In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Goblet of Fire

It has been so rain free here the only flowers worth cutting are on the shrubs. My enormous Firebush is packed with bees and butterflies who were none too happy about me stealing their flowers. I chose the silver goblet before I realized I was making a Goblet of Fire. My husband and I are Harry Potter fans and coincidentally I have a family wand. Abracadabra!!!

The silver goblet is an heirloom from my mother, who loved to collect junk. Heirloom may be too strong a word. The goblet is more like something I found while cleaning out her house. I am not sure what became of my copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. It is probably around the house somewhere – though, Deathly Hallows looks better with the Firebush!

The Grant family wand. It had never occurred to me that we had a family wand, until today. Some years ago, my father, the geologist, was prospecting in the woods of North Georgia and ran across a water witch. Water witches direct people to the best locations to drill wells. She gave him this wand. Wands are also called divining rods. This particular witch used native Alder branches (Alders grow near streams) to divine where the water was most likely to be located underground. I am not sure how to operate the wand, though I tried when we dug a well at our house in South Florida, no luck from the wand. Perhaps it was too far from home or I am just a muggle.

A closer view:

There are two varieties of Firebush (the tubular flowers) in here..the red ones are the Florida native Hamelia patens var patens; the orange ones (I think) are from the Bahamas – Hamelia patens. People get into arguments about this, ugh. These arguments annoy me, love the plants. Beautiful, tough shrubs that bees and butterflies love. I don’t care where they originated. The yellow flowers are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca)..This one has several botanical names and is often sold as a native; though it is not. The grey accents are Adonidia Palm flowers. Background red and green foliage are tips from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (red) and Super Fireball Neoregelia (green).

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link for more vases.

Wishing everyone a magical gardening week..muggles or not.

In a Vase on Monday – Bread and Posies

Sunday found me in the kitchen and the garden, baking a garden focaccia and creating a posy.

Here is the posy part. It has been so dry here only the strong are thriving and flowering. The plants from Mexico and Florida are best for this time of year. Theoretically, it should start raining in about two weeks. I know how these things go, wait and see and keep the hose handy. Or turn off the irrigation system. Things could go either way.

A closer view:

The red, yellow (and pink!) Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella) are the prettiest flowers in the garden this week. These are US natives and live in sandy prairies, perfect for my garden. The white flowers are from the White Geiger tree. This tree has been blooming for months, it is oddly shaped – 6 feet tall and twice as wide, though it was blown over by a near miss hurricane a couple of years ago. Native to the Rio Grande area in Mexico, another survivalist (Cordia boissieri). The orange tube shaped flowers are from another sand lover from the Bahamas, Firebush (Hamelia patens) The grey green background leaf is a trimmed palm frond from Florida’s state tree, the Cabbage Palm (Palmetto sabal). These palms pop up in my garden and I leave them to use in flower arrangements. The vase, one of my favorites, is a thrift store find.

Here is the bread part. My nephew’s wife sent me a photo of a garden focaccia and said “you should try this”. I am known for making focaccia as I bake some nearly every week and it is our regular sandwich bread. I also am overrun with Yellow Pear tomatoes and needed to use them. This was fun to make and is tasty with the exception of the areas with a lot of tomatoes – the bread is a bit mushy under the tomatoes. Here it is before it went in the oven.

My focaccia is always made with a crust of mixed parmesan and low fat cheddar cheese. The stems are small fronds from a fennel bulb; the flowers are red onions, yellow pear and Riesenstrube tomatoes. Leaves are rosemary, thyme and parsley from the garden. I brushed the vegetables and herbs with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar before baking.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening and I hope the rain gods smile on all of us. Just the right amount, of course. As always, thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. Follow the link to see more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – In a Pickle

I thought “in a pickle” was American slang. The Dutch started it using “in de pekel zitten” to describe an uncomfortable situation, this translates to “sit in the pickle brine” Seems that would be a stinging experience. Easter Sunday morning found me in the garden thinking “there are no flowers to cut for a Monday vase” – I thought I was in a pickle..Not so much, this rarely proves true, though sometimes I have to look harder to come up with an arrangement. Oddly, there was an abandoned pickle jar in the garden near my Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliads. Being “in a pickle” passed through my mind until inspiration hit via the pickle jar. There are also some salsa jars out there I need to get rid of…

The pickle jar is wrapped with a leaf and tied with jute twine. I left the twine trailing given the casual feel of, well, a covered pickle jar. A closer view of the flowers.

The leaf wrapping the jar is from a Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliad. This is a mahogany and greenish red leaf plant with large (4 feet long) red and yellow flowers. The flowers start in November and are looking ragged now. They are as tall as I am when I cut them back to the ground.There are orange and lemon Blanchetiana with the appropriately colored foliage to go with the flowers. I have used the other colors to wrap vases.

The flowers:

In blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; I am enjoying these so much I am hoping they last the summer. The white daisies are Spanish Needles, an annoying native, botanical name, Bidens alba. Orange daisies are from Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenpodoides); orange tubular flowers from the native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Yellow daisies are Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) and a white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) is in the back. Two red and yellow native Gallardia round out the front of my pickle jar.

I am glad I did not find myself in the Dutch version of the pickle this Monday.

Happy Gardening, and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to see more spring fun in a vase..

In a Vase on Monday – Fall Favorites and Fish

Fall is not really a thing in South Florida. I like to search for seasonal signs in the garden. The weather doesn’t give clues, the heat index today was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. My favorite local writer (sports and fishing), Ed Killer, wrote about seasons in the morning newspaper claiming the mullet run is a season in Florida. The mullet are currently running in South Florida. A link to the article https://treasurecoast-fl.newsmemory.com?publink=261ae094c_13437fc

For Florida novices, mullet is a small baitfish that heads south for the winter swimming down the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is a seasonal marker. Traveling en masse in 1 acre sized schools of fish – an acre is 220 feet by 220 feet – that’s a lot of little fish. The mullet can be seen jumping from the water in late September and fishing gets good when all the bigger fish give chase looking for a mullet meal. A season in the land without seasons.

I look for fruit on the Beautyberry, the occasional turning red leaves on Red Maple trees, fruit on the Firebush and the flowering of the Juba Bush. These are my fall favorites and they are in my vase this Monday. All South Florida natives, unlike me, and seasonal signs of fall in the garden. Maybe if we throw the whole mullet run thing in there is actual fall here.

A closer view. The orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); purple berries, Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); white flowers, Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa). The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, an English teapot and long ago find in a flea market…

The other side, berries and flowers on the Firebush.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening, I hope fall sends more compelling clues in your garden. To see more seasonal vases, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthgarden.wordpress.com.

And, no, I have never eaten a mullet. They are an oily fish and supposedly good smoked over citrus wood.

Six on Saturday The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly

A Zebra Longwing, the state butterfly of Florida, sipping nectar from a Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens). A good thing.

Another good thing, my Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) is finally making its bottle trunk. Eventually the old fronds fall off and the palm looks like it is sitting on a green wine bottle. This has taken about five years.

The bad thing about these next plants, they are so slow growing it is almost not worthwhile planting them. Both are Florida natives and come with the native hype…

This is a Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata) It has been in the garden for about five years and might be 18″ tall. I am not sure I will live long enough to see an actual palm tree form.

A Satinleaf (Chysophyllum oliviforme), the back sides of the leaves. This is reportedly a tree, and sounds romantically wonderful when described by growers who have seen it blowing in the wind. At six years old and possibly a foot tall (the ferns dwarf it) I have to lie down beside it to experience the romance.

The front side of the leaves.

And now, the bugly. This is the dreaded Lubber Grasshopper, another hyped Florida native. These can be 3 or 4 inches long and love to eat plants. Filled with poison, they only have one natural enemy, a bird called a Loggerhead Shrike, the bird impales the grasshopper and leaves them around to dry out and then eats them. I find them dead in the shrubbery from time to time. I am also an enemy and have frightened my dogs gleefully stomping them.

That is my six for this Saturday. Stop by http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see more posts from around the world.

Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Braving Isaias

The impending path of Hurricane Isaias has been big news this week in Florida. A friend is calling this storm Hurricane Unpronounceable. Research tells me Isaias replaces the name Ike, retired after a particularly disastrous storm in 2008. They downgraded Isaias to a Tropical Storm before it reached my neck of the woods.

Ordinarily I would not cut flowers during a tropical weather event. This one was mild enough that I walked my greyhounds this morning. Alan, the weather phobic hound, did not take notice of the weather. During the walk I avoided the house with Coconut Palms – the coconuts are still hanging on the tree. We had winds up to 30 mph, off and on, and very little rain. The pots on my porch had to be watered. It is interesting to note the change in direction in the winds, especially when not scared witless. The circular wind direction can be felt and noted by watching which way the palms are swaying. Just stay away from Coconut Palms.

What Hurricane?

The vase! Oddly, my husband received flowers recently for helping someone and this is the vase from his flowers. I used it to collect a hot color palette of what is flowering in my garden.

The foliage in the back of the arrangement is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘varigata’); yellow and orange spikes are Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Blanchetiana’) flowers; peach and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and blue tipped panicle flower is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flowers in the middle of the vase are Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); orange flowers hanging over the side are Firebush (Hamelia patens); and a few unnamed Zinnias. The Zinnias are grown in Miami and are my favorite (because they survive) summer container flower. I would love to know the name if anyone can share that information.

It is late Sunday afternoon and while the wind is still blowing it has died down considerably. Fingers crossed for the rest of those in the path of this storm.

To see more vases from less tropical climes visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and hopefully sunny skies…

Six on Saturday – Butterflies

img_20200516_093256

It has been a good week for bees and butterflies in my garden. My absurdly overgrown Firebush has started flowering prolifically and I am enjoying all the insect life. Above is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly diving into the flower of an Heirloom Penta. They also enjoy the Firebush. Here is the gigantic Firebush. I read the record Firebush is 13 feet tall. This one may be approaching record height.

img_20200516_084108

The Firebush was planted 6 or 7 years ago to screen the well. This is the Firebush at time of installation; I was told it was Dwarf and would get 4 feet tall! I have tree formed it as I enjoy watching the butterflies. And the well, currently dead is certainly screened.

CAM00121 (1)

Firebush Hamelia patens

Fiona the Greyhound enjoys snapping up a bee now and again.

img_20200516_094910

A bee that is out of Fiona’s reach.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200516095022183_cover

Another part of my good butterfly week – I had an article published in The American Gardener about the Atala Butterflies in my garden. Below is the link.

The American Gardener:
May/June 2020

Check out this page

Happy Gardening!! For more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Palmy Weather

img_20200426_104120

We have been having Palmy weather. Rain off and on and accompanying humidity have inspired the Adonidia Palm in my garden to flower.  I have been eyeing the flower to cut for a vase. It’s the white stemmed flower in the middle.

A palm flower is a bit of a process and interesting to watch. A bud shoots up from the base of fronds, and the flower slowly unfurls. Below is a bud and a flower. The green part is the sheath at the base of the frond. The sheath above was shed, and the buds revealed; the buds later move horizontally and flower. The palm flowers eventually form berries that look very similar to the flower and fall off. This takes until late fall; most people trim the flowers off.

img_20200328_094513

I have been watching other types of palms flowering as I walk my dogs in the morning. It is like a trip through the Cretaceous period, cycads and ferns included, no dinosaurs as of yet.

Another view of the vase:

img_20200426_103716

And  a closer view:

img_20200426_103649

The glass container is a heavy, old florist vase I found by the side of the road. Orange and chartruese fruit is from Surinam Cherries, sometimes called Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), My neighbor, a local, explained I should soak them in water to get the worms out before eating. I declined, though I did try them once, the flavor is a bit reminiscent of turpentine. Another fruit left for the birds, though a friend makes jam from them and says it is good. Red flowers are from the native Firebush, Hamelia patens.

I hope everyone is coping with the solitude and enjoying time in the garden. I seem to be moving a lot of plants around with the rain. And planning more gardens…

Thanks to Cathy, hostess of this garden meme, for carrying on with our Monday fun. See more vases at her blog, http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Coming Along Nicely

img_20200404_093454

Despite what is going on in the world my garden is coming along nicely. I  have spent a lot of time outside in the past weeks as the weather is pretty close to perfect, temperatures in the 70s with a breeze. Gardening or having a glass of wine  to enjoy the results are equally enjoyable.

Above is a  container on my screen porch I planted this winter, the plants are growing together and I look forward things spilling over the sides shortly. There are 3 kinds of Bromeliads in the container (found at Good Will). The Bromeliads were collected from my garden and friends. The burgundy is Neoregelia ‘Luca’, the green is  Neoregelia ‘Super Fireball’ and the smaller grey ones (getting a pup!) are Tillandsia ionantha. The smaller green plant in the middle near the edge is a Haworthia succulent.

The tropical fruit is making strides as well, the Pineapple and Mangoes keep getting bigger.

img_20200404_094147img_20200404_093742

A few of my hot weather favorites are starting to flower. This is a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri)

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200404093638325_cover

The Firebush (Hamelia patens) is starting to flower, I have seen a few tiny hummingbirds enjoying the flowers. A rarity on the east coast of Florida. I realized when looking at the pictures the reason I  like Leonitis so much is I like this as well..

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200404093708762_cover

The Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa stringulosa) is filling back in and flowering a bit. This is a native groundcover that is recommended as a turf replacement. I think that is not such a great idea as my lawn maintenance guy nearly always tries to get rid of it, thinking it is a weed, but the flowers are cute.

img_20200404_094432

See what gardeners around the world are doing with time on their hands and more Six on Saturday posts at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.