In A Vase on Monday – Alpinia Joy


No, that is not Almond Joy or Alpine Joy, it is Alpinia Joy. Alpinia zerumbet to be exact. The Shell Ginger. One of my garage sale finds from a few years ago; the plant is well known for taking two years to flower and this one was true to form. I have been waiting and finally got a flower.


It takes about a week to fully bloom and bit by bit peeks out from under the foliage. There is a lovely ginger scent when the plant is cut, although a member of the Ginger family it is not a culinary ginger.

The rock that keeps appearing is a hunk of Fool’s Gold from my father’s (the geologist) collection of obscure mineral crystals. I was looking for some marbles to use in the vase to hold the stem, I have some lavendar ones somewhere. I knew where they were before we moved – so inspiration struck and I thought to use the Fool’s Gold vaguely remembering something bad happens to it in water. It is a Pyrite, iron sulfide, I think, and what happens is instantaneous rust when it gets wet. I suspect it would have killed the flower if I had left it in the water. I was also left with the dilemma of how to get the sharp bits that fell off  out of the stainless steel sink without scratching the sink. After everything was rinsed and clean, it dawned on me,  I really didn’t have an arrangement at all.

Back to the garden, fortunately spring brings some interesting flowers into bloom.


Contents of this vase are:

Soap Aloe flowers (Aloe saponaria), in the foreground; Parrots Flower (Heliconia psittacorum) and foliage; the orange foliage is from Blanchetiana Bromeliad (an Aechmea type)

The vases are both from a simple design phase I went through in the 80s. Less is more or less is a bore depending on how you look at it. The flowers are the focus if these vases are used.

Here are both vases and the Fool’s Gold:


Moral of this story, no iron minerals in your vases. Fool’s Gold is named for a good reason.

Rock on.


28 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – Alpinia Joy

  1. FlowerAlley says:

    I have never had a Heliconia. I fell in love when one appeared on the front of a Biology textbook years ago.


    • I love Heliconias, too. I have 3 kinds currently, the big Lobsterclaw absolutely refuses to bloom although grows foliage seven feet tall! I think the first time I encountered them was in a Thai restaurant arrangement in Atlanta.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Lovely flowers and arrangements. Less is more works for me.


  3. What a stunning flower to wait for…and in a vase, it is exquisite!


  4. Your Alpinia bloom much earlier than mine. They are beautiful flowers. Another great inspiration!


  5. George Rogers says:

    Such a comforting color arrangement…soothing for a harsh Monday. The fool’s gold looks pretty fine next to the vases too…


  6. Cathy says:

    Good to see your collection of unusual (to UK eyes) blooms – and the pyrites! The island where my Mum lives has large slate deposits in which the tiny cubes of pyrites are often found; here I have a love sphere of it (kept well away from waternot from the island!) which is very good for grounding. Rock on indeed!


  7. Cathy says:

    ‘lovely’ sphere, that should have said…


  8. Cathy says:

    Typos!! Missed the ‘and’ from the bit in brackets too! 🙂


  9. Kris P says:

    The shell ginger has a delicate beauty – I thought the flower was made of glass at first glance. You did a great job of finding companions for the aloe flowers too – I love the flowers on many of my aloes but usually find myself at a loss as to how to use them in a vase but that’s clearly not a problem you face.


    • A wonderful comment, the shell ginger does seem delicate, the flower is probably nine inches long! and does look like blown glass. Chihuly would love it. As far as friends for the Aloes go, who ever would have thought I would have an abundance of orange foliage in my garden? Crazy – did you see Absent Gardener’s Red Hot Pokers, I think Aloes would look great like that.


  10. Hannah says:

    The Alpinia does look like a shell, such a pretty clear pink. I love seeing your tropical (sub-tropical?) flowers that don’t grow up here in the far frozen north. I think the plain glass vases do show off the flowers more, especially big flowers. Rock on, I just got it! Funny, Amelia.


    • Rock on, Hannah! Sometimes the area from Vero Beach south is called Tropic Florida (I am in that area) I like that and consider the Gingers and Heliconias tropical flowers.


  11. Cathy says:

    I think the ginger plant flower was definitely worth the wait – beautiful!


  12. These plants seem so familiar, yet I’m not sure I know then from my Jamaican childhood – maybe something close? Lovely arrangements/vases, Amy. Rock on!

    Liked by 1 person

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