Six on Saturday – Summer

Saturday morning finds heat and humidity in Florida – the Saharan sand drifting over the Atlantic is keeping the rain away and not much gardening is going on, except decapitating seed heads on weeds and watering. I have realized it is a bad idea to try and establish plants after May. Another backwards seasonality here, rest in summer and garden in winter. I am joining SOS today with summer flowers and foliage. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Blanchetiana Bromeliads are shooting up flower stalks. Below is the yellow/chartreuse version – sometimes called Lemon. Aechmea blanchetiana “Lemon”.

I bought this Red Velvet Aerva (Aerva sanguinolenta) last year. It was touted as a tough plant from Africa that is drought tolerant and native to desert, sandy soils. Not quite believing this, I planted some in the sand and took a few cuttings in case this was not true. The plant in the sand is long gone, but the cuttings love being coddled in potting soil.

Another oops from research. Last year I wrote an article for The American Gardener about Bougainvillea. Research in many forms claim Bougs bloom in cycles and stop when day length exceeds 12 hours. This one has been blooming all summer during the longest days of the year. Another myth busted.

The culinary ginger is finally growing. These are heat lovers and make ginger root during the summer, the fresh ginger root is wonderful. I am looking forward to it in a couple of months.

The Purple Gem Dahlias are getting smaller and moldier day by day. I decided to leave the tubers in the pots and not water them after they go dormant to see what happens. I also bought some uber cheap tubers to refrigerate and try later. Research is planned to find what day length inspires Dahlias to flower.

A Queen butterfly on the Firebush. These are cousins of the now endangered Monarch. They are supposed to be year round here, but are relatively rare in my garden.

There, my Six for this summer Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Summer Broms

There was a lovely breeze coming off the ocean this morning; reminding me of the old Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze” as I was cutting flowers. The version rattling around my brain was “summer broms make me feel fine” instead of the summer breeze lyric. The Arabian Jasmine next door is in full bloom, the sweet scent swirling through the garden adding another line from the chorus of that song to my garden musings.

Here is a snippet of the song. Beware if you remember this song, it is kind of an earworm and is haunting me.

[Chorus]
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ though the jasmine in my mind

A closer view:

The summer broms that make me feel fine are Aechmea miniata in red; blue flowers are ‘Mystic Spires’ Salvia; the foliage is a weird thing that popped up in my Rainforest garden under the Strangler Fig. Google lens identified it as Hen and Chick Fern (Asplenium bulbiforum) – a native of moist forests in New Zealand. My garden is not close to a moist forest, so I am not sure that is correct, but it is an interesting ferny thing I left in place to watch. I found the red vase by the curb while walking my dog.

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

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Shrimp and Fruit

It is Saturday again. Time to peruse the garden for six items of interest. Today it occurred to me the Shrimp Plants look their best in summer heat and the plants set fruit earlier here than in my former garden. The beautyberries are already turning purple; further north this happens in late September or October.

It is hot here, 92F or 33C, but nothing like what Europe is experiencing and fortunately we have had a lovely breeze off the ocean and rain showers all week so the garden is hydrated. The weeds are taking control – I noted them as I walked through the garden taking pictures but failed to take any action. I should pull weeds…blogging about them instead.

The Shrimp:

This is a Red Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana), they grow in the sugar sand without irrigation or much of anything else. It crossed my mind I should propagate more of these, they are easily rooted in water.

The fruit:

The incredibly prolific Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). This one never fails to amaze me. It grows on a wall facing due north. Full shade in winter and full sun in summer. And thrives.

The very pretty but inedible Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundafolia). These must be the hardy rootstock other tastier varieties are crossed with or grafted to. These have two large seeds and are very bitter tasting. The raccoons and local wildlife love them and spread them far and wide.

Bromeliads love the mid summer heat and are showing off.

One of my garage sale finds – no clue what variety this is. The flower looks like it might be purple.

Aechmea rubens in full bloom. I have enjoyed these this summer and wonder how much longer they will last.

Aechmea blanchetiana in bud. These will flower and last for months. A little photo bomb by Johnson’s grass, my least favorite weed. It is still out there, waiting to produce a hundred thousand seeds while I recline in air conditioned comfort. I will decapitate it before the seed disperses. Hopefully.

My Six for Saturday. To see more, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and stay cool..

Six on Saturday – Ghosts of Future Plants

Summer is an interesting time in the tropical (subtropical, really) garden. It makes me appreciate how smart plants are. The really nasty weeds make seed at the start of the rainy season (June 1) and have a long period of time to start new plants with the advantage of rain. I have been gleefully decapitating the five (yes, five and year round) varieties of crabgrass that grow in Florida in hopes of keeping the crabgrass down.

There are some more attractive budding plants in the garden. This is a Labyrinth Dahlia I have high hopes for, although I am not certain if I planted it early enough. The tubers planted earlier have already flowered and burned out in the heat.

Bromeliads poised to climb the trunks of an Adonidia Palm. This is my first trunk climbing adventure with plants, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens. These are Jill Neoregelia Bromeliads, the red centered one is the oldest, and therefore the mother plant, soon to meet its demise. Women hate this aspect of Bromeliads, the mother always dies.

Another tree climber, the Schomburgkia Orchid, is growing and has new stems coming along. I was interested to read that this orchid is native to Mangrove trees growing on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. These are usually higher elevation orchids, it is unusual to see this type of orchid in Florida.

The bud of a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). A Lubber Grasshopper ate all of the foliage last week.

One of my favorite summer Bromeliads and a reliable July flower, the Aechmea Miniata. In full bloom these always remind me of Red Hots candies.

That is all from here this Saturday, I am luxuriating in air conditioned space today, looking forward to future flowers and hoping for rain. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Summer Reds

I have two vases today. It may sound like wines are the topic this Monday, but that is not the case. The only commonalities with wine are both vases are bottles and feature the color red. For the most part, I can do without red wine. Though I do like to make gravy with it.

I may finally be embracing the single Red Dahlias I got by mistake. These have a tendency to look down in the garden and seemingly I am required to lie on the ground to get a good look at the flowers. I like them much better in a vase.

The vase is an olive oil drizzling bottle given to me by my mother years ago. This is what she called them, she went through a roasted red pepper (drizzling olive oil is essential for this) phase and decided all the cooks in the family needed one of these bottles. They work great for their intended purpose but are difficult to clean after a while and I keep it around for decorative and now, vase purposes.

A close up:

The red daisies are a Dahlia of unknown name; orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); burgundy leafy foliage is ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera; burgundy strap like leaves are Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliads; white spike is Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance.

The Next Summer Red:

I did a similar vase a couple of weeks ago. The combination of the red bottle and the tropical Heliconias is irresistible to me. This week I added some Hibiscus to enhance the tropical vibe.

A closer view:

The red bottle was a dog walk find a neighbor left out as trash. The yellow and red flowers are Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata). These take their time opening, a week or two, then perversely don’t last very long in a vase. I’ll be watching to see if the one that is less open lasts longer. There are two varieties of Hibiscus here. The classic Hibiscus (the top two), a heirloom variety called ‘The President’. An ancient shrub, I think my neighbor’s grandmother planted decades ago. It sits on our property line and every now and then I cut a few. The lower one is a Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus arboreus) – not actually a Hibiscus, but a Mallow and family member. These grow wild in my garden. The foliage is from the Heliconia and was cut with the flowers and left in place.

Will my Summer Reds inspire me to make gravy? Hmmm, chicken thighs in red wine gravy are a favorite. With mashed potatoes and lima beans. A definite dinner possibility.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, follow the link to her blog.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Quandaries

I face many quandaries when gardening. Many involve recalling the name of the plant. I finally remembered the one above is an Aechmea aquilega bromeliad, then I looked it up online and found several photos and only one looked like this? And what are the black things on the tips of the flowers- seeds? Rarely I will get a new bromeliad from seeds, but it takes forever.

These are called grass pups, they are from an Alcantarea bromeliad, as far as I know the only genus that makes grass pups. After putting them in a pot together I read they hate this and should be separated – I am thinking not since they are just starting to do well. I am not sure which Alcantarea these are, either.

Another tropical dilemma. This is a Leafless Bird of Paradise, a very interesting plant. This one is perpetually plagued with scale. I am thinking of cutting all the foliage off and letting it start over. I did this with a nearby Coontie, similarly plagued and it is much improved.

The Coontie and my big toe. Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) is a cycad native to Florida. The very poisonous roots are a source of arrowroot flour and were nearly harvested to extinction. The scale is gone.

Several blog friends asked for an update on the decapitated Papaya tree. It produced a few weak flowers and then passed on. The trunk is nearly loose enough for me to pull out.

Here is the Papaya last June, probably a month after decapitation. This is a practice endorsed by Floridians, supposedly reinvigorating the plant to produce more fruit. It seemed like a bad idea at the time.

Another thing to wonder about. What is happening here? A two headed pineapple?

There! My Six Quandaries for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening. I’ll just be in the garden, wandering and wondering.

Six on Saturday – Morning Finds

It’s time for another Saturday morning walk around my garden. The heat and moisture lovers are lifting thier heads and showing their colors.

This is a Silver Urn Bromeliad, most people call these Fasciata, as the botanical name is Aechmea fasciata. I associate these with the Atrium trend from the eighties when these were commonly used as a long lasting color plant in interiorscapes. This one flowers and produces pups every other year in my garden.

Another tropical that enjoys humidity, the Choconiana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). I am wondering what Choconiana is??

A little less tropical but another seasonal indicator, the flowers on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) signal the start of summer. On the flip side, the lurid purple berries, borne around Labor Day, mark the end of summer..

The architectural buds on a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). I think these were inspired by a few rounds of thundershowers this week. The foliage bases have greened up as well. It is possible I fertilized them and forgot about it…

Another architectural plant, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), started flowering this week and will most likely continue until November. This is a semi evergreen, columnar variety of Frangipani. I have a number of these as they are great accent plants around fences and narrow spaces. They are lightly fragrant at night.

A little foliage to end this Saturday’s walk. This is Goudaea ospinae, no idea of the common name. It used to be called Vriesea ospinae gruberi. It’s a varigated Bromeliad and adds a lot of color to deep shade. This supposedly will flower with yellow spikes. I was wondering how much shade it would take, so it has been sitting in its pot in the shade garden for at least two years, another incredibly hardy Bromeliad.

There, my Six on this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Updates

Last Saturday, I posted some mysterious bud photos from my garden. This week, I have flowers to share and some updates to my front garden. The weekly six:

The Aechmea Bromeliad is opening. How much more it will open is anyone’s guess. The flowers tend to last for months on these Broms. It reminds me of a Bird of Paradise….

Here are the flowers on the Haworthia from last week. The stem is too long to take a picture of. Below is the origin of the stem.

I have been working towards a perennial border look in my front garden. This is uncommon in Florida and I have grown most of the flowers from seed as they are not grown or sold here. The area behind the rocks was the site of a former driveway and hard as a rock. The coral flowering shrubs refused to grow in this area (I don’t blame them) so they were asked to leave and have been replaced with flowers.

A closer view:

Plants in this area are: coral flowered shrubs, Dwarf Red Ixora (Ixora taiwanensis); chartreuse foliage, Gold Mound Duranta (Duranta repens); blue flowers, Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable); gold flowers, Mountain Mint (Tagetes lemmoni). The succulents in the above photo are Soap Aloes (Aloe saponaria and produce deep coral flowers about 4 times a year. I think this area needs a touch of white flowers…

A nearby bed:

The fallen leaves from yesterday afternoon’s mega thunderstorm (with hail!) are visible. The gardener will pick those up later..bamboo sticks are to keep rabbits away. The Mountain Mint in the above photo has such a weird scent that deer won’t touch it. I am wondering if that is enough to keep the rabbits away.

Plants in this area: in apricot, Apricot Profusion Zinnias; in blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; in white, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); in chartruese, Gold Mound Sedum (Sedum acre). I have a feeling the Sedum is losing its battle with South Florida..

That is all the news from my garden this Saturday. To see garden updates from around the world visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Fragrant Whites and Mysteries

It is Saturday again, time to check out what’s new in the garden. Six things! Rain has finally fallen on my garden, and with a bit of warmth some mysterious buds have shot up from some longtime residents that have never flowered.

These appeared this week. Buds on (I am guessing) an Aechmea Bromeliad. I bought it at a garage sale some years ago. At least five. Garage sale Bromeliads are about five bucks, named plants are easily ten times that at the nursery, so I have a lot of garage sale mysteries. Here’s the one that is opening.

Whatever it is, it will be an interesting flower. Stay tuned.

One of the Haworthias in my succulent collection sent up a flower. I did not realize they flowered. This should be another interesting flower.

The rain also brought out the fragrant white flowers; and hordes of mosquitoes. I am waiting for the dragonflies to save me.

This is a Frangipani (Plumeria spp) of unknown origin I bought at a Master Gardener’s sale. Finally gaining some height, it is about 7 feet tall. I love the clean graphics of these flowers and their fragrance.

The Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) started blooming in earnest this week. Their scent is most notable at night.

Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) spills its scent during the day near the back porch.

The garden is scentsational right now. I need a swarm of dragonflies to clean out the bad bugs. I’m expecting them anytime now….

My South Florida Six for this Saturday! To see more SOS, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com…

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Bossa Nova Wrap

I am still cutting Forget Me Nots and Nigella, and enjoying both plants and flowers. May tends to be hot and dry in South Florida, so I will continue to have blue vases as long as possible. This vase reminds me of one I would see from the UK in summer – the one ingredient that would be missing, the Bossa Nova Bromeliad leaf wrap.

Here is the Bossa Nova, a Neoregelia Bromeliad. These are grown primarily for foliage and this one lives in an unirrigated container by my mailbox with a few Bromeliad friends.

The rest of the vase.

Chartreuse and pink flowers are Zinnias, Envy and Pink Cactus. These are my second batch of seedlings, these are 6 or 8 weeks old. Blue and white Nigella were grown as winter annuals and for cutting. I have found they don’t last very long in a vase. The foliage and seedheads alone are worthwhile in a vase, flowers a short lived bonus.

There are a few stems of white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); some Asian Sword Ferns and the background is Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable) – these do last a long time in a vase.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting..follow the link to see vases from the UK and check out the differences! No Bossa Nova for sure.

Happy Gardening!!!