In A Vase on Monday – Uber Tropical

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Frequently I receive comments about my vases being tropical or exotic. Much of this plant material is commonplace in Florida. The above vase, however, seems Uber Tropical to me.

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Here is a closer view. The arrangement is a stem of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); a sprig of Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) and a potential replacement for the umbrella in tropical drinks, a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is a cutting from a friend and I have no idea what botanical name goes with it. I cut it because the varmints in my garden usually eat them at about this size. They are not edible, extremely fibrous I am told, but may be juiced.

Here is the pineapple in the garden:

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I am happy I beat the varmints to my little pineapple. They are currently eating the new shoots on all the Bromeliads.

Happy Monday!

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In A Vase on Monday- Spa Day

 

20190331_110422From time to time I make an arrangement that generates comments like ‘it belongs in the lobby of a spa’. I think there is a relaxation vibe from some of the more tropical plants in my garden. I have been gardening madly to get my pollinator/fruit garden finished before the rainy season starts, so I could use a Spa Day myself.

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Here is a close up, there is a lot of foliage in this vase. The flowers are; in red, Guzmania Bromeliad, in white, Lotus Leaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) – a recent addition to the garden, this Begonia gets 5 feet tall and wide. It has just started to flower and is really shooting up in size. The burgundy and green leaves are from Neoregelia Bromeliads, I am not quite sure of the variety. The thinner leaves are from a Varigated Minature Pineapple (currently bearing tiny pink pineapples). Bigger leaf behind is from the Ornamental Banana (Musa ensente). Ferns are from my driveway edge volunteer Boston Ferns (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and the volunteer Asparagus Fern. Vase is wrapped with a Pandanus leaf.20190331_124536-1

Here is my volunteer Boston Fern garden, I have a crushed shell driveway, the shells are held in place by wood timbers and there is an inches wide space between the driveway and my neighbor’s fence where the ferns thrive. I have really enjoyed this gift.

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Happy Monday.

In a Vase on Monday – Exserta Experiment

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This is an In A Vase on Monday story. Every Monday morning, Cathy from ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com invites us to share a vase of flowers from our gardens. The meme is called In A Vase on Monday and gardeners from around the world share flowers from their gardens. I have learned so much from fellow ‘vasers’ and the contents of this vase bear witness to my affinity for IAVOM.

Sometime last summer, Chloris from thebloominggarden.wordpress.com shared photos of the Petunia exserta she had grown in her garden.  I had never seen or heard of this plant and looked it up. To my surprise, this Petunia was rare, from Brazil and grew in cracks on the sides of sandstone towers and is pollinated by Hummingbirds. Sounds perfect for my incredibly well drained sugar sand garden with a bonus of attracting Hummingbirds. I live on the east coast of Florida, where Hummers are not as prolific (I see 3 or 4 a year) I bought a packet of seed (oddly from the US Pacific Northwest)

Not being native to South Florida and really more a plant buyer than propagator, I decided to plant seeds the first of September for winter flowers. They promptly sprouted and were planted in the ground, in pots and gifted to my neighbor to see what happened. They flowered a bit all winter, but as soon as the temperature hit 80 – off they went. I needed to cut them back and they landed in my vase this Monday. Clearly, something has been pollinating them, although I have not seen a Hummer nearby. Here is a close up of the vase, a candle holder from Pier One.20190324_102907_Burst01

The Petunia exserta, the red star shaped flowers, the grey plants are Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima), viny grey plants are Helichryseum petiolaris; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); foliage Boston Fern (Neophrolepis extalta) and a Red Banana Leaf (Musa ensente).

Here is the Petunia exserta in my garden, placed next to a rock to make it feel at home.

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In a Vase on Monday – Heirloom Pentas

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Last week I attended a talk about Butterfly Gardening, so naturally I had to add to my collection of nectar plants for pollinators. I bought an Heirloom Penta (Pentas lanceolata), the deep red flower in the middle of the vase. This may be my new favorite flower, they are sometimes called Egyptian Star Flower and are perennials in my part of Florida. This one is supposed to grow to three or maybe, five feet tall! It is a rich, deep, red with dark green foliage, I really need a few more now that I have seen them in the garden. I also saw my first Monarch Butterfly today. Here it is in the garden:

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I wish I had taken the picture before I cut the flowers. Oh, well. A close up of the vase:

20190317_105435The white flowers at the bottom of the arrangement are from the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri); yellow and red are native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Psuedogynoxys chenopodiodes); white daisies are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba); grey, fuzzy leaves are from the Licorice plant (Helichryseum petiiolaris); backdrop foliage is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); striped leaves and blue flowers are from Blue Flax Lilies (Dianella caerulea) and a few Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea).

The first mangoes of the year have formed on my Pickering Mango, this is a dwarf ‘condo’ Mango known for quality fruit and bearing early. We shall soon see.

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In a Vase on Monday – South of the Border

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I called this ‘South of the Border’ as most of the plants are from Mexico and it has a festive vibe, just need some Enchiladas (have some in the freezer, chicken) and maybe a cold beer with a lime squeezed in. Voila! South of the Border Party. A Mariachi Band would be a great addition.

Here is a close up:

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The bigger orange flowers in the arrangement are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), reportedly a great hummingbird and butterfly plant. I have had this in the garden for a few years and noticed none of the above. The smaller orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides). No, I could not spell that one on a dare. The vine is an escapee of the confines of my neighbor’s garden and the butterflies do love this one. It climbs through the hedge of Surinam Cherries and I don’t mind a bit. Every now and again I give it a whack with the loppers. The grey foliage in the arrangement is from the Licorice Plant (Helicryseum petiolaris); when reading about this plant you will find mentions of ‘slight scent of Licorice’. For the record, this plant is native to South Africa and I have never detected any licorice odor, despite having them in my garden off and on for decades.

Given the images of indoor Amaryllis on IAVOM this winter, I thought you all might like to see the one that lives in my garden. The bulb originally belonged to my father in law, Glenn, who is long gone. I have had it for decades and planted it in my garden about six  years ago. Currently, it is about 3 feet tall, not staked, and has 4 flowers and 8 buds on three stalks. I was taking pictures in a high wind, so add some imagination. The ferns have overrun things a bit.

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Interestingly enough, Glenn’s birthday is March 20, the Amaryllis is usually flowering in celebration.

Happy Birthday, Glenn from my garden and Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Lion’s Tail and Firesticks

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The odd title reflects what is in my vase this Monday. The orange flowers in the front of the arrangement are from Leonitis nepetifolia (I think) Lion’s Ear or Tail, depending on who you ask and also called Dagga, the perennial version(L. leonurus) is smoked in South Africa like Marijuana. A blog friend sent me some seeds when Hurricane Matthew destroyed the one in my garden. I am now wondering if these are annual, biennial or just experiencing Florida’s seasonal weirdness. I am leaving them to go to seed in the garden, hoping for a straighter set of plants – these were knocked over by Hurricane Irma the following year and never straightened up. Florida’s seasonal weirdness at it’s inexplicable best.

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Here is a close up, the Firesticks in the arrangement are from a Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia ‘Firesticks’), they are the yellow tubular plants in the arrangement. These grow 12 feet tall and wide and I have a few around the garden, you can just stick a bit in the ground and have a whole new plant in a few years. No irrigation needed or wanted. Below is a Firesticks used as foundation planting for my house, the coloration reddens as the weather heats up.20190217_171624-1 (1)

As for the rest of the arrangement, here is another photo.

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The red flowers in the arrangement are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), a stalwart in my garden; multicolored foliage – I don’t think varigated adequately describes the foliage, Mammey Croton (Codieum “Mammey”); the ferns in the back are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata, of houseplant fame). The Boston Fern, another unlikely volunteer in my garden.

The vase, dark grey, was picked up at a Department Store sale as was the red stool (with patina). I have enjoyed both of these items for IAVOM posts.

Happy Monday! Stay away from the Dagga.

In A Vase on Monday-Bling, Vegetables and Weeds.

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Earlier this year, I decided to add some bling and kinetic energy to my tropical garden. Never being shy about moving things around, I found myself hard at work Sunday, doing just that when it dawned on me I should put my Monday vase together.

It seemed all that was flowering abundantly was weeds, volunteers and vegetables. I decided to cut all three. The weeds in the arrangement are; in white: Bidens alba, common name usually Indian Needles, this is one of those really cute, chronically reseeding plant that knows no bounds. The reason fell from the flowers, I counted thirty seeds stuck to my shirt and the kitchen counter.

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The volunteers (a constant source of wonder in my garden) are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back, the palm is a seedling from the Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal), the red flowers are from Turk’s Cap Hibiscus ( Malvaviscus penduliflorus), yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) another prolific reseeder.

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The vegetable in the vase is the Red Mustard, I plant it for burgundy winter color as I hate the taste.

Here’s the kinetic garden bling:

 

A copper spinner in a checkerboard of salt finish concrete tiles and tumbled turquoise glass bits…plantings are still under consideration. I did go to a plant sale over the weekend.