In a Vase on Monday – One Man’s Trash..

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The saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. My treasures today include several plants that are considered weeds. Nut sedge, the chartreuse flowers at the top right, is a particularly reviled weed. Some call this sand spurs. I have pulled a great deal of it out of my garden and dog paws. I was pulling some yesterday and thought ‘this looks like a Papyrus’ well, for good reason. It is a Cyperus, while Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is a wetland sedge. This is a dryland sedge. But a treasure for today only.

The ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a very pretty weed, great vase filler, and invasive nuisance in Florida. I have been pulling these out after rains all winter. They hang on for dear life when it’s dry and are very difficult to pull out.

The white daisy flower is a Bidens alba, these are a nuisance to me although a great nectaring plant for bees and butterflies. These reseed so prolifically I cut them to stop it. I am pretty certain I will never run out of Bidens. Its common name is Spanish Needles, the seeds are sharp and it is said the early settlers of Florida used them as needles.

A closer view:

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Most of these treasures are excellent nectar producers for pollinators. The hot pink flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); yellow and red daisies, Gallardia pulchella; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). The Sweet Almond has perfumed my hallway with the scent of Marzipan.

Here is a Gulf Frittilary enjoying the nectar of the Heirloom Penta.

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Happy Gardening…to see more vases go visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Lessons Learned

Gardening is a learning experience that never ends. This Saturday’s Six represent my most recent lessons.

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Lesson 1:  Build it and they will come is true of butterfly gardening. I have been planting for  pollinators for about six years. This is my first White Peacock butterfly.

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Lesson 2: Tree Spinach cuttings root really fast and I don’t think I am going to eat any. A friend gave me these cuttings two weeks ago, they are growing and putting out flower buds already. Tree Spinach or Chaya is a very healthy tropical vegetable, filled with cyanide unless you cook it and then it’s OK. The vapors from cooking are also toxic, and if cooked in a aluminum pan the broth will give you diarrhea. The nectar in the flowers is very nutritious for butterflies-leaving this one to the butterflies.

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Lesson 3: I really dislike Culantro. The plant in the lower part of the picture is Culantro, I bought this to try as I love Cilantro and this is supposedly easier to grow. It is easy to grow – unfortunately tasting like soap. The first time I have picked herbs out of my lunch. My husband was appalled. The plant sharing the pot is Dill, decimated by last night’s Italian Wedding Soup.

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Lesson 4: I like Jaboticabas. I ate a few from this tree. A tropical fruit tree also known as Brazilian Grape Tree. It flowers and bears fruit on its trunk. The fruit is like Scuppernong Grapes with a big seed. This one is in a nursery, I have one in my garden – they are well known for taking years to produce fruit; still waiting.

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Lesson 5: Rabbits like spinach and will raid the garden regardless of patrolling Greyhounds.

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Lesson 6: Wind will blow over a tripod of even the thickest bamboo if the Passionfruit vine is big enough. Time to move this.

That is my Six this Saturday. Follow this link to the Propagators blog to see more posts like it. THELINK

 

 

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 – 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

Six on Saturday – Bountiful Butterflies

It’s a dreadful Saturday morning in Florida, our first cold front of the season is moving through spawning 35 mph winds and pouring rain. I spotted some new butterflies in my garden this week and decided that would be a better post than blurry, windblown flowers photos. I started a pollinator garden about two years ago and was astonished at how many butterflies appeared in my garden to devour my botanical treats. Here are a few:

The Giant Swallowtail on Firebush.

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Cloudless  Sulphur Caterpillar on Senna ligustrina.

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Zebra Longwing Butterfly:

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Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Zinnias:

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Pipevine  Swallowtail Butterfly on Firebush:

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Black Swallowtail on screen porch:

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For more Six on Saturday posts,  hopefully from drier gardens – follow this link to The  Propagators blog  More SOS.

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 – Love/Hate Relationships

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The oh so subtle signs of fall are appearing on the peninsula of Florida. Hurricane Dorian was one unmistakable sign, the hurricane season peaks on September 10. My husband declared hurricane season over and took down all the storm shutters. Signs in the garden include the formation of fruit on Beautyberry and Firebush and I have seen three (yes, 3!) Red Maples sporting red fall color. It is exciting.

My garden came through the brush with Hurricane Dorian mostly unscathed, the Beautyberry had their leaves blown off (the berries were untouched) and the Avocado tree’s leaves have windburn. A few branches down here and there, but that is about it. I wonder if I have sited the Avocado in a less than the optimal place as the leaves usually burn from one thing or another.

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The vase is an old florist’s vase I found by the side of the road in my neighborhood. I am guessing at least thirty years old as I vaguely remember these in the 80s. Most of the plants in the vase I love for their flowers but hate for their voracious appetite for space in the garden.

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The most incorrigible of the lot, in white, Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) possibly the best native pollinator in the garden – however, these reseed to the point of annoyance. In orange and red, Firebush (Hamelia patens – varieties botanically undefined) I love these shrubs, but once they get going watch out. I was told one was dwarf (4 feet) sounds great – it is probably closing in on 12 feet and still growing. Also soon to be a tree form as I love the butterflies nectaring on it (5 different butterflies seen while cutting branches for the vase). The red fruits are also from the Firebush, I have two types, the red one produces fruit that grows little plants in the garden – the orange one never does. Grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum) I prune and prune and never have a dense hedge, purple flowers occasionally make it worthwhile. The purple berries, Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) which I love right now but not so much for the foliage. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, they could take over a gas station parking lot. Enough said.

My vase from last week is holding up well with the exception of the Orchid, that was asked to leave and unceremoniously composted. Here are the two vases together.

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Maybe there is fall color in Florida. It is just totally different.