In a Vase on Monday – Zinnias & Indiscretions for Christmas

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My South Florida garden, being perverse as usual,  produced Zinnias for Christmas. I have been trying to figure out when to start seed for a couple of years and bought some fancy seed from Floret to try this fall. The seeds were Macarenia Zinnias – the red and gold flowers are Macarenias, most of the rest  came up from the same seed pack and are solid pinks, apricots and oranges. I actually like those better, the Macarenias look like  weird Marigolds to me.

The small tree is a European Cypress, I forwent a big Christmas tree as my younger greyhound, Fiona has been suffering from dietary indiscretions. First, I caught her trying to eat a CD?!  They are very crunchy. And then she gorged herself on Cabbage Palm berries resulting in a trip to the vet and a special diet for almost two weeks. I make an excellent canine chef and have cooked vats of rice, pumpkin and turkey for her. The food and medicine has her running laps in the backyard again. Here she is reclining on the porch.

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Some close ups of the Zinnias. I am not sure what they are at this point. Mixed Christmas surprise Zinnias. The vase is a sugar bowl; the white flowers from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and Asparagus Fern greenery that just floats around in my garden until I cut it for flower arrangements.

The back side of the vase, more surprises. I  planted some other Zinnia seeds – 4 cells out of about 20.

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My older, more discreet greyhound, Alan Alda – under a past Christmas tree.

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Thanks to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly event. Visit her blog to find links to vases from all over the world.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah to all.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Gifts from the Garden

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It’s  time for Six on Saturday. Six pictures of anything interesting from your garden.

Just in time for Christmas the garden is gifting me with some wonderful things. Above, finally a nearly ripe Papaya.

Below, green beans and radishes:

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In honor of the holidays, a few red flowers are blooming. The weather is dreadful today,  howling wind and rain, so pictures were taken inside.

This is Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus malvaviscus)

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Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana)

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The garden provided plenty of Blanchetiana flowers (and foliage) to make this wreath.

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And a greyhound to watch over the front porch:

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

For more Six on Saturday posts go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Bus Again

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Here’s my favorite holiday tin again. Several years ago a client of my husband brought this from the UK, filled with Scottish Biscuits (shortbread cookies in US speak). The cookies were divine (and didn’t last very long). I am a lover of tins and used it IAVOM twice before during the holidays. This year it is crammed full of red, green and white flowers and foliage, having some perspective on my garden and many others through blogging I realized how downright odd it is to have red and green foliage to cut for Christmas decorations. And I haven’t  done the wreath yet.

A closer view:

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The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), smaller white flowers and bigger foliage is from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); white and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the red spikes on the sides are Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), red berries are from Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebenthifolia) – a dreadful weed.

Below is a better image of the red and green foliage – at the right end a Martin Bromeliad (Neoregelia Martin) leaf, the middle has foliage from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigata ‘Mammey’)

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Here is the tin from 2016:20161211_102634-1

And  the original tin/ vase from 2015.

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Hmm,  which is your favorite.? 2016 has one of my favorite plants, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)  – I like the Flapjack Kalanchoes in 2015 (grey foliage). I may combine all the plants next year into a 2020 mash up.

For more vases on Monday, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Holidays!

In a Vase on Monday – Christmas Palm Forest

 

IMG_20191208_115516It’s an oddly dreary day in South Florida, making it feel more like the holidays to me. I decided to do a mini forest basket for this second week of Advent. The forest idea sprang to mind when I saw the Christmas Palm seedhead from last week lost all its berries and looked like a  birch tree in winter. I usually call these Adonidia Palm, this is one of  those  plants with several common names. The common name can be Christmas Palm or Manila Palm, and my neighbors call them Triple Palms as many have three trunks. The botanical name is Veitchii merrilli. Below is a Christmas Palm with red fruit.

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The arrangement has the white stalk from the Christmas Palm seedhead. Red flowers are from Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); red berries are from the evil Brazilian Pepper  (Schinus terebinthifolia) – the Peppers are invasive in South Florida to the point it is illegal to plant them. I have gotten rid of mountains of  these things, but there are always a few lurking and using them in flower arrangements saves Florida a few in the woods. The ferns are: Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back and Asparagus Fern around the edges. Both are volunteers in the garden. A closer view:

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The  basket is a thrift store find and the gold cat is in honor of Mr. Bob, our resident Bobcat.

Feeling a bit more Christmassy this week. Maybe a tree and wreath on the front door next week.

For vases from around the world, follow this link to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Infusion

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For me, it is always a bit strange being in South Florida during the holidays. I spent most of my life in a place that experiences winter. Yesterday I found myself in the grocery store dressed in shorts and a tank top, surrounded by gaping tourists and listening  to  Christmas carols play in the background. While driving home I noted my neighbors planting Poinsettias in their yard for holiday color. Odd. Clearly a holiday vase was in order.

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The big red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos); red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red star shaped flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); white spikes are from the sweetly scented Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); white stems are from Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli); white daisies are from Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) ferns are from the native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata).

The vase is another oddity found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, likely a historic florist vase from the 1980s. With all the red and green in my vase…my Christmas spirit is cranking up a bit. Maybe my holiday mood will improve once my neighbor puts the flamingoes out. Yes, there is a sled and Santa that goes with it.

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Didn’t I say it was a bit strange in South Florida during the holidays?

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At least the Nodding Hibiscus looks a bit like a Christmas ornament.

Happy Holidays!  To see more vases from around the world go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In A Vase on Monday – Uber Tropical

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Frequently I receive comments about my vases being tropical or exotic. Much of this plant material is commonplace in Florida. The above vase, however, seems Uber Tropical to me.

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Here is a closer view. The arrangement is a stem of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); a sprig of Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) and a potential replacement for the umbrella in tropical drinks, a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is a cutting from a friend and I have no idea what botanical name goes with it. I cut it because the varmints in my garden usually eat them at about this size. They are not edible, extremely fibrous I am told, but may be juiced.

Here is the pineapple in the garden:

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I am happy I beat the varmints to my little pineapple. They are currently eating the new shoots on all the Bromeliads.

Happy Monday!

In A Vase on Monday – Yuletide Greetings

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After typing in my title, I began to wonder what is the meaning of the word, Yuletide. Seems it goes back to Norse Gods and Germanic folklore, referring to the time around the Winter Solstice, predating the celebration of Christmas by a long shot.  I will have to ponder that as I sit by a roaring fire (on the television) listening to Christmas carols, cat by my side and a greyhound at my feet. The task at hand, waiting for my holiday baking to cool, so I can pack it into tins.

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Gardening in South Florida changes your perspective on holiday flower arrangements. Red and white flowers can be cut from the garden, greenery and berries as well. Our wreath this year was made with Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers and foliage from Pandanus (Screw Pine). Here is the Florida version of Yuletide Greetings.

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The flowers in my holiday arrangement are: in off white spikes, Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa), the red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), darker red flowers are from Red Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana), red berries are from Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terenbinthifolia), white flowers on the lower side are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘alba’), gold sticks are twigs from native grapes, Vitis roundifolia. The finishing touch a leaf from my Papaya tree.

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Happy Holidays to all, Yuletide or not.

Amy

In A Vase on Christmas

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It’s Christmas Eve in South Florida, the temperature is hovering around 80 degrees (F) and sunny blue skies are smiling down on me, a few puffy clouds drifting by. Lurking in the back of my mind- the thought that Christmas Eve should be a drizzly, overcast 38 degree day, a day that makes you dream of hot chocolate or hot buttered rum. Rum drinks over ice with umbrellas are called for in my garden this Christmas Eve.

To add a little more holiday feel to the house, I challenged myself to find all the red flowers in the garden to make the Christmasiest vase possible. Here is a closer view:

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Red and green striped leaves from the Martin Bromeliad set the holiday tone, a few ornamental peppers add a festive touch of red. Turk’s Cap Hibiscus are hanging over the edge and the spike flowers are from the native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). A deeper red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) completes the red flowers. The grey flowers are from my Flapjack Kalanchoe, the green spike is a flower of the Snake Plant (Sansiveria). A bit of Asian Sword Fern adds foliage color and background.

Feeling more like Christmas already. Alan the Greyhound basking in the shade of the Christmas tree.20151213_162756

Merry Christmas to all!!

In A Vase on Monday – Holiday Shrimp

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This holiday shrimp is not for dinner or appetizers, it is for the vase and from the garden, not the sea. I love shrimp from the sea, my husband has unfortunately been somewhat shrimphobic when it comes to eating the shellfish. I cope with this by having garlic laden Shrimp Scampi when we dine out, sometimes to his chagrin.

I was looking for holiday reds and greens this week and the Red Shrimp Plants caught my eye.  A burst of flowers appeared just in time to fill the cranberry glass vase, a thrift shop find from earlier this year

The red flowers on the menu are the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); off white spikes, the mystery plant that appeared last year; white flowers are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata), burgundy and green foliage is Solar Sunrise Coleus. A simple but tasty holiday concoction.

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The Red Shrimp Plant is a passalong from my neighbor as is the Solar Sunrise Coleus. Below is the Shrimp Plant in the garden, thriving in full shade and sugar sand. It flowers off and on year round, I don’t think I have ever fertilized it or sprayed it for any reason. My kind of plant. Happy go lucky with benign neglect.

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We are having a cool spell here in Florida, temperatures were in the mid 40’s this morning. The clear, sunny day was made for gardening – I finished planting seeds in what is becoming my tropical potager, if there is such a thing.

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The green beans and tomatoes are already bearing fruit. Work is ongoing in this kitchen garden. I have included flowers for cutting in blocks with the vegetables, most are seedlings about an inch tall. A total experiment as I usually don’t start with seeds. So far, so good.

In A Vase on Monday -Holiday Wrap Up

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Today is Christmas and I decided we needed a centerpiece for dinner. My natural inclination goes towards casual and I have but one set of china anymore and it is Portmerion Botanic Garden (not surprising). I truly believe my mother is still angry (from the great beyond) that I did not choose a silver pattern when I married.

So, above is my casual goes with Portmerion Botanic Garden Christmas influenced centerpiece. I used two Brandy Snifters for low arrangements and they are filled with matching flowers. The rattan reindeer is from Crate and Barrel, I bought it when I was single 3o years ago and didn’t have a Christmas tree. The shot glass is a tequila shooter from my niece’s wedding. I will probably use some taper candles on each side of the snifters at dinner.

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Here is a close up of the snifter arrangement. We have in dark green, Japanese Yew (Podocarpus macrophylla), in red and yellow, Heliconias, in the red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), the pink spikes are Tropical Red Salvia, white hanging over the edges is Sweet Begonia and finally some Asian Sword Fern.

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The shot glass is sporting Pom Pom Asters and a sprig of Copper Fennel. The stems were too short for anything else.

To wrap up the holiday arrangements here is my front door Christmas Swag:

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The Swag is composed of Saw Palmetto, Brazilian Pepperberries, Frazier Fir, a dried Miniature Pineapple and dried Bromeliad flowers.

Christmas 2016 is a wrap!