In a Vase on Monday – The Shrimp Boat

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This vase is my grandmother’s gravy boat – it exhibits a bit of family history, my father broke it (probably in the 1930s) and was made to fix it. He glued it back together, I wasn’t sure it would hold water but it does! The patina on this old piece of Blue Willow is extreme. The inside repair is visibly cracked, the spout is deeply chipped and the glue has turned brown – I don’t use it for gravy but keep it on a shelf to enjoy the history.

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The shrimp? It’s the Red Shrimp Plant in the vase. The Red Shrimp Plant is one of the more indestructible plants in my garden. It grows in sugar sand, no fertilizer and if you forget to water it that’s not a problem. Flowering off and on year-round and it has an interesting flower. The plant is kind of gangly, but its benefits far outweigh the ganglies. Does it look like shrimp? Not to me.

A closer look at the rest of the arrangement:

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The red flowers on the left side are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) – a novelty plant by some accounts though it does look like coral. Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) lounging around the end with white Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata); yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), off white spikes at the end are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

I have a feeling my grandmother would think this was a pretty weird thing to do with her broken gravy boat. But, you never know!!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday. To see more vases follow the link to Rambling in The Garden MOREVASES

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In a Vase on Monday – Purple Jam Session

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One of the components of this arrangement could be used to make jam..it’s the purple Beautyberries. The green fruit on the table is Florida Avocadoes from a neighbors tree. My grandfather referred to these as Alligator Pears, which makes sense to me now. It’s a sweeter, creamier version of the Hass Avocado. I have a Cuban Avocado tree in my garden, the fruit is similar just twice the size of the Florida version. My grandfather might have called these Alligator Footballs.

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I didn’t set out to do a purple vase, it just evolved after I found the Ground Orchids blooming (Spathoglottis “Cabernet” small purple orchids in the middle). I added some peachy pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and Purple Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Then some white accents, spilling over the side Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata) the creamy white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa). Greenery is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a burgundy Bromeliad leaf  – Luca Neoregelia.

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Now, if only one of my neighbors would make some Beautyberry Jam!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday.

To see more vases follow this link to Cathy’s blog, ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Red and Black

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It’s college football season in the US and I graduated from a football school, the University of Georgia. A football powerhouse currently ranked #3 in the country. Our team colors are Red and Black, hence the vase. The Landscape Architecture program left me with a peculiar love of plants that I like to share in vases. After watching football on Saturday. Only in the fall. And maybe a few bowl games after January 1st.

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The vase is black, a thrift store find I have enjoyed. The red flowers hanging over the side, Turks Cap or Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), the red and yellow flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum), white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) and ferny greens are volunteer Asparagus Fern.

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It occurred to me this also looks a bit like an early holiday vase, and I had to laugh considering the images floating through my mind of burly men wearing gigantic pads fighting over a pointy football.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs.

In a Vase on Monday – Cheers for Fall

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We are finally getting hints of fall in South Florida. Temperatures have fallen to highs in the mid-80s (F) and humidity is down as well. I washed all my porch furniture slipcovers and had my first glass of wine outdoors in months. My husband smoked some Mahi Mahi and I made some Smoked Fish Dip in celebration of porch day.

The ‘vase’ is a brandy snifter, though no one around here sniffs any brandy. The Honey Pepper Vodka is used to make Smoked Fish Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce. Nemiroff sounds like a villain in a James Bond movie, I wouldn’t drink any. The variety of vodka flavors available boggles my mind, this one adds some sweet spice to the sauce on the pasta.

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Another vase view.

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Sometimes it surprises me the number of stems I can get into a vase. This is one of those vases. The flowers are: starting at the base: red star-shaped flowers, Old Fashioned Pentas (Penta lanceolata); the white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia bossieri); orange and red daisies are Gallardia (G. pulchella); grapes are from Muscadine vines (Vitis rotundafolia); pink and red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); blue flowers are Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicensis); grey foliage is Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum); off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa).

Here’s a close up:

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As always, Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this weekly garden meme. To see other vases follow this link Cathy’s blog.

Cheers to Fall!

In a Vase on Monday – Feeling Cooler, Not.

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September in Florida. It’s still blazing hot summer, though the calendar is telling me otherwise. Fall doesn’t arrive until October and it could be really late in October. My mental calendar still lives further north sometimes and expects cooler weather after Labor Day. In hopes of some mental cooling, I went in search of autumnal hues for my vase.

The vase is a thrift store find that I have used frequently and love for its chunky pottery vibe and the grey color provides great contrast to high colors.

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This is one of those vases I would have never conceptualized (realize I am a very highly seasoned design person, grey-haired and spicy). Conceptualized is design BS for ‘wouldn’t have thought of this’. Ugh, I hate that stuff sometimes. But there it is. Just popping out.

Wandering through the garden, I cut some white and purple – the white flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – sometimes it is white. The purple flowers are ‘Cabernet’ Spathoglottis, a Ground Orchid. Then I saw the apricot/orange panicles, these are flowers from the Miniata Bromeliad, fading away. I was surprised to like the color. The usual color is below. The deep purple and gold berries are from a Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) – this is one of the supposedly ‘easy to grow natives’ that is not so easy to grow. It has been moved several times and finally seems content, in a place no book recommends. And it doesn’t smell like spices as of yet. The orange tubular flowers are from a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), supposedly people made shampoo with these in the past – and then, the disclaimer. Many people are allergic to this, so caution is advised. There is not enough Benadryl in my house to make shampoo with this Aloe. The graceful creamy white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) – this is named for a Caribbean dance – Juba, because it sways in the wind like the dancers, and it really does. I guess I need a Limbo plant. Striped foliage in the back is from Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) that grows wild in my garden.

Here is the Miniata Bromeliad in flower.

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An interesting difference in the Miniata, though I like both colors and this week the color is decidedly cooler.

I just finished a good book and would like to share it with you. This book resonated deeply with me, having many similar thoughts and experiences in my garden. (I talk to my mother – who is dead – often in the garden, usually about my lack of gloves) I was happy to read other people do this.

A very enjoyable read by Cynthia Reyes, ‘Twigs in my Hair’

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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 Sunday – Flowers by Dorian

IMG_20190901_105215 Who is Dorian, you may ask? Dorian is the hurricane currently lashing the Bahamas that may or may not be lashing my house on Monday. This hurricane has been lurking around for at least a week and we are still wondering where Dorian will land.

We have had so much time to prepare I did not really have anything left to do and decided to make this wildly funky vase with flowers that would likely be destroyed by  high winds. I had to take the vase outside to photograph it – the windows of our house are covered with the steel shutters seen behind the vase and it is dark and sepulchral inside. Too dark to photograph the nearly 4 foot tall arrangement, the vase is resting on my bath mat.

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190901105508924_COVERHere is a closer view. The orchids are Cattleyas, gifted to me by my neighbor. I may have saved them from an uncertain demise, they were being consumed by tiny ants, Not to mention potential hurricane winds. The orange and red flowers are the bud stalks from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana) these will usually survive a hurricane and continue flowering but are bent over. The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) not sure if the berries will survive the wind. Time will tell. The foliage is a big leaf of Heliconia and two variegated Pandanus leaves.

Happy Gardening…Hope we meet next Monday. The winds are howling already.