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!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Herbal Essence

I keep vases in my entry foyer so I can enjoy the fresh flowers when I go in and out of the front door. Between dog walking, trips to the mailbox and gardening the vases are a frequent sight.

This Monday, my foyer is filled with herbal fragrance. I think the combination of scents (dill, sage and almond) would make a good dish or hand soap.

The crystal vase, a gift from my dearly departed brother, was chosen for its verticality (design gobbedlygook rearing its ugly head). The dill flowers are my new favorite, well, this week. Here is a closer view:

Chartreuse flowers are from ‘Long Island Mammoth’ Dill; white and pink spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); blue spikes are from Mystic Spires Salvia; a white sprig of Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) is visible below. The burgundy foliage is from ‘Purple Haze’ Billbergia Bromeliad.

I’ll make an announcement if I decide to go into the gardener’s hand soap business!

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for keeping my entry foyer filled with flowers. Follow the link to find more spring vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Spring Prospects

March is roaring like a lion this Saturday in my South Florida garden. We had a tremendous thunderstorm yesterday that arrived with a cold front. Very little rain has fallen in the past few weeks so the precipitation was a welcome relief and the dragonflies were hard at work as I was walking through the garden. So many things to look forward to this spring.

The bud has lengthened on the Hard Cane Dendrobium Orchid in the Gumbo Limbo tree. The bud is about three feet long currently. Very excited to see the flowers on this. Purple flowers on the tree in background are from the Hong Kong Orchid tree (Bauhinia purpurea)

Flowers and petals from the Hong Kong Orchid tree have been scattered throughout the garden like fallen leaves.

The Painted Fingernail Neoregelia Bromeliad is starting to flower and is sporting a few orchids as well.

Guzmania Bromeliads starting to flower in wok container. The flowers last a few months and have been in this container for years. I rarely do anything to this.

Pineapple has set fruit, these take a couple of months to grow to edible size. Then need to be carefully watched as the critters enjoy the sweet fruit as much as I do.

Nam Doc Mai Thai Mango has set fruit. Sometimes it is too windy for pollination and no fruit is set despite flowers. I should be eating mangoes in 100 days! Fingers crossed.

That is my Six for this Saturday. Visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for more SOS posts and some different perspectives on spring.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Travails

This weekend was a bit of a trial. The coldest weather South Florida has seen in a decade blew in Friday night and lingered through Sunday morning. Freezing temperatures threatened; our normal lows are 40 degrees F. I spent the weekend covering and uncovering plants and making sure the vulnerable were hydrated. I fear the only casualty will be the watermelon vines, they wilted despite being covered.

I was quite surprised to find the pink Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) on Sunday morning. I added a few leaves from the varigated ‘Bossa Nova’ Neoregelia Bromeliad, then set off to find a few more vase ingredients from the garden.

The purple ‘flowers’ are actually seedheads from the Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad. These eventually turn a creamy white if left on the plant. The green foliage, baby palm fronds from a seedling Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal) – the state tree of Florida. Grey tendrils in front of the flowers are from the edges of the palm fronds. The heavy crystal vase, a gift from my late brother.

I am ready for some normal Florida winter sunshine this week with no travails.

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

Six on Saturday – F Words

First, we have flowers. I focused on flowers this Saturday as there is a possibility of another f word – frost, in frostfree areas of Florida. That’s seven f words – though I will probably think of some more as I am covering orchids and tomato plants for our overnight low. The low is predicted at 37 degrees F., with 35 mph gusty winds. I am not thinking about the wind chill. Not doing it. I had to search for shoes this morning as I always wear sandals; astonished to find some currently fashionable Chuck Taylor style sneakers that must be ten years old!

I’ll admit the shoes looked better in the dark corner of my closet. Maybe I saved them for gardening prior to discovering plastic Birkenstocks, the mysteries continue.

On to January flowers, that will hopefully be here in February.

‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea is in full bloom.

I started some Balsam Impatiens from seed and transplanted them into the garden last week. They are just starting to flower.

Another Balsam Impatiens. I think these will be hardy if the temps stay above freezing. They look like big Snapdragons to me.

Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula) this is underplanting a Malaysian Orchid. These two are spending the night in the bathtub.

‘Little Harv’ Aechmea Bromeliad flowers; one of my winter favorites. It seems all the Bromeliads should be fine. It is recommended to fill their cups with water prior to cold weather. This seems counterintuitive to me but I did it anyway.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Saturday!

Thanks to Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for hosting, follow the link for more SOS posts.