In a Vase on Monday – Sage Soap

This week’s title seems to suggest I found some intelligent soap. This is not the case. All of the soap in my house is as clueless as ever, just some suds. And I am not the sage one.

The soap comes from the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) the orange flowers with a bit of green at the ends. Here is the plant. A South African native that flowers 4 times a year in my garden. If I break a leaf in half sudsy aloe pours out – apparently it is used to make shampoo. The dilemma, the large percentage of the population is allergic to it. I have not washed my hair with it, though I enjoy the flowers.

The sage in the arrangement is the Mystic Spires Salvia, the blue spikes. I have been enjoying the flowers for months and hopefully they will last into the winter. A closer view:

The blue spikes are Mystic Spires Salvia. The purple flowers are Mona Lavendar Plectranthus. The solid orange flowers are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); green tipped orange flowers are Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); grey foliage is more sage, Texas Sage (Luecophyllum frutescens); burgundy spikes are from a Dwarf Pineapple, a gift from a friend. The vase grounding the arrangement, a thrift store find and favorite.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM..to see more vases follow the link.

Six on Saturday – Fruit, Flowers and Foliage

The heat and humidity have gone into hyperdrive here. Highs over 90 (F) / 32 (C) for the next few days. The dog days of summer are here and my dogs have the right idea, reclining in air conditioned comfort. Not a good time to be in the garden, though I am thankful for the shade trees.

My first image today is a tree planted to shade my driveway about seven years ago, starting to really take over now. This is the fruit and foliage of Gumbo Limbo (Bursea simaruba)

The Gumbo Limbo has a hard cane Dendrobium orchid growing on its trunk. My neighbor brought this to me and it is just starting to root into the trunk. It should bloom in the winter with 4 or 5 foot long sprays of flowers. I am really looking forward to seeing this! The tree is sometimes called the Tourist Tree – because the bark looks like peeling, sunburned skin. I tied in onto the tree with pantyhose, you can see these on the right side of the image.

Duranta “Sapphire Showers” is a reliable summer bloomer. I planted this for butterflies, they love the nectar.

A new plant in the garden. Meet Aerva ‘Red Velvet’. I like a bit of burgundy foliage in the garden and it is a difficult plant to find that will grow in frying sugar sand. This is a ‘native’ of gravelly sand from India and a medicinal herb there. I am not going to eat any, but have taken several cuttings to propagate and spread throughout the garden.

This is Allamanda, creeping over from my neighbor. These are pretty – and very hard to get rid of. The sap from the vine is supposedly used by tribes in the rainforest for poison darts.

Interesting foliage today is the new growth on a Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) The older foliage eventually is black with green, yellow and red varigation.

That’s it! Six plants and one dog image. From South Florida. To see more Six on Saturday posts visit Jon the Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening and stay cool!

In a Vase on Monday – A Little Teapot

Anyone else remember this song? “I’m a Little Teapot,” released 1939. It was a favorite of my mother’s. This is her teapot, a wedding gift from 1950. I remember this making its daily appearance on the kitchen counter brewing tea for that iconic Southern beverage (appropriate for all occassions) syrupy sweet Iced Tea.

From Wikipedia:

The original lyrics are as follows:[4]

I’m a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!

I’m a very special teapot,
Yes, it’s true,
Here’s an example of what I can do,
I can turn my handle into a spout,
Tip me over and pour me out!

I aged out of the ability to drink Sweet Iced Tea at age 16. With the amount of sugar usually added, it is just too sweet for me. My grandmother added saccharine tablets to hers which put me off of Iced Tea for years. I would pray for Coca Cola at her house. Since then, straight up with a lemon is the only way I drink Iced Tea. I know, I am a bad Southerner.

I love this teapot because the interior has signifigant tea stain, evidence of what a mainstay this was in my mother’s kitchen.

I have a lot of plants in this little teapot. Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) started the idea – white and fragrant, they come from a ten foot tall tree form shrub that is over my head and wonderful to stand under and inhale the scent while trimming a few flowers. I have two types of Coleus foliage (Plectranthus whateveritisnow) – chartreuse and burgundy and chartreuse. White spikes are a few pieces of white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – who are these people naming plants again?

Another view:

Tiny white flowers are from Tree Spinach (Chaya) – a superfood for people that I planted for butterflies. I haven’t eaten any as it is toxic unless you know how to cook it. Pink fuzzies are the Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalphya pendula).

Another view:

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this addictive garden meme. Sundays would not be the same at my house without it. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Tropical Fun

Summertime brings the rain and humidity – the more tropical plants love it and respond with fantastic flowers. Above is a Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) This is the primary floral scent in Chanel No. 5. I have a newly planted tree in my garden, this one is at a local nursery (Pinder’s Nursery, Palm City, Florida) I could not resist taking a picture to share.

A Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) growing out of the top of my coconut palm tiki. There is a large Strangler Fig in the garden. These trees are a bit like something from a Harry Potter movie. They start in the top of something, grow over and down to put their roots in the ground and slowly surpass the host plant. They are commonly seen growing in the boots of palm trees.

A Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera) seedling sprouted by a friend. I need to plant it about halfway down the coconut. Should have a tree in several years. Palms are surprisingly slow growing.

Blanchetiana Bromeliads are shooting up bloom spikes. These are about five feet tall and will get taller before opening. The flowers usually last until November or December; then I make Christmas wreaths with them. Above is the red variety. Below is the yellow, some call them Lemon – this is the first yellow one to flower, I am interested to see the difference.

The sixth:

Nam Doc Mai Mangoes getting bigger. A couple blew away in a thunderstorm, so I am hoping to eat this one someday.

Happy Gardening to all and thanks to Jon the Propagator for hosting SOS. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Texture

Perhaps this is my funkiest vase ever, I concentrated on unusual color and texture this week. One of my favorite aspects of planting design is combining different textures of plant material. Working with colors and textures enhancing one another. Tropical flowers are fun to play with as the textures of the flowers can be quite different. This is an array of unusual colors and textures from my summer garden.

The papery texture of the white Miss Alice Bougainvillea enhances the white parts of the Red Shrimp (Justicia brandegeana). The reddish Petunia exserta adds some color and reflects the color in the chartreuse and burgundy coleus. A few springs of Asian Sword Fern are always necessary.

My neighbor gave me the Red Shrimp Plant years ago. I gave her some Petunia exserta after reading about it from UK garden bloggers (Chloris?) and she grew some this year and returned one to me. The circle of gardening life.

More funky texture, pink fuzzies are a tropical groundcover, Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula). I grow this in containers as it tends to disappear in winter. This summer it is sharing a container with Medinilla cummingii, I am breathlessly awaiting flowers from both of them.

Happy Monday and Happy Summer Gardening. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link for more summer flowers..

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Six on Saturday – New Friends

I’m joining the Six on Saturday gang again with some new friends and growth in the garden. I select plants that butterflies and I enjoy. Above is a Gulf Fritillary that probably started out life as an egg on my large Passionfruit vine and has hung around the garden to sip nectar from the Tropical Red Salvia and Sapphire Showers Duranta.

A black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. This guy started life as an egg on a parsley plant in a pot on my front porch. He ate all the parsley and I had to import some from another pot to feed him until he made the transition.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar starting to form a chrysalis.

The transition complete, the butterfly will take 10 to 20 days to form. The chrysalis hangs from the basil plant in the same pot.

I finally caught the scent and flowers of the Moonvine. These are pollinated by night flying moths, I haven’t seen the moths.

A Red Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) well known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. I rarely see a hummingbird here, they usually go down the west coast of Florida.

That’s it from me this Saturday. Hoping to see more butterflies shortly. To see more SOS posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Posey Shots

I think I have finally made a posey. This particular posey is in a large shot glass; formerly used to hold tequila at my niece’s wedding. Were you thinking I was referring to the photograph as a shot. Nope! The glass. The alternate title was “Fresh as a Gallardia” – doesn’t quite have the same ring.

I was surprised to see the different meanings of posey. This one is simply flowers in a vase on Monday..

My garden is filled with Beach Daisies and Gallardia in July. Both flowers are very cheerful and seem to smile as I walk through the garden. They are also remarkably drought tolerant and reseed prolifically – the Beach Sunflowers have to be asked to leave the garden now and again. Though they are never truly gone.

Here are the fresh Gallardias:

A closer view of my tequila shooter:

The red and yellow daisies are Gallardia pulchella, the subject of one of those tiresome native plant dramas. The powers that be decided they are not native to Florida. Woe is me. The yellow daisies are still approved as native; and in latin, Helianthus debilis. If my husband gardened he would use a propane torch on these – they go wild with rain and humidity. I prune and pull. They are annoying. Our mailman, a native Floridian, once stopped to express his amazement I hadn’t gotten rid of the Beach Daisies as his mother thought they were weeds.

White spikes are Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); sweetly fragrant and a great butterfly plant. Native to Argentina. Blue stems with flowers are Porterweed, another evil not quite native (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis). I guess it is native to Jamaica, but it thrives in my garden and is available in several colors. I wish for some coral…The other blue flower is a bit of Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, a cross from South Africa, if memory serves, and recommended by me. Background greenery is weed Asparagus Fern I keep at bay by cutting for arrangements.

Happy Gardening to everyone and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases follow the link.

In a Vase on Monday – Fireworks

This week’s vase began with clippings from pruning my Miss Alice Bougainvillea on Saturday. The white flowers looked so alone in the vase I added some fiery accents with Firebush and Firecracker flowers. Then my husband padded by and said it needed some blue (he rarely comments on vases). It was the Fourth of July, after all – red, white and blue are the colors of the day. I think he was right. Here is the vase with just fire and Miss Alice.

The blue definitely beefs up the flower power in this vase. Of course, I couldn’t stop with one blue flower..

A closer view from the left side. Miss Alice Bougainvillea in white; Firecracker flowers (Russelia equisetiformis) in red; Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in red and white (think they should just call it Tropical Salvia as it comes in four colors?, I do.) Blue Salvia is Mystic Spires; lighter blue flowers are Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) a tropical shrub that is virtually indestructible here – look closely and you’ll see the leaf cutting bees have had a bite of the foliage.

Miss Alice in white again with the reds and oranges of Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) – one of my favorite shrubs. Blue Plumbago around the edges with Mystic Blue Salvia in the background..

There’s my vase for this Monday. For anyone wondering about Elsa, we are out of the warning cone – on the east coast of Florida across from the big hole in the middle of the state (Lake Okeechobee)

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting the worldwide vasers. To see more vases from gardeners in many different locales follow the link.

Happy Gardening…

Six on Saturday – Favorite Summer Combos

Once again, I am joining the SOS crowd posting six interesting things from my garden. This Saturday, just past the Solstice and with the first hurricane forming in the Atlantic I am saluting my favorite Summer combos.

Mystic Spires Salvia and Dwarf Red Ixora, I love the contrast of colors. This bed also has white Pentas, yellow Callibrachoa, Blue Daze and chartruese Duranta.

Soap Aloe is flowering nearby.

In the butterfly garden, Gallardia and Tropical Red Salvia are flowering.

White Heirloom Pentas and Tropical Red Salvia in the butterfly garden.

In the rainforest garden, shades of red, burgundy and green shimmer in sunny spots.

Foliage contrasts in the rainforest garden, chartruese Quesnelia Bromeliad and Zebrina Wandering Jew groundcover, still pretty without flowers. The Quesnelias have pink flowers in winter.

Last, but not least, my favorite snack. Smoked Fish Dip – I am in the midst of making a batch as I blog..wine and fish dip later.

That makes seven..oh, well. To see proper SOS garden posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Gardenias

The past few nights the fragrance from my Tropical Gardenias tickled my senses and compelled me to focus on the flowers in this week’s vase. Then I looked them up and found online sources calling them a Crepe Jasmine tree? Most locals call them Tropical or Florida Gardenias. Botanically they are Tabernaemontana divaricata, belonging to the same family as the more common Gardenia jasminoides but much more tropical, growing in the warmest areas of South Florida. They are bigger than common Gardenias, with oversized, glossy foliage and easily reach heights of ten feet. Additionally, nearly bug free and don’t need any coddling. I found mine buried under some overgrown shrubbery in the back yard and cut it free. It is probably 12 feet tall. A little effort is expended to reach and cut the flowers.

A closer view:

The cut flowers were arranged with most of their foliage intact. I pruned a bit of the foliage to emphasize the flowers and then added some cuttings of flowers from my Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli) The vase, a thrift store find, is my favorite squatty vase.

I adore the flowers on palm trees, having never seen any before moving to Florida. They seem like an architectural element.

The palm flower.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly gardening meme. I enjoy seeing vases of flowers from gardeners all over the world. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!