In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

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I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

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The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

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The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

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

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Red Hot Fourth

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The Fourth of July marks the birth of American Independence from Great Britain in 1776. Usually the general  public celebrates with loud fireworks and mass picnics in public parks. Many of these events  have been cancelled due to Covid concerns.  My greyhounds are blissfully happy (with no idea why) about no booming fireworks.

The holiday is on Saturday this week. My vase is celebrating the holiday in patriotic colors reflecting the heat in the garden with red and orange flowers. The vase is from the UK – a  teapot in Blue Willow. There is even a Firecracker Plant in the vase (Russelia equisetiformis)

I have been gardening in the mornings, the end of June signals the end of tolerable weather outdoors. July and August are listed as our  worst weather months despite Hurricane season peaking September 10. After over 20 inches of rain the first couple of weeks of June, the spigot got turned off and I have plants frying in the heat. Slightly windy and  90 degrees Fahrenheit will burn many plants. Surprisingly, I need to water some very tough Bromeliads later this afternoon ( and check on the irrigation)

Another view:

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And closer:

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The weeping red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); red spikes Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and yellow daisies – Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); the orange flower, Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); grey foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare) – I can’t smell the Licorice…and a leftover Guzmania Bromeliad from last week.

Happy Gardening to all and Happy Fourth to those who celebrate it.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly event. To see more vases follow the link.

In a Vase on Monday – Shrimp and Greens

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I have learned to love Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) since taking up gardening in South Florida. My neighbor gave me a start of this several years ago and they just keep going – drought, rain, winter, summer – no problem and lots of flowers. The red flowers have been catching my eye since the onslaught of rain in June rejuvenated them.

I started with the Red Shrimp plants and just kept adding more and more foliage, then some Bromeliads and Frangipani and then some more foliage..lots of greens in this vase. The Shrimps ended up in a supporting role instead of starring in the vase. Here is a shrimpy close up.

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Here is a close up of the arrangement:

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The big leaf in the back is from Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum); there are a few bits of Burgundy Aechmea Bromeliad leaves in the back and some Red Shrimp Plants. And Asparagus Fern and Asian Sword Fern that appeared gratis in the garden. I am trying to hustle the ferns out of the garden before they take over. The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); smaller white flowers Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); red varigated foliage is from Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). More Red Shrimp below the Frangipani and a Red Guzmania Bromeliad flower.

I  have also learned to love Key West Pink Shrimp since moving to South Florida. They are readily available here and I can make myself a very nice meal with about four dollars worth of shrimp. My husband has odd shellfish issues, so I am the sole consumer. Here is my edible version of Shrimp and Greens.

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Happy Gardening, I hope everyone finds something lovely to go with the greens in the garden. Shrimps or not.

To see more vases from gardens around the world visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Wedding Bells

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It’s June, the most popular month for weddings in the US. I put together a big vase of fragrant white flowers and greenery, was ready to call it ‘Go Big or Go Home’ – then realized there were bells on the table and the crystal vase was wedding gift from a dear friend that worked with both my husband and me at the architectural firm where we met. The bells, year round residents on the table, are temple bells my father brought back from India after being stationed there during World War II.

I started to use Bridal Bouquet Frangipani but the stems are too short for this vase. What could be better for a June bride than a big bouquet of Gardenias? A closer view:

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The Gardenias are Tropical Gardenias, sometimes called Florida Gardenias – like the temple bells on my table, these hail from India. Their botanical name is Tabernaemontana divaricata. Adding to the fragrance from the Gardenias, the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). A spray of chartreuse flowers from the Adonidia Palm is hiding in the foliage. The rest of the foliage is Asian Sword Ferns and a few errant palm fronds from seedling Sabal Palms (Palmetto sabal).

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My foyer smells good enough to hold a very intimate wedding ceremony there. The need for witnesses might present a problem due to spatial constraints.

To see more vases from gardens around the world visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Of Cabbages and Parrots

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Well, I am not literary enough to chat about the origins Of Cabbages and Kings; though I remember the line. The cabbages in my vase this Monday are in the back of the vase, a dramatically pruned frond from a Cabbage Palm seedling (Palmetto sabal). The seedlings of this palm appear sort of randomly in my garden and grow so slowly they are no cause for alarm, and I occasionally cut one for a vase. I like the graphic backdrop the palm frond provides.

The parrot in the vase is the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). The tallest flower in yellow and red. The Parrotflower is a small Heliconia, relatively easy to grow here, but it needs a lot of water. I have just transplanted some bits into my (ha) vegetable garden to see if I can grow some for cut flowers as something else usually seems to eat my vegetables. And it is not my husband or the greyhounds. The  culprits, that I am aware of, are rabbits, bobcats, armadillos and more recently iguanas. What’s a girl to do? Plant flowers these things won’t eat, of course.

Here is another view:

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And a closer view:

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I think the Palm frond and Parrotflowers have been covered. The other flowers are in white, flowers from an Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli); the red ferny flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) – a perennial in South Florida I used as a summer container plant further north. The red flowers at the edge of the vase are from Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) – so called as it seems not to have the energy  to fully  open.

Feeling a bit that way myself.

Hope everyone is safe and well and please stay in a bit longer…to see more Monday vases please visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com

In a Vase on Monday – One Man’s Trash..

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The saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. My treasures today include several plants that are considered weeds. Nut sedge, the chartreuse flowers at the top right, is a particularly reviled weed. Some call this sand spurs. I have pulled a great deal of it out of my garden and dog paws. I was pulling some yesterday and thought ‘this looks like a Papyrus’ well, for good reason. It is a Cyperus, while Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is a wetland sedge. This is a dryland sedge. But a treasure for today only.

The ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a very pretty weed, great vase filler, and invasive nuisance in Florida. I have been pulling these out after rains all winter. They hang on for dear life when it’s dry and are very difficult to pull out.

The white daisy flower is a Bidens alba, these are a nuisance to me although a great nectaring plant for bees and butterflies. These reseed so prolifically I cut them to stop it. I am pretty certain I will never run out of Bidens. Its common name is Spanish Needles, the seeds are sharp and it is said the early settlers of Florida used them as needles.

A closer view:

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Most of these treasures are excellent nectar producers for pollinators. The hot pink flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); yellow and red daisies, Gallardia pulchella; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). The Sweet Almond has perfumed my hallway with the scent of Marzipan.

Here is a Gulf Frittilary enjoying the nectar of the Heirloom Penta.

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Happy Gardening…to see more vases go visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Mothers Day

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I put this vase together on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US. The vases often make me think of my mother, Miss Betty, an intrepid gardener, registered nurse and mother of  four, who would have loved to see all the vases on Monday. I took care of her the last years of her life and always did her grocery shopping on Tuesday. Tuesday always brought a vase to her kitchen – either flowers from my garden, her garden or the grocery store. We both had Red Alstromeria in our gardens and the grocery store usually did as  well – there was a lot of Alstromeria in those Tuesday vases. Recently a friend brought me a start of the original Alstromeria my mother gave her. It is currently suffering in my garden, and I hope it can cope with South Florida sand.

A closer view of the vase:

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It’s an unusually cool, gloomy day for May in South Florida. I decided to create a copper teapot full of color for my foyer. The teapot is a favorite find of mine, antiquing with my husband I spied this and had to have it. Then went running home to make sure the check I wrote wouldn’t bounce. It didn’t, but barely.

There are a lot of flowers stuffed into a pickle jar in the teapot (it doesn’t hold water, holes in the bottom) The big red flower is The President Hibiscus, an old variety that lives a long time. Blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); bigger white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri); smaller white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); the orange tubular flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); grey fuzzy foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolaris); yellow and red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigatem); the Guzmania Bromeliad from last week’s vase is at the bottom left in the arrangement. Here is another view:

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And here is my mother, Miss Betty with her mother, Miss Ethel in 1988 – in front of her prized Philadelphus. I wonder how she would feel about being in a blog post..

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In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

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The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

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I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

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The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.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