Six on Saturday – Different Blooms

I was watching the yeast bloom while making Foccacia this morning (it is currently rising) when it occured to me I have a lot of different blooms. Here are some from the garden.

The buds from last week have opened with the warmer weather. This is a Quesnelia testudo Bromeliad.

Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad opened as well. This flower gets longer and more yellow as it ages.

The Red Guzmania flowers age to bronze and then form really strange seedheads. I like the bronze and leave them on the plant.

Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) usually flower in February and a few more times during the year.

The Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) flowers are ending their show. Time for me to figure out how to prune the thing…

That my six different blooms for this Saturday. To see more, and different, blooms follow the link to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening…and Valentine’s Day.

Six on Saturday – Promising Signs

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.

That is my six. To see more interesting items from gardens around the world visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy New Year and Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Year End Favorites

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.

Thank you to Cathy for 52 weeks of hosting IAVOM! May 2021 usher in health and happiness for everyone – and A Vase every Monday. To see more vases, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Solstice Solace

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.

I wrote an article about Tropical Hydrangeas for The American Gardener, published in November. Here is a link if you would like to read more about Dombeyas. People like to call them Pink Ball Trees, I prefer Dombeyas! https://lscpagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/display_article.php?id=3813727&view=683131

Thanks to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthgarden.com for hosting and Happy Holidays!! To see more vases visit Cathy’s blog..

Six on Saturday – Winter Treats

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.

In a Vase on Monday – Not Summer Blues

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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’).

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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:

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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.

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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.

In a Vase on Monday – Dombeyas End the Decade

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Dombeyas fill the last vase of the decade. Ten years ago, I did not blog; I did not live in Florida and I did not know what a Dombeya was. What a difference a decade makes.

We have spent the past few weeks cooking and going to holiday parties. My husband and I enjoy cooking but we are taking a break and fortunately have leftovers. He is a great pie baker – this year making an apple, a pumpkin and a Rangpur Lime pie with fruit from my neighbor’s tree. I need to get back to the garden to work all the calories off.

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Here is a closer view:

The  pink flowers are the Dombeyas (Dombeya wallichii); the burgundy and silver striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina, sometimes called Wandering  Jew; the silvery succulent is  the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe and the ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata).

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Dombeyas are sometimes called Tropical Hydrangeas though they are not related to Hydrangeas but belong to the Mallow family. Hydrangeas have their own family (Hydrangeaceae). Here is the Dombeya flower in situ. The shrub is about 9 feet tall and wide and the leaves are at least a foot wide and fuzzy. The bees love the flowers and I brought one in with the flowers. I think of them as reverse Hydrangeas since the flowers hang under the foliage.

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade, hopefully the twenties will roar again. But, nicely and with many flowers.

A heartfelt Thank You to Cathy for hosting this wonderful weekly meme. More vases may be seen in the comments of her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Fruits and Flowers

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It has been a rainy and windy week in South Florida, Christmas is over and I am looking forward to a new decade in my tropical paradise. Winter brings changes to the flora and is the most enjoyable time of the year to be outdoors. We live on our screen porch, my next task is to plant some containers for the porch.

Above is a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), I cut these  frequently in the winter; they have a light, gingery scent and are very reliable in the garden. Other Gingers suffer in silence in my garden.

Below is a Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) These are common parking lot trees and produce a lot of seeds and seedlings.

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The Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii) finally opened  on Christmas Day, a wonderful gift. It is so windy it makes pictures difficult to take as the flowers swing in the wind.

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Zinnia of unknown origin. In December.

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I have three types of Mango trees in my garden, all are flowering, it is a bit early.  Here is the flower of the Glenn Mango. These are panicle flowers, if pollinated produce numerous small Mangoes.

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And  finally, my first homegrown Papaya breakfast – with honey vanilla yogurt and granola. A very satisfying end to my gardening year.

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Six on Saturday is a gardening meme hosted by The Propagator. For more posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year!!

Amelia

Six on Saturday – Walking the Dogs

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I walk my greyhounds frequently, they like to walk around the neighborhood and my garden. Here are some of  the plants we have encountered recently. Some are not to be sniffed by dogs or people. Above  is one of those plants, a Blue Agave (Agave tequilana) grown by a friend and gifted to me, this is the plant that tequila is made from and is very spiny with spines  on the leaf  tips.

Here’s another sharp plant,  my neighbor’s Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa). A poisonous plant with thorns, paradoxically having edible fruit and gardenia scented  flowers.

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Another Agave, not quite as sharp as the Blue one. This one is a Sisal Agave (Agave sisalana) – yes, where Sisal for rugs, ropes, etc. comes from. This is on a vacant lot on our walk and is shooting up a  bloom stalk that is at least 10 feet tall and not showing a bud yet. Somewhere south of here an enterprising soul started a Sisal plantation, the Sisal reseeded and took over an island in the Florida Keys and has blown seeds all the way to my neighborhood.

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Another sharp  plant, the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). These can be used  to make  shampoo and are foamy if the leaves are snapped. After reading about these, I decided against the shampoo as it seems most people are allergic to it.

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The Autograph Tree (Clusia rosea), waiting to be planted – one of  the potted orphans that lurk in everyones garden, not sharp at all.

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Buds on the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi). This is a pink tropical Hydrangea tree, if you can imagine that – and  they bloom in December! I walk by everyday looking for flowers.

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Happy gardening!

To see more Six on Saturday posts featuring six items of interest from gardens around the  world go to: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/