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!

In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – House Arrest

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I am feeling like I am under house arrest. This week I have been to the grocery store twice and to the vet for a rabies shot – the dog got the rabies shot. I might need one later. The garden has been my solace. I spent today finishing my pollinator and fruit border. My neighbor brought some Roselle plants (edible Hibiscus) and I replanted the Dragonfruit and am working on training it to the fence. As these things go, I discovered some terrifying large ants in the bark mulch followed by the realization I have to add irrigation if I want to actually eat a Roselle. I was cutting the Bidens (white daisies) off – they reseed to the point of never wanting to see another one of those damned things; then realized I should make a vase with them. Viola!

This vase looks a bit like Fall to me and in a way it is. The Basil, Gallardia, Celosia, Leonitis and Bidens are all producing seeds ahead of the rainy and hot weather. Here is a closer view:

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The bigger orange flower is Leonitis nepetifolia. Next year I will grow more of these – I have enjoyed them in the garden this year. The white daisies are the dreaded Bidens alba, a native wildflower and great for bees and butterflies. The pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Celosia; chartruese seedheads are Genovese Basil; red and yellow daisies and the round seedhead are from our native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); tubular orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the back and some Salvia coccinea seedheads.

I wish everyone a safe and pleasant respite in their gardens. Even the beaches are closed in Florida. A friend said this gets more surreal every day. I think she is right.

In a Vase on Monday – Charmin Genie

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I was, well, shocked to read about the worldwide run on toilet paper or rolls as it is called in the UK..thinking it was an American anomaly. Sunday morning found me searching for the forgotten roll in the guest bath to use as a vase. These are strange times.

My wish is for humanity to shut things down for a bit aand put this viral genie back in the bottle, hence the little purple bottle and the fan of the white stuff cramming the COVID back in. I think all the prescribed measures are working and we soon shall be confident in our stocks of toilet paper/rolls.

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View from above. The red glass magic carpet is a Christmas gift from a college friend not serving its real purpose, which is a receptacle for Foccacia, freshly ground Black Pepper and Olive Oil.

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The flowers were selected to go with the bottle and the red glass tray. To my knowledge, they are not medicinal. The pink star shaped flowers in front are Heirloom Pentas  (Penta lanceolata); white daisies are Spanish Needles  (Bidens alba) – a native  that is a weed if you ask me, no one does.There is some peachy Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia  coccinea); two colors of Texas Vintage Mix Celosia; the bigger pink fuzzy things are Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalpyha pendula). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the background and a Dwarf Pineapple cutting.img_20200315_112457

The genie’s bottle has a few stems of Tassel Flower in them. They are similar to the Dandelion, imported and producing a flower that can be blown on for wishes. I usually pick these as I don’t wish for any more, but they are cute.

Happy Monday and stay safe in your garden. Continue reading

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