In a Vase on Monday – Going Gingerly

Since the Shell Ginger started flowering I have been thinking about a kind of graphic vase, with a linear feel reflecting the leaves and shape of the flowers. The other idea floating around in my head, it should look like a bridal bouquet.. Stretching my imagination, I visualise a bride picking this up and walking down the aisle. She would have to be tall, thin and have a really good grip. Maybe there is engaged American basketball player out there somewhere..who loves pink and ginger….Thinking I forgot the trailing ribbons. Or the basketballs. My husband commented it looks like flames…

A closer view:

The vase…a vintage Dansk candleholder from the seventies, its mate lost to the sands of time. The flowers, in pink, Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the white flowers, from my White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). The green foliage is from the Shell Ginger.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this Monday. To see more vases from around the world, visit Cathy.

Happy (almost) Spring and Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday- Dinner Plans

The produce in my garden is coming along and I am starting to think about eating it. This is meaningful. I have tried to grow salad greens for a couple of years. The rabbits ate the ones in the ground immediately, so I tried them in pots, too much shade. I put up a rabbit fence, something tore it down in the middle of the night, the jury is still out on what varmint to blame that on – whatever it is, they are big enough to knock over 7 gallon containers!

The arugula is the current focus of my fancy. I bought a planter on 24″ legs and placed it in full sun and voila, arugula – enough to make a favorite dish. Homemade pasta with corn and arugula. Fresh corn is usually available in South Florida in the winter, however, this January was so cold the corn was stunted and has finally become available. Here is the pasta:

The mangoes are forming fruit. They are pea-sized now and I should have a lot of fruit in a couple of months. This is a Pickering Mango.

It’s future destination – a Mango Pie. This is a Mango Papaya pie. It has lime and coconut in it. I also like Mango pie with blackberries.

I have been watching these Yellow Pear tomatoes for months. Planted in November, from seed in August. I have had a few tomatoes – they are really setting some fruit now that the weather warmed. It has been in the high 70s (F) for the past week or so.

The plans for these? Tomato jam with fresh herbs for my Tuscan bread experiment from yesterday. I spent a summer in Italy in college and you just can’t get this bread in the U.S. It is made without sugar or salt and I wasn’t convinced the recipe would work. It did, one bite and I was back in the Convent having breakfast with nuns nearby. (It was a Studies Abroad program housed in a Convent, I wasn’t a nun)

That is my Six for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. I will be in the garden dreaming up dinner.

Happy Gardening..

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.