In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Treats

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One of the few benefits of increasing humidity in South Florida is the appearance of the more tropical flowers. Their scents perfume the garden and I am currently enjoying them indoors, sans humidity. The fragrances of tropical Gingers, Frangipani and Gardenias are floating through the air. Ever so lightly.

The vase is a Crate and Barrel candleholder from the 1970s. Bought during my husband’s first marriage and similarly has lost its mate. Though I do love it (and him) for the occasional vase. Another view of the vase:

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A close up of the flowers. The yellow and pink flowers and buds are Frangipani (Plumeria) A friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and I have no idea what the name of the variety is. This one is more fragrant at night and before sunrise (my greyhounds love this time of day, me, not so much – chasing rabbits and armadilloes are low on my life  priorities). The white flowers and most of the green foliage is from Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata – or something like that); these are not from Florida, India I believe is their real home and they are mostly deciduous here. The pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) – these flower off and on year round and it is nearly a pleasure to prune them for the fragrance.

 

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I am hopeful everyone has enough food and lav paper (I love the English term) – our supplies are still a bit weird. My husband, who has never joked about the quality of the paper – is doing so. And we are  both laughing as circumstances are so, well, absurd. I am hoping not to be attempting to grow Papyrus for personal use this fall.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Amy or Amelia – I answer to both.

In a Vase on Monday – Mothers Day

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I put this vase together on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US. The vases often make me think of my mother, Miss Betty, an intrepid gardener, registered nurse and mother of  four, who would have loved to see all the vases on Monday. I took care of her the last years of her life and always did her grocery shopping on Tuesday. Tuesday always brought a vase to her kitchen – either flowers from my garden, her garden or the grocery store. We both had Red Alstromeria in our gardens and the grocery store usually did as  well – there was a lot of Alstromeria in those Tuesday vases. Recently a friend brought me a start of the original Alstromeria my mother gave her. It is currently suffering in my garden, and I hope it can cope with South Florida sand.

A closer view of the vase:

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It’s an unusually cool, gloomy day for May in South Florida. I decided to create a copper teapot full of color for my foyer. The teapot is a favorite find of mine, antiquing with my husband I spied this and had to have it. Then went running home to make sure the check I wrote wouldn’t bounce. It didn’t, but barely.

There are a lot of flowers stuffed into a pickle jar in the teapot (it doesn’t hold water, holes in the bottom) The big red flower is The President Hibiscus, an old variety that lives a long time. Blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); bigger white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri); smaller white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); the orange tubular flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); grey fuzzy foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolaris); yellow and red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigatem); the Guzmania Bromeliad from last week’s vase is at the bottom left in the arrangement. Here is another view:

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And here is my mother, Miss Betty with her mother, Miss Ethel in 1988 – in front of her prized Philadelphus. I wonder how she would feel about being in a blog post..

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In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

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The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

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I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

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The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Palmy Weather

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We have been having Palmy weather. Rain off and on and accompanying humidity have inspired the Adonidia Palm in my garden to flower.  I have been eyeing the flower to cut for a vase. It’s the white stemmed flower in the middle.

A palm flower is a bit of a process and interesting to watch. A bud shoots up from the base of fronds, and the flower slowly unfurls. Below is a bud and a flower. The green part is the sheath at the base of the frond. The sheath above was shed, and the buds revealed; the buds later move horizontally and flower. The palm flowers eventually form berries that look very similar to the flower and fall off. This takes until late fall; most people trim the flowers off.

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I have been watching other types of palms flowering as I walk my dogs in the morning. It is like a trip through the Cretaceous period, cycads and ferns included, no dinosaurs as of yet.

Another view of the vase:

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And  a closer view:

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The glass container is a heavy, old florist vase I found by the side of the road. Orange and chartruese fruit is from Surinam Cherries, sometimes called Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), My neighbor, a local, explained I should soak them in water to get the worms out before eating. I declined, though I did try them once, the flavor is a bit reminiscent of turpentine. Another fruit left for the birds, though a friend makes jam from them and says it is good. Red flowers are from the native Firebush, Hamelia patens.

I hope everyone is coping with the solitude and enjoying time in the garden. I seem to be moving a lot of plants around with the rain. And planning more gardens…

Thanks to Cathy, hostess of this garden meme, for carrying on with our Monday fun. See more vases at her blog, http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

In a Vase on Monday – Lions and Corals

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I went in search of some cheerful colors for my vase to offset the dark cloud cast over me by my trip to the grocery store. People were wearing masks mostly and everyone was behaving well except one guy fondling the fresh corn that really annoyed me (I wanted some, bought some, brought it home and stripped the outer leaves off and washed it) Fresh corn is fantastic this time of year in Florida. Yecch, I could tell it was good by just looking. No need to fondle the corn.

Back to the garden. I was surprised to find Leonitis (the lion) in flower. I think this is my new favorite and I will have a lot more next year. Another unusual plant, Coral Jatropha is flowering in response to our rain this week. I think the vase ended up looking a bit architectural. Here is a closer view:

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The orange flowers are the Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia); grey, fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare); red flowers in front are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida); the brown ‘branches’ in back are dried flowers from Adonidia Palm (Adonidia veitchii). The vase is a thrift store find. The green pods on the Coral Plant are seed pods.

Thanks to everyone for the Happy Anniversary wishes. Dinner had a few revisions – Lamb Chops with Onion and Red Pepper Gravy and Mashed Potatoes followed by Rum Cake.

To see more vases from around the world visit our hostess, Cathy, at  http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Pastels

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It is Easter Sunday and I find myself making liquid hand soap after giving myself a haircut. Strange days, indeed. My haircut seemingly turned out better than the hand soap. Oddly, there is none in stores. Hand soap, or haircuts for that matter.

I decided pastels were necessary for Easter and cut flowers accordingly. The Bromeliad in the middle is from a couple of weeks ago and has faded to pale yellow. The glass pitcher is a wedding gift – possibly its second use after nearly thirty years. My 27th wedding anniversary is Friday and I can say with confidence we are not going out for dinner. The  good news is I found a rack of lamb online and my husband makes a great Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb!!

It is interesting to take the temperature (not literally)  of gardeners. There is a lethargy encompassing us all, I think. I wonder if it is intentional – in the cosmic sense. Having  spent many decades picking up the pieces after land development – is Mother Nature saying Pause and Reflect? I am feeling that and would  love to know what the rest of  the  world it thinking.

A close up:

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Shell Ginger (Zerumbet  alpinia) appears in pink. The aging Bromeliad is  Little Harv Aechmea. The chartreuse and white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia  (Begonia nelumbifolia). Foliage – the  ferns, Asian Sword Ferns, yard trash; varigated leaves  ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana “Java White”) the other green foliage is from Firecracker  Plant (Russelia spp.) no firecrackers  yet.

Spend some time in the sunshine, it will lift your spirits.

To see more vases visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

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Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

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The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

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I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!