In a Vase on Monday – The Shrimp Boat

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This vase is my grandmother’s gravy boat – it exhibits a bit of family history, my father broke it (probably in the 1930s) and was made to fix it. He glued it back together, I wasn’t sure it would hold water but it does! The patina on this old piece of Blue Willow is extreme. The inside repair is visibly cracked, the spout is deeply chipped and the glue has turned brown – I don’t use it for gravy but keep it on a shelf to enjoy the history.

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The shrimp? It’s the Red Shrimp Plant in the vase. The Red Shrimp Plant is one of the more indestructible plants in my garden. It grows in sugar sand, no fertilizer and if you forget to water it that’s not a problem. Flowering off and on year-round and it has an interesting flower. The plant is kind of gangly, but its benefits far outweigh the ganglies. Does it look like shrimp? Not to me.

A closer look at the rest of the arrangement:

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The red flowers on the left side are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) – a novelty plant by some accounts though it does look like coral. Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) lounging around the end with white Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata); yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), off white spikes at the end are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

I have a feeling my grandmother would think this was a pretty weird thing to do with her broken gravy boat. But, you never know!!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday. To see more vases follow the link to Rambling in The Garden MOREVASES

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In a Vase on Monday – Purple Jam Session

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One of the components of this arrangement could be used to make jam..it’s the purple Beautyberries. The green fruit on the table is Florida Avocadoes from a neighbors tree. My grandfather referred to these as Alligator Pears, which makes sense to me now. It’s a sweeter, creamier version of the Hass Avocado. I have a Cuban Avocado tree in my garden, the fruit is similar just twice the size of the Florida version. My grandfather might have called these Alligator Footballs.

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I didn’t set out to do a purple vase, it just evolved after I found the Ground Orchids blooming (Spathoglottis “Cabernet” small purple orchids in the middle). I added some peachy pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and Purple Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Then some white accents, spilling over the side Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata) the creamy white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa). Greenery is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a burgundy Bromeliad leaf  – Luca Neoregelia.

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Now, if only one of my neighbors would make some Beautyberry Jam!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday.

To see more vases follow this link to Cathy’s blog, ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Red and Black

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It’s college football season in the US and I graduated from a football school, the University of Georgia. A football powerhouse currently ranked #3 in the country. Our team colors are Red and Black, hence the vase. The Landscape Architecture program left me with a peculiar love of plants that I like to share in vases. After watching football on Saturday. Only in the fall. And maybe a few bowl games after January 1st.

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The vase is black, a thrift store find I have enjoyed. The red flowers hanging over the side, Turks Cap or Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), the red and yellow flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum), white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) and ferny greens are volunteer Asparagus Fern.

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It occurred to me this also looks a bit like an early holiday vase, and I had to laugh considering the images floating through my mind of burly men wearing gigantic pads fighting over a pointy football.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs.

In a Vase on Monday – Cheers for Fall

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We are finally getting hints of fall in South Florida. Temperatures have fallen to highs in the mid-80s (F) and humidity is down as well. I washed all my porch furniture slipcovers and had my first glass of wine outdoors in months. My husband smoked some Mahi Mahi and I made some Smoked Fish Dip in celebration of porch day.

The ‘vase’ is a brandy snifter, though no one around here sniffs any brandy. The Honey Pepper Vodka is used to make Smoked Fish Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce. Nemiroff sounds like a villain in a James Bond movie, I wouldn’t drink any. The variety of vodka flavors available boggles my mind, this one adds some sweet spice to the sauce on the pasta.

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Another vase view.

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Sometimes it surprises me the number of stems I can get into a vase. This is one of those vases. The flowers are: starting at the base: red star-shaped flowers, Old Fashioned Pentas (Penta lanceolata); the white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia bossieri); orange and red daisies are Gallardia (G. pulchella); grapes are from Muscadine vines (Vitis rotundafolia); pink and red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); blue flowers are Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicensis); grey foliage is Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum); off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa).

Here’s a close up:

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As always, Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this weekly garden meme. To see other vases follow this link Cathy’s blog.

Cheers to Fall!

In a Vase on Monday – Feeling Cooler, Not.

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September in Florida. It’s still blazing hot summer, though the calendar is telling me otherwise. Fall doesn’t arrive until October and it could be really late in October. My mental calendar still lives further north sometimes and expects cooler weather after Labor Day. In hopes of some mental cooling, I went in search of autumnal hues for my vase.

The vase is a thrift store find that I have used frequently and love for its chunky pottery vibe and the grey color provides great contrast to high colors.

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This is one of those vases I would have never conceptualized (realize I am a very highly seasoned design person, grey-haired and spicy). Conceptualized is design BS for ‘wouldn’t have thought of this’. Ugh, I hate that stuff sometimes. But there it is. Just popping out.

Wandering through the garden, I cut some white and purple – the white flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – sometimes it is white. The purple flowers are ‘Cabernet’ Spathoglottis, a Ground Orchid. Then I saw the apricot/orange panicles, these are flowers from the Miniata Bromeliad, fading away. I was surprised to like the color. The usual color is below. The deep purple and gold berries are from a Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) – this is one of the supposedly ‘easy to grow natives’ that is not so easy to grow. It has been moved several times and finally seems content, in a place no book recommends. And it doesn’t smell like spices as of yet. The orange tubular flowers are from a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), supposedly people made shampoo with these in the past – and then, the disclaimer. Many people are allergic to this, so caution is advised. There is not enough Benadryl in my house to make shampoo with this Aloe. The graceful creamy white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) – this is named for a Caribbean dance – Juba, because it sways in the wind like the dancers, and it really does. I guess I need a Limbo plant. Striped foliage in the back is from Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) that grows wild in my garden.

Here is the Miniata Bromeliad in flower.

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An interesting difference in the Miniata, though I like both colors and this week the color is decidedly cooler.

I just finished a good book and would like to share it with you. This book resonated deeply with me, having many similar thoughts and experiences in my garden. (I talk to my mother – who is dead – often in the garden, usually about my lack of gloves) I was happy to read other people do this.

A very enjoyable read by Cynthia Reyes, ‘Twigs in my Hair’

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In a Vase on Monday – Some Like it Hot

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Living in South Florida requires ‘liking it hot’. The weather certainly is and in my case the colors in my garden. I like it hot. I will say a little moderation in the temperature would be meaningful. I have seen our current weather described as ‘Hell’s Front Porch’.

 

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This morning my husband sent me this, I don’t think it was actually quite that hot. However,  I decided to retreat to the air conditioning and leave the garden, letting the weeds take over a little more. We are up to 11.5 inches of rain for August and are expecting a few more inches from a nearby tropical system. The weeds are deliriously happy and reveling in the plentiful precipitation.

A closer view of the vase. The orange tubular flowers are appropriately named for the season, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) There is a botany war about the proper name of this plant. I decided that is its proper name.

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The red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), enjoying a banner year with all the rain, red flower at the base of the arrangement is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); white spikes are from Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) another great butterfly plant. There is a lot of foliage in this vase. The grey foliage is from the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum); big green leaves at the base are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’); burgundy foliage is from a Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); two kinds of fern – Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and Asparagus Fern – both are volunteers. In the back some foliage from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Lemon’)

 

The Firebush with a friend. The Zebra Longwing butterflies have been enjoying its nectar this summer, I have seen five butterflies hovering around the flowers more than once. These are planted beside my front door, so I see them several times a day and enjoy the flowers and the Zebras.

 

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Every Monday Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com hosts In a Vase on Monday, to see more gardens and vases visit her blog.

Happy Gardening.

In A Vase on Monday – Jar of Weeds

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This is my final Jar of the August garden, featuring the weeds- an inevitable feature this time of year. It has rained just shy of 11 inches in my garden since the first of August. The weeds are thriving and having a joyous outbreak of reproduction. ACK.

Recently, the mailman (a native of the Florida Keys) informed me that his mother would have pulled out all of the Beach Sunflowers in my front yard, pronouncing them weeds.  He thinks I am a gardening radical. These are the yellow daisies in the vase. I cultivate them in masses in my garden, they grow with or without irrigation in plain sugar sand and form a mat that reduces the less desirable weed population. I trim them with electric hedge clippers to maintain a low mass. 20190107_102831-1I suppose beauty is in the eye of the weed holder. Beach Sunflowers surround a Blanchetiana Bromeliad.

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A closer view of my weeds: the white daisies are Bidens alba, a native Bidens prolific (producing an average of 1200 seeds per plant) to the point of making it difficult to like the flowers as well as the bees do. The pinkish-white, small, lily shaped flowers are from Florida Snow (Richardia grandiflora) – a Brazilian native that reportedly blew in with the hurricanes from the early 2000s. A low growing perennial weed that infests lawn creeping through the blades of grass then flowering until it looks like snow on the lawn. I have pulled a zillion of these, they also reseed and will grow from cuttings (lawn mower cuttings)

Tropical plants also get loose in Florida gardens, purple foliage is from Oyster Plants or Moses in a Cradle (Transcandentia spathacea). I happen to like this plant, but it reseeds with vigor and is considered invasive. Purple striped foliage is another Transcandentia I like, T. zebrina also appears unbidden in shady areas. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, spread by birds and tending to take over our native Boston Fern. The red tipped leafy foliage is from Surinam Cherries (Eugenia uniflora) also called Pitanga. Pitanga is a small red cherry-like fruit with an (in my opinion) not so tasty tang of turpentine spread everywhere by grateful wildlife. The wispy flowers at the top are from a plant I am not recalling the name of, have a carrot like taproot and produce hitchhiker seeds that stick to my pant legs and greyhound noses. These have different colored flowers and can be pretty – but, are always asked to leave the garden if the soil is moist enough to pull the taproot out.

Here are the three jars of August – appearing in the same repurposed pasta jar – The first, flowers:

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The second, tropical flowers:

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And this week, the weeds.

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You may notice the weeds appear in more than one jar.

Maybe I am a gardening radical.