In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – House Arrest

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I am feeling like I am under house arrest. This week I have been to the grocery store twice and to the vet for a rabies shot – the dog got the rabies shot. I might need one later. The garden has been my solace. I spent today finishing my pollinator and fruit border. My neighbor brought some Roselle plants (edible Hibiscus) and I replanted the Dragonfruit and am working on training it to the fence. As these things go, I discovered some terrifying large ants in the bark mulch followed by the realization I have to add irrigation if I want to actually eat a Roselle. I was cutting the Bidens (white daisies) off – they reseed to the point of never wanting to see another one of those damned things; then realized I should make a vase with them. Viola!

This vase looks a bit like Fall to me and in a way it is. The Basil, Gallardia, Celosia, Leonitis and Bidens are all producing seeds ahead of the rainy and hot weather. Here is a closer view:

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The bigger orange flower is Leonitis nepetifolia. Next year I will grow more of these – I have enjoyed them in the garden this year. The white daisies are the dreaded Bidens alba, a native wildflower and great for bees and butterflies. The pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Celosia; chartruese seedheads are Genovese Basil; red and yellow daisies and the round seedhead are from our native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); tubular orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the back and some Salvia coccinea seedheads.

I wish everyone a safe and pleasant respite in their gardens. Even the beaches are closed in Florida. A friend said this gets more surreal every day. I think she is right.

In a Vase on Monday – Charmin Genie

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I was, well, shocked to read about the worldwide run on toilet paper or rolls as it is called in the UK..thinking it was an American anomaly. Sunday morning found me searching for the forgotten roll in the guest bath to use as a vase. These are strange times.

My wish is for humanity to shut things down for a bit aand put this viral genie back in the bottle, hence the little purple bottle and the fan of the white stuff cramming the COVID back in. I think all the prescribed measures are working and we soon shall be confident in our stocks of toilet paper/rolls.

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View from above. The red glass magic carpet is a Christmas gift from a college friend not serving its real purpose, which is a receptacle for Foccacia, freshly ground Black Pepper and Olive Oil.

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The flowers were selected to go with the bottle and the red glass tray. To my knowledge, they are not medicinal. The pink star shaped flowers in front are Heirloom Pentas  (Penta lanceolata); white daisies are Spanish Needles  (Bidens alba) – a native  that is a weed if you ask me, no one does.There is some peachy Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia  coccinea); two colors of Texas Vintage Mix Celosia; the bigger pink fuzzy things are Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalpyha pendula). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the background and a Dwarf Pineapple cutting.img_20200315_112457

The genie’s bottle has a few stems of Tassel Flower in them. They are similar to the Dandelion, imported and producing a flower that can be blown on for wishes. I usually pick these as I don’t wish for any more, but they are cute.

Happy Monday and stay safe in your garden. Continue reading

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!

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

In a Vase on Monday – February Love

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This vase marks the first for February, the month of love. I challenged myself to create a  shades of red vase in honor of February.

The combination of plant material is unusual, to say the least, ordinarily (not sure why) I don’t like to combine tropical plants with non tropicals, but this is meant to be love struck pinks.

The construction of the vase is a bit unusual as well, the red container is from Christmas, too lightweight for the thick stemmed Shell Ginger. To conquer this issue, I placed a glass pickle jar inside the red container – it was too tall and I covered the jar with Bromeliad foliage. Here is a closer view:

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The  pink and white flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); these are just about to burst into full bloom, really buds. The center plant is a Zinnia of unknown heritage that looks a lot more pink in the garden. The beige and pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Mix Celosia grown from seed supplied by Floret. The green tracery in the background is the flower of Dracaena reflexa. The foliage around the base is from a Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae).

Another close up:

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Happy Month of  Love!

For more Vases on Monday filled with flowers from all over the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog In A Vase on Monday

In a Vase on Monday – Bromeliad Cachepot

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I decided to do something different this week. This is a pot of Bromeliad cuttings from my garden. The cuttings are in a 1 gallon nursery container double potted inside the cachepot. These Bromeliads are so bulletproof they are planted in old dried out potting soil and sand, a very well drained mix that will serve them well for months to come.

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Here is one of the cuttings, a Super Fireball Neoreglia, wonderful groundcover and hard to kill. One of my favorites. It grows almost on a runner (actually a stolon), the mother plant (on the left) dies and generally makes two or three pups like this one. The mother plant is cut off and  thrown away, I always feel bad about this. The roots are left intact and placed inside the nursery container.

Super Fireball Neoregelia in the garden, cold weather makes the red and peach coloration come out, these are closer to green in summer.

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Another  view:

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The cachepot is Portmerion, bought years ago on an antiqueing mission with my mother. The pot is a favorite of mine, but I rarely have houseplants as I have a strong tendency to kill them. The Bromeliads should last for months and root into the pot.

From above:

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These are all Neoregelia Bromeliads, grown primarily for foliage. The flowers are not very exciting. I know two of the four varieties – there are 3500 types of Bromeliads and I lost track of some or never knew the name ( i.e. bought at a garage sale for 5 bucks) The bigger chartruese plant with the red center (the center turns red with cooler weather) is a Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae). The Burgundy with green center and no spots is Super Fireball, the spotted ones I have not a clue the species. The grey plant in the foreground is a succulent – a Graptosedum of some kind that a friend gave to me, they enjoy the same soil conditions and I have a few in containers with Bromeliads on the porches at my house. Spanish moss is used for fill in the edges (and hide the black plastic nursery pot) is also a Bromeliad (Tillandsia usneoides)

Happy Gardening!

For more vases from around the world, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.