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….

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Candy

Not Summer arrived in South Florida on the first of November, I am only too happy to bid farewall to October and Summer. Not Summer brings lower temperatures, less humidity and Muhly Grass flowers, my garden is filled with flowing pink grasses. The candy is the purple Bromeliad flower – it is a Portea Bromeliad, the variety is Candy.

Welcome to the Jungle

I think there is too much Muhly Grass in the garden (with Bottle Palm in top of image) but I am really enjoying them this Fall/Not Summer.

A close up:

The purple flowers with a pink stem (how often do you get to say that?) is Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad, the off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back; a purple and silver striped sprig of Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina); and the Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) in the background.

I have missed a couple of weeks caring for my husband, who is on the mend. Thanks to Cathy for hosting.

Visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Blues

The Muhly Grass in my garden started sending up feathery pink spires this week. This is one of my fall favorites and I keep adding more to the garden. They reseed a bit and every plant gets moved to a new spot. I realized recently I am running out of spots and should stop before there is too much Muhly. Or I could add some drifts further back in the yard….can one ever have too much Muhly?

A closer view:

The pink is Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) – a Florida native that thrives in my garden; the deep blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) having a banner year; light blue flowers are from Arabian Lilac (Vitx trifolia); white Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) adds some fragrance and graceful Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) sways with the Muhly Grass.

Bountiful Blue Porterweed:

Another reason for the Muhly Blues. Alan the Greyhound, tail wagging, went over the Rainbow Bridge this week. The Rainbow Bridge is my favorite euphemism as I love the thought of all my departed Greyhounds waiting at the end of the bridge to join Alan in a joyful run into happy infinity…

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly meme. Go visit Cathy and see a world of vases.

In a Vase on Monday – Meadow Munchies

After the events of the past couple of weeks of (fill in the blank, ugh) I decided some whimsy was in order. My cow vase came off the shelf and was filled with flowers from the imaginary meadow where porcelain cows munch on flowers all day long. My imaginary cows produce strawberry and chocolate milk.

The view from the front and a closer view of the contents.

The ‘grass’ in the back of the vase is from Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella); orange and peach spike flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); peach flowers are Profusion Zinnias; two tone flowers at the edge are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); purple foliage is Setcreasea; lavendar foliage and flowers are from Arabian Lilac (Vitex trifolia); the gracefully bendy white flowers are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); textured stems are from Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicensis). These porcelain cows have a sophisticated palette.

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words about Alan the Greyhound. Alan is still here; his squirrel chases severely curtailed. My vet decided he had strained his back ( bouncing off the sliding glass door while chasing squirrels) and medication would help. After a few days on dog Ibuprofen, he is feeling much better. He still has bone cancer, in the early stages, but is resting comfortably on the lawn and many soft places in the house. I have not quite managed to convince him to leave the squirrels alone.

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

In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Alan

My husband and I spent most of last night in the pet emergency center. Actually, in the parking lot as they won’t let anyone inside. My older greyhound, Alan, who has been in my blog on many occasions, was limping and in pain so we took him to be evaluated. The vet initially thought he had torn his ACL, then X rays revealed a much worse diagnosis. Bone cancer, extremely painful and always fatal. They sent us home with pain medication and little hope. He is still here today, but I am sure he will be gone by my next vase.

This vase is for Alan.

He has spent many hours in the garden with me. His primary tasks, digging holes, terrorizing squirrels and holding down sand and lawn.

The vase is a pottery wine cooler, rarely used for wine, but I love it on my kitchen counter. The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica), a miniature pineapple pup (I will plant next week); some Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and a strand of Asparagus Fern.

Below is a story published several years ago in GreenPrints Magazine about my greyhounds in the garden. Truth be told, I don’t have a favorite garden hound. The one in the story was a real character.

Happy Monday and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly gardening meme. Visit Cathy to see more vases.

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.

In a Vase on Monday – Cattleyas on the Rocks

My garden had a stormy weekend. Hurricane Sally passed within about 100 miles, hurling bands of drenching rain and wind in her wake. The air is so saturated with moisture it is difficult to describe; imagine air having a presence. I think of it as feeling the evil, hot breath of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. My slightly curly hair is literally standing on end, bigger by the moment. Given the humidity and knowledge that another hurricane is headed towards the Gulf coast, I will most likely look like I stuck my finger in the electrical socket on Monday.

The White Cattleya orchid opened on Sunday morning and was being buffeted by the winds, so I decided to cut if for a vase. The rocks are in the base of the glass vase holding the orchids in place. The title sounds a bit like a cocktail; I am trying to dream up something that tastes like an orchid, this one has a sweet fragrance and always blooms in pairs. Limoncello, Coconut Rum and something? Tonic water? Club soda? Hmmm.

Here is the bud from Saturday. I am surprised it opened so quickly and with little sunshine.

A closer view of the Cattleya, I have no idea of the variety, my neighbor gave me the orchid and I am trying not to kill it. Orchids usually meet an untimely end in my garden. Anything that needs fertilizer every two weeks is destined for demise. This one has been around for at least two years – though it is turning brown..sigh.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. Thinking positive thoughts for those in the path of Hurricane Sally.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this addictive meme. Follow the link to see vases from gardens around the world.