In a Vase on Monday – Go Big or Go Home

My husband went through a spell of getting tattoos, no idea what precipitated it, but he is known as “The Illustrated Man” and people tend to remember his artwork before they remember him. Anyway, the slogan from his favorite tattoo shop on Maui is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Here is his back, a tribute to the Disney movie, Fantasia.

I have taken the slogan to heart in the design of my tropical Rainforest Garden; big, coarse textured plants contrasted with ferns and smaller groundcovers, the colors almost reflect the rainbow. Yellow is missing. I plucked this vase there.

The big pink flowers are from the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – everything about this plant is big. The leaves average 9 by 9 inches, the plant itself is 12 by 12 feet after 3 years in the garden. The leaf in the middle is from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) this anchors a corner in the garden. Everyone who walks through gasps and says, “what is that?” At least 4 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide, it adds a Jurassic feel to the garden. The Ferns are Boston Ferns (yes, the famous porch fern) that grow huge in their native habitat and are easily three feet tall. I am pulling them out and throwing them away as they are out of hand.

The other side of the arrangement has “Java White” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Java White’). Another prolific grower, this turns green in shade, and is a bit of a trick to site properly…it may be moved further into the sun.

The container, a large crystal vase, a long ago wedding gift from a dear friend I treasure. The vase and the friend.

As always, thank you to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting this addictive meme. I am sorry I missed last week’s tribute to Dorris. I will miss her posts and images from her garden.

In a Vase on Monday – Healing Energy

The events of the past week have left me non-plussed. A vocabulary word provided by an old friend’s ninety year old father. Non-plussed from the dictionary “surprised and confused so much they are unsure how to react.” My husband and I sat in our living room, open mouthed, watching events unfold in the United States of America I would have never dreamed possible. I decided a vase reflecting the colors of another crystal with healing energy from my father’s collection was in order. The vase is a Fostoria crystal container that belonged to my mother in law. My husband refers to them as butterscotch pudding bowls. I have no idea what they are really for, but they make a good vase.

My father, the geology professor, has been gone since 2003. I have family rocks. I think this is a Flourite crystal. They are known for their multi colored hues. This one is purple and coke bottle green with some greys and whites. They are know for their healing energy, I think that energy should be tapped wherever we can find it. Energymuse.com says this about Flourite – “The perfect prescription for a case of existential burnout, the purple color in the Fluorite crystal help you discover your divine purpose in life. It opens and stimulates the third eye chakra, clearing the way for spiritual expansion and a deeper sense of inner peace.” Existential burnout! Yep, you’re looking at it. The instructions go on to say carry the crystal with you.

The flowers in this vase are – in purple, Lantana of unknown origin; in white, Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); green and pink flowers are buds of Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii); solid purple foliage is Purple Queen (Setcreasea pallida); varigated purple foliage is Transcandentia zebrina; green background foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Just for fun, I did another vase. I call this one the Pea shooter. The vase is a shot glass for tequila from my favorite niece’s wedding. The peas are the Bromeliad in the vase – this is an Aechmea Bromeliad, very weird flower that looked like canned peas to me. The curl is dried Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage and the greenery is the other Asparagus fern that pops up in my garden.

Anybody else need a shot of tequila?

Thanks always to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases (likely without tequila) visit the link….

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Spring into 2021

I dressed my vase in winter whites this Monday, adding a catapult of red dried Bromeliad foliage ribbon to sling purifying white crystal energy into this new year. The crystals are White Quartz; certainly collected in the field by my father, the geology professor. It seems White Quartz has the properties to purify negative energy and is recommended for spiritual healing. I am thinking of where to place these crystals for maximum effect. We have never needed the White Quartz more.

A closer view:

The white flowers and foliage are from Sweet Begonias, (Begonia odorata ‘alba’) a bulletproof perennial in my garden. These grow in sugar sand and near total shade, they are irrigated and flower off and on year round while lending coarse green texture to the garden. The Sweet Begonias amaze me, I would have wilted if left where they thrive. The red catapult is a remnant of my Christmas wreath. I wrapped the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and was left with some long dried curls – I thought they were kind of cool and saved them. The decorations would have lasted longer. Not wishing to tempt fate, I took everything down..is it only the American Deep South that thinks all decorations must be down before January 1st or bad luck will haunt you in the new year?? I am hoping for double good luck with the crystals!

Another view:

More winter whites from my garden. The spikes on the right hand side of the image are buds for the flower stalk of Snake Plant, Mother In Laws Tongue..etc. Sansevieria, if you want the Latin. The Snake Plant infests my garden, and it literally takes a bulldozer to get rid of it. The off white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a Florida native that just appeared one day. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, another lovely interloper.

Maybe I should put the White Quartz in the garden?

Happy Gardening and Happy New Year to all and Thank You to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting another year of In A Vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at the above link.

Six on Saturday – Holiday Surprises

I am joining The Propagator’s gang this Saturday after Christmas to share some surprises the garden has granted me. Not all six are from my garden. These are Christmas Palms (Adonidia merrilli) doing their thing by the side of a nearby road.

Next, we have some Spanish Moss, a native Tillandsia Bromeliad. Although common in Florida, I rarely see it in my garden. I pruned it out of a Firebush by accident.

Another stringy surprise, a native Ageratum, Blue Mist Flower (Conoclinum coelestinum). It seems most native wildflowers in Florida like “moist meadows” – I have a desert like sandy soil, so this was a real surprise. Growing by the air conditioning condensor..

Yet another stringy surprise, the once solid leaves on the Traveler’s Palm, shredded by the wind.

I am delighted by this surprise, despite cold weather, we are freezing with temperatures in the 40s – the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) has started its show.

Another nice surprise from my neighbor, I found a basket of Rangpur Limes on my front porch Christmas morning.

That is my Six this Saturday, to see more posts from gardens around the world visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Biscuit Bus Again

It’s back! The holiday bus biscuit tin makes its fourth appearance in a vase on Monday. This year, I looked for different plants from previous years – the result, a totally different combination of textures and colors and the first appearance of Florida’s native Poinsettia in a vase.

I love tins and this is a favorite, a friend from the UK brought it over as a gift for my husband. The shortbread cookies were consumed in short order – and it became a vase in December 2015, 2016 and last year.

A closer view:

The white flowers are “Miss Alice” Bougainvillea; chartreuse ‘flower’ is a fading red Guzmania Bromeliad; the native Florida Poinsettia is the green cut foliage with the pink markings; grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens); red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetifolium); ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata); and a few leaves of Piecrust Croton (darker foliage in picture above)

The 2019 version:

The 2016 Version
The Original Bus 2015

Interesting to look back on past buses! Our tabletop Christmas tree is up with an edited collection of memory inspiring ornaments. I decided on a tabletop tree due to an addition to our family, meet Zepp the Greyhound. He retired from racing at The Palm Beach Kennels on November 10, 2020. It seems a tree in the house might be a bit much for him right now. For the Led Zeppelin fans among us, my husband included, the song ‘Black Dog’ inspired his name.

Happy Holidays to all and thanks to Cathy, at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

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.

Six on Saturday – Fruit, Veg and Flower.

My garden is responding to the change in weather by flowering, growing root vegetables and ripening fruit. I am joining The Propagator’s SOS meme this Saturday. To see more SOS from all over the gardening world, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Papayas are showing the first hints of yellow, which is ripe. I had Papayas December through February last year. Hopefully the same will happen this year. I can only eat so many Papayas at once!

Red radish shoulders peeking out, I am looking forward to eating these guys.

Bush beans budding. I think these are Blue Lake.

Roselles, nearly ready to pick. These are the flowers of an edible Hibiscus, I have been harvesting and freezing them.

San Marzano tomatoes coming along.

Heliconia psittacorum – Parrotflower, one of my favorite cut flowers, I am wondering if they like shorter day lengths to bloom.

Happy Saturday 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.

Six on Saturday – Fall Flowers

It’s Saturday again and time to join The Propagator in his weekly meme about six items of interest in your garden. SOS. To see more of SOS, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The weather is finally turning lovely, I have almost finished planting my vegetable garden and fall flowers are showing their colors.

First up, the mad tropical Candy Portea Bromeliad is about half open. My neighbor says these look like sea creatures.

Second, the flowers of the Roselle, an edible Hibiscus. The cranberry colored calyx of the flowers is eaten and tastes like cranberries, these are not ripe yet.

Third, the flowers of the native Senna (Senna ligustrina). These are larval host plants for Sulphur Butterflies. If the caterpillar eats the flower, they are yellow, it they eat the foliage they turn green. The butterflies are always yellow.

Fourth, Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis). Another good butterfly plant for nectar. I think the abundant rainfall has made them extra beautiful this fall.

Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a true sign of fall, likely my favorite fall flower.

Finally, the mystery plant. This came up in a pot with some other seedlings. I think it is an Agastache or maybe Holy Basil. I did not plant either. The foliage has a light anise scent. Does anyone know?

Happy Gardening!