Six on Saturday – Butterflies

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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.

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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.

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Firebush Hamelia patens

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

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A bee that is out of Fiona’s reach.

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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

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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.

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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:

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And  a closer view:

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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

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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.

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

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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..

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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.

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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.

Six on Saturday – Bountiful Butterflies

It’s a dreadful Saturday morning in Florida, our first cold front of the season is moving through spawning 35 mph winds and pouring rain. I spotted some new butterflies in my garden this week and decided that would be a better post than blurry, windblown flowers photos. I started a pollinator garden about two years ago and was astonished at how many butterflies appeared in my garden to devour my botanical treats. Here are a few:

The Giant Swallowtail on Firebush.

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Cloudless  Sulphur Caterpillar on Senna ligustrina.

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Zebra Longwing Butterfly:

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Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Zinnias:

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Pipevine  Swallowtail Butterfly on Firebush:

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Black Swallowtail on screen porch:

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For more Six on Saturday posts,  hopefully from drier gardens – follow this link to The  Propagators blog  More SOS.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Love/Hate Relationships

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The oh so subtle signs of fall are appearing on the peninsula of Florida. Hurricane Dorian was one unmistakable sign, the hurricane season peaks on September 10. My husband declared hurricane season over and took down all the storm shutters. Signs in the garden include the formation of fruit on Beautyberry and Firebush and I have seen three (yes, 3!) Red Maples sporting red fall color. It is exciting.

My garden came through the brush with Hurricane Dorian mostly unscathed, the Beautyberry had their leaves blown off (the berries were untouched) and the Avocado tree’s leaves have windburn. A few branches down here and there, but that is about it. I wonder if I have sited the Avocado in a less than the optimal place as the leaves usually burn from one thing or another.

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The vase is an old florist’s vase I found by the side of the road in my neighborhood. I am guessing at least thirty years old as I vaguely remember these in the 80s. Most of the plants in the vase I love for their flowers but hate for their voracious appetite for space in the garden.

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The most incorrigible of the lot, in white, Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) possibly the best native pollinator in the garden – however, these reseed to the point of annoyance. In orange and red, Firebush (Hamelia patens – varieties botanically undefined) I love these shrubs, but once they get going watch out. I was told one was dwarf (4 feet) sounds great – it is probably closing in on 12 feet and still growing. Also soon to be a tree form as I love the butterflies nectaring on it (5 different butterflies seen while cutting branches for the vase). The red fruits are also from the Firebush, I have two types, the red one produces fruit that grows little plants in the garden – the orange one never does. Grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum) I prune and prune and never have a dense hedge, purple flowers occasionally make it worthwhile. The purple berries, Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) which I love right now but not so much for the foliage. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, they could take over a gas station parking lot. Enough said.

My vase from last week is holding up well with the exception of the Orchid, that was asked to leave and unceremoniously composted. Here are the two vases together.

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Maybe there is fall color in Florida. It is just totally different.

In a Vase on Monday – Some Like it Hot

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Living in South Florida requires ‘liking it hot’. The weather certainly is and in my case the colors in my garden. I like it hot. I will say a little moderation in the temperature would be meaningful. I have seen our current weather described as ‘Hell’s Front Porch’.

 

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This morning my husband sent me this, I don’t think it was actually quite that hot. However,  I decided to retreat to the air conditioning and leave the garden, letting the weeds take over a little more. We are up to 11.5 inches of rain for August and are expecting a few more inches from a nearby tropical system. The weeds are deliriously happy and reveling in the plentiful precipitation.

A closer view of the vase. The orange tubular flowers are appropriately named for the season, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) There is a botany war about the proper name of this plant. I decided that is its proper name.

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The red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), enjoying a banner year with all the rain, red flower at the base of the arrangement is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); white spikes are from Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) another great butterfly plant. There is a lot of foliage in this vase. The grey foliage is from the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum); big green leaves at the base are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’); burgundy foliage is from a Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); two kinds of fern – Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and Asparagus Fern – both are volunteers. In the back some foliage from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Lemon’)

 

The Firebush with a friend. The Zebra Longwing butterflies have been enjoying its nectar this summer, I have seen five butterflies hovering around the flowers more than once. These are planted beside my front door, so I see them several times a day and enjoy the flowers and the Zebras.

 

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Every Monday Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com hosts In a Vase on Monday, to see more gardens and vases visit her blog.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – August in a Pasta Jar

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The Dog Days of Summer are upon us. August dawned with steamy tropical heat punctuated by thunderstorms followed by a deluge of rain that emboldened and enthralled weeds overtaking the garden. I try to keep all the seed heads picked off the most noxious weeds in hopes of containing their numbers. It seems things make seed earlier here taking advantage of the rainy season to establish a new generation.

My Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana)  is packed with fruit and was blocking access to our irrigation controller so I trimmed a branch for this vase. Floridians make jam with this – I may have enough berries this year, although the universal reaction to the jam (from non-Floridians) has been ‘it doesn’t taste like much’. Probably best left for the birds. And I won’t have to engage my botulism phobia. This is one stem of a 6-foot shrub.

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The vase is an old pasta container that long ago lost its lid. While cutting flowers, it occurred to me I was getting a real taste of late summer in Florida without any of the imported tropicals. I left Frangipani, Heliconias, Orchids, and Bromeliads flowering in the garden.

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The contents of August in a jar: purple and green berries; American Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); white flowers, Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); orange and yellow spikes, Bulbine frutescens; red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red star shaped flowers, Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); tubular red/orange flowers, native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Daisies at the base; in yellow, Beach Daisies (Helianthus debilis); in apricot, some mysterious Zinnias and some native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella). The Gallardia was thoughtlessly cropped out by me – it can be seen in the picture at the top of the post.

Maybe next week I will have a Tropical Jar of August!