In a Vase on Monday – Spring Salad Surprises

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Winter in South Florida (or as I call it, Not Summer) is winding down. As I was planting my last crop of vegetable seeds, I noticed the lettuces fading and bolting. I grew Red Romaine lettuce this winter and was surprised to see how pretty the flowers are. While picking them, I could tell by the scent that the Romaine had turned bitter, no need to taste it. Even the rabbits have quit eating it and turned to munching on my Bromeliads and eating the old green beans.

20190303_100841-1Another surprise in the garden was the emergence of 5 flowers on a Guzmania Bromeliad I left in a container for a little too long. I did not know Guzmanias would even put out multiple flowers, so I cut one since it went so well with the Romaine.

In keeping with the salad theme, I added some Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) to the arrangement. The vase is a junk store silverplate heirloom from my mother, gaining patina (rust) with every use.

Here is the Papaya update: More surprises, six fruit so far. I think there will be more.20190303_162431

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In A Vase on Monday-Bling, Vegetables and Weeds.

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Earlier this year, I decided to add some bling and kinetic energy to my tropical garden. Never being shy about moving things around, I found myself hard at work Sunday, doing just that when it dawned on me I should put my Monday vase together.

It seemed all that was flowering abundantly was weeds, volunteers and vegetables. I decided to cut all three. The weeds in the arrangement are; in white: Bidens alba, common name usually Indian Needles, this is one of those really cute, chronically reseeding plant that knows no bounds. The reason fell from the flowers, I counted thirty seeds stuck to my shirt and the kitchen counter.

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The volunteers (a constant source of wonder in my garden) are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back, the palm is a seedling from the Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal), the red flowers are from Turk’s Cap Hibiscus ( Malvaviscus penduliflorus), yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) another prolific reseeder.

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The vegetable in the vase is the Red Mustard, I plant it for burgundy winter color as I hate the taste.

Here’s the kinetic garden bling:

 

A copper spinner in a checkerboard of salt finish concrete tiles and tumbled turquoise glass bits…plantings are still under consideration. I did go to a plant sale over the weekend.

In A Vase on Monday – Frond Farewell

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I am bidding farewell to a flower from my Blanchetiana Bromeliad that has served me well. It opened at the end of November, I enjoyed if for a couple of weeks, then used part of it to create a wreath for Christmas. On Saturday, I cut the rest to use as part of a talk I gave about Bromeliads in the Garden.

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The wreath is still on my door and has dried to a nice brown, I am still mulling whether to get rid of it

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The frond in the arrangement is from a Chinese Fan Palm (Livingstonia chinensis) seedling that popped up between me and my neighbor. It gives a really tropical vibe to the area, so I left it. I figure I will long gone before it reaches full size (60 feet!)  Odd for winter in South Florida, it has been raining since yesterday afternoon. The vase holds about half of the frond, I went out in the pouring rain with Loppers in search of a bold bit of foliage to contrast with the Blanchetiana flower (at least 3 feet tall). Upon lopping the frond, I spied a wasp nest in the other half. For whatever reason, the wasps were not bothered by me and I left the other half of the frond where I found it, ensuring no homeless wasps and hoping for beneficial wasps. I cut the frond in half again – one quarter is hanging over the edge and the rest is in the vase upright.

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Farewell, fine Flower.

In A Vase on Monday -Cheers to 2019

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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.

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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.

Another view:

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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:

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Cheers to 2019!

 

In A Vase on Monday – Winter White

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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.

20181128_110712Octoberflower 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.

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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.

Comments?

 

The photos, Snake Plant and Wild Coffee.

In A Vase on Monday – Winter Gardening

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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.20181121_094921_HDR-2This 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).

20181125_095513The 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).

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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.