My greyhound, Zepp had an accident last week. While engaged in horse (er, greyhound) play with Fiona in the backyard he tore his dew claw. This resulted in a broken nail that had to be trimmed (while sedated) and a chartreuse green wrap. I finally let him out to sit in the dirt (it was dry enough). He did not enjoy having his paw wrapped in Press n Seal plastic wrap while the ground was wet.
Zepp had his nail wrapped for three days and bounced back miraculously without a misstep. He lost his wrap and I found a salsa jar on the counter and decided to wrap a vase in chartreuse.
This is a glass salsa jar (extra large from Aldi) wrapped with a new Lemon Blanchetiana Bromeliad leaf and a dried leaf of the same plant from an earlier vase. The dried leaf looks a bit like bamboo flooring.
The purple berries are Beautyberries (Calliocarpa americana). If I can find a recipe for a small amount of Beautyberry Jam I may try it, there are a lot of berries. The orange tubular flowers are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens); bigger orange flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); white flowers are Miss Alice Bougainvillea.
Zepp is back to full racing speed and hopefully stays out of trouble for a while. Inspiration comes from the oddest places.
It was a chilling 85 degrees Fahrenheit in my garden this morning, so I worked outside gearing up for the fall gardening season. Taking note of some of the fun stuff that survived summer in South Florida.
The Monarch butterflies finally found the Milkweed in my garden. Here are two caterpillars munching away. Aphids are eating the other plant.
Another vegetable and flower garden experiment is at hand. These are cheap grow bags that breathe. I am certain these would be a disaster in summer so I am trying them in winter – using heavy garden soil (not made from peat!) lightened with 30 % of my oak compost. Planted tomatoes and radishes this morning. Herbs and bush beans are on the agenda next followed by cooler season peas and broccoli in a couple of weeks. I was surprised to read Nigella can be grown here in winter as well as Zinnias. Those seeds are also being planted shortly.
Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) flowering. This is considered a novelty plant in Florida, it is pretty funky.
Pot o’ Bromeliads in the front garden. Grey varigated foliage is Aechmea fasciata, these have pink flowers like Dahlias. The burgundy with chartreuse spots are Luca Neoregelia, red foliage is Fireball Neoregelia.
Another pot in the front garden with Miniature Pineapples, Flapjack Kalanchoe and a Graptosedum hanging over the side. The pineapple plants flower and bear tiny pineapples. I use them in flower arrangements, I have heard they can be juiced but a field would be necessary to get a full glass.
Another flower to anticipate this winter. The hard cane orchid I mounted in the Gumbo Limbo tree has produced a bud. This should be very interesting.
When September starts winding down and the Fall Equinox approaches there is an ever so subtle change in the weather and South Floridians feel less torched. Or maybe less scorched. The daily high temperatures are less than 90 degrees F/32 C. Eighty eight degrees with less humidity is refreshingly cooler. Sort of.
While searching for vase contents, I was happy to see a new bough of flowers on the Tropical Gardenias, then decided to cut the Flaming Torch Bromeliads as the centerpiece of the arrangement. The flowers are most likely courtesy of many late afternoon thundershowers in the past weeks.
A closer view:
The pink flowers are Flaming Torch Bromeliads (Billbergia pyramidalis), AKA Hurricane Bromeliads as they typically flower during peak Atlantic hurricane season. These are sort of a passalong plant in South Florida. I cannot recall ever seeing one for sale, these were shared with me.The white flowers are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) – I am wondering how long these will flower, it seems I have had them most of the summer off and on. Green dreadlocks and varigated foliage belong to the ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana). I am not sure it the dreadlocks are buds or seeds or flowers, so I took a close up.
Any thoughts? I have three groups of Java White in the garden and this is the only one with dreadlocks. The mystery continues.
The Hurricane or Torch Bromeliad opened this week. This is a Billbergia pyramidalis and very easy to grow, they form colonies in shade. I think there are three in my garden and I gave a friend a pup. A colony may form if I quit sharing them.
The Milkweed finally opened. I believe this is Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) – can’t find the seed packet, This one is controversial among the Monarch butterfly faithful. Some believe it spreads OE, a parasite by never dying back in the winter in frost free areas. Other believe it is fine to plant. Others recommend cutting it back to the ground in late fall. I am on the fence about this as I haven’t seen any Monarchs on it.
The Firebush (Hamelia patens) in full flower. Butterflies of all sorts love this plant for nectar. It is one of my favorites and so easy to grow it gets out of hand quickly.
Guess what this is?? I thought it was a weird eggplant when my neighbor handed it to me. It is a Avocado – probably a Brogden or Oro Negro variety. We were excited to try it for lunch, they have a reportedly lush and buttery flavor. It was very creamy but mainly tasteless. My husband said “either we both have Covid or this tastes like nothing”. Since we could taste the rest of our lunch we concluded it was a Blahvacado.
The Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) are starting to flower. Such a weird succulent, native to deserts in Africa and the Arabian Penisula. This is the rare plant that thrives in the summer heat in South Florida. Here are the buds on a red one.
The Desert Rose has had a lot of work done on it by breeders and now is available in an amazing array of colors, the latest, a deep purple.
I think it is safe to say this is an unconventional use of a rose bowl. Of course, I have no roses and think it would be way too much trouble to try and grow them. Though it is possible. I would need to replace the dirt in my garden. So, I will keep using the rose bowl for non roses.
Fall will officially arrive in about 10 days. These are typical fall flowers in South Florida with a little bit of fruit. The grapes are dreadful tasting Muscandines that are very difficult to conquer. It makes me happy when they lose their leaves and I can’t see them anymore.
A closer view, the white flowers are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) – these will continue to flower until the weather cools off. I enjoy using them in arrangements; this one’s fragrance is a bit weird with the Gardenia and Mystic Blue Salvia. The green leaves are from a big Coleus that is so easy to propagate I have more and more everytime I use them in a vase they root and I can’t bear to throw them away. And..they go with everything. Like a little black dress. Who knew Coleus is a gift that keeps on giving. The orange flowers are Parrot Flowers (Heliconia psittacorum ‘Choconiana’) These are new to the garden and another plant that needs to be in a certain spot. Or else it dies. I think I got this one right.
The blue flowers are Mystic Blue Salvia, this has been blooming for so long I am wondering if it will ever stop. Now that I have put that in writing it probably will. The ‘fall leaves’ are the older growth on Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum).
Above is my last mango, perhaps a prune mango. Seasons are changing and South Floridians are gearing up for gardening. I picked my last two Nam Doc Mai mangoes this week – they looked a lot better than this one. It seems the squirrels managed to split the fruit open to eat the seed and ruined my mango.
Tomato seedlings just popping up. These are my favorite cherry tomatoes, Yellow Pear and Sweet 100.
Yesterday was the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, so it is downhill from here. Right on time are the Hurricane Bromeliads budding – Billbergia pyramidalis.
The Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) tree is finally getting established. We had a dry spell midsummer and I was not certain it was going to make it, all the foliage turned brown and the branches dried up, so I cut them back to the trunk and it is coming back. Fingers crossed for wafts of Chanel No. 5 scented flowers in the future.
The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) finally made it back after being consumed by rabbits twice. I resorted to bamboo tiger sticks around the vine as rabbit abatement. It has buds and I am awaiting my first flower.
Another summer survivor. I have been trying for years to grow Butterfly Weed for Monarch butterfly larval hosting. Finally, I have buds. I think these buds have been taunting me for two weeks. Bloom already! I saw a few Monarchs hovering around yesterday, so these may be gone soon. It is funny how things called weeds can be so difficult to grow.
My garden gives me warm and fuzzy feelings most days. I enjoy watching plants grow and flower. The humidity in the garden this weekend was really warm and produced a nearly visible fuzz in the air. I started pruning a Bougainvillea Sunday morning and soon was enveloped by a steaming column of moisture from the ground. I didn’t quite finish the Boug. The good news? I will feel much less warm and probably less fuzzy after the fall equinox !! A little more than two weeks away. Relief is in sight.
What makes this arrangment evoke warm and fuzzy emotional happiness?. I am not sure. The deep pink Chenille flowers are tactile and soft to the touch. The fragrance from the white flowers add soothing sweetness to the air. The chartreuse dreadlocks inspired the vase.
Not sure anyone has ever use the terms chartreuse and dreadlocks in the same sentence. Especially when referring to plant material and not hair.
The fuzzies; in deep pink, Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). I have these in pots, they are sold as groundcover in South Florida. Not so much, they die back in winter and take until nearly the next winter to flower and look decent. These are in a container on my front porch, I would not try using them as groundcover.
The container, there was nothing spilling over the side until June due to sheer laziness on my part. I was surprised and happy to see the Dwarf Chenille reappear:
I trimmed the big ones that were pink and used them in the vase – then realized the brown ones needed to come off as well. Watching to see the results of the pruning. The bigger plant is Mednillia cummingi. A funky orchid that has not flowered yet.
The other side:
In white with yellow centers; Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); in white draping over the edge; Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata); chartreuse dreadlocks and varigated foliage are from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’) Ferns are a local weed, Asian Sword Ferns. The blue vase, a gift form my brother’s family years ago that I have enjoyed.
Another Saturday is upon us. I am sharing six fun items from my garden this week. Here is the frog:
This is a Cuban Tree Frog, native to Cuba *duh. These are considered invasive in Florida as they can out reproduce our native tree frogs. I was surprised by how small this frog is – they are very loud.
A Dancing Lady Ginger gifted to me by a friend. This is potted in canal mud and compost. I wish I had some canal mud to plant it in. Where to plant it is a bit of a dilemma.
A Medenillia underplanted with Dwarf Chenille Plant. The Medenillia is an orchid that grows in trees in Java, another gift from a friend. Hoping for flowers, they look like pink grapes.
This Cattleya Orchid lives in a pot in the garden – its blooms the first week of September every year.
Another favorite of mine. I love the stems for the flowers and the color. This is a non native Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacianensis, I think) Indestructible and reliable.
So happy to be using my house made compost. It took a couple of years for this to break down into compost, I started with a shredded oak tree and added to it…This week it is time to plant tomato seed for winter vegetables.
This is the last weekend of summer as next Monday is Labor Day in the US. Theorectically, the end of summer signals the end of wearing white clothing (if you are a proper Southern lady). Being a pseudo proper Southern lady, I decided to photograph the summer whites in the garden.
A ‘Bridal Bouquet’ Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are the most reliable flowering Plumeria, they are a nearly continuous show all summer. Very lightly fragrant, I notice the scent at night.
Another much more fragrant flower, the Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata). This is a bee and butterfly magnet planted near the back door for maximum enjoyment.
The flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli). Palm flowers fascinate me. This one makes a grape like hard fruit that turns red around the holidays. These are sometimes called Christmas Palms because the fruit looks like ornaments.
Another fragrant plant, the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata) This also flowers most of the summer.
Another white semi year round bloomer. This is the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri), there is a orange version of this tree that is native to Florida. I have been contemplating how to prune this tree, it has a really weird habit, branches growing over and over each other with no particular shape.
Last, but not least. A white flower on the Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). These are usually red, but pop up in many other colors. A fun plant to let reseed freely in the garden. It’s a Forrest Gump “Life is like a box of chocolates” plant – you never know what you are going to get.
If you are wondering about Covid in Florida, it is awful. I only go out for food and to walk. I am fortunate to have dogs and my garden. Our local hospital is 50% occupied with Covid patients, 90% of them unvaccinated and most in the ICU are unvaccinated. Elective surgeries have been cut by 90% because there is no one to care for the patients. Vaccines are free and readily available. I have been vaccinated since April and was very relieved to get the jab. A number of vaccinated friends have caught the Delta variant while masked in the grocery store. Fortunately, all have recovered.
The governor of Florida refuses to allow local governments and school boards to enact mask mandates. Local school boards revolted and began their own mask mandates, sued the governor and won. The university system (colleges) are being made to have classes in person (they were starting classes online and were stopped) I think Florida has 1 in 5 of the new Covid cases in the US. Yet, the tourists continue to pour in. I am baffled by the whole thing. The governor has also opened numerous Regeneron clinics around the state, for when you get exposed to the virus, I am further baffled by this….
That is my six with a bit of commentary this Saturday. Thanks to Jon at www. thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for hosting this week. Follow the link to see more Six on Saturday fun..
I have been rooting coleus cuttings in a teapot and put them on my porch intending to pot them up for winter porch containers. As these things go they sat there for a couple of days and I remembered and set out to do the right thing (instead of forgetting entirely and find them rotting in a few more days)
As I poured the water out, I noticed black things wiggling inside the teapot. Too big for mosquitoes. What in the world? So, I stopped and took some pictures to enlarge and see what the heck was in there.
Not even wiggling worms – a nymph of some sort. I find these guys on the porch from time to time. They are big bugs, probably the size of my hand, beating their wings when touched – usually recalcitrant about going back outside and do not like to be moved. Somebody found a little water and laid some eggs in my teapot and now we have the most likely suspect as the creator of my nymphfest in the teapot:
There are 150 different Dragonflies in Florida, I am not sure what dragon or damselfly this is. As I was reading about them it seems they can be in the nymph stage for years. I am thinking about rehoming the ones in the teapot..