In A Vase on Monday – Where The Wild Things Are

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As these things go sometimes I started out with one idea and ended up with another. My first thought was to create a vase that looked as if it had been put together in an English garden. The English garden vase was going reasonably well until I realized the Sunflowers were full (extraordinarily full) of insects resembling Lightning Bugs. I hope they are Lightning Bugs and not a dreadful all consuming beetle. I carried several of these beetles outside and then realized the vase needed something like Artemisia or Lambs Ears, requiring a several hundred mile drive to the north.

So, I went to the back garden, where the wild things are, to search for some contrasting foliage. Looking up, I spied ripe, purple wild grapes that ramble through the Surinam Cherry hedge. The wild things are usually in the hedge eating something. Surinam Cherries, Passionfruit, rootstock Oranges and Seagrapes grow nearby. Sometimes at night it sounds like the creatures from Jurassic Park are in the garden.

The grapes are native Muscadines (Vitis rotundafolia) and the local wildlife usually gets the  fruit before I see it ripen. These look like Champagne Grapes, but taste nothing like them! Less than an 1/2 inch diameter with 3 large seeds inside, tasty but barely edible. I cut some, not very English at all and started a bigger vase for the grapes.

Into the big crystal vase they went and some tropical friends joined in:

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The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica) flourishing in the heat of August. The orange flowers, Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). The ferns, gigantic fronds of Asian Sword Fern, I think. The big leaves are from Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata) and the spikey foliage Dwarf Varigated Pineapple.

Here is the “English Garden” vase:

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I think it could pass for Black Eyed Susans, Red Salvia, Blue Veronica and Gazanias? That’s not exactly what is in there.

Where The Wild Things Are  by Maurice Sendak was my absolute favorite book as a child. The book is now 54 years old. Maybe those creatures are living in my back garden.

In A Vase on Monday – Gardening with Armadillos

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Sunday got off to a bit of a rough start, about 3 a.m. one of my greyhounds started to run around and whine. I got up, thinking he needed to go out and opened the door – only to hear a strange sound crashing around in the garden. Decided to turn on the security lights and low and behold, I spied an Armadillo. The shelled rodent (IMO) digging beside the metal screen enclosure on our porch, bashing his shell against the metal. Driving my poor dog mad and depriving both of us our beauty sleep.

As the dog ran out the door the foolish Armadillo ran into the fenced part of our yard – who knew an Armadillo could out run a greyhound?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo

Cartoon time 3 a.m. My backyard. Starring Alan the Greyhound. Shown below in his usual state. Alan is the brown dog, the other one has no interest in getting up at 3 a.m.

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A few hours and cups of coffee later, I went to look for vase components in the garden the Armadillo had been digging in. Sure enough, he or she had been overturning Bromeliads, a favorite pastime for some reason made better by overturning burgundy or spotted Bromeliads. By trial and error, I eventually found out cardboard and mulch will keep the armadillos away, needs another application. Sigh.

20170806_100322 Seeking the components of a vase, I noted the Spathoglottis is flowering again. I know this really sounds like a disease, but is actually a lovely little Ground Orchid called Caberet. This is the second round of flowering since I planted it in January. It is the purple flower in the vase. The blue flowers are Porterweed, the jury is still out on which one and today it is really shedding for some reason. The yellow flowers are Lantana, Silvermound would be my guess for variety. The purple spotted foliage is from a Bromeliad the Armadillo overturned ‘Hallelujah’ Billbergia. A sprig of fern finishes the vase.

The Armadillo’s work last night:

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In A Vase on Monday – Back Up Pitcher

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The concept for my Monday vase was to arrange a low bowl of Frangipani with spiky accents. The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani are blooming profusely and I wanted an arrangement for the foyer.  I started with (I found out later) my lowest Blue Willow bowl with a glass frog to hold the white flowers in place. While placing the white Frangipani flowers I decided to pick some spiky red and blue ones to go with the bowl. As I was meandering through the garden one of my greyhounds lost his collar and I had to stop and find it. By the time the collar was found and I got back in the house the red and blue flowers had wilted.

Then, I realized the flowers were too short for the bowl. In search of a lower bowl, I concluded there were none and happened upon the glass pitcher. The Back Up Pitcher. My husband is the baseball fan, Atlanta Braves specifically. The baseball is from the 1995 World Series, signed by Mark Wohlers, a backup pitcher.

Here is another view:

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I left the spiky flowers soaking in the abandoned bowl, hoping for rejuvenation. Oddly enough, this worked. At this point a return trip to the garden was needed for some taller flowers.

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The players in my Back Up Pitcher: in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), in orange, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens), in rosy red, Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), in blue, Porterweed, in red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), in red and yellow Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum). Foliage accents are Asparagus Fern and Split Leaf Philodendron. Practically as many players as a baseball team.

Is the arrangement a home run?

Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – The Garden Comes Inside

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This vase is the result of a happy accident in the front garden. Anyone who reads my blog will recognize the Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) as one of my favorite cut flowers. The Parrotflowers bloom nearly year round, are pretty indestructible and last a long time in a vase. The orange flowers in the front of the vase are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) that popped up behind the Parrotflowers making a stunning plant combination in the garden and the vase.

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The vase (recently ‘found’) in the cabinet with the crystal, I thought it had been broken when we moved. This is a favorite of mine, a wedding gift from an old friend I worked with at the Architectural firm where I met my husband. We are still working on gardens together (his). Finding the vase again made me happy it didn’t have an accident! This vase takes a lot of tall flowers, so it is a dream container for big tropical flowers.

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Speaking of cut flowers, these are recycled from last week’s vase. The Miniata Bromeliad flower and only the buds of the tropical Gardenia seem to be lasting well into this week in their smaller blue digs.

Thank you all for your suggestions to contact the editor of our local paper about a cut flower article. I sent a proposal in for writing an article and imagine my surprise when one appeared in the Sunday paper – not written by me and suggesting an all blue cutting garden. Really peculiar, but disturbing, coincidence.

Here is the interesting item of the week and a gift from a friend. The Pineapple Lily.

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In A Vase on Monday – Semi Tropical

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I read something interesting in the local newspaper recently – the garden expert said “there really aren’t any good cutting flowers that grow in our area”. It made me question what I am doing every Sunday morning – deadheading flowers for fun? The very same paper ran an article about growing Red Valerian, in South Florida, unfortunately a laughable situation.

So, if you stand back and squint a bit, this vase looks like white roses, pink lilies and (use your imagination) apricot lilacs and we are in a cutting garden hundreds of miles north.

 

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The reality is while the vase appears semi tropical it is actually very tropical. None of these plants will grow much further north of my garden. The pink lilies are Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes), white flowers Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divaricata) and the apricot flowers are from Miniata Bromeliads (Aechmea miniata) I would swear the Miniatas were red last year. Asian Sword Ferns create a backdrop.

I cut some Rain Lilies as an experiment thinking they would close immediately, but they last a couple of days and are so pretty they make it worthwhile. No idea why they are blooming – it hasn’t rained here in weeks. The garden is parched. The good news is the weeds are also parched and have slowed down significantly.

Fun things in the garden this week. I enjoyed my first homegrown Mango, a Nam Doc Mai, Thai dessert mango. Divine.

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My neighbor’s Cattleya Orchids (she grows them in a tree trunk) started flowering. I have some as well, but mine are still thinking.

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In A Vase on Monday -Frangipani, Foccacia and Friends

 

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Sunday morning found me baking bread to make Pulled Pork sandwiches for a friend who came down with shingles. While the bread was rising, I toured the garden to find the components of a vase. The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) has just started flowering in earnest and the scent wafting through the air in the early morning stopped me and my clippers.

I clipped a stem of the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani and looked around to see a Pink Desert Rose (Adenium) flowering and cut one of those to add to the vase. What vase? A small red glass one from the GoodWill (thrift or charity shop) seemed in order. Then a bit more red in the form of foliage. A few leaves of Pie Crust Croton (Codiaem varigatum “Pie Crust”) The Pie Crust Croton foliage has the unlikely color combination of red, black, green and a bit of yellow. The shrub will give you a bit of a pause when seen in the garden. The Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpurea’) has come back with the rains and I added a bit of that for deep grey foliage, then found some errant Asparagus Fern to complete my vase. Here is a close up.

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I punched the Foccacia dough down and set it into the oven to rise again and finished the arranging the vase.  Here is the finished Foccacia:

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This is a Parmesan Crusted Low Sodium Foccasia, my specialty. Here is the bad news.

I woke up the other morning feeling I needed to check on the Night Blooming Cereus:

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The bud was no longer on the plant. During the night something knocked off the bud! Maybe next year.

In A Vase on Monday-Ironic Architecture

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The occasional Architectural floral arrangement appears in my house. I would consider this one is in that style. Generally speaking, I am ambivalent about Architectural furnishings and such. After working for an Architectural firm for a few years, I determined I really did not want to see or deal with another Architect for a really long time. Then, I married one. Twenty five years ago. Ironic.

This morning, finding the Soap Aloe in bloom, I decided to feature it’s large candelabra shaped flower stalk in a tall crystal vase. This idea sent me looking for a wedding gift, said tall crystal vase, from a dear friend, yes an Architect. Not remembering where I put it, I decided it must have been broken when we moved as I haven’t seen it in ages. Went on about my arranging using another vase, finished it, decided to look in the (gasp) crystal and china cabinet and there is was, safe and sound, stowed in the back. Ironic.

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This is a relatively simple plant palette. In orange and candelabra, the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). A frond from our native Cabbage Palm (Palmetto sabal), the long green leaf is from a Sansiveria( Mother In Law tongues or Snake Plants), the long orange leaves are from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana). It seems weird to me, I can think – I need a 4 foot long bit of orange foliage for this arrangement and then find it in the garden. Not particularly ironic, just an observation.

Here is the progress on the Night Blooming Cereus, bud has doubled in size.

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Happy Monday.