Six on Saturday – Lessons Learned

Gardening is a learning experience that never ends. This Saturday’s Six represent my most recent lessons.

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Lesson 1:  Build it and they will come is true of butterfly gardening. I have been planting for  pollinators for about six years. This is my first White Peacock butterfly.

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Lesson 2: Tree Spinach cuttings root really fast and I don’t think I am going to eat any. A friend gave me these cuttings two weeks ago, they are growing and putting out flower buds already. Tree Spinach or Chaya is a very healthy tropical vegetable, filled with cyanide unless you cook it and then it’s OK. The vapors from cooking are also toxic, and if cooked in a aluminum pan the broth will give you diarrhea. The nectar in the flowers is very nutritious for butterflies-leaving this one to the butterflies.

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Lesson 3: I really dislike Culantro. The plant in the lower part of the picture is Culantro, I bought this to try as I love Cilantro and this is supposedly easier to grow. It is easy to grow – unfortunately tasting like soap. The first time I have picked herbs out of my lunch. My husband was appalled. The plant sharing the pot is Dill, decimated by last night’s Italian Wedding Soup.

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Lesson 4: I like Jaboticabas. I ate a few from this tree. A tropical fruit tree also known as Brazilian Grape Tree. It flowers and bears fruit on its trunk. The fruit is like Scuppernong Grapes with a big seed. This one is in a nursery, I have one in my garden – they are well known for taking years to produce fruit; still waiting.

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Lesson 5: Rabbits like spinach and will raid the garden regardless of patrolling Greyhounds.

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Lesson 6: Wind will blow over a tripod of even the thickest bamboo if the Passionfruit vine is big enough. Time to move this.

That is my Six this Saturday. Follow this link to the Propagators blog to see more posts like it. THELINK

 

 

In a Vase on Monday – Jurassic Parts

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While perusing my garden for vase materials this morning I was seeing a lot of the same old thing and decided I needed to do something different. I wanted to use the dried Bromeliad leaves one more time and the Tillandsia covered branch seemed to go with the idea. The result seems a bit prehistoric to me and in some ways it is containing ferns, palms and bromeliads, all monocots and found in fossils. Here is a closer view:

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The dried brown stems are from the seedhead of an Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii); the white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); fern is a Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the dried Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchitiana) leaves wrapped around the vase and holding the Begonia stems together were originally on my Christmas wreath, reused a couple of weeks ago  to wrap a whole vase and this is the final appearance. The hanging Bromeliad and branch were found while walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, these are Tillandsia recurvata, Ball Moss.

The vase is a pasta container I use as a vase since the top was lost some years ago. My husband refers to the gardeners inevitable stockpile of unplanted pots of plants as my ‘Spare Parts’. I am rarely without spare parts, currently holding at six ‘Java White’ Copperleaf.

If only I had a tiny dinosaur to go with this one.

Here it is in black and white, maybe even a bit more Jurassic.

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For more vases from around the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog MORE VASES

 

Six on Saturday – Hallelujah

Time for six pictures of what going on in my garden. I am joining in with gardeners from around the world on The Propagators blog, follow this link to see more posts THELINK

The Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad has finally bloomed. Flowers and foliage don’t get much crazier than this one:

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Here is another Bromeliad flower, I think of these as the tropical version of tulips. Meet Quesnelia testudo, this one has very sharp foliage and one of  the hardiest of  the Bromeliads, surviving 25 degrees (F).

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Another Bromeliad, an unnamed Guzmania in full flower.

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The seedling of a Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) growing in my Tiki. I need  to take  this out soon.

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A bud of yet another Bromeliad, ‘Little Harv’ Aechmea. These are yellow and pink when in full flower.

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My Leonitis flower, I am very pleased about this one I started it from seed last year and it has straight stocky stems. The plants from last year were curved and languished on the ground when flowering.

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That’s my six this very windy day. The wind has been howling since yesterday morning. It is a north wind so gusty it blew the Papayas off the tree and the cushions off the chairs on the screen porch. No gardening today for me.

In a Vase on Monday – Winter Cheer

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Our air conditioner has been running today, this always seems odd to me given the month is February. This explains why I have Summer flowers to provide Winter cheer. It’s warm in South Florida!

Despite the black vase, the colors of the flowers are so bright and happy and the foliage is Pineapple Sage – It’s like a bowl of summer radiating an herbal fruity scent of the tropics in my foyer. During the completion of the arrangement I had to relocate two whitish green garden spiders  (with the long front legs) outside and suffer a proper foliage selection dither (chartreuse or deep green?) Pineapple Sage won based on color and scent.  I was cheered by this vase once I finished it.

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The vase is a thrift store find I have enjoyed tremendously, I hope whoever made it feels the happiness it generates for me. I placed a glass flower frog inside the vase to support my Zinnias; they are oddly short stemmed (day length not long enough?) A majority of the flowers were grown from seed by me. This is a first for me as I usually buy plants and not seeds. The seeds were a bit of work – the results have been fun to witness.

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There are two colors from the Texas Vintage Rose Celosia mix hanging over the edge, the  jury is still out on this series of seed. The plants are just not that attractive, and in my heart, I think Celosia is weird. Trying to keep an open mind as is does thrive in my sugar sand. So far, anyway, I will be interested to see what summer brings.

The Zinnias are a mystery – I  planted several kinds of seeds and these don’t really look like any of the pictures on the seed packets. Yellow and red Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) and a seedhead are stalwarts in my garden and provide nectar  for many butterflies – the Tropical Red Salvia  (Salvia coccinea) in the background (in peachy mode) does as well. The thick stems with blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis) another amazing nectar plant for butterflies. The backdrop of fragrant chartreuse foliage is from Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) there is a red Pineapple Sage flower in there as well.

I have been having trouble commenting on blogspot blogs  – if anyone knows how to fix this please let me know! Thanks.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Pole Beans and Papayas

It’s time for Six on Saturday. A garden meme based in the UK; hosted by The Propagator. The concept is to post photos of six items of interest from your garden. Follow this link to see more:THE LINK.

I have flowers, fruits and vegetables coming along in my garden. Today I had a papaya for breakfast and picked pole beans. I may make a Papaya Seed dressing for the beans later, this papaya had especially peppery seeds.

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The Mango trees are busy making fruit and they are big enough to see the difference in varieties. This is a Nam Doc Mai, a fiberless Thai dessert Mango.

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This is a Pickering, a condo Mango – dwarf varieties that bear fruit early.

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A pineapple flower, just starting.

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Buds on the Lotusleaf Begonia

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And  buds on the Leonitis, I love these spiky ball buds and flowers. I am proud of these, started from seed in September.

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That’s my six from South Florida.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – More Love

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It’s Valentine’s week so…another red vase for the month of love. I  am realizing another oddity of tropical gardening. It is February and I have several types of red foliage to choose from for this vase. Croton foliage is in the vase, but I have several red Bromeliads and Copperleaf foliage as well. Color rules the tropics.

There is also fruit in this vase, it is winter and the fruit has been forming since fall. Which is kind of normal? Or should I say typical? Here is a close up:

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The red vase is a thrift store find. The red flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum variegatum); chartreuse winged fruit is from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’)  and the berries are from Firebush (Hamelia patens)

I have been collecting ingredients for a different Valentine’s treat, a tradition in our house.

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The recipe is called ‘A Very Good Chocolate Cake’ by Edna Lewis, my favorite Southern cookbook author. I have tweaked it a bit over the years, but usually make for my husband’s birthday and  Valentine’s Day. Suffice it to say I will get my cholesterol  bloodwork done before February 14th!

Happy Valentine’s Week!

For more vases on Monday – follow link to Cathy’s blog VASES