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.

Six on Saturday – Odds and Ends

I had another Papaya for breakfast this morning. Several people commented about the size the Papaya tree attained in six years. Not sure everyone realized what a weird thing it is. It may be 20 feet tall, I am not sure. The tree in the background is a Thai Dessert Mango (Nam Doc Mai) it is about 10 feet tall.

I am told it is okay to chop the trunk of the Papaya off and it will grow another set of leaves and the fruit will be easier to reach. I am going to give this a try after the fruit is gone. The last crop of fruit was pulling the tree over with its weight.

The Mangoes are flowering and setting fruit. This is a Glenn Mango flower.

The fruit setting on the Glenn Mango.

The Bromeliads are making pups. November through March is the optimum time to move them around. This is a Little Harv Aechmea. It is so sharp I am moving them to a place where I won’t walk by and get stabbed.

My first Atala Butterfly sighting this year. These butterflies appear in January and June. He or she was scouting my Coontie Cycads, their favorite host plant. Still looking for the eggs.

Gardening experiment number bazillion. I find the tiny seed starting trays too fiddly and decided to cut water bottles in half for pots. This has worked well, making mini greenhouses. I have Calendula, Basil, Spinach and Cilantro in these. I can cut the bottles to get the seedlings out and then recycle.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Check out http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for more fun from other gardeners.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Go Big or Go Home

My husband went through a spell of getting tattoos, no idea what precipitated it, but he is known as “The Illustrated Man” and people tend to remember his artwork before they remember him. Anyway, the slogan from his favorite tattoo shop on Maui is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Here is his back, a tribute to the Disney movie, Fantasia.

I have taken the slogan to heart in the design of my tropical Rainforest Garden; big, coarse textured plants contrasted with ferns and smaller groundcovers, the colors almost reflect the rainbow. Yellow is missing. I plucked this vase there.

The big pink flowers are from the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – everything about this plant is big. The leaves average 9 by 9 inches, the plant itself is 12 by 12 feet after 3 years in the garden. The leaf in the middle is from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) this anchors a corner in the garden. Everyone who walks through gasps and says, “what is that?” At least 4 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide, it adds a Jurassic feel to the garden. The Ferns are Boston Ferns (yes, the famous porch fern) that grow huge in their native habitat and are easily three feet tall. I am pulling them out and throwing them away as they are out of hand.

The other side of the arrangement has “Java White” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Java White’). Another prolific grower, this turns green in shade, and is a bit of a trick to site properly…it may be moved further into the sun.

The container, a large crystal vase, a long ago wedding gift from a dear friend I treasure. The vase and the friend.

As always, thank you to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting this addictive meme. I am sorry I missed last week’s tribute to Dorris. I will miss her posts and images from her garden.

Six on Saturday – Papayas for Breakfast

It’s Papaya time in South Florida. I usually have two crops, the Summer crop inevitably is eaten by the dreadful Papaya Hornworms and I eat the winter crop. This is an unknown variety grown from seed from a fruit a neighbor gave me. I planted the seed in 2016, the tree is probably 18 feet tall now and I had to use a pole saw to pick the fruit. The first fruit I picked with a leaf rake, poking holes in the side. That one rotted before it ripened – another neighbor took it to plant seeds for tree. Interestingly, Papayas have three sexes, male, female and hermaphodite. You hope for a hermaphrodite tree as the others are not self pollinating. Named cultivars self pollinate, growing them from seed is a gamble. Another neighbor planted a male tree soon after I planted mine, so I am not sure what it is.

My first tomatoes are ripening, this is a San Marzano, I am looking forward to tasting it. Yellow Pears have been good.

The Leonitis are in bud, these are still a bit new to me and I enjoy them for winter color.

Pups on the Flapjack Kalanchoe. I cut these off and put them in pots to root.

Leaves of the Flapjack Kalanchoe:

A Blue Glitter Thistle seedling. I hope this will grow in my sandy garden. The native thistles like moist meadows.

That’s my Six this Saturday. For more posts from other gardens visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Healing Energy

The events of the past week have left me non-plussed. A vocabulary word provided by an old friend’s ninety year old father. Non-plussed from the dictionary “surprised and confused so much they are unsure how to react.” My husband and I sat in our living room, open mouthed, watching events unfold in the United States of America I would have never dreamed possible. I decided a vase reflecting the colors of another crystal with healing energy from my father’s collection was in order. The vase is a Fostoria crystal container that belonged to my mother in law. My husband refers to them as butterscotch pudding bowls. I have no idea what they are really for, but they make a good vase.

My father, the geology professor, has been gone since 2003. I have family rocks. I think this is a Flourite crystal. They are known for their multi colored hues. This one is purple and coke bottle green with some greys and whites. They are know for their healing energy, I think that energy should be tapped wherever we can find it. Energymuse.com says this about Flourite – “The perfect prescription for a case of existential burnout, the purple color in the Fluorite crystal help you discover your divine purpose in life. It opens and stimulates the third eye chakra, clearing the way for spiritual expansion and a deeper sense of inner peace.” Existential burnout! Yep, you’re looking at it. The instructions go on to say carry the crystal with you.

The flowers in this vase are – in purple, Lantana of unknown origin; in white, Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); green and pink flowers are buds of Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii); solid purple foliage is Purple Queen (Setcreasea pallida); varigated purple foliage is Transcandentia zebrina; green background foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Just for fun, I did another vase. I call this one the Pea shooter. The vase is a shot glass for tequila from my favorite niece’s wedding. The peas are the Bromeliad in the vase – this is an Aechmea Bromeliad, very weird flower that looked like canned peas to me. The curl is dried Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage and the greenery is the other Asparagus fern that pops up in my garden.

Anybody else need a shot of tequila?

Thanks always to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases (likely without tequila) visit the link….

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Spring into 2021

I dressed my vase in winter whites this Monday, adding a catapult of red dried Bromeliad foliage ribbon to sling purifying white crystal energy into this new year. The crystals are White Quartz; certainly collected in the field by my father, the geology professor. It seems White Quartz has the properties to purify negative energy and is recommended for spiritual healing. I am thinking of where to place these crystals for maximum effect. We have never needed the White Quartz more.

A closer view:

The white flowers and foliage are from Sweet Begonias, (Begonia odorata ‘alba’) a bulletproof perennial in my garden. These grow in sugar sand and near total shade, they are irrigated and flower off and on year round while lending coarse green texture to the garden. The Sweet Begonias amaze me, I would have wilted if left where they thrive. The red catapult is a remnant of my Christmas wreath. I wrapped the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and was left with some long dried curls – I thought they were kind of cool and saved them. The decorations would have lasted longer. Not wishing to tempt fate, I took everything down..is it only the American Deep South that thinks all decorations must be down before January 1st or bad luck will haunt you in the new year?? I am hoping for double good luck with the crystals!

Another view:

More winter whites from my garden. The spikes on the right hand side of the image are buds for the flower stalk of Snake Plant, Mother In Laws Tongue..etc. Sansevieria, if you want the Latin. The Snake Plant infests my garden, and it literally takes a bulldozer to get rid of it. The off white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a Florida native that just appeared one day. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, another lovely interloper.

Maybe I should put the White Quartz in the garden?

Happy Gardening and Happy New Year to all and Thank You to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting another year of In A Vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at the above link.

Six on Saturday – Promising Signs

Time for Six items of interest from my garden on this first Saturday of 2021. I am seeing signs of good things to come in my garden. First, the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) is flowering and has many buds.

A closer view of the flowers, they are 6 inches across and have a honey scent.

The native cycad of Florida, Coontie is producing cones, here is a female cone that has been pollinated – Coonties are pollinated by beetles. Wildlife eat the seeds and disperse them, I will be interested to see where they come up.

And the male cone:

The Papayas are ripening.

And I shall have tomatoes from the garden soon. This is a Yellow Pear tomato.

That is my six. To see more interesting items from gardens around the world visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy New Year and Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Year End Favorites

It’s the last Monday of 2020, and the final vase of the year. In celebration of the end of this year, I decided to use some of my favorites. The pink flowers are Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – I love French and Oakleaf Hydrangeas, but live too far south to grow either. So, I was more than pleased to find this giant “Hydrangea”; – 10 or 12 feet tall and wide. Dombeyas are not related to Hydrangeas; they are actually members of the Mallow family – I live at the northern end of their hardiness zone. The honey scented flowers are just opening and there were a few angry bees after I cut these.

A closer view:

The greenery is cut from a Passionfruit vine. I am not sure which Passionfruit (there are a surprising number of varieties), although it seems to be Possum Purple, the raccoons get almost every one of them – it should be called raccoon purple. The floaty grass is the finale of the Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) for the year, another favorite of mine. The vase, an antique, picked up years ago somewhere north of here.

Thank you to Cathy for 52 weeks of hosting IAVOM! May 2021 usher in health and happiness for everyone – and A Vase every Monday. To see more vases, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Solstice Solace

I decided not to do a vase after a rough weekend, emergency room visit at 2 am, etc. We had rain showers overnight, this Monday morning the sky is clear blue, sunshiny and warm. Some December mornings I really love South Florida.

I took a cup of coffee into my garden, met a lovely friendly cat (I put her outside the greyhound fence, though the dogs were fascinated) then noticed I should cut the Zinnias or they would stop flowering. A stroll through the tropical garden revealed the Tropical Hydrangeas had just started to flower.. a vase was calling and I answered.

Here is a closer view:

The pink flowers and green bud are Tropical Hydrangeas (Dombeya wallachii); Zinnias are Zinderella, grown from seed started in August; white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); a few bits of Asian Sword Fern in back. The vase is a well loved thrift store find.

I wrote an article about Tropical Hydrangeas for The American Gardener, published in November. Here is a link if you would like to read more about Dombeyas. People like to call them Pink Ball Trees, I prefer Dombeyas! https://lscpagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/display_article.php?id=3813727&view=683131

Thanks to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthgarden.com for hosting and Happy Holidays!! To see more vases visit Cathy’s blog..