In A Vase on Monday – Resilience


Last Sunday we were already feeling the hot breath of Hurricane Irma. It seemed the earth was sweating, so much tropical moisture swirling in the air. Sunday and Monday were spent hunkered down indoors with two greyhounds and our cat. One of the dogs nervous, the other and the cat not so much. More about the hurricane later.

My vase, this Monday is filled with resilient plants from my garden. I had to search a bit to find likely candidates, winds burned or knocked many plants down. Amazingly the berries did not blow off the Beautyberry or the Firebush and I don’t believe the Parrotflowers even paused for Irma. Look closely at the Parrotflowers and note the tips of the flowers are burned black.


The red berries in front are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens), the purple berries from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) in red and yellow. Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers are beside the Beautyberry and Asian Sword Ferns in the back for some greenery. The ferns are missing a chunk (most of them are) but are amazingly alive and green.

Hurricane Irma:

Hurricanes are generally terrifying. I experienced my first last year, Matthew. A local told me Matthew was a good starter hurricane! One of the most agonizing parts of the experience is the endless news cycle of weather forecasts. At one point 130 mph winds were forecasted for my Living Room. Eventually Irma ended up on the other side of the state. We had sustained winds of 70 mph and gusts to 100 mph off and on for a day or so. And 10 inches of rain. Adding to the fun, Alan (the nervous greyhound) dislocated his toe before the storm. His leg was ensconced in a splint that was NOT TO GET WET.

Needless to say, even though I wrapped the splint in plastic to take him outside, he took off and punctured the splints raincoat with his toenails. During the hurricane. No help available. Fortunately, I have a Facebook friend who is a vet – who advised me to take off the splint. Alan was much happier and chilled out to rest. Toe is much improved.


The Garden:

The garden is surprisingly resilient. I don’t believe anything was lost to the wind – except all the leaves and foliage that was burned off. We are going to ask the Rainbow Eucalyptus to leave the garden. The top has blown out twice now and the tree just keeps getting taller and heavier.

Here is the side garden:20170915_091557

The back side of my neighbors ugly fence was completely covered with Shell Ginger, Lobsterclaw Heliconia, Bridal Bouquet Plumeria and a Mexican Bush Honeysuckle. By Friday, when I got around to pruning- all were coming back from the ground with new growth. I just cut off the dead and righted some of the Plumeria.

The hedge in back:


This is a Surinam Cherry hedge, it was fully covered in foliage. The wind blew the leaves off and there is not one in sight. I have been planning to do this exact thing to the hedge and Irma saved me having to haul all the clippings to the curb. I am still contemplating what to do with this and will probably do some additional pruning.

This is a Strangler Fig, the canopy was not quite fully foliaged, but pretty close:


Again, the wind blew nearly every leaf off and took them along. Saving me hours of raking and bagging! New growth is already on the tips of the branches.

Finally, the Papaya:20170917_113014

This is a Papaya tree I started from seed last year. It is about 3 feet tall and looked dreadful until this morning. It is beginning to shed its burned foliage and producing new leaves.

Resilience. The garden seems to be doing better than we are. Still exhausted. I am told the Hurricane Hangover lasts about a week. Next week should be better. But wait, Hurricane Maria is lurking in the Atlantic. I need a chant for human resilience.


28 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – Resilience

  1. Christina says:

    Firstly, a lovely vase to celebrate that the hurricane passed by without too many problems. It is amazing that the garden can be so resilient against such a strong wind. fingers crossed Maria passes you by!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you made it through. Yes, the weather reports are unnerving and we had over 150 tornado warnings, including some in our area. My cat did not enjoy being stuffed in her carrier and put in the powder room and she did not enjoy the evacuation trip either. It is hard on the animals and you can’t explain what is going on. I like your use of Firebush berries in the arrangement, so creative! Hoping Maria turns. I don’t think the islands are going to be so lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I lost track of the tornado warnings. I was talking to one of my clients today and he said ‘that was pretty bad considering how far away it was” which is true. I was surprised both dogs would even go out in that but they did. The islands are really getting it this year, some people are leaving their storm shutters up til NOvember!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy says:

    I too am relieved that Irma just waved at you from a distance but interested to read of the effects you still felt. I wonder where all the leaves you were saved bagging up have ended up…? I like the idea of resilience in vase – and creating such a vase is part of a wider resilience of course. Thanks for sharing the different aspects of your experience and good luck when Maria blows in!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Absolutely astounding how plants bounce back so quickly from such a severe ‘pruning.’ One can take inspiration from nature which never gives up. I’m glad you, your pets and home are all okay. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am glad you and your garden made it through Irma….and what a special vase with such an appropriate name.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cathy says:

    I can imagine it is nerve-wracking when the media get you so hyped up about it too. Glad your garden seemed to come through virtually unscathed. I wonder where all your fig leaves landed… someone is probably raking them up right now! LOL! Hope the doggie toe heals quickly. We had several years of toe/claw problems for our wolfhound so I know the problem with making bandages waterproof! Lovely vase, and the singed tips of the leaves are barely noticeable.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kris P says:

    I’m glad to hear you fared better than many others. I can’t imagine the anxiety of an event like that (or maybe I can if I think back on some of our larger earthquakes but I’ve put those out of my mind as I couldn’t go on living here if I didn’t). I very much hope that Maria leaves you and the rest of the Southeast alone. I also hope that Alan is soon 100%, although perhaps the toe problem keeps him from digging up your garden? Your parrotflowers never cease to amaze.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kris, I think the Keys and Islands got the worst of Irma. Hurricanes are probably similar to earthquakes as the last time there were a lot of was 04 and 05. The toe is slowing Alan down from digging – I am also reworking his area. Always a challenge. Thanks.


  8. Chloris says:

    I am so glad that you and your dogs, home and garden are safe. I hate wind at the best of times and I can’ t imagine what it must be like living through a storm like this. Plants are resilient and as you say thy will survive. How lovely that despite the hurricane you have produced such a lovely vase. The colours simply glow.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful vase and dedication to resilience.


  10. So glad you came through unscathed, and that all the raking and bagging has been dispensed with. Beautiful flowers, especially those little purple dots, and the incredible parrot flowers, which I can’t believe survived such strong winds and rain. We have a large abstract painting of a pink and yellow flower above our sofa, and when we saw your parrot flowers we realised that is what it is. I must send you a photo of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Amy: I’m so glad you are your loved ones are fine. Your bouquet is an apt metaphor for you and the garden. Sorry to hear about the damage, but you remind us that there is regrowth and recovery.That’s good to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

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