In A Vase on Monday – Tea Time

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Wintry weather has arrived in South Florida. Having had a warm and too dry winter thus far a bit of rain was welcome, my suspicion is the wind following the rain will blow the moisture out of everything. Myself included.

Seems like a really good time for a cup of tea. I brewed a cup of English Breakfast and got the antique teapot from Rington Limited Tea Merchants down to serve as my vase. It seemed there was not much blooming, after the rain stopped and the sky cleared I went out and looked. To my surprise, I shortly had assembled a vase with an unusual combination of plants.

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The pink balls are from the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi);  white flowers spilling over the edge are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); a few purple Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet) are peeking out about above the Begonias; the yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); the purples are Lilac Emperor Zinnias and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); the backdrop of burgundy leaves is Red Giant Mustard ( I don’t eat it, I use it in winter containers) other greenery is another form of Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden.

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We have added a new family member, meet Fiona the greyhound. She is going to be a garden hound, I think. She waits patiently by the gate while I putter around in the garden.

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In A Vase on Monday – Long Stemmed Salvia

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For reasons unknown to me, I have a bumper crop of Tropical Red Salvia. Usually a short and somewhat scruffy looking perennial (or reseeding annual, it seems perennial due to the constant supply of seedlings). The Tropical Red Salvia this winter is bearing long, lushly foliated stems with fat blossoms. The bees were not happy with me and my clippers again.

The Tropical Red Salvia also comes in peach, pink and neon orange. I rarely get a neon orange, but I do enjoy the softer colors and seedling variation. You have to wonder why it can’t be called simply Tropical Salvia as it is native to Florida, or, Florida Salvia?

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Another native added to the vase, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – These ferns graciously popped up in the nether regions between my driveway and my neighbors fence. I have been enjoying ferns in vases since it’s arrival. The red and orange zig zag shaped bits are flowers from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad; the sprays of blue/white flowers are from Dianella (some call it Blueberry Flax), the variegated leaves are also from Dianella. Grey fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolare) – a plant in a winter container that I just cut back. I was happy to learn the Licorice Plant will grow here. More plants to propagate. Or try.

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I am having the exact opposite experience with China Asters and will not ask them into the garden again. I love the flowers and am not sure if this is the second or third attempt. Here is a seedling- sowed in September! Had one flower about the size of a fingernail.

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Ironically, the seedlings coming up in the pot are Tropical Red Salvia.

Life in the Garden. Happy Monday.

The Mulchmeister

20190110_151300I could be the Mulchmeister, given the love/ hate relationship with mulch that I have nurtured for years. I love the appearance mulch gives the garden – a soothing blanket of hopefully brownish material, tucking all the plants in for good growth, saving water and helping keep weeds at bay.

Unfortunately, I hate to mulch. Below is the usual result of me buying 5 bags of bark mulch. After 3, I can’t deal with schlepping the bags around anymore and it stays in the garden so long the plastic bags are rendered rust colored from the iron in the well water. And the weeds! Arggh. Florida Jurassic weeds. Oddly, the bark is still fresh as a daisy inside the bag – making me wonder what is on the stuff and in the vegetables I grow?

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I am learning to love again with an old friend, pinestraw. Some call it pine needles, naturally shed by Pine trees! A good thing and more sustainable than chopping down and chopping up trees to use for mulch. It occurred to me to seek out pinestraw as I was working on a project in Atlanta, using pinestraw as mulch. For some reason, pinestraw is very uncommon in South Florida-even though it is harvested in North Florida.

I began the search and after a bit of asking around was gifted with 10 bags of QuickStraw, just in time for Christmas. Compressed and bagged for storage, I can move these around easily and am not ending up covered in mulch.

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I scraped the Jurassic weeds off, put down some brown woven (the key to long lasting fabric) weed control fabric and mulched with the QuickStraw.

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Ahhh, cozy plants, just waiting for everything to grow together.

In A Vase on Monday -Cheers to 2019

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My vases this first Monday of 2019 reflect my mood and the New Year. Celebratory. The Silver Goblet could be used to quaff the contents of the Champagne bottles. My girlfriends from college were here last week for a toast to 2019 – Champagne always seems to materialize with them. The bottles were saved for a toast from my garden.

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The Pinkballs (common name) are Dombeya wallichii, purple flowers are Zinnia “Lilac Emperor” and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); pink foliage is Alabama Sunset Coleus; off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); green foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Another view:

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Here’s a gardening toast to 2019, I found a lovely new seed source in the US (ordered seeds, of course! I was excited to find Lime Zinnia seed) Here is a link:

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Cheers to 2019!

 

In A Vase on Monday – Dombeya Jambalaya

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This could be a year end vocabulary lesson. Dombeyas are tropical flowering trees and shrubs native to India. Jambalaya is a rice dish, consisting of rice, meat, vegetables and spicy seasoning cooked in a big pot – originating in Louisiana, the American Deep South. It is a mixture of many ingredients, like my vase.

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Here is the Dombeya flower, borne on a long stem hanging below big, fuzzy leaves. The bees and pollinators love them, and were objecting to my taking a few. A friend came by yesterday and said ‘this would be cool if it was a small tree and you could stand below and look up at the flowers’. The good news, it will be a small tree. The bad news, I was told maybe 6 feet tall and placed it accordingly. There is likely some judicious pruning in my future, but I love tree form shrubs.20181230_110831

The view from above, in light pink, the Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii); purple flowers are Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’ (sounds like a dreadful disease, really a small orchid); purple foliage is from a Hallelujah Bromeliad ( a Billbergia variety with a, yes, red, white and blue flower-note to breeder, just because you can doesn’t mean you should). The green foliage is from Asparagus Fern that pops up here and there in my garden. The vase is a thrift store find.

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Another view.

Thanks to Cathy, at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/, for another great year of hosting In A Vase on Monday. Follow the link to see what gardeners from the world over have filled their vases with this week.

And thank you to all who take time to view and comment on my blog and weekly vase post.

Happy New Year and here’s to 52 vases in 2019. I didn’t quite make it this year and also made a resolution to blog more in 2018, didn’t quite make that happen either!

There’s always next year, and it starts tomorrow!

Happy New Year!!