sticky season in Phnom Penh, some of our new garden flowers are “feeling the heat” while others are thriving!
Our ground cover or “potulaca oleracea” is thriving. We refer to these colorful little flowers as our “morning flowers” as they appear anytime during the year and only for a few hours on sunny mornings. As a companion plant, potulaca oleracera provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilizing ground moisture. Its deep roots, which bring up moisture and nutrients allow for companion plants to better penetrate areas of hard soil conditions.
Our Cambodian “balloon flowers” or “platycondon grandifloras” are also doing well. These plants are native to East Asia. These also bloom daily and drop their purple-blue flowers towards the end of each day, only to regenerate the next morning. We have these herbaceous perennials lining the back and side walls of our AP garden. They have done very well in both the winter cool and summer heat.
We have two white flowering gardenias or “Jasminoids” as they are referred to by the local Cambodians – same family! Call them what you will, they are thriving in the hot and humid and their flowers let off that very sweet, very pungent smell of the jasminoid family, anywhere in the world.
However, not ALL is good in AP garden-land. Our roses, which did so brilliantly in the cool winter have dropped their leaves in an attempt to cool down in the Spring / Summer heat. It may be that the potulaca, our ground cover is also generating too much heat for our roses to thrive. We will try to replant our roses away from the potulaca to see how they do in a cooler part of the garden. Similarly, our Rhododendron Taurus has pulled in its red flowers, showing signs of stress in response to the oncoming heat in Phnom Penh. Our hibiscus is doing well, flourishing in the Cambodian heat, but its flower buds have all been overwhelmed by red ants! Food for thought; or just plain food! We are in discussions with our local plant store for a solution to this problem.
We saw our moms in the garden last week with a handful of our younger AP children. They were all watering and weeding! Well done guys! We need to continue building the soil by adding AP compost and local fertilizer and continue to experiment with plant types as we move from Winter cool to Spring, Summer and Fall hot! We are close to ordering a garden bench, for the children to sit and study in the tranquility of the AP garden.
Onwards and upwards AP.
Many thanks to Isabel Hertz for her continued input and profound knowledge on gardens and plants, which has now gone global. And, in loving memory of RMH iii.
By: the AP garden club (David, Ny, Roth, Mum Bop, Mum Sarik, and all the AP Children)