I think of this as a posy, my (I think) American take on the definition of posy or posey – a small flower arrangement. I looked up the definition and came up with two spellings and several definitions. One that surprised me – posey, an informal adjective describing someone who is pretentious and trying to impress others. And I thought it was either a hand tied bouquet or a small flower arrangement!
The weather in South Florida has returned to warm winter and my cutting flowers are starting to bloom. Exactly 3 Zinnias and the everpresent blue Salvia. Enough for a posy, posey or tequila shot glass full of flowers. The vase is from my niece’s wedding. I am surprised to see in writing she has been married for almost eight years.
A closer view:
The Zinnias are: in pink, Cactus mix; in green, Envy; and in peach, Apricot Profusion. Blue spikes are my favorite Salvia, ‘Mystic Blue, and the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a garden weed here that is great for vases.
It is an overcast, cool and breezy Saturday in South Florida. The raptors (Hawks, Eagles or Turkey Vultures) are flying lazy circles over my garden. I can’t tell which one unless they slow down. The Eagles are usually solitary, but the Vultures and Hawks will fly with friends. There were two overhead this morning. They are difficult to catch with the camera and the quality of the image reflects that, but it also captures the mood of the day here.
I am finally seeing some flower action in the garden. My first Zinnia bloomed this week. Surprisingly pink. Cactus Zinnias are my favorite.
Cherry tomatoes started flowering this week. I think this must be the Lost Marbles variety, which is new to me and seems to be the first to flower in both groups of tomatoes. I am a lazy labeler, waiting for the fruits to tell what kind of tomato they are. Hopefully it will set fruit. It has been cool enough for tomatoes not to set fruit this week.
Two out of three of the Mango trees sent up buds this week. They look promising, although I have found with these trees looks can be deceiving. Last year, a bit earlier, the trees started to flower and as soon the flowers were open it became very windy and only one fruit was produced from all those flowers. Mangoes are wind pollinated and if it is too windy all the pollen gets blown away and there is little fruit. God is in the details, as always. Below is a Condo Mango “Pickering”. This is a type of Mango selected to be grown on the porch of a Condo and kept under six feet tall in a container. The fruit is yummy, I am hoping for a good harvest this year.
This is a Glenn Mango, a bigger tree topping out at 30 feet. Another tasty one. And I have had two whole fruits! We bought this in honor of my late Father in Law, Glenn, who would have loved the fruit. The flowers do look very different. My third Mango tree is a Nam Doc Mai, a Thai variety known for flowering up to four times a year. This one is not flowering at all!
Another far away bird picture, but typical of my garden. I looked out the window and thought “who put a white pillowcase in the front yard?” Then realized it was a White Heron. These are spectacular birds, about four feet tall, they pass through fairly regularly eating insects and grubs. Fiona the greyhound does not know what to think of them as they are taller than she is.
That completes my Six from South Florida this Saturday. To visit more gardens via SOS follow the link http://gardenruminations.uk.com and say hello to our host, Jim.
I was perusing my front porch recently, noting I have managed to collect a large number of succulents, and decided the array of colors and textures would be fun to put together in a Monday vase. I have a gardening friend who loves succulents and we are bad influences on each other when we visit our favorite local nursery; Pinders https://pindersnursery.com/ to shop the amazing selection of succulents.
The succulents are in need of trim, and while I certainly don’t need anymore I will always take more! I just have to figure out where to put them. These cuttings will be spread around the garden..somewhere. I think I will try a few more in the ground, if the so called soil in my garden is anything – it is very well drained and will hopefully support these plants.
Time for close-ups:
The grey rosettes are Graptosedum; that is all I know. Orange flowers are from the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), which seems to flower quarterly on its own schedule. Yellow green foliage is from a Senecio that flowers with yellow daisies followed by dandelion like seedheads.
The herbs in the arrangement are in the back – Blue Lagoon Rosemary, flowers are deep blue and it lends a wonderful flavor to anything it is added to, even Fiona the greyhound appreciates it in her food. The arrangement has a nice herbal scent I will enjoy passing by.
I am joining the SOS gang this morning with Six items of interest from my garden; focusing on the unusual for January and things I am looking forward to seeing again. Or for the first time. To see more SOS posts visit Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk
January can be a wonderful gardening month in South Florida. Like everywhere in the world, we have our trials. This year it has been cold weather. I believe it is possible to grow Zinnias year round here, but haven’t worked out the seed planting schedule. Above is my first bud, on an ‘Envy’ Zinnia.
Ranunculus sprouting. I have never lived anywhere these would grow. Somewhere I read they can be grown as cut flowers in the winter here – then I ran across a really cheap bag of bulbs at an end of summer sale. Then the bulbs sat in my living room for months along with an end of season bag of Dahlias. Then I forgot about them. Upon discovering the extraordinarily desiccated bulbs; I debated throwing them away or just throwing them in a pot. Two out of three of the Dahlias had turned to dust. The bulbs were thrown into a pot and watered – a lot. And here they are. I am hoping to see some Ranunculus flowers. The Dahlia that hadn’t turned to dust remains incognito.
Alcanterea odorata Bromeliad grown from grass pups. These are big (3 feet across), very showy, grey bromeliads that are grown in full sun. A friend sent me five grass pups a couple of years ago. Four were lost to squirrels and this one took and is just starting to show grey coloration.
Florida Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divericata) in January? This is strange, even in South Florida. This is usually a deciduous, winter dormant Gardenia that blooms all summer.
Dragonfruit cactus is finally making its presence known. This has been in the garden for years. Probably 7. I planted a lot of fruit in 2016. These tend to grow up for a while and then horizontal like this to produce fruit. I would be happy to see a flower. And happier to eat a Pitaya.
More cruel Zinnias teasing me. These are Apricot Profusion. Very happy in the heat and very unhappy in the cold. I am hoping to plant these out next week and coax them into happiness.
South Florida is experiencing another cold spell. I have been covering summer (ha!) vegetables and flowers at night due to temperatures hovering in the high 30s (F). One more night of cold seems to be on tap, followed by a warm up. The more tropical plants are sulking and browning, leafy plants like Heliconias look particularly unhappy.
Some of the native plants are looking, well, fresh as a daisy. I don’t recall the Beach Daisies (in yellow) ever looking so good in January. They usually flower madly during the summer, get moldy, and are asked to leave the garden (by the wheelbarrow load) due to their scraggly appearance. The new year seems to be presenting new gardening challenges. I will cover my plants one more night and hope for some zinnias in the coming weeks. There are buds!
The cast of characters:
Daisies first! In yellow, Beach Daisies (Helianthus debilis); in white, Bidens alba, sometimes called Spanish Needles; blue spikes, Mystic Spires Salvia; white and coral spikes, another happy native, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); finer textured white spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata).
Fluffy flowers and needle like foliage are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). The vase was left to me by my mother, made by the Ute Indians in the Southwestern US.
The happy Beach Daisies and Tropical Red Salvia in the garden:
It’s another cool Saturday morning in South Florida. A bit windy and the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees F (4 C). I finally got the nerve to go out and check on my tomatoes and pepper plants, left uncovered overnight. They look shivery. A few of the less cold tolerant plants were invited indoors last night. I have found basil and zinnia seedlings do not enjoy being too cool. I am joining Jim and the SOS gang to share what cool exotics are currently in color in my garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.gardenruminations.uk.co.
The flower of the Candy Portea Bromeliad. This is a medium sized Bromeliad with very sharp foliage that reliably flowers every winter in nearly full shade. I think it started showing color in late November.
Another Bromeliad – McWilliamsii Neoregelia, also called Blushing Bromeliad. These show red coloration during the winter and have green mottled foliage during warm weather. They are 2 – 3 feet wide and are quite showy. Below is the flower, reminiscent of a rosebud.
The China Hat (Holmskioldia sanguinea) continues to flower. I like the coloration going towards chartreuse as the flower ages.
Another winter stalwart, the Quesnelia testudo Bromeliad. I have heard native Floridians call these the tulips of South Florida. I think these are a bit burned from the holiday cold weather. They are usually more purple at the tips.
Number Six today is a flowering tree. This is a White Geiger flower. Cordia boissieri is a medium sized evergreen tree with an odd branching habit that I have been puzzling over how to prune for quite a while. Tropical trees have weird twisting habits and need to be sorted. This one remains an unsorted blob. Sigh.
It may seem odd, but I think some plants are smarter than others. Is botanical wisdom gained because they are native and used to the vagaries of weather, or something more Darwinian? Currently, the most sage plants in my garden are really a Sage. The Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Less than two weeks after the coldest weather in a decade, they were fully greened up and flowering madly. I had to cut some.
Tropical Red Salvia or Sage flowers in four colors in my garden. The brilliant red ones are the most prolific currently and the tallest plant of the bunch. I cut a handful and looked for some companionable colors to cool down the palette. Whites, corals and even a little sage seemed to fit the bill for a warming January vase.
A closer look:
Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in red and white spikes; Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) is the other white spike; Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) in sage tipped coral flowers; chartreuse and reddish flowers are from China Hat shrub (Holmskioldia sanguinea); yellow striped foliage is Martin Bromeliad (Neoregelia martin); grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum frutescens)
The white flowers in the center are from the White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). I thought this tree wouldn’t like the cold weather, but it seems fine; it has a few yellow leaves and started flowering. The fern trailing over the side is an Asparagus Fern, an invasive weed that tends to pop up under shrubs. I cut these and use them in vases occasionally. They are surprisingly sharp, woe is the gardener who tries to strip the leaves off the stem for a vase.
The garden is bouncing back from the extreme cold. (I know y’all are laughing, not even freezing here, except me, I was freezing) I am finding blackened edges on a lot of shrub foliage and the trees I have that are at their northern limits are showing signs of unhappiness. I have to tap into my gardening wisdom and wait and see what happens. Not feeling particularly sage here yet.
A brilliant blue sky awaited this morning as I trundled out to view my seedlings. Despite a cold setback in December, things are coming along nicely at long last. A few successes and a few losses greeted the gardener. Situation – back to whatever passes for normal in South Florida.
Meet my only surviving rooted cutting of Mystic Blue Salvia. I am very proud and happy to have one more. I started with two plants, one passed on last year and the other has been flowering nearly non-stop since March 2021. I took six cuttings and only one took. I would love to know why?
I moved the Zinnia seedlings to a bigger pot to allow them to grow cut flowers. During all the jostling around plants with the freeze all the tags were lost, so I have to wait for the flowers to see what colors are left. About half of the Zinnias succumbed to the cold, dying at the base of the stem.
All the Dwarf “Sunspot” Sunflower seedlings made it through the cold. I covered them with a pillow case for two days. I am not sure what the other seedlings are though I am suspecting weeds.
This is a new variety of big red bell pepper, I have a couple of plants that are doing well. Last year I had heirloom South American peppers, designed for the heat. They were a bit weird, so this year I am trying the classic bell pepper. Hopefully, getting enough water on them.
Tomatoes, finally back in the garden. These are all cherry tomatoes. Lost Marbles, Sweet 100 and Yellow Pear, I think. Started from seed about a month ago. I have downsized to six plants this year. Last year I had nine and was overrun with tomatoes for a long time. The containers are all grow bags, reused from last year. The bamboo sticks are squirrel abatement. I have an idiot neighbor who feeds the squirrels peanuts – this gives them a maniacal urge to dig up any nearby container with nice soil and plants. This guy is obviously not a gardener and set to poison the universe in the name of lawn. Sigh.
The massive (bahahaha) culinary Ginger harvest. I watered this plant all summer and got two roots. The cost of the water probably exceeded the value of the Ginger at the supermarket. Unless these are phenomenally delicious, I won’t bother again.
I am issuing a hearty welcome to 2023 by ringing in the New Year with a vase on Monday. A bit of a poem by Tennyson, written in 1850, celebrating the church bells ringing at midnight.
Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow; The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.
This is a high concept floral creation. The pen holding up the bell is for writing New Year’s resolutions. It has not been used – yet! The silver bell is for ringing in (and out). The flowers are fireworks and the shells are grounding it all. Design school rearing its ugly head again.
A closer view:
The pen is a freebie I picked up at a lecture about controlled burns in the nearby state park. It is from the Florida Forestry Service and looks like a stick. The bell is one of many collected by my husband. It is an annual silver bell engraved with the year. After about 30 years you really don’t need any more bells. The grey plant in the background is an Air Plant; known around here as Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata). These can grow almost anywhere and are sometimes seen on power lines. This one is flowering and I think it looks like fireworks.
The red fireworks are actually buds from ‘Maui Red’ Ixora. The Ixora is a shrub that is very intolerant of cold – being a perverse plant it has started flowering after being exposed to the coldest temperatures it has ever experienced last week. Shells are from our local beach and the moss and the vase are from recent floral gifts from friends.
I did not post last week as, for the first time in my blogging history, it was too cold to go outside. Most of Florida experienced the coldest Christmas in 30 years. On the Treasure Coast we had temperatures in the mid 30s (close to 0 C) with a cold north wind coming off the Atlantic. Ordinarily our average low is 40 F (4.4 C).
Above is a Mammey Croton, these are notoriously cold sensitive and true to form, it is dropping leaves. Advice on this is to leave it alone and they will grow back with warmer weather. It had not occurred to me to cover it. The orchids I thought about covering, but didn’t are fine as is another Croton. This one may get a bit more wind.
Below is Miss Alice Bougainvillea, burned by the cold, and currently ‘snowing’ white bracts. This is already coming back nicely.
I am fortunate to have gotten off to a late start on planting seeds. Earlier in December, I planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, sunflowers, papayas, Chinese forget me nots and a few types of zinnias. The plants were just getting big enough to pot up when the cold hit. They spent a few days in the bathtub of our guest bathroom. I was surprised to see some cold damage on the zinnia seedlings and grew some pink slime mold on the surface of the potting mix. This pink stuff had me scratching my head for a bit, did I lose a Pepto Bismol tablet somehow? An internet search revealed the pink slime mold, I have only seen the dog vomit version of this in shades of yellow.
The seedlings. I have Lost Marbles, Black Cherry and Sweet 100 tomatoes and two red bell pepper plants. I gave up on big tomatoes a few years ago and usually have bumper crops of cherry tomatoes. Lost Marbles is a good name for this past year! I am letting these recover a bit before potting them up, hoping for Valentine’s tomatoes.
More seedlings. The zinnias seem to be recovering, though I lost several. I think a cast iron bathtub on the north wall might be colder that I thought it would be. The three seedlings in the second row are papayas grown from two Mexican Papayas we ate this fall. (I have been making Papaya Coconut cupcakes). It takes about a year to get fruit from a seedling if you get a hermaphrodite plant (with self pollinating flowers) Time will tell on these papaya seedlings; they can be male, female or hermaphrodite.
An unusual sight, but not around here. I took my dog to the vet (a neighbor’s Rottweiler bit her! she is doing well). Near the vet’s office is the former estate of Frances Langford, a movie star from fifty years ago. She kept a flock of peacocks and their descendants are still around today. There were about twenty of them, hens and peacocks. Not a great picture, but I always enjoy seeing them. Fiona the greyhound was puzzled.
That is my six from warmer South Florida. It is 84 F (28 C) today and I am grateful for the warmth. To see more posts, visit our host, Jim at gardenruminations.co.uk