In a Vase on Monday – della Robbia Memories

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It is a holiday week in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. I  live in South Florida, but in my mind, there should be a celebration with a vase of red and orange leaves and nuts and cones. These things are scarce in South Florida. I always think of my mother, a great gardener and Southern Lady this time of year.  She always had the perfect seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table. So I  went in search of a little bit of not so tropical flowers for this vase.

The vase in the picture is a sugar bowl from my formal wedding china, nestled in a della  Robbia candle ring I made from nuts and cones collected near the townhouse my husband and I lived in when we first married, almost thirty years ago. My mother had a similar ring made by my father’s mother, though I can’t recall what became of it, the ring is one of the holiday touchstones of my youth, usually sporting a  red or green pillar candle during the holidays.

I wonder if others call these della Robbia’s? I  think that term applies to garland decorated terracotta pots. I was working towards a fall arrangement with tropical plants that did not look tropical!  Hope it worked.

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The leaves are from Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); red flower spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the linen towel from a very dear friend lost to cancer seven years ago this October.

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Orange spikes are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers; off white spikes from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); and grass flowers from Muhly Grass  ( Muhlbergia capillaris). There is a stem of foliage with new red growth from Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uviflora)

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Tropically, not tropical ?

Happy  Thanksgiving, whenever celebrated and I am thankful for my garden blog friends.

In a Vase on Monday – Fringe Benefits

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While searching for vase materials this morning it dawned on me, I would not have most of these flowers without making a vase every Monday. I cut flowers from everything except the palm frond and Beautyberries in the past month or for other vases. Hand pruning for a vase inspires the plants to produce more flowers. Fringe benefits from In a Vase on Monday.

Here’s a  close up:

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20191117130923032_COVERThe red and white shrimp-like flowers are  Red Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana), a nearly indestructible perennial. White flowers with yellow centers are  Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata), another great indestructible. Yellow and red daisies are native Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella) they change their colors with the pollinator – or maybe via the pollinator.

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The palm frond in the back of the arrangement is a seedling from a Sabal or Cabbage Palm (Palmetto sabal) that popped up in the garden. The purple berries are still going strong on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – I have had berries on one since August, the birds have eaten most of the fruit from the one further out in the garden. The green pods are from a native Senna (Senna ligustrina) I planted for hosting Sulphur Butterflies. Off white spikes are from the native Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

Here is the caterpillar from the Senna, one of my favorites:

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Happy Gardening and Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM and the fringe benefits, more flowers! Here is a link to more vases: IAVOM more

In a Vase on Monday – Happy Anniversary

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In a Vase on Monday is celebrating its sixth anniversary this Monday. Cathy, of Rambling in the Garden blog, created and hosts this meme weekly and challenged us to create a miniature vase (6″x6″) in honor of the anniversary. This  ‘vase’ is just under that and I added a crystal for Cathy as I know she likes crystals.

I decided to use shells and a tiny glass pot as my containers and then determined that they wouldn’t hold water. An additional challenge, waterless vase. The shells are a Tortoiseshell Cowrie in the glass pot and a Lightning Whelk. These shells are common to the east coast of Florida and were found on this beach near the Fort Pierce Inlet about 20 miles north of my house.

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The  Lightning Whelk holds one of our native Bromeliads (Tillandsia utriculata). These are commonly known as Air Plants and it is actually illegal to collect them in Florida.  Most are grown in South America and shipped to Florida, this one came up on its own in a nearby Oak and I moved it to a booted Sabal Palm.

The brown pods are from a Senna ligustrina, another native I planted as a larval host for  Sulphur Butterflies.

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Here are the Tillandsias in the booted Sabal Palm,  I am planning to add Burgundy Bromeliads and some Cattleya Orchids to the Palm. The boots are the bases of old fronds, many palms are cleaned up with a chain saw for a smooth trunk.

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The  Tortoiseshell Cowrie holds the dried stems of a seedhead from an Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli). The stems are white until the berries ripen and then turn brown. The white stems are from a younger seedhead.

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A heartfelt thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM, it is an addictive pleasure to share a weekly vase with gardeners from all over the world – and to see theirs! To see more miniature sixth-anniversary celebrations follow this link More Vases.

Happy Anniversary and Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Harvest Mood

 

img_20191103_135728It has been a rainy, overcast, blustery weekend in my garden. Feeling like a somewhat warmer and more humid version of fall further north. I went searching for some vegetation to fit the moody weather. The plants in the arrangement speak of fall in Florida – fruits from flowering and shade trees and “fall” leaves.

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The green fruit is from a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri) a smallish white flowering evergreen tree. The berries are from the Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba) a native shade tree affectionately called the Tourist Tree because of its red, peeling bark is similar to sunburned skin. The fruit is not edible from either tree. The “fall” leaves are from “Louisiana Red” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) they are this color year-round. This is a recent addition to the garden and has just started showing color.

Here is a more edible fall fruit, my first Corkystem Passionfruit, something other than me ate it. I planted it as a larval butterfly plant, the butterfly caterpillars have been eating the leaves, not sure who ate the fruit.

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Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Nearly Perfect

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Today was nearly a perfect fall Sunday in South Florida. Clear blue skies, a light breeze, the native flowers blooming luxuriantly in my pollinator garden buzzing with green bees and butterflies. Unfortunately, it was 88 degrees Fahrenheit/31 Celsius. Too hot to hang around outside very long. Summer can last seemingly forever here. Endless Summer is not just a Beach Boys song. Though the vegetables and what the rest of the Northern Hemisphere considers summer flowers are thriving in the heat. I am hoping for bouquets of Zinnias and baskets of radishes, herbs, and tomatoes later in the season.

A closer view of my native flowers:

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I love the striking green stems with blue flowers, these are a native (according to some, the native plants’ people get tiresome to me), I think they are Stachytarpheta jamaicensis- Blue Porterweed, maybe the latin means they are native to Jamaica, I don’t know. These flowers are well behaved in my garden and flower nearly year-round. Orange and red daisy-like flowers are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) these change with the pollinators and reseed producing different flowers, fun to watch – last year I had some pinks. The pink flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in a lighter shade; purply pink grasses are Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capillaris), my favorite Florida grass. Greenish white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) Ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata). The bowl vase is a handmade thrift store find I love.

In my garden, we are hoping for cooler weather and the fruit already out to ripen. Papayas and Passionfruit:

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I hope to catch a Passionflower soon! Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. For more vases, follow this link More vases. Cathy hosts the vase extravaganza every Monday.

In a Vase on Monday – Fall Vase Theory

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This vase is filled with the fall colors of South Florida. All of these plants are native to the area and thrive without too much help from the gardener. These are my kind of plants, easy to grow and maintain and not too rude about taking over. An added bonus is they last as cut flowers (or berries).

This week I was asked for a post explaining how I arrange flowers, so my vase design theory will follow the components of the vase:

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The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); the off white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); pink plumes are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the ferns are Boston Fern (Nepholepis exaltata).

Vase Theory

The way I go about arranging flowers is less theory and more ‘that needs to be pruned’. I do not have a cutting garden. Anything within reach of the clipper is a cut flower as far as I am concerned. And I like garden space to be year-round, with the exception of vegetables. Flowers feed the soul, vegetables the body. Of course, having spent decades in the design business, there are certain knee jerk reactions to any design problem. And designers can overcomplicate anything.

This morning I noted my Beautyberry needed to be cut back again and decided to use the purple berry stems in a vase.

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The long, skinny stems dictated a tall, slender vase to hold them, I chose the smoky grey glass vase to contrast with fall colors I was thinking about using. I usually put the dishtowel headed towards the washing machine under the vase to catch bugs and trimmed plant bits. For proper scale with the vase, I cut some Beautyberry stems twice the height of the vase.

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I added the Beautyberry stems splayed around the vase into thirds, leaving spaces for more flowers.

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I cut some Muhly Grass stems (taller than the berries) for wispy purple texture change from the berries and greenish-white Juba Bush spikes for color contrast. Then decided the wispy grass needed a more solid green background. Back to the garden.

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I liberated a few Boston Fern fronds from the driveway (only in South Florida would this happen), then compared the size to the rest of the vase, decided they were too tall and cut a few inches off the stems. After adding the ferns, I decided more color was needed and went back into the garden for some Firebush flowers to fill the lower third of the arrangement with orange tubular flowers and some leafy foliage.

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The result, In a Vase on Monday! IAVOM is a Garden Bloggers meme based in the UK. Cathy from Rambling in the Garden is the hostess of this meme. To see more vases follow this link. More Vases

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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