In A Purse on Monday


After breakfast on Saturday morning I discovered I was completely out of cereal. This meant a trip to the detestable grocery store. During winter, the population of South Florida doubles and the grocery stores are filled with sunburned people in inappropriate attire blocking access to all the food while gaping at the selection. This becomes tiresome after a few months. It is hard to decide which is worse, the attire, the people,  or the gaping.

That said, feeling better now. I decided to go to the grocery next to the Thrift/Charity shop and have a look around before facing the cereal dilemma. I came across this blown glass handbag/purse/pocketbook and bought it immediately. Being quite cheered up by my new vase, I survived the grocery endeavor with style and, having purchased cereal, could once again eat breakfast.


I am please to report the Cactus Zinnias attained some height after being cut back and fertilized. Other components of the vase include: in orange and the top are Firebush (Hamelia patens); in orange and the bottom of the arrangement, Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); lighter purple flowers are Purple Verbena (Verbena spp.); darker blue are our Native Porterweed. The ferns are Asian Sword Ferns. There are a few native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) at the base.

Updating my continuing saga of the Potager, I have added two Southern Highbush Blueberries, the variety ‘Sunshine Blue’ is purported to produce fruit with 145 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I think that will work. Strangely enough, these shrubs have set fruit since they have been in the garden. I may have four blueberries this summer! My Thai Dessert Mangoes are setting fruit as well, here they are:


Eventually the berries will drop off to two or three Mangoes and the flower will turn upside down from the weight of the fruit. Hoping for a Mango with Four Blueberry Pie this summer.



In A Vase on Monday – Boxed Florida Sunshine.


The Beach Sunflowers are overtaking my front yard. The mailman, raised in the Florida Keys, stopped to inform me no one left the Beach Sunflowers in their garden when he was growing up – they were considered weeds, though clearly he was wondering if maybe it was a good idea. Floridians, the rare native ones,  tend not to appreciate things that are common (and wonderful). I think the tide of appreciation is turning to plants more suited to their native environment – who couldn’t appreciate a box of sunshine from Florida on a fine February morning?


The blue watercolor box is filled with Helianthus debilis, Beach Sunflower. Beach Sunflower is a native reseeding biennial – the reasons I love these, they bloom nearly year round, thrive in pure sand, outcompete most weeds and can be pruned to low masses. What’s not to love?

The fruit tree update. Mangoes are flowering here, we will have fruit in June or July, the panicles produce numerous fruits – most fall off and maybe one to three fruits per flower is left. By late spring, the branches will be bending from the weight of the fruit.


This is a big Haden Mango located on my daily dog walk route. My little Mangoes are flowering a little, but nothing like this.

I bought another fruit tree, a Red Jaboticaba:


This is a South American fruit tree that bears a grape like fruit on the trunk. In a few years. Patience, gardeners.


In A Vase on Monday – Hairy Potter and the Goblet of Fire.


On this lovely sunny Sunday morning, I spent time in my garden, repotting annuals in some of my clay containers, completed the planting of my new Mango tree, and then searched for flowers for IAVOM. Some of the Zinnias were leaning a bit so I decided to cut them and add flowers from the native pollinator garden near the vegetables in the Potager garden. The silverplate goblet, a remnant from my mother’s household, was selected as the vase for this week.

The Zinnias have not grown more than 8 inches tall and I have cut them with short stems to see if the plants would grow taller.  This made the plants branch out and produce more shorter stemmed flowers – which works well with the goblet. I cut the leaning flowers, puzzled, until I realized fire ants had moved into the Zinnia flowers – weighting them down with the beginnings of an imported sand nest. I shook them off quickly and remain unscathed despite my ant encounter.20180218_100304-1.jpg

Joining the Zinnias from the native pollinator garden are in purple, a Mexican Sage (Salvia leucanthemum) not native but the bees love it. In blue with long green stems, our native Porterweed; in peach, native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and in orange and red, the native Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella). The herb Dill has already started to go to seed (planted for me and the butterflies to eat)- so there is a Dill flower at the top.

The native pollinator garden was started to attract the fantastic butterflies we have in Florida, an added bonus, and unconsidered by the gardener – the native pollinators will help keep the bad bugs out of the nearby Potager. And it works, I have not sprayed the first bug in the garden and only recently threw some tomatoes away that tomato worms had gotten into. 20180218_100839_HDR-1.jpg

Here is the work in progress Potager, behind is the native pollinator garden. I think I cut most of the flowers off for the vase. I am planting the dwarf Mango and fruit trees where I am standing, hopefully considering the sun angles properly! I planted the last of the vegetable seeds for the season, Zucchini, pole beans, radishes and green onions about a week ago.  We should have Salads and green vegetables until May and then the garden will be put to sleep for the summer. Here is my garden to table lunch salad, mostly grown by me.


If you are wondering about the Hairy Potter, that would be me. I am well known for my abundant tresses – causing more than one exhausted hairdresser to ask after cutting my hair “Do I really have to dry it”.

Happy Gardening.