Sunday turned out to be a beautiful sunny and breezy day. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflower was covered in flowers again, so I decided to cut them. For some reason, the stems were really short. It seemed like a good idea to utilize the short stems by hanging them over the edge of a martini glass. A Suntini was created to celebrate an abundance of sunflowers on a sunny Sunday.
The crystal martini glass is from my mother’s formal crystal used for holidays. To my knowledge, there has never been a martini in the glass. My mother was a prissy Southern lady who insisted these were fruit compotes. Southern ladies of her generation can only admit to drinking under certain appropriate conditions. I have never been able to work out the appropriate conditions; what has always seemed odd to me is this generation came up with the strongest drinks possible. Another mystery to ponder.
There are two plants in this mocktail. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers in yellow and flowers and a going to seed flower from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia)
The swizzle stick is a stem from the Begonia with a sunflower at one end and a baby mango at the other.
This time of year one of the things I appreciate most about blogging is the documentation of garden awakenings from their winter slumber. The images of spring bulbs and flowers bursting forth from bloggers living further north are a joy for me. South Florida is sadly lacking in spring color, many of the trees are evergreen or choose not to be deciduous some years. The season seems more like temperatures bouncing between spring and summer; eschewing the glory of throwing off the yoke of freezing cold and celebrating with flowers. Boing rather than spring.
We went from summer to late fall this weekend. It is overcast, cool and windy. I think this vase may be the last of my cool season annuals. The snapdragon flowers are about a tenth the size they were a couple of weeks ago and the dianthus is really slowing down. This is the end of Boing celebration vase and a wonderful tonic for a dreary day.
The silver goblet is an old silver plate treasure my mother came up with in her thrift shop trolling days. I like it as it has a wonderful patina and it makes me wonder and laugh about why my mother would buy such a thing? It certainly doesn’t hold water. I found this out the hard way and now use a small plastic cup inside the vase.
Another element adding a bit of boing to this vase – the Golf Beauty Craspedia in yellow. The selection in the vase represents half bloom to full bloom, as I was not sure when to cut these. The younger ones have been hanging around for a couple of weeks and participated in a couple of different vases. The other yellow is a tiny Snapdragon flower; in pink fringes, the Giant Dianthus; blue spikes, Mystic Blue Salvia; white spikes, White Flame Salvia; crimson flowers are the rest of the tiny Snapdragons. The foliage is Asian Sword Fern and a few sprigs of Giant Parsley.
I am hoping for the return of blue skies this week and possibly discovering some spring flowers.
I have been baking a lot lately and getting in touch with my rustic side. My husband had to cut down on dietary fat dramatically and is a dessert lover, so lower fat cupcakes have been an ongoing project. The latest, Gala Apple Pecan with Light Caramel Frosting. I am not a neat baker nor a cake decorator. The cupcakes never turn out quite the same size and the frosting is always a bit globby, so the house joke is that we have rustic desserts.
The apple cupcake. Moist, delicious and downright rustic. I find vegan butter makes a good caramel frosting.
The vase is rustic in the selection of the mason jar with a raffia bow and the old fashioned contents.
A closer view:
The flowers, in yellow, Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers; shades of pink, Giant Dianthus; blue spikes, a few Black and Bloom Salvia on the left side and Mystic Blue Salvia on the right; white spikes, White Flame Salvia; yellow balls, Golf Beauty Craspedia; a few sprigs of Asian Sword Fern complete the vase.
I’ll be in the garden endeavoring to enjoy a cupcake.
One of the new plants I am trialing may be a new favorite, the Brown Eyed Girl Helianthus. I have had this plant for a little over a week and have already cut enough flowers for 3 vases. Officially called the SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl Helianthus, the marketing spiel states it will produce a thousand flowers over the summer, it is a warm season annual everywhere. It will be interesting how long it will last in South Florida. August triumphs over many things in the garden. Though I can believe it will produce a thousand flowers.
The weather is wobbling between spring and summer already, but fortunately the humidity is still lurking in the Atlantic Ocean. I have finally figured out what to do with all the new plants and will hopefully get them settled in before the inevitable summer heat.
A closer view:
Brown Eyed Girl is stealing the show. The three new Salvias are the back up singers. I am hoping they will all be garden stars. The Salvias are: in white, ‘White Flame’; in red, ‘Roman Red’; in blue, Black in Bloom. The foliage is ‘Lagoon’ Rosemary and Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘Varigata’).
This is a first from my South Florida garden; featuring stalwarts of late spring further north – Snapdragons and Dianthus. I thought these would grow here but figuring out when can be a bit of a trial and error situation. Pinder’s, a local nursery, has concentrated on growing flowers to cut this year and gifted me some plants to trial for vases this weekend. The first order of business was to cut the Snaps and Dianthus; both are the tallest versions I have seen around here. The Dianthus is called ‘Giant’ and the Snap looks like ‘Tetra Mix’ to me, but I am not sure. Winter is rapidly turning into summer here as temperatures are forecast to rise into the mid 80s F (29 C) this week, so I am going to enjoy this floral bounty while I can.
A closer view:
This arrangement smells as good as it looks. The white spike is a ‘White Flame’ Salvia, new to me and sweetly fragrant. I am looking forward to seeing how it performs in the garden. The Dianthus has a light clove fragrance. Background greenery is the native (read weed) Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) The vase was a sample sale find from years ago.
I am hoping to get into the garden and plant these new vase worthy plants then watch and cut them through the seasons. More new flowers will be coming soon.
The third Monday in February is a federal holiday honoring former Presidents of the United States. It began as a holiday to honor George Washington’s birthday (the first President) on February 22 (or 11th depending on what calendar you use). Congress changed the date to make three day holiday weekends in the late 1960s, ensuring it would never fall on Washington’s actual birthday. Different states call the holiday by different names, so there is no correct spelling. I never knew it was such a confusing holiday until I read up on it. Though I do remember when it was celebrated on February 22nd.
The warm up in weather and a nice rain prompted my Salvias to start flowering. These plants do so much better if deadheaded, so I decided to cut a red, white and blue vase for George Washington. Deadheading for President’s Day.
The vase is a crystal rose bowl that belonged to my mother. It is one of those things I keep in such a safe place that I forget about it. It has never held a rose in Florida.
Red Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) are napping over the edge of the vase.
Here is the bowl with Salvias on the side. In blue, ‘Mystic Spires’ Salvia; in white, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – this is a true to seed white flowering Tropical Red Salvia that appeared in my garden. It is magnificently hardy, requires little water and flowers non-stop. A favorite, I must name it after myself. The red spike flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformus), These are sort of a lanky, rambling perennial, but indestructible. A few sprigs of Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) are tucked into the back.
Valentine’s Day is happening this week and my usual reaction is a pink or red vase. I finally collected a full vase of Zinnias and decided Cupid wouldn’t mind some colors other than pink. One of Zinnias flower meanings is lasting affection, I think that works for Valentine’s Day. The Envy Zinnias in here might be more difficult to explain.
The warmer weather over the past few weeks has produced some green tomatoes and Zinnias. Bell peppers are setting buds and the cool season herbs are being devoured (by humans). The Sunflowers are in bud and I am earnestly watching the Ranunculus, having never seen any before, waiting breathlessly to see a flower, or a bud. They look like weird giant parsley right now. I just stuffed a package of “Alaska” Nasturtium seeds into the pots and edges of beds around my front porch. It may be too late to plant the seeds, I usually do it in December.
The vase, inherited from my mother, was made by the Ute tribe in the Southwestern US. The flowers are Zinnias, grown from seed started in December and nurtured through two unusual cold snaps. Cactus mix in pink and Envy in green. The purple foliage is from an old “Purple Prince” Alternanthera, which has been languishing in a pot for a couple of years. I had just decided to get rid of it and changed my mind to add it to the vase. Maybe I will just start some new cuttings and change the planting in the pot. Decisions, decisions.
Maybe this is Cupid contemplating the Zinnias. Or a garden cherub?
Modern was the first word that popped into my head after I put this vase together. Sometimes I wonder where these things come from. I suppose, in my mind, this is just really not an old fashioned vase of plonked wildflowers. Except in South America where some of these plants probably are wildflowers. Food for thought.
After a little online searching, I found a long trip would be necessary to gather this particular group of plants as wildflowers – from Southeast Asia to the Gulf Coast of Mexico then down to Southern Brazil. A trip around my gardens seems much simpler.
Close up, please!
There are two Bromeliads in the arrangement, both from Southern Brazil. The flowers are Quesnelia testudo, they have been flowering for about two months and are nearing their end. They don’t last long in the house, so I decided to enjoy them while they last in a vase. The foliage on the Quesnelia is needle sharp and bright yellow green; I try to stay away from it and use loppers to cut the flowers. The green foliage with pink tips is from Painted Fingernail Neoregelia Bromeliads. This is one of my favorites and a stalwart in South Florida gardens. The flowers aren’t very showy, but the olive green foliage with fuchsia tips is worthwhile year round in the garden.
Other foliage in the vase: in purple, hailing from Mexico, Purple Queen (Transcandentia pallida ‘Purpurea’) I like this name so much better than what I learned in school – Setcresea, what is that? Once again, my favorite sidekick with flowers is Asian Sword Ferns.
We had a very rainy Sunday morning here and I am looking forward to clear skies next week. I am happy all the plants got a good long drenching and hopefully the wind stays away long enough for the water to soak in.
I think of this as a posy, my (I think) American take on the definition of posy or posey – a small flower arrangement. I looked up the definition and came up with two spellings and several definitions. One that surprised me – posey, an informal adjective describing someone who is pretentious and trying to impress others. And I thought it was either a hand tied bouquet or a small flower arrangement!
The weather in South Florida has returned to warm winter and my cutting flowers are starting to bloom. Exactly 3 Zinnias and the everpresent blue Salvia. Enough for a posy, posey or tequila shot glass full of flowers. The vase is from my niece’s wedding. I am surprised to see in writing she has been married for almost eight years.
A closer view:
The Zinnias are: in pink, Cactus mix; in green, Envy; and in peach, Apricot Profusion. Blue spikes are my favorite Salvia, ‘Mystic Blue, and the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a garden weed here that is great for vases.
I was perusing my front porch recently, noting I have managed to collect a large number of succulents, and decided the array of colors and textures would be fun to put together in a Monday vase. I have a gardening friend who loves succulents and we are bad influences on each other when we visit our favorite local nursery; Pinders https://pindersnursery.com/ to shop the amazing selection of succulents.
The succulents are in need of trim, and while I certainly don’t need anymore I will always take more! I just have to figure out where to put them. These cuttings will be spread around the garden..somewhere. I think I will try a few more in the ground, if the so called soil in my garden is anything – it is very well drained and will hopefully support these plants.
Time for close-ups:
The grey rosettes are Graptosedum; that is all I know. Orange flowers are from the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), which seems to flower quarterly on its own schedule. Yellow green foliage is from a Senecio that flowers with yellow daisies followed by dandelion like seedheads.
The herbs in the arrangement are in the back – Blue Lagoon Rosemary, flowers are deep blue and it lends a wonderful flavor to anything it is added to, even Fiona the greyhound appreciates it in her food. The arrangement has a nice herbal scent I will enjoy passing by.