Six on Saturday – Tropical Fun

Summertime brings the rain and humidity – the more tropical plants love it and respond with fantastic flowers. Above is a Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) This is the primary floral scent in Chanel No. 5. I have a newly planted tree in my garden, this one is at a local nursery (Pinder’s Nursery, Palm City, Florida) I could not resist taking a picture to share.

A Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) growing out of the top of my coconut palm tiki. There is a large Strangler Fig in the garden. These trees are a bit like something from a Harry Potter movie. They start in the top of something, grow over and down to put their roots in the ground and slowly surpass the host plant. They are commonly seen growing in the boots of palm trees.

A Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera) seedling sprouted by a friend. I need to plant it about halfway down the coconut. Should have a tree in several years. Palms are surprisingly slow growing.

Blanchetiana Bromeliads are shooting up bloom spikes. These are about five feet tall and will get taller before opening. The flowers usually last until November or December; then I make Christmas wreaths with them. Above is the red variety. Below is the yellow, some call them Lemon – this is the first yellow one to flower, I am interested to see the difference.

The sixth:

Nam Doc Mai Mangoes getting bigger. A couple blew away in a thunderstorm, so I am hoping to eat this one someday.

Happy Gardening to all and thanks to Jon the Propagator for hosting SOS. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Favorite Summer Combos

Once again, I am joining the SOS crowd posting six interesting things from my garden. This Saturday, just past the Solstice and with the first hurricane forming in the Atlantic I am saluting my favorite Summer combos.

Mystic Spires Salvia and Dwarf Red Ixora, I love the contrast of colors. This bed also has white Pentas, yellow Callibrachoa, Blue Daze and chartruese Duranta.

Soap Aloe is flowering nearby.

In the butterfly garden, Gallardia and Tropical Red Salvia are flowering.

White Heirloom Pentas and Tropical Red Salvia in the butterfly garden.

In the rainforest garden, shades of red, burgundy and green shimmer in sunny spots.

Foliage contrasts in the rainforest garden, chartruese Quesnelia Bromeliad and Zebrina Wandering Jew groundcover, still pretty without flowers. The Quesnelias have pink flowers in winter.

Last, but not least, my favorite snack. Smoked Fish Dip – I am in the midst of making a batch as I blog..wine and fish dip later.

That makes seven..oh, well. To see proper SOS garden posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Tropical Treats

It is Saturday again and I am joining the SOS crowd sharing six items of interest from my garden. To see more posts from fellow SOS gardening bloggers, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

The weather in South Florida has turned tropical and the more tropical plants in my garden are responding. Fruits and flowers doing their thing enjoying the humidity and rain.

My Passiflora vine dropped the first fruit of the season this week. I am surprised I got the fruit before my fruit loving greyhound or the raccoons. The dog chased me into the kitchen once he got a whiff of ripe passionfruit.

I baked a blueberry passionfruit pie – a new flavor for us and we enjoyed it. I will bake with passionfruit again, though I could use some ideas?!

I couldn’t resist trying it before I took the pictures. Please note I am a rustic style baker and use vegan butter…

This is a Miniata Aechmea Bromeliad flower, they gain blue coloration as they age. Here is the bud:

Here is the bud of a Dean’s Pink Aechmea Bromeliad. The flower stalk seems to be growing and is about 2 feet tall. I have not seen this one flower. Peeking into the center the flower looks like a corn cob. The flower should be interesting. The bud is inside the middle where the foliage looks cut.

Finally, the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii). I am working to prune this into a tree form and contemplating how far to cut it back. I have another month to prune – after that pruning will cut the flowers off. This grew seven feet last year after I pruned it. It flowers in December and January with pink ball shaped flowers.

That’s my six for this Saturday. Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Goblet of Fire

It has been so rain free here the only flowers worth cutting are on the shrubs. My enormous Firebush is packed with bees and butterflies who were none too happy about me stealing their flowers. I chose the silver goblet before I realized I was making a Goblet of Fire. My husband and I are Harry Potter fans and coincidentally I have a family wand. Abracadabra!!!

The silver goblet is an heirloom from my mother, who loved to collect junk. Heirloom may be too strong a word. The goblet is more like something I found while cleaning out her house. I am not sure what became of my copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. It is probably around the house somewhere – though, Deathly Hallows looks better with the Firebush!

The Grant family wand. It had never occurred to me that we had a family wand, until today. Some years ago, my father, the geologist, was prospecting in the woods of North Georgia and ran across a water witch. Water witches direct people to the best locations to drill wells. She gave him this wand. Wands are also called divining rods. This particular witch used native Alder branches (Alders grow near streams) to divine where the water was most likely to be located underground. I am not sure how to operate the wand, though I tried when we dug a well at our house in South Florida, no luck from the wand. Perhaps it was too far from home or I am just a muggle.

A closer view:

There are two varieties of Firebush (the tubular flowers) in here..the red ones are the Florida native Hamelia patens var patens; the orange ones (I think) are from the Bahamas – Hamelia patens. People get into arguments about this, ugh. These arguments annoy me, love the plants. Beautiful, tough shrubs that bees and butterflies love. I don’t care where they originated. The yellow flowers are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca)..This one has several botanical names and is often sold as a native; though it is not. The grey accents are Adonidia Palm flowers. Background red and green foliage are tips from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (red) and Super Fireball Neoregelia (green).

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link for more vases.

Wishing everyone a magical gardening week..muggles or not.

In a Vase on Monday – Going to Seed

Some days it seems I am the one going to seed. Maybe people are like plants, some look better than others while going to seed.. The tropical Lotusleaf Begonias (Begonia nelumbifolia) are one of my favorites when going to seed. They make lovely triangular, chartreusy seed heads that tower above the foliage. I have never had a Begonia grow from a seed dropped in my garden, but it is entirely possible I have not left them on the plant long enough.

A closer view:

I started out with the idea of using a hand tied bouquet to make the Begonias stand upright – then the slant grew on me and I added foliage to emphasize the non-political right slant.

The crystal vase, a wedding gift from a dear friend who I worked on perennial gardens with in Atlanta. The left leaning plants in the arrangement are: in black with coral spotted leaves, Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum). This shrub is used as a foliage accent in the garden. The new growth is yellow and green and eventually darkens. An amazing variety of colors exist in this well loved tropical shrub. Maybe the left lean is appropriate. The ferns, added for a green, graphic backdrop are from Florida’s native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). The day after the US Presidential election, my right leaning neighbor came out with his weedeater and cut the ferns in my garden down. The reason for this remains a mystery to me. The trimming rejuvenated the Boston Fern. The two strap like leaves are from a Neoregelia Bromeliad that is also on its way out. I cannot tell in some cases when to cut the mother plant off and get rid of it. Bromeliads are peculiar in the way they reproduce. I buy a plant, it may or may not flower, sooner or later a side shoot appears, called a pup, and then the original (Mother) plant dies. The pup on this one is nearly as big as the mother plant. The Neoregelia Bromeliad:

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the front of the image is the mother plant, you guessed it, going to seed! I should add; very few Bromeliad have produced seed in my garden, though it happens. I am told growing Bromeliads from seed is a long, excruciating process – it’s better to use the pups for new plants.

Many thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and maintaining this wonderful meme. I enjoy the weekly posts from around the world. Follow the link to see more (probably upright) vases.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – In a Pickle

I thought “in a pickle” was American slang. The Dutch started it using “in de pekel zitten” to describe an uncomfortable situation, this translates to “sit in the pickle brine” Seems that would be a stinging experience. Easter Sunday morning found me in the garden thinking “there are no flowers to cut for a Monday vase” – I thought I was in a pickle..Not so much, this rarely proves true, though sometimes I have to look harder to come up with an arrangement. Oddly, there was an abandoned pickle jar in the garden near my Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliads. Being “in a pickle” passed through my mind until inspiration hit via the pickle jar. There are also some salsa jars out there I need to get rid of…

The pickle jar is wrapped with a leaf and tied with jute twine. I left the twine trailing given the casual feel of, well, a covered pickle jar. A closer view of the flowers.

The leaf wrapping the jar is from a Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliad. This is a mahogany and greenish red leaf plant with large (4 feet long) red and yellow flowers. The flowers start in November and are looking ragged now. They are as tall as I am when I cut them back to the ground.There are orange and lemon Blanchetiana with the appropriately colored foliage to go with the flowers. I have used the other colors to wrap vases.

The flowers:

In blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; I am enjoying these so much I am hoping they last the summer. The white daisies are Spanish Needles, an annoying native, botanical name, Bidens alba. Orange daisies are from Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenpodoides); orange tubular flowers from the native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Yellow daisies are Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) and a white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) is in the back. Two red and yellow native Gallardia round out the front of my pickle jar.

I am glad I did not find myself in the Dutch version of the pickle this Monday.

Happy Gardening, and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to see more spring fun in a vase..

Six on Saturday – Fruits and Treasure

I potted my mini stumpery this week, using my treasures found by the roadside. The pot is a lamp base I inherited from my parents. The stump found by the roadside has native Southern Needleleaf air plant (Tillandsia setacea) growing on it. These have purple flowers and turn reddish at some point. I added a purple Cattleya Orchid to the branch and underplanted it with Fishhooks Senecio.

My other find, the repurposed planter, had holes drilled in the bottom and was filled with Bromeliads, then placed in a dark corner of the garden. The silver one is a Aechmea fasciata; purples are Luca Neoregelias; the small green and red ones are Fireball Neoregelia. These should grow together and spill over the pot. The Aechmea has a pink flower.

My tomatoes are steadily bearing fruit. I have learned (the hard way) I have to pick them before they show too much color or the birds pick them for me. These are Yellow Pear and Riesenstrube tomatoes. I would grow both varieties again. The San Marzanos were a bit of a washout, though the soil is better when these are growing. I always have better luck with cherry tomatoes.

The mangoes are coming along. These are Glenn Mangoes, they are still dropping some of the smaller fruit. Hopefully the rest will grow to full size.

These are Nam Doc Mai, a Thai dessert mango. They are flatter and longer than the Glenn Mango and nearly fiberless. A coconut flavored Mango. Very good to eat.

The butterflies are at it again. I think these are the eggs of a Florida White Butterfly. Reviled by cabbage farmers, these beautiful white butterlies with purple markings host on members of the brassica family – this is Arugula, at the end of its season in my garden. Soon to be consumed by hungry caterpillars.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts of increasing variety from the world over visit Jon the Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – One Man’s Trash

Florida is sort of like a great big garage sale. Oftentimes, Bromeliads can be found for sale or on the side of the road. These were found at a garage sale. Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliads, I moved this clump recently and it is held up by some stray coconuts I found by the side of the road. Bromeliads root from the stem and take a while to reestablish.

I am not sure what this is, it is going to be a pot o’ Bromeliads in a dark corner of the garden where grass refuses to grow. Found by the side of the road.

Another cast off treasure, a branch of a Mango tree with native Tillandsia air plants growing on the bark. I am going to make a stumpery container and underplant this with a Fishhook Senecio.

The Fishhook Senecio, I admit to buying this one.

The Papaya tree was cut back this week, grown from seed of a neighbor’s tree. About 15 feet was cut off, supposedly these grow back and produce more reachable fruit. Time will tell.

A view of the cut top of the Papaya trunk. Somewhat like a giant tube.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts, visit Jon the Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Slant

It is safe to say my garden has a different slant from most. Located in what is called USDA Zone 10A in the northern part of South Florida, our average low is 40 degrees (F). I am on the northern edge of tropical, and enjoy growing plants that hail from further south. The arrangement is intentionally slanted; the idea provided by the growth of the pink flower, a Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad.

A closer view of Little Harv.

The rest of the vase:

The vase, found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, is an old florist vase from who knows where. The white begonias are from my huge Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); the other white flowers are from Miss Alice Bougainvillea; ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and there is a leaf from a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) on the right side that is not visible in the images.

My lunch also had a different slant today:

A Chicken, Swiss and Nasturtium flower sandwich on Foccacia. With Blue Corn Chips – the salsa didn’t make it into the picture. It was good! And very colorful.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting every Monday. Follow the link to see spring in a vase from around the world.

Six on Saturday – Succulents n’ Stuff

There was some plant shopping this week. I went with a friend to a local nursery. Pinder’s Nursery grows a large selection of succulents. My strawberry pot needed a little rejuvenation, so I bought a few 2 inch containers. The blue grays are Echeverias (I Think); grey is Graptosedum; brownish is a Haworthia. I am not sure what the green one is. Growing out of the side is a Flapjack Kalanchoe.

In the side yard, a Firesticks Pencil Cactus and Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) live in an unirrigated bed.

Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) tower above Flapjack Kalanchoes in a planter by the door. These are just leafing out and flowering after a cold snap in January slowed them down.

Tillandsia ionantha producing pups inside another Bromeliad, these are native to Central American and have hot pink and blue flowers. I bought a couple last year and thought they were gone – hopefully I see some flowers and they will create a colony.

Buds on a Billbergia Bromeliad – not sure which one, though I am thinking it is Purple Haze..

My tower of Nasturtiums and Tropical Red Salvia. I am enjoying the Nasturtiums immensely.

That is my Six this Saturday, to join in or see posts from the world over, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening..