A Wreath on Monday – Pups

My vase this Monday morphed into a holiday wreath for my front door. I have wanted to try making a wreath from Bromeliad pups for a while and this year there were enough in my garden to give it a try. Of course, I had no clue how to actually make a wreath from Bromeliad pups and the dilemma haunted me for a while. The Bromeliad pups are from my collection of garage sale finds. The red ones at each end are Fireball Neoregelia, the bigger ones in the middle are Super Fireball Neoregelia, darker green and red varigated Angel Face Neoregelia and I have never managed to figure out the name of the spotted ones.

I started the wreath with a piece of irrigation tubing made into a ring with irrigation connectors. A perfect blank black circle. Then, tried to add the Bromeliad pups. Pups are a bit fat and uneven to be wired to irrigation tubing. Floral wire doesn’t work and tape doesn’t either. Undeterred by my pup attachment failure, I got my trusty gardening serrate kitchen knife with the wooden handle (it goes through the dishwasher) and bored some oddly unsymmetric holes in the irrigation tubing – it worked perfectly to hold the pups in place with the added benefit of holding water at the bottom of the wreath.

After installing 10 or 12 pups, I realized the wreath would be too big for the door if I covered the entire ring with pups..oops. So, as these things go, Plan B appeared. Wrap the rest of the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and add some Spanish Moss accents. I love Spanish Moss and it appears rarely in my garden, too windy here, I think. No Spanish Moss to be found in the garden – decided to wrap and make do with dried moss on hand from God knows where.

About this time, my husband appeared, needing a hand with one of his projects… I gave a hand with his work and then hit him up for some double stick tape for the wrapped part of the wreath. As luck would have it – his double stick tape worked great til it ran out – not quite covering the irrigation tubing. Trusty serrate kitchen knife reappeared, a few more holes bored – voila, a wreath. Almost covered and needing a bit of oddly sourced Spanish Moss.

My first Bromeliad pup wreath makes its holiday debut. I am dreading finding a huge sproing in the morning.

Monday morning update – no huge sproing, but I did step on a bit of Spanish Moss when walking outside.

Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays to all. Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more (usually) vases..

Six on Saturday – November Arrivals

I am joining The Propagator for his meme featuring six items of interest from my garden. To see more posts from other gardeners visit his blog at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

November brings some interesting characters into my garden. Birds become more numerous during the winter in South Florida. I was interested to learn that Hawks migrate, they have recently appeared in flocks, soaring over the Indian River in search of food.

These are White Ibis, they are here year round but more numerous in the winter. The brown ones are juvenile and become pure white as they mature. They are eating grubs in the lawn.

Another bird appeared this week, the Sandhill Crane, these are about 3 feet tall and look like Pterodactyls flying by. They summer in Nebraska.

Winter provides interesting colors in plants as well. The aptly named Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrilli) is producing fruit – looking a lot like Christmas ornaments.

Bromeliads have a tendency to do their own thing. Eventually I will figure out how to have year round flowers. These Guzmanias, left to their own devices, filled this wok planter and bloom every winter for a few months.

Another reliable winter flower is the Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus pendulifloris). These appear randomly in my garden and are very difficult to get rid of – I have embraced them and trained them to my neighbor’s fence.

The Zinnias I started from seed in August have started flowering, as usual, they don’t look like the seed packet. These are Zinderella and supposed to be double..and peach colored, the other one is single and gold..

That is my six for this Saturday… hopefully it stops raining soon.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Jon the Propagator for hosting.

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Candy

Not Summer arrived in South Florida on the first of November, I am only too happy to bid farewall to October and Summer. Not Summer brings lower temperatures, less humidity and Muhly Grass flowers, my garden is filled with flowing pink grasses. The candy is the purple Bromeliad flower – it is a Portea Bromeliad, the variety is Candy.

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I think there is too much Muhly Grass in the garden (with Bottle Palm in top of image) but I am really enjoying them this Fall/Not Summer.

A close up:

The purple flowers with a pink stem (how often do you get to say that?) is Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad, the off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back; a purple and silver striped sprig of Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina); and the Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) in the background.

I have missed a couple of weeks caring for my husband, who is on the mend. Thanks to Cathy for hosting.

Visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening.

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

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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:

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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:

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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

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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)

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

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

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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.

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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.

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That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

In a Vase on Monday – Shrimp and Greens

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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.

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Here is a close up of the arrangement:

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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.

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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.