In a Vase on Monday – Hurricane Blues

It’s September in Florida. Eventually a hurricane is going to take aim at my garden. We spent the weekend watching weather models, called spaghetti models because the paths on the models look like cooked pasta. I am on the east coast of Florida and currently out of the area predicted to be affected by Hurricane Ian. Thus far, 35 mph winds are forecast here as the hurricane passes on the other side of the peninsula. The feeling is relief mixed with concern for my fellow Floridians and a certain trepidation that no one really knows what Ian will do.

Here is the current spaghetti:

Back to the flowers, this does look a bit like a spaghetti model with the linear stems of the flowers.

The purple berries are from Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis); white flowers are Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); and a few sprigs of Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) in pale pink.

Late season Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) grace the edge of the vase. The cobalt blue vase was a gift from my brother.The Gardenias and Sweet Almond flowers add a nice fragrance to my foyer.

Time will tell which piece of pasta was the path Ian takes. Until then, no garden cleanup will be attempted.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Salvia – ation

Salvias have been the salvation of a few intractable areas in my garden. The native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) has evolved into one of my favorite plants. It thrives in a mostly unirrigated area of my garden that is infested with soil borne nematodes. The nematodes have eaten the roots of virtually everything else I have tried there. I spent a great deal of time amending the soil and doubling the irrigation to grow vegetables – only to harvest about 3 tomatoes and watch the rest of the veg wither and die from the pests below. The salvias reseeded themselves into this space and are happily flowering away. I am glad something is enjoying all the soil amendments besides the nematodes. ‘Mystic Spires’ is the blue salvia in the arrangement, this one has been flowering in my garden since March 2021, the other one passed on this summer and this one is petering out, though I have no complaints about their performance. Surviving two Augusts in South Florida is an amazing achievement.

This is one of those dinner party vases. It looks great for a dinner party and fades a day or two later. I think the vase must have arrived with a floral arrangement at some point.

Closer views:

The salvias… Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) can be white, pink, salmon or neon orange. I have yet to see neon orange, but have all the other colors. Blue salvia is Mystic Spires.

The white flower is a vinca that reseeds from somewhere around my house. It has also done well in nematode land so I let it go. This is kind of a rangy plant, so I suspect it is a parent plant of all the cultivar vincas that got loose in Florida. I see these by the side of the road. Yellow flowers are from Thyrallis (Galpinia glauca) this is a shrub that used to be considered native but is now a foreigner. Sigh.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. Follow this link to see more vases: http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Natives and Friends

It is finally raining here, and in typical gardener fashion, I am going to complain – just a little too much. The weeds are going crazy and it is supposed to rain for the next several days. Fiona, the hurricane, not the greyhound. is supposed to meander by next week, undoubtedly bringing more rain. Fiona the greyhound is not terribly worried.

Back to plants and SOS. I am joining the SOS meme, hosted by Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. To see more posts, follow the link.

This is a native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cynathophora). These pop up here and there and do not reseed much, so I enjoy the little pop of red in the garden.

Native Dayflower (Commelina erecta). Another one that just pops up in the garden and behaves nicely.

Native Bidens alba. One of the many common names is Spanish Needles, which leaves me wondering if the Spanish explorers of the Florida peninsula used the seeds for sewing. Not sure how, they are sharp, but maybe a half inch long. The one I love to hate. Reseeds madly, but so cute and the pollinators love it.

Another great native for pollinators, the Beach Daisy (Helianthus debilis). I am not sure what that bug is. These go mad during a rainy summer and once you have them in the garden (I planted them) they never go away.

The fruits of a native Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) Something about this is supposed to have a spice fragrance. I have yet to find it and have had this in the garden for seven years or so. Birds like the berries.

A nice, and not native to Florida, Saturday morning surprise. This is an unnamed Cattleya orchid that regularly flowers in early September. I thought it wouldn’t flower because of the dry summer – but here it is after getting some rain and a little fertilizer.

That’s my Six for this Saturday….Happy Gardening!!!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Bougie Berries

Bougie Berries? What the flower? The leafy (or should I say bracty) white flowers in this vase are from ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea. The true flowers are at the center in white and the showy parts are bracts, like Poinsettias. Floridian landscapers refer to Bougainvilleas as ‘Bougies’. I was unable to resist cutting a few branches of the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) to join the Bougies.

The Bougies and Berries were cut quickly and the rest of the vase followed suit. After a very dry summer, we are experiencing an epic onslaught of humidity. My sliding glass door fogged over with moisture this morning highlighting the numerous greyhound noseprints in sweaty relief. I beat a quick retreat back into air conditioned space. Fortunately, the tropics remain quiet for this time of year and we are finally getting some rain.

The true flowers of the Bougainvillea are visible here. White daisies are Bidens alba, a local thug and lover of humidity. Yellow spikes are bits of Aechmea blanchetiana bromeliad flowers. The greenery is Boston Fern (Nepholepsis exaltata) and a juvenile Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal) frond.

Super drought tolerant Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in peach tones complete this vase. I am hoping to read about some autumnal weather on other blogs this Monday as we are sorely lacking even remote coolness. Visit our fabulous hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see other vases..

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Torch Parfait

More tropical madness from my garden. I know the peak of hurricane season is upon us when I see the Flaming Torch Bromeliads in bloom. September 10 is peak day. The Five Day Tropical Outlook looks good for now, so life is good. The parfait glass is a perfect container for the heavy flowers. I inherited this glass from my mother-in-law, who collected Colony pattern Fostoria glass. This is a juice or parfait glass, my husband’s fond memory of these glasses is they were filled with butterscotch pudding.

A closer view:

There is a good reason to call this Flaming Torch. It is also called Hurricane Bromeliad, due to its flowering time. These are not quite open and elongate a bit as they open. The latin name is Billbergia pyramidalis.

The support staff of the Torch…I decided to accent the purple tones in the flower with ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera foliage and a sprig of Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), added for fragrance.

I mentioned hearing the return of the Sand Hill Cranes for winter (I use that term loosely) a couple of vases ago. Here is a photo of the birds, they were walking through a neighboring yard. They are probably three feet tall.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Raindrop Close ups

I am joining the SOS crowd this morning, celebrating a very recent rain shower in my garden. The weather guessers predicted a much wetter September (usually our rainiest month). On this third day of the month, they are right.

I have been attempting to watch the Artemis 1 rocket launch this week; depending on weather the launches are visible from my backyard. If we see them my husband is usually squealing “this is so cool!!!!” This is NASA’s run up to another manned trip to the moon in a couple of years. The first attempt was scrubbed on Tuesday and the second is scheduled for this afternoon. Currently it is overcast, so time will tell. If the weather clears and the launch happens I may see a rocket fly by this afternoon.

On to plants:

Esperanza (Tecoma stans). Sometimes called Yellow Elder. This plant amazes me. It had virtually no water and a very dry summer and it just keeps going.

The base of Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascarensis). Another survivor with very little watering. I love the base of these. This is a member of the Strelitzia family related to Bird of Paradise.

Aechmea rubens in the final stages of flowering. I have never heard a common name for this. This bromeliad started flowering at the end of May, lasting all summer. I am wondering if the black tips are seeds?

These bromeliads are just starting to flower. They are Billbergia pyramidalis and have many common names – Flaming Torch, Hurricane, Foolproof Plant, Summer Torch. They are foolproof if planted in the right spot. I enjoy these every fall.

A mystery bromeliad in full bloom. This has lasted most of the summer.

Dancing Ladies Ginger (Globba winitii). My garden is too dry to support these, so I grow them in a pot. The plant is dormant during the dry season, then pops up mid June and flowers late summer. A neighbor gave me this plant. I think I will upsize the pot to see the plant will spread.

That’s it from South Florida. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Fall, please.

The end of August in South Florida is hot! Mix in a droughty summer, a few mosquitoes, some charbroiled plants, and yes, I am asking for fall. Please. I used to dread the end of summer, but now I embrace it as the best gardening weather is something to look forward to. I cut the summer stalwarts for this vase and selected the most autumnal tones in the garden. Feeling refreshed already. There are rain showers on the weather radar. Fingers crossed.

Posies in profile. The orange and red banana shaped flowers are Parrotflowers, in orange, Heliconia psittacorum “Chocociana”, in red H. psittacorum “Lady Di”; yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans); orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). Greenery is Asparagus ferns.

Another view.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Berry Good

Signs of the approaching seasonal shift are unmistakable in South Florida. I heard the first Sand Hill Crane returning for winter this week (these are large birds with a very distinctive call, they look like pterodactyls flying by and summer in Nebraska) Purple Beautyberries are another sign. It seems odd to me that the berries ripen in August here. In my former much further north garden I had to wait until November for about a quarter of the amount of berries produced in Florida. Another odd thing about the Florida berries, the birds don’t really eat that many and I am not sure why – fear of stalking greyhounds? Anyway, my conscience is clear about stealing bird food.

All of the plants in this vase are native to Florida. Two I planted and two appeared, spread by wildlife no doubt.

The peach spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), the flowers made peach by bees. I planted the red variety years ago and now have several colors. The white daisies are Bidens alba, not planted by me, and asked for the most part to leave the garden. These cute little flowers can produce 1200 seeds per plant and get out of hand quickly. The ferns, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) are native to Florida, not Boston and appeared in the edging of our shell driveway. I leave them alone and cut them sometimes for vases. The vase came from the florist filled with professionally grown flowers!

I planted the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) several years ago. I bought three and planted them in places with differing amounts of shade. To my surprise, the one with the most sun produces these huge sprays of berries. This time of year Floridians post their Beautyberry recipes on social media. They make jam, jelly and bread with the berries. Invariably, someone says these are so pretty but they don’t really have a flavor.

Here is a bread recipe and review. Evidently, Peggy wrote the recipe, though I am not sure who that is. I clipped it thinking I might give it a try, then read the review. Still considering it, but I think this is one of those things I would find in the freezer a few years from now and have to throw away.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting iAVOM. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening and I am berry much looking forward to fall!

Six on Saturday – Survivors

I am joining the SOS crew today sharing my summer survivors. This summer has been brutal, temperatures over 90 degrees F most days and very little rain. Add to that the demise of our irrigation system, I water what I can and am admiring what is surviving the onslaught. The tropical plants are outshining the native plants in the garden this summer.

Chocociana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). These small Heliconias are hunkered down under a Firebush and are doing quite well. Of course, I do have to squat down to see them.

Lady Di Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum) and native Tillandsia growing near the trunks of Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Spinach tree (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), a tropical subsistence vegetable I planted for the butterflies is doing remarkably well with no help from me. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies. The leaves may be cooked like spinach – if you know how to prepare it, otherwise it is poisonous. I leave it for the pollinators.

Chandelier Plant (Medenillia cummingii) is flowering again. Third or fourth time this year.

Schlomburgkia Orchid slipped out of its pantyhose noose. I reinstalled it with string. This orchid has put on four new canes this summer, but can’t quite get its roots in the trunk. I hope this works.

Several people have asked what the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) shrub looks like. This is it. It has dropped a lot of leaves in favor of the berries.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Hanging on with the orchids in the garden, waiting for fall. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – August Beauties

This vase accurately reflects what thrives in my South Florida garden with very little water or attention. August is the hottest month of the year, it is frequently 94 degrees in the shade (F or almost 35 C). Gardening is best abandoned for cooler days. There has also been a long dry spell here, we are 8 inches below normal on rainfall and some plants have burned up. My stalwart zinnias succumbed the first week of August, despite my best effort to hand water them, they are curled and crispy brownish tan. I left them to shade the lime green sedum in hopes of nursing it through August. The lush tropical border is a memory. The Dahlias dramatically folded their foliage up the stem and turned brown standing straight like soldiers praying to the rain gods. Bah.

Saturday night we had a refreshing rain shower and the white flowers in the vase, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani, smelled so lovely I had to cut some to bring inside. It seems the more tropical plants tolerate the dry heat a bit better than the Florida natives, which seems odd. Another gardening mystery to ponder.

Beauties in detail:

The lurid purple berries are from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); fragrant, white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani; orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans).

The balance:

The peach flower is a Choconiana Heliconia (H. psittacorum ‘Choconiana’) I have tried to find out what the heck is a Choconiana to no avail. Purple foliage is from ‘Purple Prince’ Alternantera – I should admit to watering this one and keeping it in a pot in the shade. There is one in the garden, surprisingly still alive, but much smaller.

I wish everyone gentle rain, but not too much, and cooler weather. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!