Six on Saturday – Future Fruits & Feathered Friends

It is an overcast, cool and breezy Saturday in South Florida. The raptors (Hawks, Eagles or Turkey Vultures) are flying lazy circles over my garden. I can’t tell which one unless they slow down. The Eagles are usually solitary, but the Vultures and Hawks will fly with friends. There were two overhead this morning. They are difficult to catch with the camera and the quality of the image reflects that, but it also captures the mood of the day here.

I am finally seeing some flower action in the garden. My first Zinnia bloomed this week. Surprisingly pink. Cactus Zinnias are my favorite.

Cherry tomatoes started flowering this week. I think this must be the Lost Marbles variety, which is new to me and seems to be the first to flower in both groups of tomatoes. I am a lazy labeler, waiting for the fruits to tell what kind of tomato they are. Hopefully it will set fruit. It has been cool enough for tomatoes not to set fruit this week.

Two out of three of the Mango trees sent up buds this week. They look promising, although I have found with these trees looks can be deceiving. Last year, a bit earlier, the trees started to flower and as soon the flowers were open it became very windy and only one fruit was produced from all those flowers. Mangoes are wind pollinated and if it is too windy all the pollen gets blown away and there is little fruit. God is in the details, as always. Below is a Condo Mango “Pickering”. This is a type of Mango selected to be grown on the porch of a Condo and kept under six feet tall in a container. The fruit is yummy, I am hoping for a good harvest this year.

This is a Glenn Mango, a bigger tree topping out at 30 feet. Another tasty one. And I have had two whole fruits! We bought this in honor of my late Father in Law, Glenn, who would have loved the fruit. The flowers do look very different. My third Mango tree is a Nam Doc Mai, a Thai variety known for flowering up to four times a year. This one is not flowering at all!

Another far away bird picture, but typical of my garden. I looked out the window and thought “who put a white pillowcase in the front yard?” Then realized it was a White Heron. These are spectacular birds, about four feet tall, they pass through fairly regularly eating insects and grubs. Fiona the greyhound does not know what to think of them as they are taller than she is.

That completes my Six from South Florida this Saturday. To visit more gardens via SOS follow the link http://gardenruminations.uk.com and say hello to our host, Jim.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Herbs and Succulents

I was perusing my front porch recently, noting I have managed to collect a large number of succulents, and decided the array of colors and textures would be fun to put together in a Monday vase. I have a gardening friend who loves succulents and we are bad influences on each other when we visit our favorite local nursery; Pinders https://pindersnursery.com/ to shop the amazing selection of succulents.

The succulents are in need of trim, and while I certainly don’t need anymore I will always take more! I just have to figure out where to put them. These cuttings will be spread around the garden..somewhere. I think I will try a few more in the ground, if the so called soil in my garden is anything – it is very well drained and will hopefully support these plants.

Time for close-ups:

The grey rosettes are Graptosedum; that is all I know. Orange flowers are from the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), which seems to flower quarterly on its own schedule. Yellow green foliage is from a Senecio that flowers with yellow daisies followed by dandelion like seedheads.

The herbs in the arrangement are in the back – Blue Lagoon Rosemary, flowers are deep blue and it lends a wonderful flavor to anything it is added to, even Fiona the greyhound appreciates it in her food. The arrangement has a nice herbal scent I will enjoy passing by.

That is all from South Florida this week. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Fresh as a …

A Beach Daisy.

South Florida is experiencing another cold spell. I have been covering summer (ha!) vegetables and flowers at night due to temperatures hovering in the high 30s (F). One more night of cold seems to be on tap, followed by a warm up. The more tropical plants are sulking and browning, leafy plants like Heliconias look particularly unhappy.

Some of the native plants are looking, well, fresh as a daisy. I don’t recall the Beach Daisies (in yellow) ever looking so good in January. They usually flower madly during the summer, get moldy, and are asked to leave the garden (by the wheelbarrow load) due to their scraggly appearance. The new year seems to be presenting new gardening challenges. I will cover my plants one more night and hope for some zinnias in the coming weeks. There are buds!

The cast of characters:

Daisies first! In yellow, Beach Daisies (Helianthus debilis); in white, Bidens alba, sometimes called Spanish Needles; blue spikes, Mystic Spires Salvia; white and coral spikes, another happy native, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); finer textured white spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata).

Fluffy flowers and needle like foliage are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). The vase was left to me by my mother, made by the Ute Indians in the Southwestern US.

The happy Beach Daisies and Tropical Red Salvia in the garden:

I am hoping for warmer days here, but am grateful for the happy flowers in the garden. Thanks to Cathy for hosting this week and every week! To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthgarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Cool Exotics

It’s another cool Saturday morning in South Florida. A bit windy and the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees F (4 C). I finally got the nerve to go out and check on my tomatoes and pepper plants, left uncovered overnight. They look shivery. A few of the less cold tolerant plants were invited indoors last night. I have found basil and zinnia seedlings do not enjoy being too cool. I am joining Jim and the SOS gang to share what cool exotics are currently in color in my garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.gardenruminations.uk.co.

The flower of the Candy Portea Bromeliad. This is a medium sized Bromeliad with very sharp foliage that reliably flowers every winter in nearly full shade. I think it started showing color in late November.

Another Bromeliad – McWilliamsii Neoregelia, also called Blushing Bromeliad. These show red coloration during the winter and have green mottled foliage during warm weather. They are 2 – 3 feet wide and are quite showy. Below is the flower, reminiscent of a rosebud.

The China Hat (Holmskioldia sanguinea) continues to flower. I like the coloration going towards chartreuse as the flower ages.

Another winter stalwart, the Quesnelia testudo Bromeliad. I have heard native Floridians call these the tulips of South Florida. I think these are a bit burned from the holiday cold weather. They are usually more purple at the tips.

Number Six today is a flowering tree. This is a White Geiger flower. Cordia boissieri is a medium sized evergreen tree with an odd branching habit that I have been puzzling over how to prune for quite a while. Tropical trees have weird twisting habits and need to be sorted. This one remains an unsorted blob. Sigh.

Here’s to warmer days in the garden!

In a Vase on Monday – Sage Salvias

It may seem odd, but I think some plants are smarter than others. Is botanical wisdom gained because they are native and used to the vagaries of weather, or something more Darwinian? Currently, the most sage plants in my garden are really a Sage. The Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Less than two weeks after the coldest weather in a decade, they were fully greened up and flowering madly. I had to cut some.

Tropical Red Salvia or Sage flowers in four colors in my garden. The brilliant red ones are the most prolific currently and the tallest plant of the bunch. I cut a handful and looked for some companionable colors to cool down the palette. Whites, corals and even a little sage seemed to fit the bill for a warming January vase.

A closer look:

Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in red and white spikes; Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) is the other white spike; Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) in sage tipped coral flowers; chartreuse and reddish flowers are from China Hat shrub (Holmskioldia sanguinea); yellow striped foliage is Martin Bromeliad (Neoregelia martin); grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Another view:

The white flowers in the center are from the White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). I thought this tree wouldn’t like the cold weather, but it seems fine; it has a few yellow leaves and started flowering. The fern trailing over the side is an Asparagus Fern, an invasive weed that tends to pop up under shrubs. I cut these and use them in vases occasionally. They are surprisingly sharp, woe is the gardener who tries to strip the leaves off the stem for a vase.

The garden is bouncing back from the extreme cold. (I know y’all are laughing, not even freezing here, except me, I was freezing) I am finding blackened edges on a lot of shrub foliage and the trees I have that are at their northern limits are showing signs of unhappiness. I have to tap into my gardening wisdom and wait and see what happens. Not feeling particularly sage here yet.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly meme. So much fun. Follow the link to see more vases.

Until next week – Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Ring in the New Year

I am issuing a hearty welcome to 2023 by ringing in the New Year with a vase on Monday. A bit of a poem by Tennyson, written in 1850, celebrating the church bells ringing at midnight.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

This is a high concept floral creation. The pen holding up the bell is for writing New Year’s resolutions. It has not been used – yet! The silver bell is for ringing in (and out). The flowers are fireworks and the shells are grounding it all. Design school rearing its ugly head again.

A closer view:

The pen is a freebie I picked up at a lecture about controlled burns in the nearby state park. It is from the Florida Forestry Service and looks like a stick. The bell is one of many collected by my husband. It is an annual silver bell engraved with the year. After about 30 years you really don’t need any more bells. The grey plant in the background is an Air Plant; known around here as Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata). These can grow almost anywhere and are sometimes seen on power lines. This one is flowering and I think it looks like fireworks.

The red fireworks are actually buds from ‘Maui Red’ Ixora. The Ixora is a shrub that is very intolerant of cold – being a perverse plant it has started flowering after being exposed to the coldest temperatures it has ever experienced last week. Shells are from our local beach and the moss and the vase are from recent floral gifts from friends.

Happy New Year to all and a big Thank YOU to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for her years of hosting In a Vase on Monday. Follow the link to see more vases.

Six on Saturday – Porch Pots

Winter is the prime gardening season in South Florida. It is time to start vegetables, herbs and flowers and move back outside. The temps have been in the high 70s (F, 25C), the humidity has dissipated for the most part and there is a nice, refreshing breeze coming off the Atlantic. I replaced all my porch cushions, easier said than done, and have been adding pots to complete the space.

The group from above.

This is a Billbergia Bromeliad. I am not sure which one. I bought it at our local farmer’s market, so it is likely from nearby. The container is antique Portmerion, one of my favorites.

A bowl of Bromeliads and Succulents. The Bromeliads are Fireball Neoregelias. The succulents in grey, Graptosedum; the others are types of Sedum, I think.

What I started with for the bowl. The cuttings are placed in the soil and resting on the edges of the bowl. I topped everything with orchid bark to hide the pots.

A gift from a neighbor, the Pink Star Calathea. These will grow in the garden here, but need more water that I can reasonably provide, so they stay on the porch.

Tomato, pepper and zinnia seedlings on the sunnier porch. My attempt at rooting Mystic Blue Salvia resulted in a 1 out 6 success, I think. I have Papaya, Parsley, Dill and Chinese Forget Me Nots nearby. A mysterious animal took my ID stickers and ate a few seeds.

That’s all from South Florida this December Saturday. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.gardenruminations.co.uk

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Floral Triad

I love planting in groups of three and decided try the same in this Monday’s vase. I think the result is a balanced arrangement. Maybe I am getting in touch with my inner accountant (there is not one); or maybe it is the late November heat baking my delicate brain. High temperatures have been in the mid 80’s (F) complete with humidity and the stray thunderstorm. Florida is known for the Endless Summer, this year they are not kidding. The 10 day forecast keeps insinuating cooler weather that never materializes. I shall persevere and plant some vegetables, summer, of course – it is time to plant tomatoes and green beans here and the first sweet corn of the season has just appeared at our local farmer’s market. The citrus harvest is in full swing so I am looking forward to local Orri tangerines.

The vase contents:

 

The flowers, three of each, of course. In red and yellow, ‘Lady Di’ Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum); in orange, ‘Chocociana’ Heliconia (H. psittacorum ‘Chocociana’); white spikes lending fragrance to the vase, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); grey flower stalks are Flapjack Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe luciae); Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) are in the background again; green leafy foliage is from the Heliconias.

The Flapjack Kalanchoe flowers are the most unusual of the lot this week. Here they are in the garden. Actually they are in a container, growing under a Desert Rose.

 

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly meme. Follow the link to see more vases. I found the Classic Editor on WordPress again, thanks to Cathy and Cathy from Words and Herbs, thank you both. Classic Editor is much less annoying than the Block Editor. We’ll see how everything works out!

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Happy Anniversary

Today is the ninth anniversary of the IAVOM meme. I don’t recall when I started creating and posting vases every Monday, but it has been several years and has become a weekly habit and a joy to share the fruits (or flowers) of my labor with fellow gardeners.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in a Zoom meeting with several members of the IAVOM community. I have been exchanging comments with these blog friends for years and finally met them, virtually.

Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthgarden.wordpress.com is the creator and hostess of IAVOM. Follow the link to see more vases. Thanks to Cathy for arranging and hosting the Zoom meeting.

The Vase – Contents:

The red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus pendululiflorus) – a sort of ratty looking shrub I keep in the garden for its winter flowers. The grey ‘flowers’ are cuttings of Echeveria, a succulent given to me by a friend. These cuttings are destined for a winter tabletop container on my screen porch. The vase is the last vestige of a historic floral arrangement.

The upper level – this image looks suitable for a snack of vegetarian dinosaurs and may well have been one. Both plants are native to Florida and have been here for millenia. The ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the flowers are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

Happy Monday, Happy Gardening and Happy Anniversary, IAVOM.

Six on Saturday – The Hurricane Report

I am joining the SOS crowd after a rare event, a November hurricane – the third one to occur since the mid 1800s. If you look at the map above – where the red line hits the east coast of Florida, that’s my house. The hurricane, named Nicole, made landfall as a Category 1 (min 70 mph winds) at 3 am Thursday morning about 30 miles north. We all slept through it, the dog included. The hurricane was immediately downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall. I would guess we might have had 50 mph wind gusts, the damage minimal.

Floridians generally scoff at Category One hurricanes. The problem is you never really know where the thing is going to end up and the wind field on this one was so huge it was difficult to drive away from it. The wind kicked up Monday afternoon and continued until Thursday. We put up our storm shutters just in case, my husband is currently outside, grumbling and taking down the shutters.

A scattering of debris from Sabal Palms.

My Rangpur Lime tree is bent over. I guess I should tie it up to the fence to straighten it up? Lime trees are quite thorny and this is almost leaning into the pathway.

Miss Alice Bougainvillea was knocked off her column.

Further north, close to the ocean and rivers, people weren’t so lucky. This hurricane hit during a full moon and at fall king tide time, so the water was already high and the storm surge was 3 to 5 feet. The Daytona Beach area was also hit hard by Hurricane Ian, 43 days before. Some of the houses damaged by Ian fell into the ocean with this additional insult. These images are what you are seeing on the news.

The barrier island protecting us had quite a bit of flooding and an native American burial ground on the beach was unearthed; it will be interesting to learn how old the skulls are found on the beach.

A few images from further north:

Wind and water damage from further north.

Thanks to Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/ for hosting Six on Saturday. To see more posts, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!