In a Vase on Monday – Braving Isaias

The impending path of Hurricane Isaias has been big news this week in Florida. A friend is calling this storm Hurricane Unpronounceable. Research tells me Isaias replaces the name Ike, retired after a particularly disastrous storm in 2008. They downgraded Isaias to a Tropical Storm before it reached my neck of the woods.

Ordinarily I would not cut flowers during a tropical weather event. This one was mild enough that I walked my greyhounds this morning. Alan, the weather phobic hound, did not take notice of the weather. During the walk I avoided the house with Coconut Palms – the coconuts are still hanging on the tree. We had winds up to 30 mph, off and on, and very little rain. The pots on my porch had to be watered. It is interesting to note the change in direction in the winds, especially when not scared witless. The circular wind direction can be felt and noted by watching which way the palms are swaying. Just stay away from Coconut Palms.

What Hurricane?

The vase! Oddly, my husband received flowers recently for helping someone and this is the vase from his flowers. I used it to collect a hot color palette of what is flowering in my garden.

The foliage in the back of the arrangement is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘varigata’); yellow and orange spikes are Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Blanchetiana’) flowers; peach and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and blue tipped panicle flower is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flowers in the middle of the vase are Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); orange flowers hanging over the side are Firebush (Hamelia patens); and a few unnamed Zinnias. The Zinnias are grown in Miami and are my favorite (because they survive) summer container flower. I would love to know the name if anyone can share that information.

It is late Sunday afternoon and while the wind is still blowing it has died down considerably. Fingers crossed for the rest of those in the path of this storm.

To see more vases from less tropical climes visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and hopefully sunny skies…

Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Gardenias..

Flaming Gardenias sounds like a polite curse from women of a certain age, myself included. No cursing here, except maybe about the heat or politics, but the garden is not involved.

The red flower in the arrangement is a Flaming Torch Bromeliad. These do their name justice and appear at the apex of the hurricane season – another common name is Hurricane Bromeliad. The latin name, Billbergia pyramidalis. Here it is in the garden.

The Gardenias are the tropical kind, sometimes called Florida Gardenias although they are native to India. Tabernaemontana diviracata is the latin. The shrub is at least 10 feet tall and the fragrance, subtle and mostly noticeable really late or really early in the morning. During the Five AM Greyhound romp, I am enjoying the scent of Gardenias, the dogs..Armadilloes or something. It’s a group effort.

A closer view:

The backdrop, I do love a little foliage with textural contrast. The big leaf is from a Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) and the ferny bits – Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden. The cobalt glass bowl, a gift from my brother, years ago. I love it with white flowers.

To see more vases from gardeners around the world, follow the link to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday-Porch Pots

I am joining The Propagator this Saturday with six items of interest from my front porch. I use my porches for propagation and composed containers. Above is one of my containers with Zinnias, Gold Sedum and Flapjack Kalanchoe for the summer.

I found a strawberry pot by the side of the road and decided to plant it with succulents. Here is a Graptosedum taking hold in the side pocket.

The top of the strawberry pot has a Haworthia along the edge. A friend gifted me this one, I am not sure which Haworthia it is, I hope it flowers.

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the pot is in mid pupping, the mother plant on the left side is dying as the new pups takes over the container. The Graptosedums also have some offspring.

Here is a close up of the Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). This plant can be used as a groundcover here, but I have it planted as a spiller in a container.

I propagate plants on the front porch as well. From the left, a bit of ‘Song of India’ Dracaena I found by the side of the road and three Desert Rose cuttings taken while pruning bigger plants I have in containers at another entrance to my house. The Roses are slowly rooting while leaning on the wall.

That is my six for this Saturday, join the meme or see posts from around the world at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday Mini Pi

The title Mini Pi is due to:

The flower is Miniata Bromeliad.

There is a Mini Pineapple and a Pineapple Vase.

The foliage is Piecrust Croton.

I could have called this Many Pies..

A closer view:

The red flowers are from a stalwart of my July garden, the Miniata Bromeliad (Aechema miniata). The foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), there are numerous cultivars of Croton. I bought this one for my husband, the piemaker. Here is the foliage, the varigation is different on the front and backs of each leaf. The back is on the left, note the veins, and the front on the right. Leaf edges crimped like a pie crust.

The Pineapple vase is from Maui, my husband swears it is a palm tree. It could be either. The Pineapple is from my garden. Its demise occurred after ripening on the counter until its scent permeated the kitchen. Lunch today was a Roasted Salmon with Pineapple Salad.

The Pineapple was quite good and I am saving the top to grow some more..

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. To see more vases from around the world, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – The Front Garden

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My front garden is composed of hot colors, oranges, reds and apricots. Of course a few other colors have crept in, but for the most part it is hot colors for a hot climate. In keeping with the spirit of heat – above is the Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens), planted by birds in a perfect foundation planting placement.

Imagine my surprise when looking at a real estate website one day I found this picture of my garden (Thanks, Google)  with me in my usual position.

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The nearly year round flowering Dwarf Red Ixora (Ixora ‘Dwarf Red’) is at its peak during the summer months, bees and butterflies love it.

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Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) adds grey foliage color and texture and flowers just about quarterly.

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More foliage interest is provided by Crotons in two varieties. Codiaeum varigatum ‘Pie Crust’ is below.

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The other Croton is Mammey…

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Happy Gardening from my front yard!

To see more Six on Saturday posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

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I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

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The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

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The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

Six on Saturday – Blue Blazes

It’s time for Six on Saturday, a post about six items of interest in the garden, anything at all, shared with gardeners around the world.

To view the collection visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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One of my father’s favorite summertime sayings “It is hot as blue blazes”. I have no idea where that came from. Maybe New England where he was from. I can confirm it is hot as blue blazes in South Florida in July, though there is a nice breeze coming off the ocean currently.

Above is one of my favorite summer flowers, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)

Another Heliconia is flowering in my garden, the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata)

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I have been harvesting fruit. My first pineapple, cute and ripening on the counter along with Purple Possum Passionfruit. Say that 10 times fast..

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The Bromeliads are doing their thing, some just looking great in summer colors and some flowers. This is an unknown Neoregelia.

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The Blanchetiana Aechmea Bromeliads are shooting up buds, these are about five feet tall now and will get a little bigger and fully open in November. The flowers usually last until May.

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Another Aechmea Bromeliad, the Miniata. These are very reliable July bloomers, many Bromeliads have a mind of their own when deciding to flower – the Blanchetiana above took about six years to decide to bloom…the Miniata start out red and then get cobalt blue tips. Interesting to watch and they last a long time as cut flowers. The foliage is a bit scorched from two weeks without rain and some wind.

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That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

Extreme Gardening

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I had a bad run in with an Agave a few years ago. It resulted in a course of steroids and antibiotics as it seems I am allergic to the thorns somehow. I have one big blue Agave in front of my house that is easily avoided and kept as thornless as possible by pruning. The Agave in the pot beside my side entrance has been taunting me for years. Not very attractive, but I really did not want to grab a hold of it and pull it out. The handle broke off  the shovel , the evil thorned one was not budging and loppers weren’t working. Then, a thought occured to me, lightbulb over head! I just had a trailer hitch put on my Jeep. Note the small rope tied around the Agave.
 
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Before anyone asks if I have a Bulldog, no. The Bulldog is the mascot of my alma mater, The University of Georgia. The rope is tied to my trailer hitch-I pulled the Jeep into the garage and the offending Agave popped out. The other plant is a Firesticks Pencil Cactus, easily removed.
 
Success!
 
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These days my side door is Agave free. I have thornless Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) in these pots underplanted with Flapjack Kalachoe and Fireball Bromeliads. The Roses flower in summer and look funky year round.
 
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In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

To see more vases from around the world, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!