Six on Saturday – The Last Mango, Embarrassed

Time once again for Six on Saturday, six items of interest from your garden shared to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more.

Above is my last mango, perhaps a prune mango. Seasons are changing and South Floridians are gearing up for gardening. I picked my last two Nam Doc Mai mangoes this week – they looked a lot better than this one. It seems the squirrels managed to split the fruit open to eat the seed and ruined my mango.

Tomato seedlings just popping up. These are my favorite cherry tomatoes, Yellow Pear and Sweet 100.

Yesterday was the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, so it is downhill from here. Right on time are the Hurricane Bromeliads budding – Billbergia pyramidalis.

The Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) tree is finally getting established. We had a dry spell midsummer and I was not certain it was going to make it, all the foliage turned brown and the branches dried up, so I cut them back to the trunk and it is coming back. Fingers crossed for wafts of Chanel No. 5 scented flowers in the future.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) finally made it back after being consumed by rabbits twice. I resorted to bamboo tiger sticks around the vine as rabbit abatement. It has buds and I am awaiting my first flower.

Another summer survivor. I have been trying for years to grow Butterfly Weed for Monarch butterfly larval hosting. Finally, I have buds. I think these buds have been taunting me for two weeks. Bloom already! I saw a few Monarchs hovering around yesterday, so these may be gone soon. It is funny how things called weeds can be so difficult to grow.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Warm Fuzzies

My garden gives me warm and fuzzy feelings most days. I enjoy watching plants grow and flower. The humidity in the garden this weekend was really warm and produced a nearly visible fuzz in the air. I started pruning a Bougainvillea Sunday morning and soon was enveloped by a steaming column of moisture from the ground. I didn’t quite finish the Boug. The good news? I will feel much less warm and probably less fuzzy after the fall equinox !! A little more than two weeks away. Relief is in sight.

What makes this arrangment evoke warm and fuzzy emotional happiness?. I am not sure. The deep pink Chenille flowers are tactile and soft to the touch. The fragrance from the white flowers add soothing sweetness to the air. The chartreuse dreadlocks inspired the vase.

Not sure anyone has ever use the terms chartreuse and dreadlocks in the same sentence. Especially when referring to plant material and not hair.

Closer views:

The fuzzies; in deep pink, Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). I have these in pots, they are sold as groundcover in South Florida. Not so much, they die back in winter and take until nearly the next winter to flower and look decent. These are in a container on my front porch, I would not try using them as groundcover.

The container, there was nothing spilling over the side until June due to sheer laziness on my part. I was surprised and happy to see the Dwarf Chenille reappear:

I trimmed the big ones that were pink and used them in the vase – then realized the brown ones needed to come off as well. Watching to see the results of the pruning. The bigger plant is Mednillia cummingi. A funky orchid that has not flowered yet.

Another view:

The other side:

In white with yellow centers; Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); in white draping over the edge; Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata); chartreuse dreadlocks and varigated foliage are from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’) Ferns are a local weed, Asian Sword Ferns. The blue vase, a gift form my brother’s family years ago that I have enjoyed.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more Monday vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Frogs and Fun

Another Saturday is upon us. I am sharing six fun items from my garden this week. Here is the frog:

This is a Cuban Tree Frog, native to Cuba *duh. These are considered invasive in Florida as they can out reproduce our native tree frogs. I was surprised by how small this frog is – they are very loud.

A Dancing Lady Ginger gifted to me by a friend. This is potted in canal mud and compost. I wish I had some canal mud to plant it in. Where to plant it is a bit of a dilemma.

A Medenillia underplanted with Dwarf Chenille Plant. The Medenillia is an orchid that grows in trees in Java, another gift from a friend. Hoping for flowers, they look like pink grapes.

This Cattleya Orchid lives in a pot in the garden – its blooms the first week of September every year.

Another favorite of mine. I love the stems for the flowers and the color. This is a non native Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacianensis, I think) Indestructible and reliable.

So happy to be using my house made compost. It took a couple of years for this to break down into compost, I started with a shredded oak tree and added to it…This week it is time to plant tomato seed for winter vegetables.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Summer Whites

This is the last weekend of summer as next Monday is Labor Day in the US. Theorectically, the end of summer signals the end of wearing white clothing (if you are a proper Southern lady). Being a pseudo proper Southern lady, I decided to photograph the summer whites in the garden.

A ‘Bridal Bouquet’ Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are the most reliable flowering Plumeria, they are a nearly continuous show all summer. Very lightly fragrant, I notice the scent at night.

Another much more fragrant flower, the Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata). This is a bee and butterfly magnet planted near the back door for maximum enjoyment.

The flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli). Palm flowers fascinate me. This one makes a grape like hard fruit that turns red around the holidays. These are sometimes called Christmas Palms because the fruit looks like ornaments.

Another fragrant plant, the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata) This also flowers most of the summer.

Another white semi year round bloomer. This is the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri), there is a orange version of this tree that is native to Florida. I have been contemplating how to prune this tree, it has a really weird habit, branches growing over and over each other with no particular shape.

Last, but not least. A white flower on the Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). These are usually red, but pop up in many other colors. A fun plant to let reseed freely in the garden. It’s a Forrest Gump “Life is like a box of chocolates” plant – you never know what you are going to get.

If you are wondering about Covid in Florida, it is awful. I only go out for food and to walk. I am fortunate to have dogs and my garden. Our local hospital is 50% occupied with Covid patients, 90% of them unvaccinated and most in the ICU are unvaccinated. Elective surgeries have been cut by 90% because there is no one to care for the patients. Vaccines are free and readily available. I have been vaccinated since April and was very relieved to get the jab. A number of vaccinated friends have caught the Delta variant while masked in the grocery store. Fortunately, all have recovered.

The governor of Florida refuses to allow local governments and school boards to enact mask mandates. Local school boards revolted and began their own mask mandates, sued the governor and won. The university system (colleges) are being made to have classes in person (they were starting classes online and were stopped) I think Florida has 1 in 5 of the new Covid cases in the US. Yet, the tourists continue to pour in. I am baffled by the whole thing. The governor has also opened numerous Regeneron clinics around the state, for when you get exposed to the virus, I am further baffled by this….

That is my six with a bit of commentary this Saturday. Thanks to Jon at www. thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for hosting this week. Follow the link to see more Six on Saturday fun..

Nymphfest in a Teapot

I have been rooting coleus cuttings in a teapot and put them on my porch intending to pot them up for winter porch containers. As these things go they sat there for a couple of days and I remembered and set out to do the right thing (instead of forgetting entirely and find them rotting in a few more days)

As I poured the water out, I noticed black things wiggling inside the teapot. Too big for mosquitoes. What in the world? So, I stopped and took some pictures to enlarge and see what the heck was in there.

Not even wiggling worms – a nymph of some sort. I find these guys on the porch from time to time. They are big bugs, probably the size of my hand, beating their wings when touched – usually recalcitrant about going back outside and do not like to be moved. Somebody found a little water and laid some eggs in my teapot and now we have the most likely suspect as the creator of my nymphfest in the teapot:

There are 150 different Dragonflies in Florida, I am not sure what dragon or damselfly this is. As I was reading about them it seems they can be in the nymph stage for years. I am thinking about rehoming the ones in the teapot..

In a Vase on Monday – Linear

My husband jokes me about my lack of linear thinking. I am completely lateral. This week I decided to seek some linearity to complement the line of purple berries from the Beautyberry. I am convinced Florida Beautyberries are different than Beautyberries in other places. Every August I am amazed at the quantity and beauty (yes!) of the berries produced by this shrub.

The Beautyberry story:

I went to a local native plants nursery ‘going out of business’ sale shortly after moving to Florida. The Beautyberries were 3 for 10 dollars. Of course, I bought three. Thinking about putting them in a couple of different locations, not really knowing where to site them in the atrocious sand in my garden. Also not realizing the dramatic seasonal shift of the sun in my new home; I planted one on the due north side of my garage near the exit from our screen porch. Reasoning (lateral as usual) for this location: I thought it would stay shady enough for what was an understory shrub to me and this shrub is supposed to deter mosquitoes.

Much to my surprise, the sun got higher and higher in the sky as the year progressed. Full shade in January is full sun by May! Frying full sun. Not fun to dig things up in frying full sun, so it was left behind the garage. And then, the berries showed up. Impressive berries. I planted the other two in a much shadier, understory location – one passed on and the other bears about a tenth of the fruit of the one I seemingly planted in the wrong place. Another gardening riddle.

Oddly, mosquitoes were much worse in my garden in Atlanta – though we do have astonishing dragonfly (they eat mosquitoes) swarms periodically here and I do stuff Beautyberry leaves in my shoes if there are mosquitoes about (it works). I rarely see mosquitoes on the screen porch. Floridians make jam from the berries. I have not tried this as everyone who has ever mentioned it says it is pretty but tasteless.

The Shrub:

Perhaps the purple berries are a bit clashy with my peachy garage wall..still not digging it up.

A closer view:

The purple and green berries are Beautyberries (Calliocarpa americana); blue spike flowers are Mystic Spires Salvia; purple spike flowers and varigated leaf are from a Coleus ‘Homedepotensis’; the long chartreuse leaves are from Lemon Aechmea blanchetiana Bromeliad. The vase was a gift from my late older brother; it always makes me smile when I use it – and its linear.

As always, thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this meme. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – The Pits

This Saturday we are in the midst of the peak of hurricane season in South Florida. The cicadas are singing, the temperature and humidity are soaring, the plants are wilting and so am I. Oddly, the hurricanes are in New England and Mexico. Last weekend, Tropical Storm Fred dropped eight inches of rain at my house. The garden was happy for a while, but is thirsty once again. We are definitely in the pits.

The pit above is much more interesting and from the garden. I finally got one Nam Doc Mai mango from my tree. This is a Thai mango bred to eat for dessert, featuring a small pit, fiberless flesh and a coconut mango flavor. The pit is nearly as long as the mango (6 inches) and about 1/4 inch thick. Here is the mango with a cherry tomato. My husband and I ate most of it for dessert last night. Yummy.

Another interesting observation in my steamy jungle this week – the formation of new shoots on the Hard Cane Orchid I installed in my Gumbo Limbo tree this winter.

Another view:

The Orchid is putting out roots and hopefully will grow into the tree trunk and flower this winter. The sprays of flowers are supposed to be five feet long. Hopefully. I mounted the Orchid by tying it onto the tree with old pantyhose. There is a bit of Orchid soil mix in the hose that has supported the plant while it grows in. I was about to remove it when a swarm of large ants came bursting out..the hose are still in the tree, ants and all.

Another new shoot.

A new butterfly in my garden this week. This is a Mallow Scrub Hairstreak on a Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) flower. A tiny butterfly, maybe an inch wingspan. Picture taken while crossing my fingers. The Sweet Almond is very popular with bees and butterflies.

That is it from the pits. To see more SOS posts follow the link and visit Jon, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Striking

Heliconias are very striking plants. The fiery colors of the flowers inspired me to create this vase. The container is a antique French match holder. I envision lovely, fashionable people sitting in a cafe by the Seine in Paris using the ribbed surface to strike matches and light hand rolled cigarettes.

Do people still roll their own cigarettes? I have no clue. One whiff of smoke and I am history. Gone to find clean air.

The vase is designed to hold long wood matches. I added a bit of floral foam in the base. The foam would not hold the heavy Heliconias up so I wound some Bromeliad foliage around the inside of the neck to hold the flowers in place. Perhaps the first Bromeliad foliage shim ever…?

A closer view:

The orange “flames” are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum ‘Choconiana’); red “flames”, another Parrotflower (H. psittacorum ‘Lady Di’); red hot foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum ‘Piecrust’); white “smoke” (also supplying fragrance) Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata).

Hoping this is the last hot blast of summer. Happy Gardening!!

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases follow the link.

Six on Saturday – Ahead of Fred

Tropical Storm Fred is passing by the penisula of Florida this Saturday. Feeling the onslaught of tropical humidity in the air, I spent some time Friday planting a few things in the garden, checking on the edibles and pruning a bit to keep the inevitable gusty wind and rain at bay.

This is a Cuban or Catalina Avocado tree. The avocados are the size of footballs. A friend grew this from seed and brought the seedling to me in 2016. The tree is 12 – 14 feet tall and will hopefully bear fruit next year. To my knowledge, this is the only avocado that is true to seed (most are grafted). I pruned the Passionfruit vine out, it aggressively tries to climb the Avocado any chance it gets – the vine is on the left side of the tree.

The progress on the Papaya beheaded this spring. I am still not sure what will happen here. The trunk sealed itself and put out three new shoots – they don’t seem big enough to support the four pound Papayas.

Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) or Tree Spinach. This is a tropical vegetable common in Central America, the leaves are cooked like spinach. A friend gave me cuttings two years ago, it is about six feet tall. The flowers are highly attractive to butterflies. I haven’t eaten any of this – it is toxic unless cooked properly.

Another tropical edible, the Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). This is an edible Hibiscus, usually grown for the flower calyx that tastes like cranberries. The foliage can be eaten as well, new growth is like Arugula and the older leaves maybe be cooked as greens. These won’t flower for another month or so, but I should try the greens. I have eaten the new growth in salad (it’s good) but haven’t cooked any.

New to the garden, a Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum ‘ Choconiana’). These are short lived in my garden; they tend to spread wildly and then expire. I enjoy these cut, they are a long lasting tropical flower. And I will buy another one or two after a few years.

The Heliconias were planted beneath two Firebush (Hamelia patens) with a Martin Neoregelia Bromeliad and Alligator Lilies (Hymenocallis latifolia).

That’s it for this week. To see more of Six on Saturday from around the world, follow the link http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com and check it out.

Happy Gardening!! I’ve just noticed Tropical Storm Fred is being followed by Grace. Well, no need for irrigation!

In a Vase on Monday – Parrots in Flight

This is an accidental flower arrangement. I had a few Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) pop up in the front garden and cut them. One had an extremely short stem, so I decided to put them in this short vase – not realizing I could not get a frog in the vase to hold the stems upright. The Parrotflowers landed on edge. Eureka! they look like birds in flight and I went with the flow. I decided more red and yellow would pop the parrot colors.

For unknown reasons the Tropical Red Salvia are having a banner year. Possibly the advent of soaking afternoon thundershowers and their taking hold in the highly amended, recently abandoned vegetable bed. The flowers are bigger and more bountiful than ever before. Another gardening mystery to ponder.

A closer view:

The Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) are in red and yellow; adding to the flow, bell shaped red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis).

The red spikes are the fat and happy Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). I am always amazed at the ability of my garden to produce foliage in colors that match the flowers.This week’s foliage is from Copperleaf shrubs, oddly named, in my opinion, as they are available in many colors besides copper. The red leaves are from ‘Louisiana Red’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). The yellow and green leaves are called ‘Java White’.

Happy Gardening and THANKS to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases follow the link.