In a Vase on Monday – Foraging for Flowers

Once in a while I give plant talks at a local nursery, one of the girls I work with there contacted me to say she enjoyed my Monday vases and had the idea for a talk about Foraging for Flowers in Your Garden. I love the idea and it truly reflects this weeks vase.

August can be unkind to to gardens in South Florida. We can have 3.5 inches of rain in a few hours, hurricanes or weeks long dry spells with temperatures in the high 90s (F) -37 Celsius. The garden can be baked, drowned and/or dessicated. The gardener as well. Last week I noted the much smaller size of the flowers from well, August. Foraging for my vase, I found some true stalwarts to cut.

The view from the side. The vase is a favorite and a thrift store find. Transcandentias are prominent in this vase. Solid purple foliage is Transcandentia pallida called Setcresea, from last weeks vase. Setcresea certainly sounds like a botanical name, but it is not. Go figure. My husband calls these secretions. The striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina; Inch Plant, Wandering Jew, etc. Really hard to kill if it gets a little shade and water, hard not to love this one in August. The pink flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); chartreuse flower is a fading Guzmania Bromeliad that begin life red. Grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum frutescens). Inevitably I fiddle with these as I take pictures. I think I like it better without the Barometer Bush???

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly meme. Follow the link to see more vases.

Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Gardenias..

Flaming Gardenias sounds like a polite curse from women of a certain age, myself included. No cursing here, except maybe about the heat or politics, but the garden is not involved.

The red flower in the arrangement is a Flaming Torch Bromeliad. These do their name justice and appear at the apex of the hurricane season – another common name is Hurricane Bromeliad. The latin name, Billbergia pyramidalis. Here it is in the garden.

The Gardenias are the tropical kind, sometimes called Florida Gardenias although they are native to India. Tabernaemontana diviracata is the latin. The shrub is at least 10 feet tall and the fragrance, subtle and mostly noticeable really late or really early in the morning. During the Five AM Greyhound romp, I am enjoying the scent of Gardenias, the dogs..Armadilloes or something. It’s a group effort.

A closer view:

The backdrop, I do love a little foliage with textural contrast. The big leaf is from a Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) and the ferny bits – Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden. The cobalt glass bowl, a gift from my brother, years ago. I love it with white flowers.

To see more vases from gardeners around the world, follow the link to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday Mini Pi

The title Mini Pi is due to:

The flower is Miniata Bromeliad.

There is a Mini Pineapple and a Pineapple Vase.

The foliage is Piecrust Croton.

I could have called this Many Pies..

A closer view:

The red flowers are from a stalwart of my July garden, the Miniata Bromeliad (Aechema miniata). The foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), there are numerous cultivars of Croton. I bought this one for my husband, the piemaker. Here is the foliage, the varigation is different on the front and backs of each leaf. The back is on the left, note the veins, and the front on the right. Leaf edges crimped like a pie crust.

The Pineapple vase is from Maui, my husband swears it is a palm tree. It could be either. The Pineapple is from my garden. Its demise occurred after ripening on the counter until its scent permeated the kitchen. Lunch today was a Roasted Salmon with Pineapple Salad.

The Pineapple was quite good and I am saving the top to grow some more..

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. To see more vases from around the world, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

img_20200712_105827

I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

img_20200712_105916

The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

img_20200712_105842

The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

Six on Saturday – Blue Blazes

It’s time for Six on Saturday, a post about six items of interest in the garden, anything at all, shared with gardeners around the world.

To view the collection visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200711084137844_cover

One of my father’s favorite summertime sayings “It is hot as blue blazes”. I have no idea where that came from. Maybe New England where he was from. I can confirm it is hot as blue blazes in South Florida in July, though there is a nice breeze coming off the ocean currently.

Above is one of my favorite summer flowers, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)

Another Heliconia is flowering in my garden, the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata)

img_20200704_094057-1

I have been harvesting fruit. My first pineapple, cute and ripening on the counter along with Purple Possum Passionfruit. Say that 10 times fast..

img_20200709_144514

The Bromeliads are doing their thing, some just looking great in summer colors and some flowers. This is an unknown Neoregelia.

mvimg_20200704_094034

The Blanchetiana Aechmea Bromeliads are shooting up buds, these are about five feet tall now and will get a little bigger and fully open in November. The flowers usually last until May.

img_20200711_084443

Another Aechmea Bromeliad, the Miniata. These are very reliable July bloomers, many Bromeliads have a mind of their own when deciding to flower – the Blanchetiana above took about six years to decide to bloom…the Miniata start out red and then get cobalt blue tips. Interesting to watch and they last a long time as cut flowers. The foliage is a bit scorched from two weeks without rain and some wind.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200704094012607_cover

That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

In a Vase on Monday – Shrimp and Greens

img_20200621_115429

I have learned to love Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) since taking up gardening in South Florida. My neighbor gave me a start of this several years ago and they just keep going – drought, rain, winter, summer – no problem and lots of flowers. The red flowers have been catching my eye since the onslaught of rain in June rejuvenated them.

I started with the Red Shrimp plants and just kept adding more and more foliage, then some Bromeliads and Frangipani and then some more foliage..lots of greens in this vase. The Shrimps ended up in a supporting role instead of starring in the vase. Here is a shrimpy close up.

00100lportrait_00100_burst20191013163634634_cover

Here is a close up of the arrangement:

img_20200621_115446

The big leaf in the back is from Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum); there are a few bits of Burgundy Aechmea Bromeliad leaves in the back and some Red Shrimp Plants. And Asparagus Fern and Asian Sword Fern that appeared gratis in the garden. I am trying to hustle the ferns out of the garden before they take over. The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); smaller white flowers Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); red varigated foliage is from Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). More Red Shrimp below the Frangipani and a Red Guzmania Bromeliad flower.

I  have also learned to love Key West Pink Shrimp since moving to South Florida. They are readily available here and I can make myself a very nice meal with about four dollars worth of shrimp. My husband has odd shellfish issues, so I am the sole consumer. Here is my edible version of Shrimp and Greens.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200611182549239_cover

Happy Gardening, I hope everyone finds something lovely to go with the greens in the garden. Shrimps or not.

To see more vases from gardens around the world visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Florida Foliage Fun

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094253016_cover

There is some marvelously funky foliage that can be grown in Florida. I have succumbed to more that one plant for its foliage alone. The flowers, for the most part, are less than inspiring. Above is a Mammey Croton (Codieaum varigegatum ‘Mammey’). These are dwarf and grow to about 3 feet. They are a foundation planting next to my peach painted house. It’s  tropical fun.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093420422_cover

The leaves of a Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Louisiana Red’) These are new to my garden, six feet is the mature height, I hope. They are at the back of the butterfly garden.

img_20200523_093506

This is a ‘Raggedy Ann’ Copperleaf, it wasn’t big enough as a mass of color and not being able to find another I put the Louisiana Red beside it. I think this will work out.

img_20200523_094113

Six on Saturday would not be complete without including a Bromeliad. This is a unnamed Neoregelia I enjoy for its  color and size, it is about 2 feet wide.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094200216_cover

Another Croton, the Piecrust Croton. Planted in honor of my husband, the piemaker. The leaf edges are crimped like a piecrust.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093332245_cover

The groundcover in my Rainforest garden is Zebrina Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) a common interior hanging basket plant. This is nearly indestructible and thrives in sugar sand.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts from the world over, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

img_20200503_105143

The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200503155553161_cover

I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

img_20200503_105208

The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200420143211172_cover

Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425091647781_cover

Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

img_20200425_091718

The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

img_20200425_103344

This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425092012453_cover

The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425103425818_cover

Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.