My vases this first Monday of 2019 reflect my mood and the New Year. Celebratory. The Silver Goblet could be used to quaff the contents of the Champagne bottles. My girlfriends from college were here last week for a toast to 2019 – Champagne always seems to materialize with them. The bottles were saved for a toast from my garden.
The Pinkballs (common name) are Dombeya wallichii, purple flowers are Zinnia “Lilac Emperor” and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); pink foliage is Alabama Sunset Coleus; off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); green foliage is Asparagus Fern.
Here’s a gardening toast to 2019, I found a lovely new seed source in the US (ordered seeds, of course! I was excited to find Lime Zinnia seed) Here is a link:
Cheers to 2019!
Winter lasted for about two days here. The temperature was 87 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. I gave up gardening in hopes of cooler weather later in the week. My vegetable seeds were planted this week along with lettuce plants (the lettuce probably has wilted and needs water by now).
My task this morning, moving Orchids to strategic areas, so I can see the flowers from inside the house. As I was wheeling pots around, I noticed most of the flowers in the garden are white currently, no idea why. I have been watching this native wildflower called Octoberflower bloom for about a month, it started right on time, October 31st.
Octoberflower is native to an area called Scrub in Florida – my garden is in Scrub, so you would think these plants would enjoy my garden. Not so much. I find them very difficult to place and grow, moving them into the native pollinator garden, one out of five made it. Although, they are great cut flowers.
Here is a close up of the vase, the blue glass bowl, a Christmas gift from long ago. The Octoberflower is on the right side of the photo, tinged with pink. Next to those, probably the last flower of the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata); draping the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’); some clusters of White Lantana (Lantana montevidensis ‘Alba’); the bigger spikey flowers are from Snake Plant AKA Mother In Law’s Tongues (Sansiveria cultivar ‘It Took Over My Yard’); smaller white spikes from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); a few sprigs of pale pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The foliage in the vase is Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘sprengeri’) and another native, Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa) – the berries look like coffee, but you can tell by the botanical name, not something you want to drink.
I am from the American South. Wondering how many gardeners relate to the term ‘Winter White’?
My mother, a well raised lady of proper breeding:?! – would have said Winter White is an off white color appropriate to be worn in winter; whereas wearing pure white after Labor Day (early September) is an abomination.
The photos, Snake Plant and Wild Coffee.
The gardening season is heating up in South Florida. The reverse of most of the Northern Hemisphere, we grow vegetables in the winter as it is too hot for tomatoes or corn to pollinate in the summer. I received the last of my vegetable seeds (Haricot verte) over the weekend and will sow my vegetable garden in the next week or so.
While I grow flowers year round, I plant some of the more common summer flowers in the winter. Deciding to grow some from seed this year, I have Zinnias, Asters, Petunias, Moon Vine and Coral Vine to add to the pollinator garden and cut. The seeds were planted around the first of October and my first Zinnia bloomed this week.This is a Zinna Super Cactus Lilac Emperor, an heirloom variety. It doesn’t quite resemble the picture on the packet – not nearly as stringy or cactusy (new word?) However, it may be the biggest Zinnia I have run across (4 inches wide).
The vase I inherited from my mother, who bought it from the Ute Indian tribe in the Southwestern US. Accenting the Zinnia in the arrangement are in white and fragrant spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); Purple Verbena is next, a native (Glandularia tampaensis); the deep blue flowers are from Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis); purple flowers with grey foliage are Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens); the background plants are Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a sprig of Hawaiian Snowbush (Breynia nivosa).
The pollinators attracted to my garden continue to amaze. We had two groups of honeybees resting in the garden and I spotted this dragonfly while weeding yesterday.
This afternoon I have been glued to the television watching Hurricane Michael make landfall about 500 miles north my garden. The sheer size of these storms always amaze me. I can feel the hot breath from Michael flowing through my garden if I step outside. Praying for those in the storm’s path.
Earlier this week I went plant shopping – heading south to the numerous nurseries supplying South Florida. Much of the plant material grown in this area is too tropical for my garden, though I enjoy looking. This is ‘instant effect’ plant material, the above Heliconia is about 15′ tall – prices are not displayed.
This is a hanging basket filled with Medinilla myriantha, 3 or 4 feet wide and tall. These plants are famously difficult to keep. Usually a very expensive flower arrangement.
This is a pink and yellow unnamed Heliconia psittacorum. I could probably grow this one, but couldn’t lift the container it was in!
Huge, grey Bromeliad.
A Starfish Plant, variety lost to me.
I bought nothing at this nursery, but gained an idea for a palm tree with boots I was planning to remove (growing into power lines)
I can have the top removed and keep the trunk, then tuck Bromeliads, Ferns and Orchids into the pockets left by the boots. Like this:
A stumpery – in tropical mode.
The flowers in my vase this week are Cattleya Orchids, from a plant gifted to me several years ago by my neighbor. I have been watching this plant for years, moved it around in the garden – nothing. Finally – three buds appeared, weeks ago. I watched, waited and watched some more, not a sign of opening. Just big, juicy buds displaying a tasty reticence. I occasionally had to chase some leering grasshopper away. Sigh, more waiting.
After a rough couple of weeks, my husband and I decided we needed a change of scene and took a few days to walk on the beach and rest. We packed up Alan the Greyhound and some coolers and headed to a lovely semi deserted beach miles from home.
Of course, I checked the Orchids just prior to leaving and one bud was opening! Sigh, again. Hoping I wouldn’t miss the show, off we went. The picture is sunrise on North Hutchison Island, Florida.
Deciding to cut the flowers was easy, I have two more buds and these were browning on the edges a bit. I’ll enjoy them in the house as long as they last. The vases (three again) were another story. Seeking a simple container for these complex flowers; I decided they needed a backdrop of a big tropical leaf (Seagrapes – Coccoloba uvifera). For vases, I started with a rose teapot, then went to the black vase, then the glass vases.
No leering grasshoppers in my house, but I did bring in a little bee.
Every gardener gets a few surprises. Some are better than others. I have been doing a lot of design work lately, hence the funky picture.
My summer surprises have been the good kind and primarily pink this week.
The Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is in the pink champagne bottle a friend left after a holiday celebration, these are reported to flower three times a year – this is the first year for a second flowering, surprising me.
In the grey round vase, it seems the Garden Gods have rewarded me with a Pink Cactus Dahlia, not. My Dahlia quest continues.
This is one of my ubiquitous $5 garage sale finds. No one knows what the Bromeliad is or where to plant it, but one can be had for $5. For five bucks I got a wonderful surprise and there are pups. I think it is a Aechmea ‘fasciata’ variety- please let me know if you recognize it.
The leaves are from a nearby Sweet Begonia ( Begonia odorata)
The third vase has the survivalist pink and chartruese Alabama Sunset Coleus I had lost hope for and pink and white (yes) Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Another surprise.
My biggest surprise this week was the hatching of the rare Atala Butterfly in my Coontie (small shrubby palms)