A Week in Flowers – Day One

I have been inivted to share flowers from my garden daily for a week by Cathy at Words and Herbs on WordPress. The idea is to brighten winter days and add some color to our cyberworld. Follow this link to see more flowers from around the world. https://wp.me/p1RJ1n-5Ya

I have chosen winter tropicals from my South Florida garden for today. Above is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) a favorite of mine that can flower three times a year if in the mood.

This is a winter flowering Bromeliad, Quesnelia testudo. I think of these as tulips for the tropical garden. They flower in February and March and are reliable for returning and increasing in mass over time. The downside? One very sharp thorn on the end of every leaf.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting. Happy Gardening or flower watching this week.

In a Vase on Monday – A Mixed Bag

I am so pleased to have finally successfully grown Cactus Zinnias. Ta da!

My first several attempts resulted in oddly dwarf flowers that were never more than a single flower. These are doubles and the plants are very healthy with big, deep green leaves. This fall, I decided to plant cutting flowers in grow bags to see if it worked better than my futile efforts to amend the existing sugar sand in my garden. After installing bags and bags of compost, worm castings, mulch and irrigation – I still ended up with puny flowers. Here are the happy Zinnias in their bag:

The arrangement is a mixed bag of fall and winter flowers in my garden. Multi colored is probably the best way to describe it. The vase is a pottery candleholder my parents used in summer to hold citronella candles while they sat on their brick patio and drank untold gallons of dreadful Carlo Rossi Chablis. I put a pickle jar inside to hold water and flowers. The vase holds fond memories for me.

A closer view:

The green Zinnia is Green Envy, these are new to me and my garden. I have planted them with Mystic Spires Blue Salvia and am planning to add chartreuse Sedum below. Green tipped salmon flowers are Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); purple spikes are “Mona Lavendar” Plectranthus; salmon spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pale pink clovers are Globe Amaranth.

The other side:

The Cactus Zinnias are in yellow, pink, purple and salmon. Misty pink flowers are from Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris).

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases follow the link.

Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday – Seeds and Flowers

It is Saturday yet again and time to join the SOS crew in the UK and beyond. My six items of interest this week are flowers and seeds that are new to the garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

My first ever ‘Green Envy’ Zinnia. I started these from seed in September, the plants are quite healthy and I am looking forward to bigger flowers.

Buds on the Dombeya. This is a pink Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) and a sight to behold when in full flower. This is a tree form Hydrangea about 14 feet tall.

Seedheads forming on the Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). I left several on the plant as someone always want to try these for fun. The seedhead eventually turns brown and may be ground and used as a coffee substitute. Not trying that, but will collect seed for next year. I cut most of the flowers and am getting a second crop of smaller flowers on some of the plants.

A new shoot on the Dragonfruit. The lawn maintenance guys mangle these every time a new shoot appears; this one wised up and went away from weed eater range. Time will tell if I ever actually harvest a Dragonfruit.

Snow Peas (mangetout in Britspeak, a new name to me) and spinach emerging in grow bag.

First green beans harvested, made me wish I had planted more bags!

The Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia caparillis) in full flower. It seemed it was taking a long time for this to get going.

Oops, make that Seven on Saturday. Oh, well.

Happy Gardening to all.

In a Vase on Monday – Gloom Buster

Gloomy is not usually a term I associate with the “dry season” in South Florida. It has been raining and overcast since the middle of last week. We Floridians are addicted to sunshine. The garden is clearly enjoying the rain and hopefully the good plants will absorb more than the weeds. Though I can see the cool season weeds germinating wantonly as I dodge the raindrops walking my greyhounds.

Our moods, needing improvement with some floral friends made me search high and low from the safety of my covered porches to spy some colorful and hopefully a little bit tropical flowers to grace my vase this Monday. All of the components of this vase were cut within a mad dash from our doors.

Another view:

Some closer views:

Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – planted by the porch to deter mosquitoes. I think it works. Though I have no comparison. Pink cloverish flowers, some free Globe Amaranth I grew from seed I got from Etsy. Fun, but, yeah looks like clover and is a wimpy color. Not a big fan of pale pink. Darker pink wooly worms, Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalphya pendula), just tropical fun and a great cut flower. Orange flowers, Firebush (Hamelia patens) grows near front and back doors and a perennial (ha) favorite.

White flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are slowing down though some consider them evergreen, I do not. Enjoying the slightly fragrant flowers til the bitter end (winter 2022?). Purple foliage is Alternanthera “not sure which one”

The weather seems to be clearing and I hope to be back in the garden soon.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening to you all. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting – please follow the link to see more vases..

Six on Saturday – In the Bag

My Bag Garden is coming along. I have two kinds of tomatoes ripening and small green beans on the bush beans. This group has tomatoes, green beans, radishes, dill and zinnias. The seeds were planted in September and I used some different soil mixes to see what works best. Of course, the most expensive mix was doing best at first. So, I amended the cheaper, heavier soil mix with compost and Osmocote. Now the cheaper mix is catching up. The first radish planting was a bust as the cheap soil was too heavy for radishes.

When I tied the tomatoes to the cages I pruned the suckers off the plants and put them in a vase to root for a later season set of tomatoes. The suckers are flowering in their vase on the counter behind my kitchen sink.

I am not sure what to think or do about the flowers – cut them off? There is very little natural light in this area, although there is LED lighting above the sink.

The other bags are in a more protected location where I potted everything up. They seemed to be doing well so I left them in their spot.

I have a couple of different kinds of zinnias, sunflowers and mystery seedlings from a cutting flower mix. Nigella surprised me by germinating, not supposed to grow here, so hopefully I get some flowers. This week, with cooler weather, I planted another big pot with snow peas, spinach and cilantro. The sticks in the pot are rabbit and squirrel abatement. I had a great deal of trouble with squirrels when I planted the sunflower seeds. My snowbird neighbors amuse themselves by growing a highly toxic, poison green lawn and feeding the squirrels peanuts – the squirrels in turn tear up my potted plants. The sticks are 24″ reeds from reed fencing and are working well.

This is not quite in the bag. It is in the bromeliad, specifically a frog I spied while looking for a flower. The bromeliad is a Aechmea ‘fasciata’, sometimes called Silver Vase. I think these bloom in winter, but only frogs so far.

There! my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, follow the link: http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Wild Thing

Wild Thing .. you make my heart sing! Remember that? The Troggs are the original artists, here is the youtube version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qHX493bB3U

I truly enjoy the wild things (they make my heart sing) I grow in my South Florida garden and have filled, well, not a vase – but a Portmerion canister with fall wild things. Maybe I should call them weird things, though there is not a song for that!

A closer view:

The pink fuzzzies (hubs refers to them as wooly worms) are from Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula); pale pink chandeliers are from the Chandelier Plant (Medinillia cummingii); burgundy edible flowers are Roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa); yellow flowers and green beans are Esperanza (Tecoma stans). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in there for green texture.

Ivory Zinnia is my first flower from Cactus Zinnia seeds I started in September. I have Green Envy Zinnias (started at the same time) budding and am hoping I have figured out when to plant Zinnias here. I noted some mature Zinnias around when I planted seed so it may be a two Zinnia season here?? Fluffy pink grass in the background is Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris)

My vase from last week (Palm berries, etc.) is holding up nicely. The bits and bobs have settled a bit and are drying in place, colors are deepening. This may end up being a dried holiday arrangement with the addition of some sparklies, time will tell.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to find more vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Berry Parfait for Eight

Last Monday, a challenge was issued to celebrate the eighth anniversary of In a Vase on Monday. Cathy, founder and host of IAVOM, threw down the gauntlet. The challenge, for this week – create a vase without using fresh flowers.

May I present a completely inedible (to most people) berry parfait from my garden. I should invite eight birds, squirrels or lizards for a feast. The lizards are big in South Florida. People can eat these berries, most would chose not too. Tasty they are not.

The parfait is tall – 16 inches (40 cm). Our former house in Atlanta had a two story space in the living room. I kept huge vases in that room and have two tall vases I still enjoy from time to time. This is my first garden fruit parfait.

Closer views:

The top of the vase. The grey paddles are Flapjack Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora) flowers. I have had Flapjacks around for so many years I am not sure of their origin. They grow in containers around my garden. I move them around – so easy to grow here. Green and red berries are from the Adonidia or Christmas Palm (Adonidia veitchii); another favorite of mine. This palm was grown from seed by a friend from Landscape Architecture school, Eddie, he gave me a palm seedling in 2013. The seedling is now 14 feet tall.

Purple berries are from Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). I bought the shrubs from a native plants nursery going out of business sale several years ago. The amount of fruit borne in the summer and fall continues to amaze me.

Dried foliage from past vases, Blanchetiana Bromeliads used to wrap jars, has been utilized in its curly state to hold stems in place as I was stacking the fruit and foliage. A few bits of Statice dried from flowers sent by a friend are visible in purple.

Happy Anniversary and many thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting all these years. Follow the links to see more celebratory vases.

Six on Saturday – November Bounty

November is usually a glorious weather month in South Florida. The past few days have been cold and rainy, which is odd. Temperatures have been in the 60s (F)/15(C). We are cold, my greyhounds are covered in a film of sand and so are the floors. The dogs have enjoyed racing in the cool weather. The garden soaked up the rain and provided some bounty for the gardener.

New to the garden this year and the first time I have seen the flower – Medinilla cummingii. Chandelier tree is its common name and a very apt description of the plant. It has numerous buds and I am waiting for the full flowering. Should be spectacular. These are similar to orchids, ocurring naturally growing in trees somewhere in the South Pacific. It must be a fabulous forest. This one is shares a pot with Dwarf Chenille Plant on my front porch.

A closer view of the flower.

I started seeds earlier this year (September) and have my first bud on the Cactus Zinnias.

Tomato seeds were started at the same time in early September. I planted Yellow Pear and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, these look like neither, but I hope to eat some next week.

I espaliered the red flowering Nodding Hibiscus shrub to my neighbor’s fence – very pleased with how it is turning out.

A favorite winter flower – Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad. These flowers last a long time and then produce an interesting seedhead. Such mad cool flowers.

There, my Six for this Saturday. To see other SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Belles

My garden is in seasonal transition, there are a few flowers, some fruit and buds for the winter flowers – all in all, not a lot of flowers. I enjoy these respites and have cut a lot of the summer performers back as they tend to get buggy as they age. The dragonflies showed up in droves this week and hopefully ate all the mealybugs on the Salvias, portending a new batch of salvia flowers for the winter. Most of the flowers I cut seemed to be bell shaped – and I added some Muhly because, well, everyone loves the Muhly Grass.

Some closer views:

The red belles are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equiseteum); yellow belles are from Esperanza (Tecoma stans); and the orange, admittedly less bell like are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); my perennial favorite for its flowers, ease of culture and butterfly nectar.

The yellow belles are from Tecoma stans, this is also another common name for them. They have several. The background ephemeral wispies are from Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capallaris). This seems to be everyone’s favorite this time of year. I am guilty of this, currently loving them in the garden and waiting for their full pink floaty goodness. I may need to stop cutting the wispies.

That is the vase for this Monday from South Florida. Happy Gardening and Happy Fall Y’all. I will be in the garden admiring the Muhly Grass. For more vases from worldwide gardens, visit our intrepid hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Harvest. Present and Future

Time for SOS again. Follow the link to see more fun from gardens around the world http://www,thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

My garden is enjoying the weather cool down and making flowers and fruit for fall. I have begun harvesting the Roselles (Hibicus sabdariffa) and here is the first batch:

I pluck these by hand as the green seeds start to appear in the middle of the flower. Rinse them throughly and remove the calyces.

These are the remnants of the flower. The calyces have been removed. I had to look up calyx, in botany speak it is the whole of the sepals that surround the bud of the flower. Calyces is plural of calyx. If the green seeds are allowed to ripen they turn brown and may be ground for a coffee substitute.

Calyx harvested by pulling sepals off or cutting whole. Jam makers like the use the whole ones for aesthetics. I think. I am freezing these bit by bit and looking for recipes.

Fruits of the Christmas Palm (Adonidia veitchii). These are reportedly edible but unpalatable. I leave them for the wildlife. Most people cut them off, though I like to use them for arrangements and enjoy the color.

Tomatoes started from seed in September are setting fruit. I planted Yellow Pear and Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes, not sure which one this is, but am looking forward to eating it.

One of my favorite butterfly nectar plants, the Firebush (Hamelia patens) flowers and produces fruit in the fall. More food for wildlife (and maybe thought, while contemplating the butterflies.)

That is six from my garden this Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!