In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Flowers

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Our banishment continues, I was just trying to think of where Napoleon’s exile was…Elba. That sounds pretty good, except it is in Italy. Oh well, I  will just stay here and look at the spring flowers in my garden. I am guessing mine are different from most other Six on Saturday posts. To see other posts for spring flower comparisons, go visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Above, I started with a Florida classic, the Hibiscus. This is an old fashioned red that is decades old in my garden.

Below, a flower on the Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). This is my neighbor’s tree – you can tell by the foliage how dry it has been here.

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This is a Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) a funky plant – about 18″ wide and 5 feet tall. I have it in a narrow space. The flowers do look like coral and the foliage looks like marijuana.

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Miss Alice Bougainvillea is just starting to flower. I waited a long  time to find a nearly thornless Bougainvillea and here she is. You still need gloves for pruning, just not rose gloves.

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There are several Justicia (Shrimp Plants) I grow as perennials. This is called Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), it is a shrub – about four feet tall currently.

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Last, but not least, the flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli). On the left side of the trunk is the bud.

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Hopefully everyone is making the best of our global exile and working in the garden. I realized I should make a list – there are so many little details to work on. I am making broth and soup this afternoon. I bought a 22 lb turkey and cooked it this week for many future turkey sandwiches and soups. My husband smoked the thighs and I saved the carcass to make broth. In the kitchen for me this afternoon. I am proud that I was able to stop myself from posting large turkey pictures and making political comments. Well, not quite.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – House Arrest

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I am feeling like I am under house arrest. This week I have been to the grocery store twice and to the vet for a rabies shot – the dog got the rabies shot. I might need one later. The garden has been my solace. I spent today finishing my pollinator and fruit border. My neighbor brought some Roselle plants (edible Hibiscus) and I replanted the Dragonfruit and am working on training it to the fence. As these things go, I discovered some terrifying large ants in the bark mulch followed by the realization I have to add irrigation if I want to actually eat a Roselle. I was cutting the Bidens (white daisies) off – they reseed to the point of never wanting to see another one of those damned things; then realized I should make a vase with them. Viola!

This vase looks a bit like Fall to me and in a way it is. The Basil, Gallardia, Celosia, Leonitis and Bidens are all producing seeds ahead of the rainy and hot weather. Here is a closer view:

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The bigger orange flower is Leonitis nepetifolia. Next year I will grow more of these – I have enjoyed them in the garden this year. The white daisies are the dreaded Bidens alba, a native wildflower and great for bees and butterflies. The pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Celosia; chartruese seedheads are Genovese Basil; red and yellow daisies and the round seedhead are from our native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); tubular orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the back and some Salvia coccinea seedheads.

I wish everyone a safe and pleasant respite in their gardens. Even the beaches are closed in Florida. A friend said this gets more surreal every day. I think she is right.

Six on Saturday – Bone Dry

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The hose has seen a lot of action this week. I  don’t recall the last time it rained, this is the last 6 weeks of our dry season. I have a irrigation system and detest hand watering – the exception, I will water containers. I am watering in the garden after the irrigation runs. I have also been enjoying sitting in the garden, away from the news.

The Roselle (Florida Cranberry Hibiscus) my neighbor grew is waiting for moister weather to be planted. Though, I think they might prefer to get their feet in the ground. This is a Hibiscus with edible leaves and flowers, most commonly used for tea. I haven’t grown it or eaten it, it is an annual here.

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I have seen birds and butterflies looking for water in my fountain, so I cleaned and filled it. Always a negotiation with the pump and leveling the container so it doesn’t pump itself dry.

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My so called lawn, you can see how far the irrigation goes.

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No, I don’t hand water this. This is the Greyhound zone and they don’t care.

A few things seem  to be enjoying the weather. The culinary Bay Leaf is putting on some new leaves; I am cooking with them as I write my post.

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This Lotusleaf Begonia is almost 5 feet tall and a mad tropical accent plant. I think the leaves will look better with some rain.

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That’s my Six this Saturday – go and visit The Propagator to see more..www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Hope everyone has enough to do in the garden and stays amongst the plants.

In a Vase on Monday – Charmin Genie

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I was, well, shocked to read about the worldwide run on toilet paper or rolls as it is called in the UK..thinking it was an American anomaly. Sunday morning found me searching for the forgotten roll in the guest bath to use as a vase. These are strange times.

My wish is for humanity to shut things down for a bit aand put this viral genie back in the bottle, hence the little purple bottle and the fan of the white stuff cramming the COVID back in. I think all the prescribed measures are working and we soon shall be confident in our stocks of toilet paper/rolls.

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View from above. The red glass magic carpet is a Christmas gift from a college friend not serving its real purpose, which is a receptacle for Foccacia, freshly ground Black Pepper and Olive Oil.

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The flowers were selected to go with the bottle and the red glass tray. To my knowledge, they are not medicinal. The pink star shaped flowers in front are Heirloom Pentas  (Penta lanceolata); white daisies are Spanish Needles  (Bidens alba) – a native  that is a weed if you ask me, no one does.There is some peachy Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia  coccinea); two colors of Texas Vintage Mix Celosia; the bigger pink fuzzy things are Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalpyha pendula). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the background and a Dwarf Pineapple cutting.img_20200315_112457

The genie’s bottle has a few stems of Tassel Flower in them. They are similar to the Dandelion, imported and producing a flower that can be blown on for wishes. I usually pick these as I don’t wish for any more, but they are cute.

Happy Monday and stay safe in your garden. Continue reading

Six on Saturday – Primavera (no pasta)

Our windy conditions finally wound down the middle of the week leaving clear blue skies, a light breeze and perfect conditions to stay outdoors – by yourself, no interaction with the germy masses. I have been celebrating Primavera (spring in Italian) enjoying the new growth, fruits and flowers developing and a new butterfly in my garden.

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This is a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly sipping nectar from a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri) . I planted a Senna ligustrina, larval host plant for the Sulphur butterflies and they have graced my garden ever since.

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Buds inside the cup of the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae). The blushing is more exciting than the flowers.

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Flower of Little Harv Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Little Harv’) . The  flower stalk is nearly 3 feet tall, I would like to see Big Harv.

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Foliage getting a bit glaucous on Traveller’s Palm (Ravenela madagascariensis) I planted these as much for the trunk as the foliage. I love both, the story behind the name is a thirsty traveler could cut a stem and get a glass of fresh water, These are just about five  feet tall and don’t quite produce a glass when cut.

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Dragonfruit (Hylocereus) just starting to climb a fence post. These are a night blooming cactus that produce a somewhat odd fruit, sometimes called Pitcaya.

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Surinam Cherries ripening, these are very deep red when ripe. Until they are very deep red they taste a bit like turpentine smells. A raw, piney taste. A friend makes jelly with the fruit and says it is very good. I leave them for the birds.

My Six for this Saturday. I have carrots and green beans in the garden. I might just make some Pasta Primavera for dinner. Cue Vivaldi..

Happy Spring!!

For more Six on Saturday posts, go to http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Vibrant Colors

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The flowers I started the arrangement with seemed especially vivid today. Maybe it’s the overcast skies or the first flowers of the season make them feel more vibrant; but the Nodding Hibiscus (at the bottom of the arrangement) looks really red (to me). I added the big green leaf (White Bird of Paradise) to calm things down; then realized it was getting a little Christmasssy – that is probably not a word.

Back to the garden, I love a little grey-green in anything and spotted spiky seedheads forming on the Leonitis. Cut the biggest ones and they are sharp like a pinecone. Red, green, yellow and black varigated foliage should be celebrated, so I added a cutting of Mammey Croton and for more red, a sprig of Firecracker Plant. Four plants produce a lot of punch in one little crystal vase.

Closer views: My oldest  brother, who passed on several years ago, gave me the heavy crystal vase for Christmas. I have enjoyed it and think of him with each use.

The spikey ball is the going to seed flower of the annual Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia). I am a bit confused about this plant. There is another one, considered perennial in Florida called Leonitis leonurus. One or the other or perhaps both seem to be smoked by people in Africa for fun. Something called Dagga. I am not smoking it, like Bill Clinton, I was not meant to inhale. (American joke, sorry – Bill swore he never inhaled Marijuana, despite admitting to smoking it)

The multicolored foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codiaeum varigateum ‘Mammey); fine textured grassy foliage with red bell shaped flowers is Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformus); red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) and the  big green leaf – White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai).

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Greens, reds, golds and textures in a vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at  MORE VASES

Happy Gardening.