In a Vase on Monday – One Man’s Trash..

img_20200524_111421

The saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. My treasures today include several plants that are considered weeds. Nut sedge, the chartreuse flowers at the top right, is a particularly reviled weed. Some call this sand spurs. I have pulled a great deal of it out of my garden and dog paws. I was pulling some yesterday and thought ‘this looks like a Papyrus’ well, for good reason. It is a Cyperus, while Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is a wetland sedge. This is a dryland sedge. But a treasure for today only.

The ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a very pretty weed, great vase filler, and invasive nuisance in Florida. I have been pulling these out after rains all winter. They hang on for dear life when it’s dry and are very difficult to pull out.

The white daisy flower is a Bidens alba, these are a nuisance to me although a great nectaring plant for bees and butterflies. These reseed so prolifically I cut them to stop it. I am pretty certain I will never run out of Bidens. Its common name is Spanish Needles, the seeds are sharp and it is said the early settlers of Florida used them as needles.

A closer view:

img_20200524_111407

Most of these treasures are excellent nectar producers for pollinators. The hot pink flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); yellow and red daisies, Gallardia pulchella; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). The Sweet Almond has perfumed my hallway with the scent of Marzipan.

Here is a Gulf Frittilary enjoying the nectar of the Heirloom Penta.

img_20200516_093256

Happy Gardening…to see more vases go visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Florida Foliage Fun

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094253016_cover

There is some marvelously funky foliage that can be grown in Florida. I have succumbed to more that one plant for its foliage alone. The flowers, for the most part, are less than inspiring. Above is a Mammey Croton (Codieaum varigegatum ‘Mammey’). These are dwarf and grow to about 3 feet. They are a foundation planting next to my peach painted house. It’s  tropical fun.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093420422_cover

The leaves of a Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Louisiana Red’) These are new to my garden, six feet is the mature height, I hope. They are at the back of the butterfly garden.

img_20200523_093506

This is a ‘Raggedy Ann’ Copperleaf, it wasn’t big enough as a mass of color and not being able to find another I put the Louisiana Red beside it. I think this will work out.

img_20200523_094113

Six on Saturday would not be complete without including a Bromeliad. This is a unnamed Neoregelia I enjoy for its  color and size, it is about 2 feet wide.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094200216_cover

Another Croton, the Piecrust Croton. Planted in honor of my husband, the piemaker. The leaf edges are crimped like a piecrust.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093332245_cover

The groundcover in my Rainforest garden is Zebrina Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) a common interior hanging basket plant. This is nearly indestructible and thrives in sugar sand.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts from the world over, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Treats

img_20200517_101314

One of the few benefits of increasing humidity in South Florida is the appearance of the more tropical flowers. Their scents perfume the garden and I am currently enjoying them indoors, sans humidity. The fragrances of tropical Gingers, Frangipani and Gardenias are floating through the air. Ever so lightly.

The vase is a Crate and Barrel candleholder from the 1970s. Bought during my husband’s first marriage and similarly has lost its mate. Though I do love it (and him) for the occasional vase. Another view of the vase:

img_20200517_101429

A close up of the flowers. The yellow and pink flowers and buds are Frangipani (Plumeria) A friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and I have no idea what the name of the variety is. This one is more fragrant at night and before sunrise (my greyhounds love this time of day, me, not so much – chasing rabbits and armadilloes are low on my life  priorities). The white flowers and most of the green foliage is from Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata – or something like that); these are not from Florida, India I believe is their real home and they are mostly deciduous here. The pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) – these flower off and on year round and it is nearly a pleasure to prune them for the fragrance.

 

img_20200517_101509

I am hopeful everyone has enough food and lav paper (I love the English term) – our supplies are still a bit weird. My husband, who has never joked about the quality of the paper – is doing so. And we are  both laughing as circumstances are so, well, absurd. I am hoping not to be attempting to grow Papyrus for personal use this fall.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Amy or Amelia – I answer to both.

Six on Saturday – Butterflies

img_20200516_093256

It has been a good week for bees and butterflies in my garden. My absurdly overgrown Firebush has started flowering prolifically and I am enjoying all the insect life. Above is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly diving into the flower of an Heirloom Penta. They also enjoy the Firebush. Here is the gigantic Firebush. I read the record Firebush is 13 feet tall. This one may be approaching record height.

img_20200516_084108

The Firebush was planted 6 or 7 years ago to screen the well. This is the Firebush at time of installation; I was told it was Dwarf and would get 4 feet tall! I have tree formed it as I enjoy watching the butterflies. And the well, currently dead is certainly screened.

CAM00121 (1)

Firebush Hamelia patens

Fiona the Greyhound enjoys snapping up a bee now and again.

img_20200516_094910

A bee that is out of Fiona’s reach.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200516095022183_cover

Another part of my good butterfly week – I had an article published in The American Gardener about the Atala Butterflies in my garden. Below is the link.

The American Gardener:
May/June 2020

Check out this page

Happy Gardening!! For more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Mothers Day

img_20200510_111556

I put this vase together on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US. The vases often make me think of my mother, Miss Betty, an intrepid gardener, registered nurse and mother of  four, who would have loved to see all the vases on Monday. I took care of her the last years of her life and always did her grocery shopping on Tuesday. Tuesday always brought a vase to her kitchen – either flowers from my garden, her garden or the grocery store. We both had Red Alstromeria in our gardens and the grocery store usually did as  well – there was a lot of Alstromeria in those Tuesday vases. Recently a friend brought me a start of the original Alstromeria my mother gave her. It is currently suffering in my garden, and I hope it can cope with South Florida sand.

A closer view of the vase:

img_20200510_111805

It’s an unusually cool, gloomy day for May in South Florida. I decided to create a copper teapot full of color for my foyer. The teapot is a favorite find of mine, antiquing with my husband I spied this and had to have it. Then went running home to make sure the check I wrote wouldn’t bounce. It didn’t, but barely.

There are a lot of flowers stuffed into a pickle jar in the teapot (it doesn’t hold water, holes in the bottom) The big red flower is The President Hibiscus, an old variety that lives a long time. Blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); bigger white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri); smaller white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); the orange tubular flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); grey fuzzy foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolaris); yellow and red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigatem); the Guzmania Bromeliad from last week’s vase is at the bottom left in the arrangement. Here is another view:

img_20200510_111739

And here is my mother, Miss Betty with her mother, Miss Ethel in 1988 – in front of her prized Philadelphus. I wonder how she would feel about being in a blog post..

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200510134404953_cover

Six on Saturday – May Happenings

The month of May is coming in like a lion here. Stormy weather and cool temperatures are across the US. In Florida, it is a refreshing 70 degrees but the wind kicks up and it a bit too windy to sit outside. Some of the warm season shrubs are starting to flower.

Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) can flower anytime, but is more prolific in the summer.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095713721_cover

Firebush (Hamelia patens) and one of my favorites flower more during the warmer months.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095614507_cover

The Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini) is flowering. I don’t get any dates, though these will bear fruit if you have a male and female palm.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095834998_cover

The Papaya has produced its second crop this year. This one fell off the tree – there is a moth that lays eggs in the fruit and causes it to drop off. You can tell by the sap oozing out that the moth has been there. If I had cut the fruit open it would be full of worms eating the flesh of the Papaya (I didn’t). The fruit that falls has to be picked up quickly to halt another generation of moths.

00000img_00000_burst20200509094451595_cover

The Thai Dessert Mango is tantalizing me. This is a Nam Doc Mai.

img_20200506_111557

The Nam Doc Mai is also flowering again, so I should get a few more Mangoes this summer. These can flower year round, though mine usually don’t.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509094313878_cover

There, six things happening in my garden in May. For other Six on Saturday posts, go to  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

img_20200503_105143

The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200503155553161_cover

I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

img_20200503_105208

The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Refresh

Perfect gardening weather ruled this week. There was even some rain for successful transplanting and weed removal. After the first rain, I started to pull out the evil invader, Asian Sword Fern. These ferns popped up in my garden a couple of years ago. I thought they were pretty, no longer. They have grown through everything and can only be pulled out if the soil is moist.

img_20200427_102902

During the course of my weeding, I pulled out a Gru Gru Palm (Acrocomia aculeata) seedling. It is said this is what pygmy tribes in the Amazon use for poison darts. Covered in thorns, these sliced right through my leather gloves and they get bigger as the palm does. I hope I got rid of the thing, I did not plant it. I see these from time to time as a specimen palm in gardens, the appeal is lost on me. Way too sharp.

img_20200427_114910

Our front garden is always under renovation as a small area has to be dug up once a year to service the septic tank. I question the wisdom of this design, but it has been made as accessible as possible. I put in a shelf of shells on a pizza pan with a pot of succulents behind and rocks on weed fabric that can be pulled out and replaced easily. I am not quite finished with this project.

img_20200502_094411

The pot has Flapjack Kalanchoe, Graptosedum and a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is pupping so this should look fuller later this summer. The access to the septic tank is under the pizza pan. I am probably the first person to ever write that sentence, and possibly use a pizza pan for such a thing.

.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200502094637463_cover

I decided to direct seed a new crop of Basil for the summer into my herb pots, so far so good.

00000img_00000_burst20200502094354115_cover

The Beautyberry is flowering luxuriantly, promising a bumper crop of purple fruit later this summer. This is native and a pollinator favorite, waiting to see some new butterflies.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200502093631841_cover

Wishing  the Six on Saturday crew a lovely gardening week and for more posts go and visit…. http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Palmy Weather

img_20200426_104120

We have been having Palmy weather. Rain off and on and accompanying humidity have inspired the Adonidia Palm in my garden to flower.  I have been eyeing the flower to cut for a vase. It’s the white stemmed flower in the middle.

A palm flower is a bit of a process and interesting to watch. A bud shoots up from the base of fronds, and the flower slowly unfurls. Below is a bud and a flower. The green part is the sheath at the base of the frond. The sheath above was shed, and the buds revealed; the buds later move horizontally and flower. The palm flowers eventually form berries that look very similar to the flower and fall off. This takes until late fall; most people trim the flowers off.

img_20200328_094513

I have been watching other types of palms flowering as I walk my dogs in the morning. It is like a trip through the Cretaceous period, cycads and ferns included, no dinosaurs as of yet.

Another view of the vase:

img_20200426_103716

And  a closer view:

img_20200426_103649

The glass container is a heavy, old florist vase I found by the side of the road. Orange and chartruese fruit is from Surinam Cherries, sometimes called Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), My neighbor, a local, explained I should soak them in water to get the worms out before eating. I declined, though I did try them once, the flavor is a bit reminiscent of turpentine. Another fruit left for the birds, though a friend makes jam from them and says it is good. Red flowers are from the native Firebush, Hamelia patens.

I hope everyone is coping with the solitude and enjoying time in the garden. I seem to be moving a lot of plants around with the rain. And planning more gardens…

Thanks to Cathy, hostess of this garden meme, for carrying on with our Monday fun. See more vases at her blog, http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200420143211172_cover

Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425091647781_cover

Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

img_20200425_091718

The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

img_20200425_103344

This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425092012453_cover

The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425103425818_cover

Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.