Six on Saturday – The Hurricane Report

I am joining the SOS crowd after a rare event, a November hurricane – the third one to occur since the mid 1800s. If you look at the map above – where the red line hits the east coast of Florida, that’s my house. The hurricane, named Nicole, made landfall as a Category 1 (min 70 mph winds) at 3 am Thursday morning about 30 miles north. We all slept through it, the dog included. The hurricane was immediately downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall. I would guess we might have had 50 mph wind gusts, the damage minimal.

Floridians generally scoff at Category One hurricanes. The problem is you never really know where the thing is going to end up and the wind field on this one was so huge it was difficult to drive away from it. The wind kicked up Monday afternoon and continued until Thursday. We put up our storm shutters just in case, my husband is currently outside, grumbling and taking down the shutters.

A scattering of debris from Sabal Palms.

My Rangpur Lime tree is bent over. I guess I should tie it up to the fence to straighten it up? Lime trees are quite thorny and this is almost leaning into the pathway.

Miss Alice Bougainvillea was knocked off her column.

Further north, close to the ocean and rivers, people weren’t so lucky. This hurricane hit during a full moon and at fall king tide time, so the water was already high and the storm surge was 3 to 5 feet. The Daytona Beach area was also hit hard by Hurricane Ian, 43 days before. Some of the houses damaged by Ian fell into the ocean with this additional insult. These images are what you are seeing on the news.

The barrier island protecting us had quite a bit of flooding and an native American burial ground on the beach was unearthed; it will be interesting to learn how old the skulls are found on the beach.

A few images from further north:

Wind and water damage from further north.

Thanks to Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/ for hosting Six on Saturday. To see more posts, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Ian Aftermath

I have heard from a lot of people this week inquiring about our status after Hurricane Ian blasted through Florida. Here is what happened.

On Monday this week I posted the latest spaghetti models for the path of the hurricane. Meteorologists use these models to show possible storm paths. I have turned into a bit of a hurricane nerd and follow the weather modeling when storms are active. I marked this map up to show how the forecasting moved during the week.

I am located east of the big hole in Florida, Lake Okeechobee. The LW labels are where Ian was forecast to hit last week. Last week the hurricane was hitting South Florida or the Panhandle. The line in black was the Monday forecast. Tuesday it moved south with a prediction of a direct hit on Tampa Bay. Wednesday morning Category 4 Hurricane Ian spinning 155 mph winds made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida, a barrier island off the west coast near Ft. Myers. It is over 100 miles between Tampa and Ft. Myers. The hurricane never really looked like it was going to hit us. Ironically, when the first rain bands hit my house the hurricane warning area was upgraded to 30 miles north of my house.

Ians’s path through Florida:

The storm passed about 110 miles west of us overnight on Wednesday. There was a constant 30 mph wind that escalated to 50 or 60 mph gusts off and on. We had very little rain.

The dreadful images of storm damage seen all over the internet and news stories are mostly from the two counties near the landfall, Lee and Collier. There is wind damage and ongoing flooding elsewhere in the path. Hurricane Ian reformed after leaving Florida as a tropical storm and hit South Carolina on Friday.

Our nephew lives in Ft. Myers and stayed in his house. After 5 hours of 100 mph winds, he had a hole in his roof and trees down. He was very lucky. The storm surge stopped 1/2 mile away. Another friend, with land development experience, recently sold his golf course view home in Naples after worrying for years about the 6-8 foot topographical difference between his house and the Gulf of Mexico. I imagine his neighborhood was inundated by the storm surge.

Here is what happened in my garden:

Winds blew this pot counterclockwise. I am glad it did not blow off the wall.

Piles of palm fronds to pick up. I hate hurricane cut palms. It is bad for the health of the tree to cut all the yellow and brown fronds and seed heads off as they provide homes and food for birds and bats – but, you don’t have to pick them up after high winds.

The hurricane cut palm is on the right. They are left with 3 to 5 green fronds many times.

The Strangler Fig was mostly covered in new leaves before the winds blew through. The new leaves and many others are now covering the ground.

That is it from my garden. Just piles of debris to pick up. Some of the plants are pointed in a decidedly more southern direction as that is where the strongest winds came from.

To see more Six on Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening, I will be adding to my compost heap!

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!!!

Six on Saturday – Tropical Weather

Tropical weather is on the menu this week in Florida. Two forecasted hurricanes are lurking in the Gulf of Mexico, an unheard of meteorological event. Both are taking aim at the Gulf Coast of the US. Batten down over there. This weather brings downpours that can dump 3 inches of rain per hour in my garden – even hundreds of miles away from the storms. I am joining the Six on Saturday crew at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more posts of six items of interest from gardens around the world.

I am featuring my more tropical plants today. This is a Blanchetiana Bromeliad ramping up to full flower. The flower in back is about seven feet tall.

The flowers on a Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). These shrubs should reach at least six feet.

A Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) I planted these last fall to screen a telephone pole behind my house. They will grow to 30 feet. They have just reached eight feet. These are planted as a sign of hospitality in the South Pacific. The stems hold a great deal of water and a thirsty traveler can cut one for a drink of fresh water.

Fruit forming on the Papaya tree. I am hoping the moths are done with my tree for the year and I get some fruit this winter. The tree is at least fifteen feet tall, so I will have to wait for the fruit to fall off.

The new Papaya planted last year from seeds of the tree above. Papayas are very short lived, so I started this new one. The tomato cage is for protection from my lawn guys

Leaves of the Pink Ball Tree (Dombeya wallachii) This is sometimes called Tropical Hydrangea and flowers during the winter. The shrub grew 9 feet in less than two years.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Braving Isaias

The impending path of Hurricane Isaias has been big news this week in Florida. A friend is calling this storm Hurricane Unpronounceable. Research tells me Isaias replaces the name Ike, retired after a particularly disastrous storm in 2008. They downgraded Isaias to a Tropical Storm before it reached my neck of the woods.

Ordinarily I would not cut flowers during a tropical weather event. This one was mild enough that I walked my greyhounds this morning. Alan, the weather phobic hound, did not take notice of the weather. During the walk I avoided the house with Coconut Palms – the coconuts are still hanging on the tree. We had winds up to 30 mph, off and on, and very little rain. The pots on my porch had to be watered. It is interesting to note the change in direction in the winds, especially when not scared witless. The circular wind direction can be felt and noted by watching which way the palms are swaying. Just stay away from Coconut Palms.

What Hurricane?

The vase! Oddly, my husband received flowers recently for helping someone and this is the vase from his flowers. I used it to collect a hot color palette of what is flowering in my garden.

The foliage in the back of the arrangement is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘varigata’); yellow and orange spikes are Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Blanchetiana’) flowers; peach and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and blue tipped panicle flower is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flowers in the middle of the vase are Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); orange flowers hanging over the side are Firebush (Hamelia patens); and a few unnamed Zinnias. The Zinnias are grown in Miami and are my favorite (because they survive) summer container flower. I would love to know the name if anyone can share that information.

It is late Sunday afternoon and while the wind is still blowing it has died down considerably. Fingers crossed for the rest of those in the path of this storm.

To see more vases from less tropical climes visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and hopefully sunny skies…

Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

In a Vase on Monday – Love/Hate Relationships

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The oh so subtle signs of fall are appearing on the peninsula of Florida. Hurricane Dorian was one unmistakable sign, the hurricane season peaks on September 10. My husband declared hurricane season over and took down all the storm shutters. Signs in the garden include the formation of fruit on Beautyberry and Firebush and I have seen three (yes, 3!) Red Maples sporting red fall color. It is exciting.

My garden came through the brush with Hurricane Dorian mostly unscathed, the Beautyberry had their leaves blown off (the berries were untouched) and the Avocado tree’s leaves have windburn. A few branches down here and there, but that is about it. I wonder if I have sited the Avocado in a less than the optimal place as the leaves usually burn from one thing or another.

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The vase is an old florist’s vase I found by the side of the road in my neighborhood. I am guessing at least thirty years old as I vaguely remember these in the 80s. Most of the plants in the vase I love for their flowers but hate for their voracious appetite for space in the garden.

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The most incorrigible of the lot, in white, Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) possibly the best native pollinator in the garden – however, these reseed to the point of annoyance. In orange and red, Firebush (Hamelia patens – varieties botanically undefined) I love these shrubs, but once they get going watch out. I was told one was dwarf (4 feet) sounds great – it is probably closing in on 12 feet and still growing. Also soon to be a tree form as I love the butterflies nectaring on it (5 different butterflies seen while cutting branches for the vase). The red fruits are also from the Firebush, I have two types, the red one produces fruit that grows little plants in the garden – the orange one never does. Grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum) I prune and prune and never have a dense hedge, purple flowers occasionally make it worthwhile. The purple berries, Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) which I love right now but not so much for the foliage. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, they could take over a gas station parking lot. Enough said.

My vase from last week is holding up well with the exception of the Orchid, that was asked to leave and unceremoniously composted. Here are the two vases together.

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Maybe there is fall color in Florida. It is just totally different.

Six on Saturday – Some Rescues

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Every Saturday The Propagator (click on link) invites us to share six items of interest from our gardens. Hurricane Dorian passed within 100 miles of my garden this week and we came through the storm unscathed. Physically, unscathed – mentally I was scathed. I did bring a few things inside before the winds howled by. Above, Papayas nearly ripe on the tree. I picked the Papayas and left them on the counter to ripen.

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This is a fungus on a Norfolk Island Pine stump, the tree was removed because they tend to topple in high winds.

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A Gulf Fritillary butterfly on potted Zinnias.

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New growth on a Miniature Pineapple.

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Flower of a Neoregelia Bromeliad.

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The Cattleya Orchids flowered. Thinking the flowers were too delicate for the winds, I cut them and brought them inside. They grow right outside my Living Room window and I usually leave them as they last longer on the plant.

Happy Gardening on Saturday!

The Hurricane Report

Several people have asked what goes on during a hurricane. I have written about my hurricane experience, having recently been missed by ongoing Hurricane Dorian. This experience is not a recommended addition to anyone’s bucket list.

Here is the report:

First, days or weeks before the Hurricane actually forms, it pops up on an NOAA Map like this:

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X marks the spot where a tropical depression might or might not form, percentages are the chance it forms in 2 days and existing hurricanes and storms are on the map. Tropical depressions are the genesis of the hurricane. By looking further on the website you can find tracks of all storms and see where they are predicted to go, many go out to sea, never a threat to land. The #3 disturbance is worrisome because this time of year many hurricanes originate there, and end up in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic coast of the US and Canada. These are called Cape Verde hurricanes, named after the nearby islands.

We started watching Dorian a week or so ago when it passed by Puerto Rico as a tropical storm, and kept heading our way. As the days go by the cone of probability (basically a graphic of the current idea of where the hurricane might make landfall) The cone (current idea) goes from place to place as the weather forecasters push and pull their modeling forecasts. These can (and do) vary by hundreds of miles as the storms and computers meander. I read at the start of the storm season that the new tracking software made them 20 miles more accurate than last year. Not feeling better about that. The Weather channel’s ratings go up, drama ensues. Inevitably, the storm ends up going through my Living Room at 130 mph at some point. (on the cone computer graphic)

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We put up our hurricane shutters when things start looking dicey.  Dorian got dicey at the end of last week. The shutters are aluminum and are screwed on to threaded posts embedded in the window trim. All windows and doors that are not hurricane rated are covered as well as screen porches. It is a huge pain to install all this stuff. The clear shutter is so you can see what is going on outside. In addition to shuttering the windows, it is necessary to stockpile food and water and a gas-powered generator is a very handy thing if the power goes out, of course then gas is needed. We were very well prepared. And the power did not even blink. It was too windy to go outside off and on for 2 or 3 days, all grocery stores, make that all stores were closed (except one gas station with a deli) and bridges to the barrier islands were closed.

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The wind swirled around our house at 30 or 40 mph off and on for a couple of days. The constant high pitched whine and the wind rattling the metal shutters get a bit nerve-wracking after a while. Fortunately, Hurricane Dorian’s extremely high winds stayed offshore, here is where we are relative to the storm:

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Too close for comfort. Way too close. My garden is surprisingly unscathed. I did pick the Papayas fearing smoothies on my house instead of in my glass. The Papayas are still ripening on the counter.

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We are feeling lucky and blessed. And collecting things for those poor souls in the Bahamas who lived through days of Dorian’s wrath.

Send some thoughts, good vibes or items to the Bahamas.

In a Vase on Sunday – Flowers by Dorian

IMG_20190901_105215 Who is Dorian, you may ask? Dorian is the hurricane currently lashing the Bahamas that may or may not be lashing my house on Monday. This hurricane has been lurking around for at least a week and we are still wondering where Dorian will land.

We have had so much time to prepare I did not really have anything left to do and decided to make this wildly funky vase with flowers that would likely be destroyed by  high winds. I had to take the vase outside to photograph it – the windows of our house are covered with the steel shutters seen behind the vase and it is dark and sepulchral inside. Too dark to photograph the nearly 4 foot tall arrangement, the vase is resting on my bath mat.

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190901105508924_COVERHere is a closer view. The orchids are Cattleyas, gifted to me by my neighbor. I may have saved them from an uncertain demise, they were being consumed by tiny ants, Not to mention potential hurricane winds. The orange and red flowers are the bud stalks from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana) these will usually survive a hurricane and continue flowering but are bent over. The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) not sure if the berries will survive the wind. Time will tell. The foliage is a big leaf of Heliconia and two variegated Pandanus leaves.

Happy Gardening…Hope we meet next Monday. The winds are howling already.