In a Vase on Monday – Late Bloomers

The nearly precipitation free summer pushed some of the usual fall flowers later this year and extended the summer blooms on others. I can’t remember the Muhly Grass starting to flower later than the first week of September or a summer without Beach Sunflowers. But here they are together in late October. I will admit to adding Osmocote a few weeks ago when we had some reliable rainfall.

The mysteries of gardening are teasing my brain once again.

The South Florida heat and humidity is abating in fits and starts. We have a lovely sunny weather forecast for the next 10 days. I have been clearing off the porch and replacing the cushions for winter outdoor living. This always takes longer than I think it will. I hope to be sitting on the porch with a glass of wine this week and maybe get in touch with my inner Floridian by making smoked fish dip appetizers.

The vase is an olive oil cruet inherited from my mother. As a lifelong gardener, I think she would approve of this repurposing.

The flowers:

In white, possibly the last of the year, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); sage green flowers are Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); the ropy stems are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis) – the blue flowers fell off on the way inside, but I like the stems; pink flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); green flowers in background are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata), lending a fragrant assist to the Frangipani. In the background are the late, great Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capillaris).

That’s all from my garden. Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases…

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – The Far Side of South Florida

I am joining the SOS crowd today with our new host, Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/. Follow the link to see more SOS posts! Thank you to Jim for taking on this task.

I have been ruminating about the odd nature of some of the plants in my garden. There are aspects of my garden that remind me of The Far Side cartoons. Below is a Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) standing sentinel by my side door. I kept thinking this thing would snap in a high wind, but it hasn’t.

Another novelty plant in the garden, Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida). These look oddly like a multi stem marijuana plant, but in reality are deadly poisonous and the flowers are a great butterfly attractor. These are planted in a narrow spot between the house and driveway.

The Coral Plant flower. It looks like a coral from the ocean..

The caudex of a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). I have several around the garden. This one has the most interesting trunk. These are native to the Arabian Peninsula and grow quite large.

Buds on the Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscue arboreum). I was poised above this with the pruning shears when I realized how many buds were there!

The super tropical Palm accent is a gift from a passing bird. It’s the seedling of a Chinese Fan Palm (Livinstonia chinensis) This is about 8 or 10 feet tall and has been in the garden for the past 10 years. The trees get much bigger. It has been surprising to me how slowly palm trees grow.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Maybe I should take up garden cartooning??

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Juba – lation

My favorite cool season flowers are starting to show their colors. One is the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa). I am jubilant that the Juba Bush has reappeared. I thought it was gone. This is a native wildflower that I mistook for Amaranthus and left it in the garden only to discover its wonderful chartreuse to creamy white flowers. Juba is the name of an African dance that was imported into the Caribbean where these wildflowers are also native. The dance involves a lot of hip movement and swaying – the plant’s movement in the wind reportedly mimics this?! I wish this grew under my Gumbo Limbo tree, that would be perfect.

The Juba Bush. It is the creamy white flower; ‘Lady Di’ Heliconia is in the background.

The other fall indicator is the red Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) at the base of the vase. This is another volunteer that I have embraced as I love the flowers. Like many Hibiscus (it is a relative and Mallow family member) the shrub is rangy and not particularly attractive. For me, the flowers make it worthwhile and I enjoy them all winter. It also needs no supplemental water and the leaf cutting bees love it.

The Nodding Hibiscus:

The rest of the vase:

The orange flower is a ‘Choconiana’ Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum); white daisies are the native Spanish Needles (Bidens alba); ferns are the evil invasive, Asian Sword Ferns. I keep the Sword Ferns at bay by using them in vases.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening…

In a Vase on Monday – Two Yards of Flowers

Last week I commented that one of the flowers in the arrangement was three feet long. This was a Blanchetiana Bromeliad. I decided to cut a whole flower to use in a vase. The flower turned out to be closer to six feet long. Two yards or nearly two meters. I cut about four feet including the stem and realized the flower was too heavy to put in a vase, so I used some ‘florets’ – kind of like broccoli. The florets are the orange and yellow arching accents in the vase. Here is the entire flower:

Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana) are a common sight in South Florida. It is a big plant, six feet tall with orange foliage and they spread very well, probably too well. I was astonished the first time I saw one, thinking of bromeliads as small houseplants. There are some with flowers up to 10 feet!

The rest of the vase:

Florets of Blanchetiana Bromeliads; varigated foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum varigatum).

White flowers are ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea; tropical green foliage is Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum). The big crystal vase is a wedding gift from a dear friend. I rarely use this vase as it requires a lot of flowers – maybe two yards.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting my weekly favorite, IAVOM. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Perspective

Fall rode into South Florida on the coattails of Hurricane Ian last week. While Ian left an unprecedented swath of destruction through the peninsula, my garden was unaffected by the storm for the most part. Leaves, branches and palm fronds were strewn around by the winds and a few plants are taking a more southerly direction bent by the higher wind gusts. Otherwise, all is well. The temperature change is a welcome relief from summer as is the lower humidity. Clear blue skies and daytime highs in the low 80s are the reason hordes flock to South Florida in winter.

I went in search of fall colors in the garden. Real fall color is difficult to find here, fruit bearing shrubs and trees are about it. Beautyberry and Goldenrain tree are my fall color change plants. The flowers in my vase are a different perspective on fall color than most gardens north of here.

The flowers:

The orange flowers are from Aechmea rubens, a long lasting bromeliad; variegated foliage is from ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana). The vase is a thrift store find.

The orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); yellow lobster claws are pieces of Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana) flowers – the actual flowers are 3 or 4 feet long.

To see more vases, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Fall Ya’ll.

In a Vase on Monday – Hurricane Blues

It’s September in Florida. Eventually a hurricane is going to take aim at my garden. We spent the weekend watching weather models, called spaghetti models because the paths on the models look like cooked pasta. I am on the east coast of Florida and currently out of the area predicted to be affected by Hurricane Ian. Thus far, 35 mph winds are forecast here as the hurricane passes on the other side of the peninsula. The feeling is relief mixed with concern for my fellow Floridians and a certain trepidation that no one really knows what Ian will do.

Here is the current spaghetti:

Back to the flowers, this does look a bit like a spaghetti model with the linear stems of the flowers.

The purple berries are from Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis); white flowers are Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); and a few sprigs of Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) in pale pink.

Late season Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) grace the edge of the vase. The cobalt blue vase was a gift from my brother.The Gardenias and Sweet Almond flowers add a nice fragrance to my foyer.

Time will tell which piece of pasta was the path Ian takes. Until then, no garden cleanup will be attempted.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Salvia – ation

Salvias have been the salvation of a few intractable areas in my garden. The native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) has evolved into one of my favorite plants. It thrives in a mostly unirrigated area of my garden that is infested with soil borne nematodes. The nematodes have eaten the roots of virtually everything else I have tried there. I spent a great deal of time amending the soil and doubling the irrigation to grow vegetables – only to harvest about 3 tomatoes and watch the rest of the veg wither and die from the pests below. The salvias reseeded themselves into this space and are happily flowering away. I am glad something is enjoying all the soil amendments besides the nematodes. ‘Mystic Spires’ is the blue salvia in the arrangement, this one has been flowering in my garden since March 2021, the other one passed on this summer and this one is petering out, though I have no complaints about their performance. Surviving two Augusts in South Florida is an amazing achievement.

This is one of those dinner party vases. It looks great for a dinner party and fades a day or two later. I think the vase must have arrived with a floral arrangement at some point.

Closer views:

The salvias… Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) can be white, pink, salmon or neon orange. I have yet to see neon orange, but have all the other colors. Blue salvia is Mystic Spires.

The white flower is a vinca that reseeds from somewhere around my house. It has also done well in nematode land so I let it go. This is kind of a rangy plant, so I suspect it is a parent plant of all the cultivar vincas that got loose in Florida. I see these by the side of the road. Yellow flowers are from Thyrallis (Galpinia glauca) this is a shrub that used to be considered native but is now a foreigner. Sigh.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. Follow this link to see more vases: http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Natives and Friends

It is finally raining here, and in typical gardener fashion, I am going to complain – just a little too much. The weeds are going crazy and it is supposed to rain for the next several days. Fiona, the hurricane, not the greyhound. is supposed to meander by next week, undoubtedly bringing more rain. Fiona the greyhound is not terribly worried.

Back to plants and SOS. I am joining the SOS meme, hosted by Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. To see more posts, follow the link.

This is a native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cynathophora). These pop up here and there and do not reseed much, so I enjoy the little pop of red in the garden.

Native Dayflower (Commelina erecta). Another one that just pops up in the garden and behaves nicely.

Native Bidens alba. One of the many common names is Spanish Needles, which leaves me wondering if the Spanish explorers of the Florida peninsula used the seeds for sewing. Not sure how, they are sharp, but maybe a half inch long. The one I love to hate. Reseeds madly, but so cute and the pollinators love it.

Another great native for pollinators, the Beach Daisy (Helianthus debilis). I am not sure what that bug is. These go mad during a rainy summer and once you have them in the garden (I planted them) they never go away.

The fruits of a native Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) Something about this is supposed to have a spice fragrance. I have yet to find it and have had this in the garden for seven years or so. Birds like the berries.

A nice, and not native to Florida, Saturday morning surprise. This is an unnamed Cattleya orchid that regularly flowers in early September. I thought it wouldn’t flower because of the dry summer – but here it is after getting some rain and a little fertilizer.

That’s my Six for this Saturday….Happy Gardening!!!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Torch Parfait

More tropical madness from my garden. I know the peak of hurricane season is upon us when I see the Flaming Torch Bromeliads in bloom. September 10 is peak day. The Five Day Tropical Outlook looks good for now, so life is good. The parfait glass is a perfect container for the heavy flowers. I inherited this glass from my mother-in-law, who collected Colony pattern Fostoria glass. This is a juice or parfait glass, my husband’s fond memory of these glasses is they were filled with butterscotch pudding.

A closer view:

There is a good reason to call this Flaming Torch. It is also called Hurricane Bromeliad, due to its flowering time. These are not quite open and elongate a bit as they open. The latin name is Billbergia pyramidalis.

The support staff of the Torch…I decided to accent the purple tones in the flower with ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera foliage and a sprig of Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), added for fragrance.

I mentioned hearing the return of the Sand Hill Cranes for winter (I use that term loosely) a couple of vases ago. Here is a photo of the birds, they were walking through a neighboring yard. They are probably three feet tall.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Raindrop Close ups

I am joining the SOS crowd this morning, celebrating a very recent rain shower in my garden. The weather guessers predicted a much wetter September (usually our rainiest month). On this third day of the month, they are right.

I have been attempting to watch the Artemis 1 rocket launch this week; depending on weather the launches are visible from my backyard. If we see them my husband is usually squealing “this is so cool!!!!” This is NASA’s run up to another manned trip to the moon in a couple of years. The first attempt was scrubbed on Tuesday and the second is scheduled for this afternoon. Currently it is overcast, so time will tell. If the weather clears and the launch happens I may see a rocket fly by this afternoon.

On to plants:

Esperanza (Tecoma stans). Sometimes called Yellow Elder. This plant amazes me. It had virtually no water and a very dry summer and it just keeps going.

The base of Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascarensis). Another survivor with very little watering. I love the base of these. This is a member of the Strelitzia family related to Bird of Paradise.

Aechmea rubens in the final stages of flowering. I have never heard a common name for this. This bromeliad started flowering at the end of May, lasting all summer. I am wondering if the black tips are seeds?

These bromeliads are just starting to flower. They are Billbergia pyramidalis and have many common names – Flaming Torch, Hurricane, Foolproof Plant, Summer Torch. They are foolproof if planted in the right spot. I enjoy these every fall.

A mystery bromeliad in full bloom. This has lasted most of the summer.

Dancing Ladies Ginger (Globba winitii). My garden is too dry to support these, so I grow them in a pot. The plant is dormant during the dry season, then pops up mid June and flowers late summer. A neighbor gave me this plant. I think I will upsize the pot to see the plant will spread.

That’s it from South Florida. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!