In A Vase on Monday – New Summer Favorites


I am embarking on my sixth year of gardening in South Florida. What a ride. As always, I am amazed by what will grow in infertile beach sand. My summer favorites have changed with my gardening location. I used to love Hydrangeas, Roses and Clematis. Now I am loving the contents of this vase and more…20180812_150621

The smorgasboard of plant material that grows in South Florida continues to boggle my mind. I love Bromeliads and there are 200,000 varieties! Mind boggling. My garden is on the northern end of tropical, so the trick of siting the plant and maintaining a proper environment has been a challenge.  Then, there’s always the native plants to consider.


So, my new favorites are a little bit of everything.

The white flower is a Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata) – not a true Gardenia, mine was rescued from the underbrush and is now recovering at 8 – 10 feet tall, I continue to prune the jungly interlopers.

The red flowers with blue tips are Miniata Bromeliads, Aechmea is the genus, I think – then again there are 200,000 others?!

The pink and red Salvia are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – a reseeding native perennial that never dies but doesn’t look very good unless it is raining.

The foliage. Well, Asian Sword Fern is hard to beat in an arrangement and the garden. Considered invasive, it would take a bulldozer to remove it from my garden. Finally, the striped foliage, the indestructible New Zealand Flax (Dianella) if only there was a dwarf variety…. It would be my new favorite.


20 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – New Summer Favorites

  1. I also had to adapt to new plants and a new way of gardening in semi-tropical Texas. Salvias seem to do well everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Houston would be a trial for me. Actually, Salvias and probably Oxalis are the only two plants I think everyone I know on WordPress can grow. Can you grow Oxalis?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Oxalis grow themselves. Some, the lavender flower kind grow like weeds. I have the purple leaf and white flower ones (don’t really know their names) and I will find them growing in the yard, but they are not as invasive. Salvia are my salvation 🙂 as they will grow anywhere and the critters don’t eat them. I need to count how many different kinds I have.


  2. Christina says:

    I thought I knew what to plant when I started my garden here, but it has been a steep learning curve. I always love your exotic vases.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy says:

    We are not used to quite such variable gardening conditions in the UK – there is a huge contrast between roses, clematis and hydrangeas and your new tropical favourites! The colours and textures somehow always seem to shout ‘tropical’ and it is good that they have quickly usurped your old favourites. That glossy fern is a brilliant foil for the scarlets and other slightly less bright colours – gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your vases are always a surprise and a learning experience for me. And the drama of those big leaves and flower spikes is lovely. I find it hard enough to cope with changing weather/conditions so I can’t imagine gardening in another climate.


  5. Noelle says:

    Always interesting to view your exotics….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kris P says:

    As water becomes more of an issue and summer temperatures continue to soar, I feel as though I’m constantly adapting my garden to new conditions. I’m getting more and more into bromeliads myself, even though our climate isn’t nearly as hospitable for them as yours. Flowers are relative rarities on my plants. Do you fertilize yours, or is it just all that lovely rain that makes them flush with flowers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, a lot of the Bromeliads are just foliage.Picking the variety that flowers is the key. I am finding a fair number of passalongs that flower. Rarely fertilize them, only fill the cups when it is very dry.


  7. Eliza Waters says:

    I love the drape and flow of your arrangement. Well done!
    Learning what works in the garden is on-going. While I try to site my plants optimally, I won’t fuss with a temperamental plant. I call it the Darwin School of Gardening– survival of the fittest! 😉 Looks like you’ve got some winners there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this vase and especially the glossy leaves and the flower of the Tropical Gardenia!


  9. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful. The red flowers with blue tips are so cool. I missed the blue tips at first.


  10. Peter Herpst says:

    It’s always amazing to me to see what you can grow in Florida! I love bromeliads but they’re snowbirds here, coming inside before the cold weather arrives. What a fun time of discovery you’re having. I remember how amazed I was at the variety of plants we could grow when I moved from zone 3 to zone 8.


  11. tonytomeo says:

    Dianella is New Zealand flax? We know Phormium tenax as New Zealand flax. There is a cultivar (of Phormium tenax) known as ‘Jack Sprat’ with grassy bronze foliage. It does not compare to dianella, but supposedly stays smaller. I find that it is like ‘Peter Pan’ agapanthus, in the sense that not all plants labeled as such are created equal. Some are quite small and grassy, but others are bigger than dianella.
    Anyway, your flowers rock like always, especially since there are a few that I can not grow here. Even the salvias that we can grow here are not like those.


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