In A Vase on Monday -Bouquet of Love

 

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Passionflower vine rambles through some overgrown shrubs in the back garden. The vines were left to ramble because the hummingbirds enjoy them and some native Passionflowers produce an edible fruit, although I have yet to figure out how to tell one from another. While standing under the shrubs channeling Sir Isaac Newton, a passionfruit fell at my feet, inspiring this vase.

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The inspiration provided, passionfruit at my feet, as Valentine’s Day is Tuesday – I thought If starting with a Passionfruit could the vase be filled with flowers that have a meaning related to love? During the Victorian era in England, flower arrangements were made to convey sentiments based on the selection of flowers and the meaning associated with a flower. For example, a bouquet of lilacs would mean first love. If you were the recipient of the Lilacs someone was telling you they were in love with you and for the first time.

Seizing the challenge, I cut a passionfruit still on the vine and searched the Victorian flower dictionary for plants with love related meanings.

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A close up of the plant palette and the meanings of each component:

The  red flowers are Dwarf Jamaican Heliconia (Heliconia stricta) meaning Adoration.

The orange flower is Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) meaning Bonds of Love.

Asian Sword Ferns meaning Sincerity.

The dark, ferny leaves Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) meaning Strength and Praise

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) meaning Remembrance

Viny plant on the right is Variegated Needlepoint Ivy (Hedera ‘Needlepoint’) meaning Friendship and Fidelity

Last but not least:

The yellow fruit is Passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata) meaning Faith

The result – a bouquet of love for Valentine’s Day from my garden. With the addition of a little something from the kitchen our celebration will be ready.

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A little chocolate to go with the flowers!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

 

In A Vase on Monday-The Pumpkin Chronicles

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In a Vegetable on Monday, Part Two. My gourd collection from last week was looking pretty good so I decided to add to the arrangement with an heirloom pumpkin for Halloween. Today is Halloween in the US, traditionally the time to carve a pumpkin into a Jack O Lantern then go door to door seeking chocolate (or that is how I think of it).20161028_185146

This is a Jarrahdale Pumpkin, totally non traditional and it hails from Australia. My father was an enormous fan of pumpkin carving so in his honor, I carve a pumpkin every Halloween. I decided to research this one a bit to see if it was edible – it is, and reportedly has sweet, melon like flesh perfect for pies. My husband is regionally famous for his pumpkin pies – so I read on to find that I should roast the pumpkin for 20-30 minutes if I wanted to save the flesh and then scoop out the flesh and continue with my ‘decorative use’.

Upon the completion of the short roasting time, the shell had changed color a bit and the flesh was slightly softer, but not cooked, so I chiseled it out with a serrate knife, being careful to use my not so nice knife in case it snapped. The pumpkin looked a bit like a crocodile so I carved a mean face into it. The flowers may offset the meaness.

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Not so sure about the flesh, I just collected it and put in back in the oven to roast and set about arranging the flowers.

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Starting in the front, the yellow flowers are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) the coral star shaped flowers are Dwarf Red Ixora, with a bit of Asian Sword Fern. The red and green leafless stems are from a Firesticks Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli), red and yellow flowers are Parrot Flower (Heliconia psittacorum), red bell shaped flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia), the grey foliage is from Flapjack Kalanchoes and a leaf from Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) completes the arrangement. The flowers are in a glass I put into the pumpkin, there is also a tealight candle in there, but I have mixed feelings about lighting it.

About this time, I took the pumpkin out of the oven, let it cool, had a taste and discovered it it really good and does taste of sweet melon – unfortunately, after all that I ended up with 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. Pumpkin bread, anyone?

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Here is a much more traditional Jack O Lantern from years past, Happy Halloween!

In A Vase on Monday – Grace

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This post is called Grace because of the funky purple bowl I used as a container.

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The bowl belonged to my mother’s Aunt Grace, who was a charming old school southern lady. Grace was my grandmother’s sister and a schoolteacher long retired by the time I came along – she would sit with me and we would draw cats from a series of circles. I have always liked to draw and perhaps she got me started with those cats.

I have been plotting the flower arrangement for a while waiting for the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) to need pruning again. The bowl is good sized and it took 10 or so clusters of Frangipani to fill it, I added some buds and foliage of Heliconia (H. psittacorum) then some Asian Sword Fern for green texture.

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The purple bowl of Plumeria is now gracing my foyer, I think of my Great Aunt when I pass it.

I feel I have been graced with new friends and some interesting new projects over the past couple of weeks, I wish the same to all who read this post. Happy Monday and thanks to our hostess, Cathy .

 

Maui Landscapes and Plants

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My husband and I packed up our dogs and took them to Greyhound camp, then headed west to visit our favorite place, Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. I always enjoy seeing the tropical plants and the volcanic landscape. Maui was formed by two dormant volcanoes millennia ago, the last eruption was Haleakala in the late 1700s. Volcanic rock is still evident from this eruption and fields of black lava rock are visible on most of the beaches.

The landscape of this island is nothing short of magnificent and always seems a bit biblical in scale, the vistas are long, the colors intense and the rainbows incredible. I would like to find a pot of gold at the end of this one.

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Here is a slideshow of the landscapes around the beaches of Maui:

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Here is a slideshow of some of the plants I encountered:

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And for IAVOM fans, this arrangement is always in front of the short order cooks at my husband’s favorite restaurant, The Paia Fish Market – kind of a surfer seafood place. It is Orange and Red Heliconias, Pinecone or Shampoo Gingers and Monstera (Swiss Cheese Plant) leaves.20160905_175323

In a Vase on Monday -Heliconia Overload

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The steamy tropics are what these Parrot Flower Heliconias thrive in and they are blooming like mad in my garden. The tropical Atlantic is doing it best to keep South Florida provided with maximum heat and humidity and plenty of hurricane track spaghetti for everyone to fret about. So far, so good. Fingers crossed.

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This arrangement is a thank you gift for my neighbor. It is Parrot Flower ( Heliconia psittacorum), Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica) and the Native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) and the ubiquitous Asian Sword Ferns, long version.

Happy Monday from my garden and Thank You to Cathy for hosting.

In a Vase on Monday – Spiked Tropical Punch

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I finally have some spikes blooming in my garden. Showy panicles or racemes in the classic style are few and far between in Tropic Florida. I love Butterfly Bush and Oakleaf Hydrangeas and all sorts of plants with those flower types, even Lysimachia. None will grow this far south. I found some Tropical Red or Blood Sage (Salvia coccinea) plants, native to coastal sandy soils in the Southeastern US, bought some thinking it should be perfect for my garden.

As these things go sometimes, this widely advertised Tropical Red Salvia is supposed to love dry sandy soils and be drought tolerant. Mine was not feeling that way at all and insisted on water and the addition of some organic matter in the soil before flowering at all. It rained a couple of inches in the past week or so and they shot up these nearly fluorescent red spikes. Yay. Here are the plants:

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Native people of the Florida peninsula used this Sage medicinally for all sorts of ailments, the more widely known herb Sage is Salvia officinalis. A tea made from this plant was the cure for anything from menopause to infections. Given the wide range of its curative powers I am not too sure if would help with what ails me so, I am sticking to our modern pain relievers at this time as I don’t really like the taste of culinary Sage.

Other members of this arrangement are in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), Parrot Flower (Psittacorum) in red and yellow, Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) in yellow, the burgundy foliage is from “Hallelujah” Bromeliad and a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) Leaf.

Yes, the Split Leaf Philodendron grows in my Rainforest Garden. With many other house plants without spikey panicles.

In A Vase on Monday – Pina Coladas

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An idea formed in my head as I was walking my dogs yesterday morning, a coconut rolled down the street from a nearby palm and one of the dogs stopped to see what it was. Not very interesting to a dog, but I thought otherwise and picked it up. Then, I walked through my garden and spied this miniature pineapple, it has been around for so long the mother plant was producing pups and I had been thinking that it might be better for the plant to cut the pineapple.

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The next thing to find was some rum. The cabinet supplied enough for one frozen cocktail. Perfect. My husband is not a fan of such girly drinks. If only I had some umbrellas.

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The vase is a monogrammed highball glass from my in laws collection. A friend gave me the pineapple, the plant is red and green striped and the pineapple is inedible. But it looks great. The foliage is from a Dwarf Jamaican Heliconia and the spray of pink flowers is from Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus). The coconut is Cocos nucifera, the Coconut Palm, very common in my neighborhood.

In my Rainforest Garden, later in the afternoon….rum, what rum?

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The Pina Colada actually has some Mango granita in it. Maybe it is a Sunset Pina Colada or a Mango Colada.