In A Vase on Monday – Resilience

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Last Sunday we were already feeling the hot breath of Hurricane Irma. It seemed the earth was sweating, so much tropical moisture swirling in the air. Sunday and Monday were spent hunkered down indoors with two greyhounds and our cat. One of the dogs nervous, the other and the cat not so much. More about the hurricane later.

My vase, this Monday is filled with resilient plants from my garden. I had to search a bit to find likely candidates, winds burned or knocked many plants down. Amazingly the berries did not blow off the Beautyberry or the Firebush and I don’t believe the Parrotflowers even paused for Irma. Look closely at the Parrotflowers and note the tips of the flowers are burned black.

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The red berries in front are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens), the purple berries from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) in red and yellow. Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers are beside the Beautyberry and Asian Sword Ferns in the back for some greenery. The ferns are missing a chunk (most of them are) but are amazingly alive and green.

Hurricane Irma:

Hurricanes are generally terrifying. I experienced my first last year, Matthew. A local told me Matthew was a good starter hurricane! One of the most agonizing parts of the experience is the endless news cycle of weather forecasts. At one point 130 mph winds were forecasted for my Living Room. Eventually Irma ended up on the other side of the state. We had sustained winds of 70 mph and gusts to 100 mph off and on for a day or so. And 10 inches of rain. Adding to the fun, Alan (the nervous greyhound) dislocated his toe before the storm. His leg was ensconced in a splint that was NOT TO GET WET.

Needless to say, even though I wrapped the splint in plastic to take him outside, he took off and punctured the splints raincoat with his toenails. During the hurricane. No help available. Fortunately, I have a Facebook friend who is a vet – who advised me to take off the splint. Alan was much happier and chilled out to rest. Toe is much improved.

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The Garden:

The garden is surprisingly resilient. I don’t believe anything was lost to the wind – except all the leaves and foliage that was burned off. We are going to ask the Rainbow Eucalyptus to leave the garden. The top has blown out twice now and the tree just keeps getting taller and heavier.

Here is the side garden:20170915_091557

The back side of my neighbors ugly fence was completely covered with Shell Ginger, Lobsterclaw Heliconia, Bridal Bouquet Plumeria and a Mexican Bush Honeysuckle. By Friday, when I got around to pruning- all were coming back from the ground with new growth. I just cut off the dead and righted some of the Plumeria.

The hedge in back:

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This is a Surinam Cherry hedge, it was fully covered in foliage. The wind blew the leaves off and there is not one in sight. I have been planning to do this exact thing to the hedge and Irma saved me having to haul all the clippings to the curb. I am still contemplating what to do with this and will probably do some additional pruning.

This is a Strangler Fig, the canopy was not quite fully foliaged, but pretty close:

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Again, the wind blew nearly every leaf off and took them along. Saving me hours of raking and bagging! New growth is already on the tips of the branches.

Finally, the Papaya:20170917_113014

This is a Papaya tree I started from seed last year. It is about 3 feet tall and looked dreadful until this morning. It is beginning to shed its burned foliage and producing new leaves.

Resilience. The garden seems to be doing better than we are. Still exhausted. I am told the Hurricane Hangover lasts about a week. Next week should be better. But wait, Hurricane Maria is lurking in the Atlantic. I need a chant for human resilience.

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In A Vase on Monday – Back Up Pitcher

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The concept for my Monday vase was to arrange a low bowl of Frangipani with spiky accents. The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani are blooming profusely and I wanted an arrangement for the foyer.  I started with (I found out later) my lowest Blue Willow bowl with a glass frog to hold the white flowers in place. While placing the white Frangipani flowers I decided to pick some spiky red and blue ones to go with the bowl. As I was meandering through the garden one of my greyhounds lost his collar and I had to stop and find it. By the time the collar was found and I got back in the house the red and blue flowers had wilted.

Then, I realized the flowers were too short for the bowl. In search of a lower bowl, I concluded there were none and happened upon the glass pitcher. The Back Up Pitcher. My husband is the baseball fan, Atlanta Braves specifically. The baseball is from the 1995 World Series, signed by Mark Wohlers, a backup pitcher.

Here is another view:

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I left the spiky flowers soaking in the abandoned bowl, hoping for rejuvenation. Oddly enough, this worked. At this point a return trip to the garden was needed for some taller flowers.

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The players in my Back Up Pitcher: in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), in orange, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens), in rosy red, Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), in blue, Porterweed, in red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), in red and yellow Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum). Foliage accents are Asparagus Fern and Split Leaf Philodendron. Practically as many players as a baseball team.

Is the arrangement a home run?

Happy Monday.

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.