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.

Funky Florida Flora – Turk’s Cap Hibiscus

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This is another volunteer in my garden, drafted into service to provide summer color in the unirrigated wilds of the garden. These tough shrubs just pop up here and there and once established are very difficult to get rid of. My neighbor’s Hibiscus keeps growing through the fence and after about 5 removal attempts, I gave up and began espaliering it to the fence instead of trying to get rid of it. Time will tell how that works out.

Most people call this Turk’s Cap Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus), however, my favorite common name for this plant is Nodding Hibiscus. The shrub itself is a bit rangy looking, shapeless and branchy with light green foliage. The flowers make up for the green part, being prolific and attractive to pollinators and hummingbirds. Originally from Mexico, it has naturalized on the peninsula and is tolerant of South Florida’s extreme variation in precipitation. My Hibiscus thrive in partial shade with benign neglect, no fertilizer and roots in sugar sand (dare I call it soil, I think not)

I like to cut these for arrangements, they add a bit of draping over the side drama and last well in a vase, but you have to be careful not to knock the flowers off, the stems are somewhat delicate.

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In A Vase on Monday – Long Stemmed Salvia

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For reasons unknown to me, I have a bumper crop of Tropical Red Salvia. Usually a short and somewhat scruffy looking perennial (or reseeding annual, it seems perennial due to the constant supply of seedlings). The Tropical Red Salvia this winter is bearing long, lushly foliated stems with fat blossoms. The bees were not happy with me and my clippers again.

The Tropical Red Salvia also comes in peach, pink and neon orange. I rarely get a neon orange, but I do enjoy the softer colors and seedling variation. You have to wonder why it can’t be called simply Tropical Salvia as it is native to Florida, or, Florida Salvia?

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Another native added to the vase, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – These ferns graciously popped up in the nether regions between my driveway and my neighbors fence. I have been enjoying ferns in vases since it’s arrival. The red and orange zig zag shaped bits are flowers from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad; the sprays of blue/white flowers are from Dianella (some call it Blueberry Flax), the variegated leaves are also from Dianella. Grey fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolare) – a plant in a winter container that I just cut back. I was happy to learn the Licorice Plant will grow here. More plants to propagate. Or try.

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I am having the exact opposite experience with China Asters and will not ask them into the garden again. I love the flowers and am not sure if this is the second or third attempt. Here is a seedling- sowed in September! Had one flower about the size of a fingernail.

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Ironically, the seedlings coming up in the pot are Tropical Red Salvia.

Life in the Garden. Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Winter Gardening

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The gardening season is heating up in South Florida. The reverse of most of the Northern Hemisphere, we grow vegetables in the winter as it is too hot for tomatoes or corn to pollinate in the summer. I received the last of my vegetable seeds (Haricot verte) over the weekend and will sow my vegetable garden in the next week or so.

While I grow flowers year round, I plant some of the more common summer flowers in the winter. Deciding to grow some from seed this year, I have Zinnias, Asters, Petunias, Moon Vine and Coral Vine to add to the pollinator garden and cut. The seeds were planted around the first of October and my first Zinnia bloomed this week.20181121_094921_HDR-2This is a Zinna Super Cactus Lilac Emperor, an heirloom variety. It doesn’t quite resemble the picture on the packet – not nearly as stringy or cactusy (new word?) However, it may be the biggest Zinnia I have run across (4 inches wide).

20181125_095513The vase I inherited from my mother, who bought it from the Ute Indian tribe in the Southwestern US. Accenting the Zinnia in the arrangement are in white and fragrant spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); Purple Verbena is next, a native (Glandularia tampaensis); the deep blue flowers are from Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis); purple flowers with grey foliage are Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens); the background plants are Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a sprig of Hawaiian Snowbush (Breynia nivosa).

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The pollinators attracted to my garden continue to amaze. We had two groups of honeybees resting in the garden and I spotted this dragonfly while weeding yesterday.