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.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Upcycle

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The  upcycle is the vase itself. Made from dried remnants of my front door Christmas wreath.  Here is the wreath in its previous life. The green bands are Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage wrapped around the wreath and tied with jute. When I took this down the flowers had dried to brown and the bands were curly and retained their color. I saved them because I thought they might make an interesting addition to a vase. Instead, I covered a plastic water bottle with the curled leaves and made a vase.

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The flowers are a bright mix designed to counter any winter blues. Low temperatures in the 40s (F) are forecast this week, appalling weather to anyone Floridized (living in Florida for over 5 years, blood completely thins out). We might have to wear long pants and  (gasp)  turn on the heat. A closer view of  the vase:

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Another view of  the flowers:

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The yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), a year round bloomer. The red and yellow daisies are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), another year round bloomer. Both are native and absurdly easy to grow. The pink flower is an unknown Zinnia. Deep pink and chartreuse spikes are Texas Vintage Rose Mix Celosia from Floret, I may really like these. I think they need cutting back, so here they are. Peachy and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The more beige spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and funky stems with a bit of blue are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis), white daisies are another native Spanish Needles (Bidens alba).

I am really enjoying my winter garden this year and just planted another round of vegetable seeds. Hoping for more Zinnias and Celosia before the heat sets in.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/ for hosting. For more vases, visit Cathy’s blog.

In a Vase on Monday – Not Summer Blues

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January in South Florida is not summer, it just seems like it today. The air conditioning is running; despite the fact this is the dry season, rain showers are making above 80 degrees (F) weather steamy and not conducive to gardening. My reward is flowers and vegetables in the garden. I have ripe tomatoes and Papayas; my second planting of green beans and first lettuces and spinach have come up. Some interesting flowers are also gracing the garden.

The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, bought with my mother on a long ago antiquing adventure (she referred to this as ‘Going to the junk store’).

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Zinnias grown from seed continue to boggle my mind – not sure what they are at all. These are much bigger than those in the smaller vase and have longer stems. I’ve added pink and green Dombeya (Dombeya wallachii) flowers. The green are the buds, the Dombeya itself is huge and I don’t mind cutting some buds, though I feel the bees would disagree. The flowers have an amazing honey fragrance and I have never seen as many bees on a plant. A closer view:

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The white flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), another subtly fragrant flower and the spikes are seedheads from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)

This vase, another ‘junk store’ find has Dombeyas and Zinnias, just the shorter-stemmed version. The green seed heads are from the Sweet Begonia. I like the seeds as well as the flowers.

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I have both vases in my foyer; the Dombeyas tend to be ephemeral in vases, not lasting more than a day. The fragrance from the combination of Dombeyas and Sweet Begonias is ethereal, I can imagine angels in flight leaving this scent. Worth every moment and curing the Not Summer Blues. Back outside tomorrow.

In a Vase on Monday – From Florida with Love

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As I was putting this vase together it occurred to me there probably isn’t another garden with this mix of plants in January unless it is in Florida. It is a season spanning  concoction. Spring and Summer flowers, some fall berries and pineapple foliage. My husband and I refer to this time of year as Not Summer. The rest of the year is Summer.

The weather during Not Summer is delightful for gardening, highs in the 70s with low humidity and ocean breezes. The climate is not without drawbacks, I cannot let my cat outside as there are several things that might eat her, I believe I have nematodes in my vegetable garden (disastrous), persnickety rabbits ate most of my radishes but only one kind of Basil and I am slightly overrun with Papayas. Not to mention the possibility of hurricanes. I will persevere. Actively looking for Papaya fans. Few takers.

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A closer view of the vase:

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The big pink flowers are Zinnias, despite my best efforts I have no idea what kind. Popsicle sticks labeled everything blah, blah, blah. Planted some free mixed seeds,  but I labeled them something else.  Ironically, my favorite Zinnia thus far.

The  yellow and orange flowers are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), Florida natives that reseed freely and invent new colors every year. The chartreusy spike above the Gallardia is a new Celosia (Texas Vintage Rose Mix) from Floret. Described as heart breakingly beautiful like faded velvet or something like that; my heart is not broken yet though  I will  monitor these. Pink stars are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata). There are a few white  and  peach Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The big orange flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), red and green foliage from a Miniature Pineapple, purple berries are still hanging around on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Birds  have eaten the berries on the other shrubs further out in the garden. These are closer to the house and my dogs may be keeping the birds away.

From last weeks vase, the Dombeya everyone  was interested in. The  wind  died down a bit and here is the whole shrub.

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From Florida with Love.

Happy Gardening.