It is a surprisingly rainy, overcast Sunday in South Florida. A little indoor cheer was in order before the truly stormy weather arrived. Pastel flowers spiced up with burgundy and a little Green Envy have been served up in an antique Blue Willow teapot. Cheer crisis averted.
As much as this might look like a summer bouquet, it is really not. The pink Tropical Hydrangeas flower in December and January as does the white Bougainvillea. I am not really sure about the Zinnias yet, though I am going to try starting another batch soon as I have seemingly fooled the rabbits with what other Florida gardeners called kebobs. Looks a little weird, little bamboo stakes around the base of the Zinnias, but it works. A bit of an oriental touch, maybe?
What’s in the vase:
In the foreground, pink Globe Amaranth followed by Green Envy Zinnias; the blue spikes are Mystic Spires Salvia (these have been flowering since March 2021!, amazing); white flowers are ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea; pink balls are Tropical Hydrangeas (Dombeya wallachii)
The remaining unidentified: blue flowers, Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); burgundy foliage, ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera.
I am still experimenting with growing plants from seed for cut flowers. The Nigella are glacially coming along and I planted some Chinese Forget me Nots – has anyone tried these? The seeds are up, but that is all the news.
Welcome to my South Florida garden via Six on Saturday. It seems counterintuitive to feature flowers so late in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. However, this far south, when the weather moderates it is like late spring climate-wise and some of the “normal” summer flowers are in bloom here.
My first African Marigold, probably in decades. These came in a cutting flower seed mix I tried just to see what would grow.
Zinnias, I have been enjoying these as cut flowers for a couple of weeks.
More Zinnias, these are ‘Green Envy’.
Sweet 100 tomatoes, just about ready to pick.
On a more tropical note, the Dombeya wallachii has just started to flower. I can hear the bees buzzing as I approach the plant. Someone aptly described the fragrance of the flowers as cake batter.
The whole Dombeya. At 15 feet tall, this should be spectacular soon.
It is Saturday yet again and time to join the SOS crew in the UK and beyond. My six items of interest this week are flowers and seeds that are new to the garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.
My first ever ‘Green Envy’ Zinnia. I started these from seed in September, the plants are quite healthy and I am looking forward to bigger flowers.
Buds on the Dombeya. This is a pink Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) and a sight to behold when in full flower. This is a tree form Hydrangea about 14 feet tall.
Seedheads forming on the Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). I left several on the plant as someone always want to try these for fun. The seedhead eventually turns brown and may be ground and used as a coffee substitute. Not trying that, but will collect seed for next year. I cut most of the flowers and am getting a second crop of smaller flowers on some of the plants.
A new shoot on the Dragonfruit. The lawn maintenance guys mangle these every time a new shoot appears; this one wised up and went away from weed eater range. Time will tell if I ever actually harvest a Dragonfruit.
Snow Peas (mangetout in Britspeak, a new name to me) and spinach emerging in grow bag.
First green beans harvested, made me wish I had planted more bags!
The Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia caparillis) in full flower. It seemed it was taking a long time for this to get going.
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.
Time for Six items of interest from my garden on this first Saturday of 2021. I am seeing signs of good things to come in my garden. First, the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) is flowering and has many buds.
A closer view of the flowers, they are 6 inches across and have a honey scent.
The native cycad of Florida, Coontie is producing cones, here is a female cone that has been pollinated – Coonties are pollinated by beetles. Wildlife eat the seeds and disperse them, I will be interested to see where they come up.
And the male cone:
The Papayas are ripening.
And I shall have tomatoes from the garden soon. This is a Yellow Pear tomato.
It’s the last Monday of 2020, and the final vase of the year. In celebration of the end of this year, I decided to use some of my favorites. The pink flowers are Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – I love French and Oakleaf Hydrangeas, but live too far south to grow either. So, I was more than pleased to find this giant “Hydrangea”; – 10 or 12 feet tall and wide. Dombeyas are not related to Hydrangeas; they are actually members of the Mallow family – I live at the northern end of their hardiness zone. The honey scented flowers are just opening and there were a few angry bees after I cut these.
A closer view:
The greenery is cut from a Passionfruit vine. I am not sure which Passionfruit (there are a surprising number of varieties), although it seems to be Possum Purple, the raccoons get almost every one of them – it should be called raccoon purple. The floaty grass is the finale of the Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) for the year, another favorite of mine. The vase, an antique, picked up years ago somewhere north of here.
I decided not to do a vase after a rough weekend, emergency room visit at 2 am, etc. We had rain showers overnight, this Monday morning the sky is clear blue, sunshiny and warm. Some December mornings I really love South Florida.
I took a cup of coffee into my garden, met a lovely friendly cat (I put her outside the greyhound fence, though the dogs were fascinated) then noticed I should cut the Zinnias or they would stop flowering. A stroll through the tropical garden revealed the Tropical Hydrangeas had just started to flower.. a vase was calling and I answered.
Here is a closer view:
The pink flowers and green bud are Tropical Hydrangeas (Dombeya wallachii); Zinnias are Zinderella, grown from seed started in August; white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); a few bits of Asian Sword Fern in back. The vase is a well loved thrift store find.
December is a great time to be outdoors in South Florida. The weather is simply wonderful and fruits and flowers start showing up to enjoy time in the garden. I am joining Six on Saturday at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to share six items of interest from my garden.
The very seasonal scourge of South Florida, Brazilian Peppers. These outrageously fast growing small trees have taken over hundreds of thousands of acres of land. However beautiful the berries are, I try to get rid of as many as possible. The birds love them and I believe every last on of them germinates and is 10 feet tall in a few years.
The Surinam Cherry, more bird food. These are pretty, but taste a bit resinous. I am told by locals to soak them in water to get the worms out…
Seedpod on Roselle, edible Hibscus flowers, another weird tropical fruit. I harvested a lot of these and they are in my freezer. Just don’t quite know what to do with them.
Radishes, almost ready to eat.
Pineapples producing pups after I harvested the pineapple. It took 3 years from pineapple top to harvest. The theory is once the pups start the harvest increases with the number of plants and the fruit overwhelms the gardener. Time will tell.
My winter favorite, Dombeya – Tropical Hydrangea – buds are starting to show color. This one is about nine feet tall and covered in buds. It should be a sight to behold in a couple of weeks.
Happy Holidays to everyone and thank you to Jon for hosting Six on Saturday.
January in South Florida is not summer, it just seems like it today. The air conditioning is running; despite the fact this is the dry season, rain showers are making above 80 degrees (F) weather steamy and not conducive to gardening. My reward is flowers and vegetables in the garden. I have ripe tomatoes and Papayas; my second planting of green beans and first lettuces and spinach have come up. Some interesting flowers are also gracing the garden.
The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, bought with my mother on a long ago antiquing adventure (she referred to this as ‘Going to the junk store’).
Zinnias grown from seed continue to boggle my mind – not sure what they are at all. These are much bigger than those in the smaller vase and have longer stems. I’ve added pink and green Dombeya (Dombeya wallachii) flowers. The green are the buds, the Dombeya itself is huge and I don’t mind cutting some buds, though I feel the bees would disagree. The flowers have an amazing honey fragrance and I have never seen as many bees on a plant. A closer view:
The white flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), another subtly fragrant flower and the spikes are seedheads from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)
This vase, another ‘junk store’ find has Dombeyas and Zinnias, just the shorter-stemmed version. The green seed heads are from the Sweet Begonia. I like the seeds as well as the flowers.
I have both vases in my foyer; the Dombeyas tend to be ephemeral in vases, not lasting more than a day. The fragrance from the combination of Dombeyas and Sweet Begonias is ethereal, I can imagine angels in flight leaving this scent. Worth every moment and curing the Not Summer Blues. Back outside tomorrow.