In a Vase on Monday – A Different Perspective

Fall rode into South Florida on the coattails of Hurricane Ian last week. While Ian left an unprecedented swath of destruction through the peninsula, my garden was unaffected by the storm for the most part. Leaves, branches and palm fronds were strewn around by the winds and a few plants are taking a more southerly direction bent by the higher wind gusts. Otherwise, all is well. The temperature change is a welcome relief from summer as is the lower humidity. Clear blue skies and daytime highs in the low 80s are the reason hordes flock to South Florida in winter.

I went in search of fall colors in the garden. Real fall color is difficult to find here, fruit bearing shrubs and trees are about it. Beautyberry and Goldenrain tree are my fall color change plants. The flowers in my vase are a different perspective on fall color than most gardens north of here.

The flowers:

The orange flowers are from Aechmea rubens, a long lasting bromeliad; variegated foliage is from ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana). The vase is a thrift store find.

The orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); yellow lobster claws are pieces of Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana) flowers – the actual flowers are 3 or 4 feet long.

To see more vases, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Fall Ya’ll.

In a Vase on Monday – Fall, please.

The end of August in South Florida is hot! Mix in a droughty summer, a few mosquitoes, some charbroiled plants, and yes, I am asking for fall. Please. I used to dread the end of summer, but now I embrace it as the best gardening weather is something to look forward to. I cut the summer stalwarts for this vase and selected the most autumnal tones in the garden. Feeling refreshed already. There are rain showers on the weather radar. Fingers crossed.

Posies in profile. The orange and red banana shaped flowers are Parrotflowers, in orange, Heliconia psittacorum “Chocociana”, in red H. psittacorum “Lady Di”; yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans); orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). Greenery is Asparagus ferns.

Another view.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – August Beauties

This vase accurately reflects what thrives in my South Florida garden with very little water or attention. August is the hottest month of the year, it is frequently 94 degrees in the shade (F or almost 35 C). Gardening is best abandoned for cooler days. There has also been a long dry spell here, we are 8 inches below normal on rainfall and some plants have burned up. My stalwart zinnias succumbed the first week of August, despite my best effort to hand water them, they are curled and crispy brownish tan. I left them to shade the lime green sedum in hopes of nursing it through August. The lush tropical border is a memory. The Dahlias dramatically folded their foliage up the stem and turned brown standing straight like soldiers praying to the rain gods. Bah.

Saturday night we had a refreshing rain shower and the white flowers in the vase, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani, smelled so lovely I had to cut some to bring inside. It seems the more tropical plants tolerate the dry heat a bit better than the Florida natives, which seems odd. Another gardening mystery to ponder.

Beauties in detail:

The lurid purple berries are from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); fragrant, white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani; orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans).

The balance:

The peach flower is a Choconiana Heliconia (H. psittacorum ‘Choconiana’) I have tried to find out what the heck is a Choconiana to no avail. Purple foliage is from ‘Purple Prince’ Alternantera – I should admit to watering this one and keeping it in a pot in the shade. There is one in the garden, surprisingly still alive, but much smaller.

I wish everyone gentle rain, but not too much, and cooler weather. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Things I Never Planted

Another one of Florida’s many gardening peculiarities is the tendency to find (mostly) desirable plants popping up in the garden. Above is the Brown Bud Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica). These vines tend to creep around and over my neighbors fence, they end up rambling through my shrubs and I hate to cut the flowers off. Rumor has it Pygmy tribes in the Amazon use this very poisonous plant to make deadly blowdarts.

A perfectly placed white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). I planted the red one years ago and a white flowered one popped up in this border, accenting the peach and blue flowers.

Another dead on plant placement by bird artists. These are native Firebush (Hamelia patens). The seedlings appeared soon after we moved in, spaced perfectly for a foundation planting. These are on one side of the front porch, I found another seedling and put a matching plant on the other side.

My preferred common name for this is Inch Plant (Transcandentia zebrina). I have no idea where it came from, but it makes a great groundcover.

Another Transcandentia – T. pallida. Purple Queen, or I was taught these are called Setcresea, Purple Queen is a bit more palatable. I have these in pots and in the ground, the original ones came up under a Strangler Fig, so I guess another bird seeded plant. These seemingly will grow anywhere from sun to shade. A great low maintenance groundcover and a real pop of purple.

Wild Grapes or Muscadines (Vitis rotundafolia) This is a love/hate plant. The native Floridians will actually eat the grapes. I find them bitter, but the birds love them. The hate part, they spread ….everywhere.

There, my Six for this Saturday, to see more posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Summer Reds

I have two vases today. It may sound like wines are the topic this Monday, but that is not the case. The only commonalities with wine are both vases are bottles and feature the color red. For the most part, I can do without red wine. Though I do like to make gravy with it.

I may finally be embracing the single Red Dahlias I got by mistake. These have a tendency to look down in the garden and seemingly I am required to lie on the ground to get a good look at the flowers. I like them much better in a vase.

The vase is an olive oil drizzling bottle given to me by my mother years ago. This is what she called them, she went through a roasted red pepper (drizzling olive oil is essential for this) phase and decided all the cooks in the family needed one of these bottles. They work great for their intended purpose but are difficult to clean after a while and I keep it around for decorative and now, vase purposes.

A close up:

The red daisies are a Dahlia of unknown name; orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); burgundy leafy foliage is ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera; burgundy strap like leaves are Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliads; white spike is Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance.

The Next Summer Red:

I did a similar vase a couple of weeks ago. The combination of the red bottle and the tropical Heliconias is irresistible to me. This week I added some Hibiscus to enhance the tropical vibe.

A closer view:

The red bottle was a dog walk find a neighbor left out as trash. The yellow and red flowers are Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata). These take their time opening, a week or two, then perversely don’t last very long in a vase. I’ll be watching to see if the one that is less open lasts longer. There are two varieties of Hibiscus here. The classic Hibiscus (the top two), a heirloom variety called ‘The President’. An ancient shrub, I think my neighbor’s grandmother planted decades ago. It sits on our property line and every now and then I cut a few. The lower one is a Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus arboreus) – not actually a Hibiscus, but a Mallow and family member. These grow wild in my garden. The foliage is from the Heliconia and was cut with the flowers and left in place.

Will my Summer Reds inspire me to make gravy? Hmmm, chicken thighs in red wine gravy are a favorite. With mashed potatoes and lima beans. A definite dinner possibility.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, follow the link to her blog.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Happy Returns

Saturday, once again. Today I am looking at six things I am happy to see returning to the garden. ‘Happy Returns’ is also the name of a very nice repeat blooming yellow daylily…I wish I had a few of those. On to the six…

Blanketflower (Gallardia pulchella) – a prolific, reseeding wildflower I enjoy in its many variations. I caught a bee on this one. I leave these to grow wherever they land.

Another batch of Envy Zinnias are in flower. My husband even likes these…he doesn’t notice much in the garden.

Another wildflower that I leave to wander the garden. I enjoy these blue Spiderwort flowers every spring. I am sure it is a Transcandentia, just don’t know which one.

Another native back in bloom, Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). This is the groundcover that ties my wildflower garden together, or I hope it will.

Pink Cactus Zinnias are also back in the garden…

Another one of my favorite Florida natives is back in bloom – Firebush (Hamelia patens) – a butterfly and bee magnet. The Zebra longwing butterflies are back as well, nectaring on these flowers and the Zinnias.

There, my Six for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Forget Me Nots

I am loving the blue Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable) I planted for cutting in January. I started cutting them last week and they last almost a week in a vase. This variety is recommended by Floret Flower Farm, a seed and advice supplier in the northwestern US. Floret claims long stemmed flowers may be harvested for six weeks and advise planting two crops one month apart to extend the season. I will know if this holds true in South Florida in another week or two. They may burn up in our May heat.

Plants and flowers in the garden. I used bamboo stakes to keep the rabbits away.

The rest of the vase:

The bright blue flowers – the Chinese Forget Me Nots. Another addition to cutting flowers this year – White Nigella (N. damascena) and seedheads. I have some pale blue striped versions of the Nigella as well, so happy; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); orange tubes are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens).

Another view:

White spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) wearing wedding attire; varigated foliage is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella)

The vase is a mason jar with a bit of raffia.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Gloom Buster

Gloomy is not usually a term I associate with the “dry season” in South Florida. It has been raining and overcast since the middle of last week. We Floridians are addicted to sunshine. The garden is clearly enjoying the rain and hopefully the good plants will absorb more than the weeds. Though I can see the cool season weeds germinating wantonly as I dodge the raindrops walking my greyhounds.

Our moods, needing improvement with some floral friends made me search high and low from the safety of my covered porches to spy some colorful and hopefully a little bit tropical flowers to grace my vase this Monday. All of the components of this vase were cut within a mad dash from our doors.

Another view:

Some closer views:

Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – planted by the porch to deter mosquitoes. I think it works. Though I have no comparison. Pink cloverish flowers, some free Globe Amaranth I grew from seed I got from Etsy. Fun, but, yeah looks like clover and is a wimpy color. Not a big fan of pale pink. Darker pink wooly worms, Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalphya pendula), just tropical fun and a great cut flower. Orange flowers, Firebush (Hamelia patens) grows near front and back doors and a perennial (ha) favorite.

White flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are slowing down though some consider them evergreen, I do not. Enjoying the slightly fragrant flowers til the bitter end (winter 2022?). Purple foliage is Alternanthera “not sure which one”

The weather seems to be clearing and I hope to be back in the garden soon.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening to you all. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting – please follow the link to see more vases..

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Belles

My garden is in seasonal transition, there are a few flowers, some fruit and buds for the winter flowers – all in all, not a lot of flowers. I enjoy these respites and have cut a lot of the summer performers back as they tend to get buggy as they age. The dragonflies showed up in droves this week and hopefully ate all the mealybugs on the Salvias, portending a new batch of salvia flowers for the winter. Most of the flowers I cut seemed to be bell shaped – and I added some Muhly because, well, everyone loves the Muhly Grass.

Some closer views:

The red belles are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equiseteum); yellow belles are from Esperanza (Tecoma stans); and the orange, admittedly less bell like are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); my perennial favorite for its flowers, ease of culture and butterfly nectar.

The yellow belles are from Tecoma stans, this is also another common name for them. They have several. The background ephemeral wispies are from Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capallaris). This seems to be everyone’s favorite this time of year. I am guilty of this, currently loving them in the garden and waiting for their full pink floaty goodness. I may need to stop cutting the wispies.

That is the vase for this Monday from South Florida. Happy Gardening and Happy Fall Y’all. I will be in the garden admiring the Muhly Grass. For more vases from worldwide gardens, visit our intrepid hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Harvest. Present and Future

Time for SOS again. Follow the link to see more fun from gardens around the world http://www,thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

My garden is enjoying the weather cool down and making flowers and fruit for fall. I have begun harvesting the Roselles (Hibicus sabdariffa) and here is the first batch:

I pluck these by hand as the green seeds start to appear in the middle of the flower. Rinse them throughly and remove the calyces.

These are the remnants of the flower. The calyces have been removed. I had to look up calyx, in botany speak it is the whole of the sepals that surround the bud of the flower. Calyces is plural of calyx. If the green seeds are allowed to ripen they turn brown and may be ground for a coffee substitute.

Calyx harvested by pulling sepals off or cutting whole. Jam makers like the use the whole ones for aesthetics. I think. I am freezing these bit by bit and looking for recipes.

Fruits of the Christmas Palm (Adonidia veitchii). These are reportedly edible but unpalatable. I leave them for the wildlife. Most people cut them off, though I like to use them for arrangements and enjoy the color.

Tomatoes started from seed in September are setting fruit. I planted Yellow Pear and Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes, not sure which one this is, but am looking forward to eating it.

One of my favorite butterfly nectar plants, the Firebush (Hamelia patens) flowers and produces fruit in the fall. More food for wildlife (and maybe thought, while contemplating the butterflies.)

That is six from my garden this Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!