In a Vase on Monday – Celebrate Summer

I decided to celebrate summer with a colorful vase after the garden served up a batch of bright colors this week. I think the garden is celebrating a few soaking rains. The difference between hand watering and rain always surprises me – it seems all the plants enjoyed it from the fruit trees to the succulents. The mango trees are covered with fruit, I managed to give them their summer feeding before the rains started and now they are putting out new foliage. The mangoes are beautiful, but still hard as rocks. More gardening patience required. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers are back in action. I added them to two vases this week, this one and a birthday vase for my neighbor.

A closer view:

The vase is a crystal rose bowl that belonged to my mother. Gracing the rose bowl front and center are the BEG Sunflowers in yellow; salmon flowers with green tips are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); blue flowers are Black and Bloom Salvia.

The back of the vase has two colors of foliage from Pie Crust Croton, a mad tropical shrub about five feet tall currently. The yellow and green foliage is new growth and the darker is the mature foliage. The shrub resembles a psychedelic Aucuba. White flowers are from the stalwart Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea, the white version)

Thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. For a summer garden tour from other bloggers visit

Happy Gardening!


Six on Saturday – Early Summer

Memorial Day usually kicks off the summer season in the US. Memorial Day is next Monday, as usual Florida starts summer early. It has been pleasant here, mid 80s (F) daytime highs and thunderstorms breaking up our usual dry May weather and giving the garden a few good soakings.

For a global view of gardens in early summer, late spring everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, follow the link and see more SOS posts.

The mangoes continue to mock me, almost ripe. We have eaten one. I shared a bowl of mango salsa with my husband, served as a side dish with roasted steelhead trout. It was delicious. These will be picked when the blush is covering most of the fruit. Several friends have advised they pick them when the squirrels start eating them.

Another out of season bromeliad. This one, Quesnelia testudo, usually (and did) bloom in February. Last week the September broms were flowering. I don’t know what to think about this.

Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers have given me a lot of flowers this year. They seem to be gearing up for summer with another flush.

Another sure sign of summer. The Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is on the move and flowering. This is a low native groundcover pushed as a lawn alternative. Unfortunately it is not evergreen and looks dreadful for several months, now it looks great and is running amok in the garden.

With the rain this week the Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) has burst into flower. I have two varieties, this is the old fashioned pale blue.

This is a newer variety of Plumbago. I am not sure of its name, or if it has one. This one is more reminiscent of hydrangeas to me. I am too far south to have much success with hydrangeas, so this is a good alternative.

That is all from the heat zone this Saturday.


Six on Saturday – Prelude to Summer

I am joining Jim and the gang yet again for a Saturday garden update. South Florida is slowly working its way to summer and some plants are a little early this year. This makes me worry a bit about what the weather gods are planning for the rainy season. For a world tour of gardens on Saturday, follow this link to Jim’s blog. htpp://

Torch Bromeliad (Billbergia pyramidalis) blooming very early. These are sometimes called Hurricane Lilies as they usually flower at the peak of hurricane season, the first week of September.

Mangoes are mostly a summer fruit. These are Nam Doc Mai, Thai dessert mangoes. I bought the tree in 2016 because it can produce up to four crops a year and is coconut flavored with no fiber. This is the most fruit I have had and it has always been this time of year. They are almost ready, turning a solid apricot color when ripe.

This is a Red Jaboticaba. A tropical fruit from Brazil. This one is a shrub, reported to grow five feet tall. These are usually trees that take forever to produce fruit. Interesting fruit. The flowers are borne on the trunk and the fruit is like a Muscadine grape on the trunk. The tree looks like the trunk is covered in swirls of purple grapes. Tasty. It took a long time for this to establish, four or five years. Maybe some fruit, someday. The Red Jaboticaba is supposed to set fruit earlier than the trees. There is some cold damage I need to prune out.

The Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) blooming its heart out. This smells wonderful and is bouncing back from a severe prune.

Tree spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) flowering for the first time this year. This is a subsistence vegetable for tropical climates, growing without supplemental water and providing nutrition to those who know how to cook it. Poisonous to those who don’t. I don’t eat the stuff and planted this for its flowers – they provide a nectar source for many tropical butterflies.

Frightened frog hiding from Fiona. I walked out with Fiona the greyhound the other night and found this native tree frog sitting on an ottoman on the porch. Fiona started barking and the startled frog hopped under a pillow.

That is all from SoFla. Happy Spring to everyone further north.

In a Vase on Monday – Mystic Flame and Fire

The title of this post sounds like a Harry Potter book with wizards and witches – but it is just a combination of the names of the plants in the vase. I admit to wondering where plant breeders come up with these names sometimes..oh, magic.

Only a little magic in the garden this week, though I am enjoying the late spring weather and some rain showers keeping the plants happy. I am (as usual) almost (key word) finished for the season, waiting for the heat to set in and gardening to slow down. I have less than 10 tomatoes left on my plants and the plants are lurching into decrepitude just in time to be tossed out. Almost all the spring flowers have burned out – a few dianthus left, the snapdragons are toast and ranunculus a distant memory. Oddly, my latest batch of zinnias is really sluggish, despite what seemingly should be good zinnia weather. This gardener needs a little zinnia magic.

The Mystic Flame and Fire:

The Mystic is Mystic Spires Salvia in blue, this one has been flowering since March 2021 and has given me one new plant (from six cuttings, one survived). The Flame is White Flame Salvia, the flowers are a lot smaller since the plants were put in the ground and look more like Salvia farinacea now – it is a cross between S. farinacea and longispicata. The Fire is the Firebush (Hamelia patens), an orange flowering native shrub that will flower until cold weather comes back, usually January. Asian Sword Ferns add some greenery.

The other white flower in the vase is from the White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). I like the crinkled flowers and so do the Sulphur butterflies.

That is all from slow simmering South Florida this Monday. Thank you to Cathy at for hosting this garden meme. Follow the link for a visit with more gardeners and vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Turkey Tangle Frogfruit

I am joining the SOS gang this week with my latest garden adventure. Weather in South Florida is transitioning from Not Summer into Summer, rain showers have started back up, the humidity is up and a platoon of mosquitoes showed up this morning to interrupt my walk. I slathered myself in mosquito spray and braved the onslaught long enough to pot up the Frogfruit cuttings. Hoping for the dragonfly crew to show up soon and dispatch the mosquitoes.

To see more SOS posts, visit Jim at

The Frogfruit:

These don’t look like much right now. I want to get rid of the St. Augustine lawn in my garden. It needs too much of everything, water, sun, fertilizer and I refuse to put weed killers – especially Atrazine on my lawn. Florida, as a state, has mostly ruined their local waterways with lawn chemicals and sewage. And people wonder what happened to all the sea grass that the Manatees eat, duh. Put enough grassy weed killers on the zillions of acres of turf grass on sand and it’s going into the watershed to kill other things, especially the animals that rely on sea grass. The Manatees rely on sea grass and are starving, so the state is feeding them Romaine lettuce. I am so disgusted with these people. So, in my garden the lawn is mostly gone. And really ugly.

Rant is complete.

Turkey Tangle Frog Fruit (Phyla nodiflora) is an evergreen, low growing native wildflower – or weed, depending on who you ask. It is recommended as a lawn replacement in places other than Florida (Texas and California). It is also a host and nectar plant for many butterflies. For some reason, it is extremely difficult to source. I ordered cuttings in January and they just showed up in my mailbox. Now I have potted the rooted cuttings after several days of rehydration. Fingers crossed they grow. Who knew it would be so hard to grow weeds, uh, wildflowers.

The “lawn” as it is. Ugly!

On to prettier things.

Three miniature pineapples and a lizard on a favorite bromeliad. The minature ones are more reliable about fruiting than the big ones, but you can’t really eat them. I have read they can be juiced, but how much juice could really be in there? I like to cut these and let them dry, they are fun additions to flower arrangements.

Another oddity, Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) The leaves look like marijuana, though the whole plant is very toxic.

A plant combination I like. On the left, the foliage, Golden Duranta (Duranta erecta); grey foliage with yellow ball flowers ‘Golf Beauty’ Craspedia; ‘Mystic Blue’ Salvia and the small yellow flowering plant is a native purslane, I am not sure which one.

Flowers on a Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia). The leaves on this begonia are easily 18 by 18 inches. It is a great coarse texture accent in the garden – considered a roadside weed in South America, where it inhabits ditches.

That is all from lawnless land in Florida. Thanks to Jim for hosting and..

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Red Lion Roars Again

The Red Lion Amaryllis in my garden is a long ago gift from my father in law, Glenn. He went through forcing bulbs every Christmas, saving them and planting them in the garden and then dividing them and after a while there was a pride of Red Lions. Glenn left us almost fifteen years ago and I still cherish this Amaryllis (he would never call it a Hippeastrum.) It refused to flower for several years, so I moved it to a sunnier spot and the Red Lion is roaring again. I was happy to bring it inside to enjoy in a Monday vase. I was even happier the lion was inside when a rollicking late afternoon thunderstorm roared through.

A closer view of the Lion:

Accompaniments to the Lion:

The white flowers are ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea; orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens). This is a restrained plant palette for me. The vase is my favorite piece of vintage Blue Willow, a teapot from the UK.

The thunderstorms lasted longer than I thought they would – leaving 7 and a half inches of rain behind in a little more than two hours! Lots of roaring here today.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM every week and hosting our Zoom meeting yesterday. Such fun to meet other garden bloggers. Follow this link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Delicate Dianthus

I have been enjoying the Giant Dianthus plants that I have been keeping on my front porch. I expected them to burn out as soon as the temperatures exceeded 80 degrees. They haven’t, surprising me with fringed flowers in shades of pink almost daily. The snapdragons are still hanging on as well. Laziness and distaste for throwing anything away that might possibly flower made me keep the snaps around. I was rewarded with a few more flowers, dwarf when compared to the earlier ones, but a nice accessory to the delicate dianthus flowers.

The vase belonged to my mother. It was her go-to container for pansies and a perfect size for the dianthus. I am wondering if this was once a jam jar, it has a very jammy vibe. This vase has some wonderful scents, basil flowers, dianthus and salvia; sweet, spicy and herbal. I am enjoying walking by.

The close up:

Giant Dianthus in pink; yellow snaps; a few sprigs of Genovese Basil flowers; ‘White Flame’ Salvia and ‘Golf Beauty’ Craspedia in yellow.

Pink snapdragons, a few sprigs of Tropical Red Salvia in white with Asian Sword Ferns and Asparagus Ferns for greenery.

This is a stuffed jam jar!

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this week (and every week) To see more vase follow this link to her blog.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – No Salad Here

This is a spring mix of flowers from my garden. Spring mix is a kind of packaged salad greens I am not particularly fond of. Too bitter, I think it is the tatsoi I don’t like, or it is my husband referring to it as yard clippings? Anyway, there is no salad here and one of the cast members in this arrangement is poisonous, so we won’t be eating any of it.

I am pleased to have grown this poisonous Ranunculus, with the innocent sounding common name Persian Buttercup. This one looks like a tiny red rose and there is one more bud outside. This was a total experiment. I am supposed to be too far south to grow these and bought the bulbs at an end of summer sale. The bulbs arrived fried and I put them aside and completely forgot about them until they were desiccated shells. An old pot with soil in it appeared in the back yard and I had a ‘hate to throw things away’ moment and dumped the shells into the pot. An odd rainy, cold snap arrived, chilled and rehydrated the bulbs. Serendipity intervened and this is the first of probably two Ranunculus my garden will ever produce.

The rest of the blue, ‘Black and Bloom’ Salvia; white spikes, ‘White Flame’ Salvia; pink and white fringed flowers, Giant Dianthus; a little Pink Snapdragon; green Envy and pink Zinnias; the red Ranunculus; yellow ‘Golf Beauty’ Craspedia, and a few bits of Asparagus Fern. The vase was a gift from my older brother.

Thanks to Cathy at for hosting this weekly garden meme. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Suntini

Sunday turned out to be a beautiful sunny and breezy day. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflower was covered in flowers again, so I decided to cut them. For some reason, the stems were really short. It seemed like a good idea to utilize the short stems by hanging them over the edge of a martini glass. A Suntini was created to celebrate an abundance of sunflowers on a sunny Sunday.

The crystal martini glass is from my mother’s formal crystal used for holidays. To my knowledge, there has never been a martini in the glass. My mother was a prissy Southern lady who insisted these were fruit compotes. Southern ladies of her generation can only admit to drinking under certain appropriate conditions. I have never been able to work out the appropriate conditions; what has always seemed odd to me is this generation came up with the strongest drinks possible. Another mystery to ponder.

There are two plants in this mocktail. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers in yellow and flowers and a going to seed flower from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia)

The swizzle stick is a stem from the Begonia with a sunflower at one end and a baby mango at the other.

Thank you to Cathy at for hosting this weekly meme. Follow the link to see more vases.

Cheers and Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Flowers

I am joining the SOS gang once again after checking out the flowers in my South Florida garden. The sun is shining and the weather is heating up again. I have been attentive to watering and fertilizing and have some new flowers to show.

The Chandelier plant (Medinilla cummingii) had a rough winter, not enjoying our unusually cold December weather. It has come back nicely and started flowering again. This plant usually flowers year round. This is the flower.

The fruit follows the flower and is just as ornamental. Eventually, the berries turn dark purple and become sticky. I am guessing in their native Philippines the birds eat them and distribute them in the tree tops. I smashed some of the berries onto some big branches in the trees in my garden last summer and nothing happened..

I am enjoying my recently planted Salvias tremendously. The sun was hitting the Black and Bloom Salvia as I walked outside this morning and I had to snap a photo.

Roman Red Salvia is also shining.

Our native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) sometimes appears in white. This amazingly hardy plant is happy with Blue Daze Evolvulus at its feet.

More blue and white flowers. White Flame and Mystic Blue Salvia.

Wishing everyone sunny days and warmer weather. Thanks to Jim at for hosting. Follow the link to see more gardens.

Happy Gardening!!