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/