In a Vase on Monday – Dawg Treats

Imagine my surprise when my stealth dog, Zepp, strolled up and started to have a bite of the Nodding Hibiscus. He was advised not to eat the flowers and they were moved to a higher shelf. I was happy for my phobia about bringing poisonous plants in the house. Zepp is oddly silent for a counter height dog and can startle me by materializing out of the darkness when in the fenced area at night.

The other Dawgs this arrangement reminded me of are Georgia Bulldawgs, the mascot of my alma mater, and the team colors are red and black. “Go Dawgs” is the battle cry at football games.

Here’s a better shot of the arrangement:

The black glass vase is a thrift store find from years ago I like to use with tall, thin plant material. Red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), these reseed prolifically and produce different colors, the latest is a nearly black stem I love. A few red Firecracker Plants (Russelia equisetiformis) are hanging over the base of the arrangement. The red flowers draped over the edge are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduiflorus), I am pretty sure these are edible, but didn’t try them out on Zepp as they can have a laxative effect – not good in a 80 lb. dog. The white flowers are branches from the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora), a large shrub with strange tropical fruit (known for its resinous taste). The branches remind me of plum or cherry flowers and are reminiscent of spring. The grey spike in the middle is the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe, a favorite succulent in my garden. I thought a little bronze foliage was in order, so the straplike leaves in the back were added. They are from Blanchetiana Bromeliads.

A closer view:

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

Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday – Seeds and Bulbs

This Saturday I photographed the new plants I have grown from seeds or bulbs this winter. As usual, my learning curve for Florida gardening extended into trial by fire to find the proper season or temperature for success with germination. It seems all seeds come with some instructions for planting times based on frost – we have no frost here so timing is a wild guess for me most times.

Waltham Broccoli, a cool weather crop everywhere is a winter crop in South Florida. I started seeds in November, the package says these take 50 days to harvest, I think not.

My first Calendulas ever! Planted in early January, the seed collected by my neighbor last year. I am looking forward to the flowers.

Fiona the Greyhound checking out the Nasturtiums. I found these will not come up at all if planted when the temperature is too high. After trying them in August, I forgot about them until January and they came up then. Later I read December 1 is the magical start date. Sigh, these haven’t flowered yet and maybe that is why.

Tropical Milkweed, the larval host plant for Monarch Butterflies. Seedlings started when too cool. These suffered through December and January, developing nice root systems for some reason, so I planted them. I recently found out the seeds should be planted now..since I had a lot of seeds I scattered them all over the butterfly garden. The seeds have a reputation for high germination rates, though the ones I planted earlier in pots 3 out of 12 came up. It will be interesting to see what happens in the garden.

Spinach, Basil and Cilantro seedlings on my front porch. The seeds were planted in January. I gave up growing herbs in the ground, these are my best herb seedlings so far.

Shamrocks were originally collected in Ireland by a friend’s grandmother decades ago. These had been thriving in her South Florida garden for years. I think these will grow almost anywhere.

My Six for this Saturday. For more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – From Florida, With Love

This vase came together on Valentine’s Day. Walking through the garden, I was thinking about the polar weather seemingly everywhere else described in blogs this week. This inspired me to create a vase from the most tropical flowers I could find, sending some Floridian love and warmth out into cyberspace..

A closer view:

The white and pink flowers hanging over the side are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the only Ginger I can grow in my garden. Looking back, these flower every February – wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day from the garden. The purple flowers are from my neighbor’s Hong Kong Orchid Tree, certainly a straight species Bauhinia purpurea, as it is probably 5o years old. Newer varieties don’t reseed as prolifically as this one does – but, in winter it is covered in purple orchid flowers and in summer sports a huge mass of white and purple Cattleya Orchids growing on its trunk. I hope it stays around a long time.

The mad foliage I grow in my South Florida garden continues to amaze me. The green leaves in back are Shell Ginger, the purple leaves are from Moses in a Cradle or Oyster Plant (Transcandentia spathacea). The olive green foliage with fuchsia tips is from the aptly named Painted Fingernail Bromeliad (Neoregelia spectabilis); a favorite passalong plant in this neck of the woods.

Continuing to spread the love, I baked some treats for my favorite Valentines. A mini vegan apple pie for my husband and peanut butter treats for the greyhounds…

Wishing everyone a belated Happy Valentines and warmth from my garden.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting, to see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Different Blooms

I was watching the yeast bloom while making Foccacia this morning (it is currently rising) when it occured to me I have a lot of different blooms. Here are some from the garden.

The buds from last week have opened with the warmer weather. This is a Quesnelia testudo Bromeliad.

Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad opened as well. This flower gets longer and more yellow as it ages.

The Red Guzmania flowers age to bronze and then form really strange seedheads. I like the bronze and leave them on the plant.

Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) usually flower in February and a few more times during the year.

The Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) flowers are ending their show. Time for me to figure out how to prune the thing…

That my six different blooms for this Saturday. To see more, and different, blooms follow the link to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening…and Valentine’s Day.

In a Vase on Monday – Hallelujah Rocks

The cold outside finally went away from here, it left us with a stormy, humid 84 degree Sunday. The warmth and rain are a welcome relief from an unusual spate of cold, dry weather – the humidity a reminder of why summer should be spent elsewhere.

I noted my Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad was flowering on Saturday and cut it for today’s vase. There are very few plants I am aware of with red, white, blue and yellow flowers and purple and green spotted foliage. Even the stem of the flower is different – red all the way through. In my opinion, these flowers rock and I included a crystal as a prop. I think it is a hematite with white quartz crystals, but can’t quite remember.

The Hallelujah Bromeliad:

The rock:

A closer view:

The vase is an old pasta container that lost its cork lid. I added the raffia to pick up the off white colors in the arrangement. Purple foliage is from Purple Queen (Transcandentia pallida), a volunteer in my garden. The ferny plants are another volunteer, Asparagus Fern. The striped leaf in back is from another Bromeliad I bought at the local Botanical Garden – labeled as “some sort of Neoregelia.” This Neoregelia turned out to be bigger than I thought, about two feet across – amazingly, I planted it in a good spot.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening, I hope everyone finds something that rocks in their garden.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Visit her blog to see more Monday vases from gardens around the world.

Six on Saturday – Winter Fun

One morning this week I read the coldest temperature seen during my tenure in South Florida. 37 degrees Fahrenheit or 2.7 Celsius. Brrr. The best time of year to move Bromeliads is between November and March, I rarely make all the changes during the proper time.

With the cool weather, it was a good time to don a sweatshirt and clear out the thorny Bromeliad beds. Asian Ferns have overrun the beds and require a bit of patience to pull out. I am usually wearing sandals and a tank and apprehensive about what is living in the jungle below, though the scariest thing so far has been a cockroach.

On the other side, the Zebrina groundcover has run amok, tumbling over the Bromeliads.

Things are looking better now and the plants have a bit more breathing room. I am eyeing a few to move to a sunnier place…need more cold weather.

I found some Bromeliad buds and blooms during the course of my clearing. This is a Quesnelia testudo, a tropical tulip substitute. It should flower in a few weeks, usually in February.

This is a Little Harv Aechmea bud. A very sharp (in both ways) plant – this will be a yellow and pink flower resembling a sea creature. I moved Little Harv away from nearby walkways as he has stabbed me more than once.

This is a Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad flower. A very funky thing, the foliage is purple spotted with white and green – and then, the flower… Hallelujah!

There! my Six for this Saturday. To see more – visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – February Forage

I decided to use my curly dried Bromeliad leaves one more time, just for fun. What in the world goes with burgundyish dried curled leaves?

The flower forage begins:

Many red flowers are in bloom and the orangey Aloe fell over in the wind, so the plant palette started there. The color scheme is a melange of one flower leading to another. The Soap Aloe (in orange) has purple tips, so I picked some blue purples then added the whites and stumbled on the spiky dark green Bromeliad flowers while wandering through the garden. Boston Ferns in back were turned to show the less green side and spores and accent the bronzey Bromeliad curls. This is turning into the Funky February Forage.

A closer view:

The larger red flowers hanging around the vase are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus arboreus); the smaller red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); orangey flower, the fallen Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); the blue flowers are from a Ageratum of some sort the botanists changed the name on – calling it Wild Ageratum and hoping I don’t regret leaving it in the garden. Purple foliage and flowers from Purple Queen or Setcreasea pallida, I think. White daisies are the dreadful Bidens alba or Spanish Needle, too cute to rip out all of them. Off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a charming native, more so than most of the human natives. Ferns are another charming native, Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) hope I spelled that right. The darker green ‘lobster claws’ are flower stalks from a native Bromeliad.

Another view:

Well, funky February foraging seems to be working.

Happy Gardening to all. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and allowing me to share rambles in my Florida garden. Visit Cathy’s blog to see more vases.

Six on Saturday – Odds and Ends

I had another Papaya for breakfast this morning. Several people commented about the size the Papaya tree attained in six years. Not sure everyone realized what a weird thing it is. It may be 20 feet tall, I am not sure. The tree in the background is a Thai Dessert Mango (Nam Doc Mai) it is about 10 feet tall.

I am told it is okay to chop the trunk of the Papaya off and it will grow another set of leaves and the fruit will be easier to reach. I am going to give this a try after the fruit is gone. The last crop of fruit was pulling the tree over with its weight.

The Mangoes are flowering and setting fruit. This is a Glenn Mango flower.

The fruit setting on the Glenn Mango.

The Bromeliads are making pups. November through March is the optimum time to move them around. This is a Little Harv Aechmea. It is so sharp I am moving them to a place where I won’t walk by and get stabbed.

My first Atala Butterfly sighting this year. These butterflies appear in January and June. He or she was scouting my Coontie Cycads, their favorite host plant. Still looking for the eggs.

Gardening experiment number bazillion. I find the tiny seed starting trays too fiddly and decided to cut water bottles in half for pots. This has worked well, making mini greenhouses. I have Calendula, Basil, Spinach and Cilantro in these. I can cut the bottles to get the seedlings out and then recycle.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Check out http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for more fun from other gardeners.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Go Big or Go Home

My husband went through a spell of getting tattoos, no idea what precipitated it, but he is known as “The Illustrated Man” and people tend to remember his artwork before they remember him. Anyway, the slogan from his favorite tattoo shop on Maui is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Here is his back, a tribute to the Disney movie, Fantasia.

I have taken the slogan to heart in the design of my tropical Rainforest Garden; big, coarse textured plants contrasted with ferns and smaller groundcovers, the colors almost reflect the rainbow. Yellow is missing. I plucked this vase there.

The big pink flowers are from the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – everything about this plant is big. The leaves average 9 by 9 inches, the plant itself is 12 by 12 feet after 3 years in the garden. The leaf in the middle is from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) this anchors a corner in the garden. Everyone who walks through gasps and says, “what is that?” At least 4 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide, it adds a Jurassic feel to the garden. The Ferns are Boston Ferns (yes, the famous porch fern) that grow huge in their native habitat and are easily three feet tall. I am pulling them out and throwing them away as they are out of hand.

The other side of the arrangement has “Java White” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Java White’). Another prolific grower, this turns green in shade, and is a bit of a trick to site properly…it may be moved further into the sun.

The container, a large crystal vase, a long ago wedding gift from a dear friend I treasure. The vase and the friend.

As always, thank you to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting this addictive meme. I am sorry I missed last week’s tribute to Dorris. I will miss her posts and images from her garden.