In a Vase on Monday – Go Big or Go Home

My husband went through a spell of getting tattoos, no idea what precipitated it, but he is known as “The Illustrated Man” and people tend to remember his artwork before they remember him. Anyway, the slogan from his favorite tattoo shop on Maui is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Here is his back, a tribute to the Disney movie, Fantasia.

I have taken the slogan to heart in the design of my tropical Rainforest Garden; big, coarse textured plants contrasted with ferns and smaller groundcovers, the colors almost reflect the rainbow. Yellow is missing. I plucked this vase there.

The big pink flowers are from the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – everything about this plant is big. The leaves average 9 by 9 inches, the plant itself is 12 by 12 feet after 3 years in the garden. The leaf in the middle is from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) this anchors a corner in the garden. Everyone who walks through gasps and says, “what is that?” At least 4 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide, it adds a Jurassic feel to the garden. The Ferns are Boston Ferns (yes, the famous porch fern) that grow huge in their native habitat and are easily three feet tall. I am pulling them out and throwing them away as they are out of hand.

The other side of the arrangement has “Java White” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Java White’). Another prolific grower, this turns green in shade, and is a bit of a trick to site properly…it may be moved further into the sun.

The container, a large crystal vase, a long ago wedding gift from a dear friend I treasure. The vase and the friend.

As always, thank you to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting this addictive meme. I am sorry I missed last week’s tribute to Dorris. I will miss her posts and images from her garden.

In a Vase on Monday – Healing Energy

The events of the past week have left me non-plussed. A vocabulary word provided by an old friend’s ninety year old father. Non-plussed from the dictionary “surprised and confused so much they are unsure how to react.” My husband and I sat in our living room, open mouthed, watching events unfold in the United States of America I would have never dreamed possible. I decided a vase reflecting the colors of another crystal with healing energy from my father’s collection was in order. The vase is a Fostoria crystal container that belonged to my mother in law. My husband refers to them as butterscotch pudding bowls. I have no idea what they are really for, but they make a good vase.

My father, the geology professor, has been gone since 2003. I have family rocks. I think this is a Flourite crystal. They are known for their multi colored hues. This one is purple and coke bottle green with some greys and whites. They are know for their healing energy, I think that energy should be tapped wherever we can find it. Energymuse.com says this about Flourite – “The perfect prescription for a case of existential burnout, the purple color in the Fluorite crystal help you discover your divine purpose in life. It opens and stimulates the third eye chakra, clearing the way for spiritual expansion and a deeper sense of inner peace.” Existential burnout! Yep, you’re looking at it. The instructions go on to say carry the crystal with you.

The flowers in this vase are – in purple, Lantana of unknown origin; in white, Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); green and pink flowers are buds of Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii); solid purple foliage is Purple Queen (Setcreasea pallida); varigated purple foliage is Transcandentia zebrina; green background foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Just for fun, I did another vase. I call this one the Pea shooter. The vase is a shot glass for tequila from my favorite niece’s wedding. The peas are the Bromeliad in the vase – this is an Aechmea Bromeliad, very weird flower that looked like canned peas to me. The curl is dried Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage and the greenery is the other Asparagus fern that pops up in my garden.

Anybody else need a shot of tequila?

Thanks always to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases (likely without tequila) visit the link….

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Spring into 2021

I dressed my vase in winter whites this Monday, adding a catapult of red dried Bromeliad foliage ribbon to sling purifying white crystal energy into this new year. The crystals are White Quartz; certainly collected in the field by my father, the geology professor. It seems White Quartz has the properties to purify negative energy and is recommended for spiritual healing. I am thinking of where to place these crystals for maximum effect. We have never needed the White Quartz more.

A closer view:

The white flowers and foliage are from Sweet Begonias, (Begonia odorata ‘alba’) a bulletproof perennial in my garden. These grow in sugar sand and near total shade, they are irrigated and flower off and on year round while lending coarse green texture to the garden. The Sweet Begonias amaze me, I would have wilted if left where they thrive. The red catapult is a remnant of my Christmas wreath. I wrapped the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and was left with some long dried curls – I thought they were kind of cool and saved them. The decorations would have lasted longer. Not wishing to tempt fate, I took everything down..is it only the American Deep South that thinks all decorations must be down before January 1st or bad luck will haunt you in the new year?? I am hoping for double good luck with the crystals!

Another view:

More winter whites from my garden. The spikes on the right hand side of the image are buds for the flower stalk of Snake Plant, Mother In Laws Tongue..etc. Sansevieria, if you want the Latin. The Snake Plant infests my garden, and it literally takes a bulldozer to get rid of it. The off white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a Florida native that just appeared one day. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, another lovely interloper.

Maybe I should put the White Quartz in the garden?

Happy Gardening and Happy New Year to all and Thank You to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting another year of In A Vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at the above link.

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..

In a Vase on Monday – Biscuit Bus Again

It’s back! The holiday bus biscuit tin makes its fourth appearance in a vase on Monday. This year, I looked for different plants from previous years – the result, a totally different combination of textures and colors and the first appearance of Florida’s native Poinsettia in a vase.

I love tins and this is a favorite, a friend from the UK brought it over as a gift for my husband. The shortbread cookies were consumed in short order – and it became a vase in December 2015, 2016 and last year.

A closer view:

The white flowers are “Miss Alice” Bougainvillea; chartreuse ‘flower’ is a fading red Guzmania Bromeliad; the native Florida Poinsettia is the green cut foliage with the pink markings; grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens); red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetifolium); ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata); and a few leaves of Piecrust Croton (darker foliage in picture above)

The 2019 version:

The 2016 Version
The Original Bus 2015

Interesting to look back on past buses! Our tabletop Christmas tree is up with an edited collection of memory inspiring ornaments. I decided on a tabletop tree due to an addition to our family, meet Zepp the Greyhound. He retired from racing at The Palm Beach Kennels on November 10, 2020. It seems a tree in the house might be a bit much for him right now. For the Led Zeppelin fans among us, my husband included, the song ‘Black Dog’ inspired his name.

Happy Holidays to all and thanks to Cathy, at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – More Summer

It is still a bit too warm for my taste in my garden (mid 80’s F), though cooler weather is on the way. November 30 is the end of hurricane season, hooray!! More good gardening news, my tomatoes have set fruit and we have eaten beans and radishes from the garden.

The flowers are reflecting summer to me, with the exception of the Muhly Grass, Muhly means fall in South Florida. The Portmerion canister is a wedding gift from long ago, never used to store anything – it occasionally serves as a vase.

A friend issued a challenge to use all native plants in the vase (it may be in a magazine) So, all the flowers are, unlike me, Florida natives. Here is another view.

White daisies are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba), a bit of an overzealous seed producer, I am only too happy to decapitate for vases. The yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), cheerful year round but I asked most of them in the front to leave the garden, too much trouble, again a zillion seedlings. Yellow bell shaped flowers are Tecoma stans, a newcomer in my garden also called Esperanza, grace in Spanish. I think I am going to love this one and may add a few more. Pink, red and apricot spikes are all Tropical Red Salvia, colors vary with bees! Off white background flowers are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and the fall defining Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) serve as a backdrop.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. The horizon is looking so positive now, we just have to put our heads down and get through this.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Summery Winter Flowers

It finally stopped raining today – it seems like it has been raining for months. Oh, it has! So much for sunny Florida. The vase is reflecting my garden, looking a bit more like summer than winter. The rain has curated a lovely crop of wildflowers, natives and a few things I planted.

I started the vase with my desire to decapitate the Bidens alba that can take over my garden seemingly with a moment’s notice. These sweet, innocent little white daisies belie the beast within that can produce 1200 seeds per plant and choke out even Goldenrod. The Tropical Red Salvia, much better behaved, has turned up in several different colors this fall, due to all the pollinators in my garden.

A closer view:

The Zinnias are Zinderella, and they do not look like the picture on the seed packet. I started the seed in August and put them in the garden the last week of September. Hoping for longer stems and double flowers.

The whole thing:

This is an ephemeral arrangement, the floaty grasses in the background are Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris); white daisies, the evil Bidens alba; different colored Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and Zinderella Zinnias. A few blue flowered Dianella and Porterweed complete the collection. The vase is a recent aquisition, an old friend sent my husband flowers..a bit of summer in November.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting this meme. See more vases at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Tecoma Trials

The yellow flowers in the center of the vase are Tecoma stans, sometimes called Esperanza (hope in Spanish). I have been looking for one of these to add to the garden for butterflies, they are the larval host plant for the Southern Dogface Butterfly, which is prettier than it sounds, much like a Sulphur Butterfly. I found one locally, totally rootbound, then forgot about it during the stormy fall weather. One clear morning a couple of weeks ago I planted it in the edges of the garden. It responded by flowering and promptly flopping over in another of the endless rain showers – so here it is in the vase and I esperanza (hope) it will last.

A side view: the red flowers draping over the side are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus); smaller red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); red and yellow flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); green foliage is Asian Sword Fern.

Two images..the white flowers in back of the arrangement are ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea. I have been writing a short feature about Bougainvilleas for The American Gardener magazine and learned these flower in cycles – especially in winter when day and night lengths are even…it is November and I have flowers, so life is good..

Thanks to Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM and Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Senza fiori

Today is the seventh anniversary of In a Vase on Monday. Cathy, the hostess of IAVOM issued a challenge to celebrate – creating a vase without flowers, hence the title – without flowers, sounding much sportier in Italian.

Here is a closer view:

This vase is mostly composed of edible plants that I haven’t eaten. The dark green leaves in the back are from Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), an odd tropical vegetable that is very poisonous unless cooked correctly – I have not learned the method and haven’t eaten any. Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), Floridians make beautiful jewel tone jam from these – reviews always mention it tastes just like sugar! The grey foliage is the top of a pineapple, I admit to growing and eating it. Burgundy fruits on left side are Roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa), an edible Hibiscus. I have been freezing these for a later, undetermined use. Ferny bits are from Asparagus Ferns and the grey succulents are Graptosedums of some sort, I am wondering if they will root or rot in the vase? The leaves creating the vase by covering a pickle jar are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana)

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this addictive (yes, very) meme on WordPress. Seven years is outstanding and I am looking forward to many more..

Happy Blogaversary and Happy Gardening….