In a Vase on Monday – Two Yards of Flowers

Last week I commented that one of the flowers in the arrangement was three feet long. This was a Blanchetiana Bromeliad. I decided to cut a whole flower to use in a vase. The flower turned out to be closer to six feet long. Two yards or nearly two meters. I cut about four feet including the stem and realized the flower was too heavy to put in a vase, so I used some ‘florets’ – kind of like broccoli. The florets are the orange and yellow arching accents in the vase. Here is the entire flower:

Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana) are a common sight in South Florida. It is a big plant, six feet tall with orange foliage and they spread very well, probably too well. I was astonished the first time I saw one, thinking of bromeliads as small houseplants. There are some with flowers up to 10 feet!

The rest of the vase:

Florets of Blanchetiana Bromeliads; varigated foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum varigatum).

White flowers are ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea; tropical green foliage is Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum). The big crystal vase is a wedding gift from a dear friend. I rarely use this vase as it requires a lot of flowers – maybe two yards.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting my weekly favorite, IAVOM. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Fall Food for Thought

I am joining the SOS crowd today seeking signs of fall in my garden. South Florida is not noted for obvious seasonal changes – however, there are autumnal signs if you look hard enough. To see more posts about fall, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

There are trees and shrubs that produce fruit in the fall. The hungry migrating birds are just starting to show up as the fruit matures. This is the fruit of the Gumbo Limbo tree (Bursera simaruba). It ripens to red and then bronze. Then there are a zillion seedlings.

I was surprised the first time it happened. The Pleomele (Dracaena reflexa) flowered, and then it produced fruit. There is a bird that bangs on the window after it eats the fruit for some reason. I have never seen Dracaena seedlings although it is easy to grow from cuttings.

Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa) occurs naturally in my garden. I have read that you can roast and use the seeds for a coffee like beverage, but it is not recommended or caffeinated and related to medicinal plants that can make you sick. Best left to the birds.

I spied a Mockingbird enjoying the Beautyberries (Calliocarpa americana) at long last. He or she did not hang around for a photo session. Mockingbirds are winter visitors here.

Martin Bromeliads (Neoregelia ‘Martin’) starting to show their fall colors. They are yellow and green in summer and change to deep red by winter.

For a final tropical touch, my ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea is showing off for fall. Who knows why?

That is all from South Florida.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Perspective

Fall rode into South Florida on the coattails of Hurricane Ian last week. While Ian left an unprecedented swath of destruction through the peninsula, my garden was unaffected by the storm for the most part. Leaves, branches and palm fronds were strewn around by the winds and a few plants are taking a more southerly direction bent by the higher wind gusts. Otherwise, all is well. The temperature change is a welcome relief from summer as is the lower humidity. Clear blue skies and daytime highs in the low 80s are the reason hordes flock to South Florida in winter.

I went in search of fall colors in the garden. Real fall color is difficult to find here, fruit bearing shrubs and trees are about it. Beautyberry and Goldenrain tree are my fall color change plants. The flowers in my vase are a different perspective on fall color than most gardens north of here.

The flowers:

The orange flowers are from Aechmea rubens, a long lasting bromeliad; variegated foliage is from ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana). The vase is a thrift store find.

The orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); yellow lobster claws are pieces of Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana) flowers – the actual flowers are 3 or 4 feet long.

To see more vases, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Fall Ya’ll.

In a Vase on Monday – Bougie Berries

Bougie Berries? What the flower? The leafy (or should I say bracty) white flowers in this vase are from ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea. The true flowers are at the center in white and the showy parts are bracts, like Poinsettias. Floridian landscapers refer to Bougainvilleas as ‘Bougies’. I was unable to resist cutting a few branches of the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) to join the Bougies.

The Bougies and Berries were cut quickly and the rest of the vase followed suit. After a very dry summer, we are experiencing an epic onslaught of humidity. My sliding glass door fogged over with moisture this morning highlighting the numerous greyhound noseprints in sweaty relief. I beat a quick retreat back into air conditioned space. Fortunately, the tropics remain quiet for this time of year and we are finally getting some rain.

The true flowers of the Bougainvillea are visible here. White daisies are Bidens alba, a local thug and lover of humidity. Yellow spikes are bits of Aechmea blanchetiana bromeliad flowers. The greenery is Boston Fern (Nepholepsis exaltata) and a juvenile Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal) frond.

Super drought tolerant Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in peach tones complete this vase. I am hoping to read about some autumnal weather on other blogs this Monday as we are sorely lacking even remote coolness. Visit our fabulous hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see other vases..

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Torch Parfait

More tropical madness from my garden. I know the peak of hurricane season is upon us when I see the Flaming Torch Bromeliads in bloom. September 10 is peak day. The Five Day Tropical Outlook looks good for now, so life is good. The parfait glass is a perfect container for the heavy flowers. I inherited this glass from my mother-in-law, who collected Colony pattern Fostoria glass. This is a juice or parfait glass, my husband’s fond memory of these glasses is they were filled with butterscotch pudding.

A closer view:

There is a good reason to call this Flaming Torch. It is also called Hurricane Bromeliad, due to its flowering time. These are not quite open and elongate a bit as they open. The latin name is Billbergia pyramidalis.

The support staff of the Torch…I decided to accent the purple tones in the flower with ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera foliage and a sprig of Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), added for fragrance.

I mentioned hearing the return of the Sand Hill Cranes for winter (I use that term loosely) a couple of vases ago. Here is a photo of the birds, they were walking through a neighboring yard. They are probably three feet tall.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Raindrop Close ups

I am joining the SOS crowd this morning, celebrating a very recent rain shower in my garden. The weather guessers predicted a much wetter September (usually our rainiest month). On this third day of the month, they are right.

I have been attempting to watch the Artemis 1 rocket launch this week; depending on weather the launches are visible from my backyard. If we see them my husband is usually squealing “this is so cool!!!!” This is NASA’s run up to another manned trip to the moon in a couple of years. The first attempt was scrubbed on Tuesday and the second is scheduled for this afternoon. Currently it is overcast, so time will tell. If the weather clears and the launch happens I may see a rocket fly by this afternoon.

On to plants:

Esperanza (Tecoma stans). Sometimes called Yellow Elder. This plant amazes me. It had virtually no water and a very dry summer and it just keeps going.

The base of Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascarensis). Another survivor with very little watering. I love the base of these. This is a member of the Strelitzia family related to Bird of Paradise.

Aechmea rubens in the final stages of flowering. I have never heard a common name for this. This bromeliad started flowering at the end of May, lasting all summer. I am wondering if the black tips are seeds?

These bromeliads are just starting to flower. They are Billbergia pyramidalis and have many common names – Flaming Torch, Hurricane, Foolproof Plant, Summer Torch. They are foolproof if planted in the right spot. I enjoy these every fall.

A mystery bromeliad in full bloom. This has lasted most of the summer.

Dancing Ladies Ginger (Globba winitii). My garden is too dry to support these, so I grow them in a pot. The plant is dormant during the dry season, then pops up mid June and flowers late summer. A neighbor gave me this plant. I think I will upsize the pot to see the plant will spread.

That’s it from South Florida. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

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.