Six on Saturday – Too Windy

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I have a Florida Box Turtle family in my garden, this one was scurrying (as fast as a turtle can scurry) away from me as I snapped the picture.

I have planted some seeds for lettuces and root vegetables and wanted to plant more, but the wind has been blowing steadily about 20 mph seemingly for the last week. Here are some Arugula seedlings, they need a major thinning, I dropped the seed packet into the pot.

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Winter brings a new color to Bromeliad foliage. These are Super Fireball Neoregelias, they are green in summer and go to reds and greens during the winter.

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Winter also brings some new and different flowers, these are buds on a Dracaena reflexa.

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The New Zealand Flax Lily (Dianella) has finally started flowering. It suffered through the summer sitting on the ground without a pot. Amazing survivor.

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My one Passionfruit. I planted a Passiflora edulis vine for larval hosting of butterflies. I have seen very few butterflies on it, two flowers and one fruit. I am interested to taste the fruit; it has been ripening for at least a month and I am told you must wait until they fall off to eat them. I hope I see it before the turtle does.

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That is my Six on Saturday, for more posts go to thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see six items of interest from gardens all over the world.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Christmas Palm Forest

 

IMG_20191208_115516It’s an oddly dreary day in South Florida, making it feel more like the holidays to me. I decided to do a mini forest basket for this second week of Advent. The forest idea sprang to mind when I saw the Christmas Palm seedhead from last week lost all its berries and looked like a  birch tree in winter. I usually call these Adonidia Palm, this is one of  those  plants with several common names. The common name can be Christmas Palm or Manila Palm, and my neighbors call them Triple Palms as many have three trunks. The botanical name is Veitchii merrilli. Below is a Christmas Palm with red fruit.

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The arrangement has the white stalk from the Christmas Palm seedhead. Red flowers are from Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); red berries are from the evil Brazilian Pepper  (Schinus terebinthifolia) – the Peppers are invasive in South Florida to the point it is illegal to plant them. I have gotten rid of mountains of  these things, but there are always a few lurking and using them in flower arrangements saves Florida a few in the woods. The ferns are: Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back and Asparagus Fern around the edges. Both are volunteers in the garden. A closer view:

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The  basket is a thrift store find and the gold cat is in honor of Mr. Bob, our resident Bobcat.

Feeling a bit more Christmassy this week. Maybe a tree and wreath on the front door next week.

For vases from around the world, follow this link to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In A Vase on Monday – Uber Tropical

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Frequently I receive comments about my vases being tropical or exotic. Much of this plant material is commonplace in Florida. The above vase, however, seems Uber Tropical to me.

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Here is a closer view. The arrangement is a stem of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); a sprig of Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) and a potential replacement for the umbrella in tropical drinks, a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is a cutting from a friend and I have no idea what botanical name goes with it. I cut it because the varmints in my garden usually eat them at about this size. They are not edible, extremely fibrous I am told, but may be juiced.

Here is the pineapple in the garden:

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I am happy I beat the varmints to my little pineapple. They are currently eating the new shoots on all the Bromeliads.

Happy Monday!

In A Vase on Monday – Fall, Actually.

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I am aware I have been, well, complaining about the extreme subtlety of seasonal change in South Florida. As I was putting this arrangement together today, I realized this really reflects the seasonal change in my garden. As the weather cools, a few more plants produce berries – other plants flower. With the exception of the varigated foliage (which is year round and (I know, weird) a foundation plant. The balance of the arrangement is what comprises fall color in South Florida.

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The red flowers anchoring the arrangement are Turks Cap (Malvaviscus penduliflorus); the berries are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens); the off white flowers are Wireweed (Neverlearnedthe latin); yellow and red lobsterclaws, Bromeliad Aechmea blanchetiana flowers; dark foliage is from Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpurea); amazingly still living after supporting several generations of Swallowtail Butterflies and my flower arrangements; varigated foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum ‘Mammey’)

Last weeks vase is still holding up and displays more of Florida’s actual fall colors.

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Not bad for Desperately Seeking Seasons.

In A Vase on Monday – Zinnias & Veg

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It is a happy Sunday in my garden. The winter vegetables are ripening and the Zinnias are flowering. This is the first week of February and, as a lifelong resident of the Northern Hemisphere, seems a bit odd to me- having Zinnias and vegetables from the garden. We have been eating lettuce, cabbage, herbs, green beans and radishes from my garden; peppers, potatoes and snow peas are coming soon.

 

A major consideration when moving to Florida is the total avoidance of winter and we moved to South Florida for its lack thereof. So far, so good. The Zinnias started to flower a week or two ago, not very impressive so I let them go. Now, I wish I had planted more seed and will go to search for more Cactus Zinnia seed. I admit, to being a (former) Zinnia snob. I grew Mexican Zinnias (Z.linearis or now,angustifolia) in containers for years -always considering the other types, pedestrian.

I announce my love for the pedestrian Zinnia! Who wouldn’t fall in love with these cheerful pink and orange flowers? I have, years too late.

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The pink and orange flowers are Cactus Zinnias. Funky orange and red flowers,  our native Gallardias that have just started back up. Foliage is from the vegetable garden, green leaves from Chinese Cabbage, darker ferny foliage from Copper Fennel. Glass container, an heirloom from my mother- I am certain she would join me in being thrilled with the Zinnias and Winter Veg.

Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Christmas Presence

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The holiday season is making its presence known here in South Florida. I bought myself some early Christmas presents today at our local Big Box store. Hand clippers and a big weeder/hoe combination to use on the dreadful Torpedo Grass I have been fighting in the vegetable garden. While navigating the parking lot, I noticed a tent, featuring a plethora of desiccating Frazier Fir Christmas trees. The tent, adding insult to the injury of being cut down, shading the trees to contemplate their ultimate demise after being dumped into an asphalt topped parking lot 800 miles south of home. The fragrance was intoxicating, but taking a tree home this early leads to a crunchy fire hazard before Christmas.

Bing Crosby was crooning ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ in the background of the store; meanwhile the ambient temperature is above 80 degrees and the locals are buying Poinsettias to be used outside as bedding plants and strings of holiday lights to festoon their Palm trees. The favored theme decoration – The Flamingo, perhaps in holiday drag. Not sure how they feel about fake fur attire. The whole shebang tends to bend the mind.

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The flamingoes, embarrassed, perhaps. This always seems a bit odd to me.

The container for my vase today is a Christmas gift from a longtime friend. I have decided to stop saying old friend for good reason. We met in college, need I say more? The container is locally handmade from all natural materials and a bit of a challenge to use because it is very light – and tends to fall over. I finally put a heavy glass frog in the base and added flowers. And it worked!

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This is my artistic photo, a rarity, but I like it.

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More arty photos. I use the term loosely, a vase that was difficult photographing.

The vase includes in red and yellow, Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); the red flowers are Turks Cap Hibiscus (Hibiscus malvaviscus); red and orange bits from the Blanchetiana Bromeiliad, varigated foliage from the Pie Crust Croton (Codieum varigatum), Asian Sword Ferns and a Split Leat Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) in the back.

Happy Holidays!

 

In A Vase on Monday – Winter Wildflowers

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Oftentimes when I start my vase I have to decide between tropical and well, non tropical seeming flowers. This week’s decision was in favor of the non tropical which are in fact somewhat tropical. For some reason, even though I live in a frost free area populated with Mangoes and Birds of Paradise the climate is considered subtropical. My favorite Florida plant material author, Frederick Stresau, calls this area Tropic Florida. No one else does. I like the title.

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Tropic Florida is home to some amazing wildflowers, so amazing in fact they will take over. Last week I think Chloris was featuring Bidens, on her blog not the B. alba from my garden-a relative.  ACK, I have Bidens running out of my ears and can only hope I have pulled enough out. The onset of cooler weather brings the reseeding annuals out of their slumber and starts a new season of flowers.

The components of this vase are either native to Florida or something that just appeared in my garden. The hat is hardly necessary this time of year, but hand pruners are a must..

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The white flowers are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) cute but annoying. The yellow daisies Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); red and yellow daisies, Native Gallardias; deep blues, native Porterweed; red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the grasses flowing in the background, Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris).

The vase? A Portmerion canister I received as a wedding gift. Thinking I would complete the set I held onto it for almost 25 years.. The canister remains alone in my mother’s china cabinet, awaiting flour and sugar containers with similarly abandoned Botanic Garden pieces.

The first harvest from the garden, 12 green beans with a cherry tomato (one,very tasty)

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Happy Monday!