Six on Saturday – Schomburgkia?

I am joining the SOS crowd again this week with photos of the orchid in my Gumbo Limbo tree – tentatively identified as a Schomburgkia. Of course, the botanical powers that be decided to change the name to Laelia. I am not sure what it is. About five feet of purple bamboo-like stem with flowers at the end. Here goes:

It has been windy here for the past few days, so it made for difficult picture taking. Hoping to get better photos when the wind dies down tomorrow. This is a sun loving orchid from Central America, known for hosting ants and the old dried out stems become hollow and can be used as horns! Who knew? I can attest to ants living in the roots, but haven’t had it long enough to get a horn.

When the weather starts to warm the more tropical flowers start to appear:

Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Bougs supposedly flower when day and nighttime hours are even as they are native to equatorial regions. I am not so sure about that and keep watching.

Lady Di Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum). These are an oddly short lived perennial in my garden. They are beautiful for a couple of years, spread, then get shorter and shorter. This one is about half the size of the original plants.

Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) sometimes appears in white. This is a volunteer amongst the Mystic Spires Blue Salvia. These are known for their variable colors (red, orange, pink and white), this one has remained white in one area of my garden. It is separated by a fair distance from the colored Salvias, that may be why.

Last, but not least. It is difficult to get much more tropical than this. Miniature Ornamental Pineapple, fully grown. These can be juiced. I think they are too cute to squash and generally leave them on the plant until they dry. I keep meaning to spray some gold for Christmas decorations…

To see more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Bees and Bags

Welcome to SOS, December 11, 2021 edition. It is warm and sunny in South Florida and the birds, bees and flowers are enjoying the blue skies. So is the gardener. Though it could be a little cooler (83 F today), are we ever happy with the weather? I am joining Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com with the SOS crowd linking to his blog. Follow the link for more garden fun.

I had to share my Malaysian Orchid in full bloom today. This is an amazing sight and the bees are enjoying the flowers. I finally got a picture of the elusive green orchid bee.

This is a very active, flitting bee. I stood and waited to take the picture. These bees are native to Central and South American and are thought to have been introduced to Florida in 2003 via a nest in a wood pallet from Mexico. There are a fair number in my garden.

The bag garden is producing cut flowers and vegetables for me this week. We have been eating green beans, radishes and tomatoes – it is time to plant a second crop of radishes and beans. I am rooting tomato suckers for a later crop of tomatoes. Here is a sunflower and below, the Cactus Zinnias.

The Papaya decapitated last spring is flowering again. The flowers so far are female, they are usually self pollinating hermaphrodite flowers – so, it will be interesting to see if it is self limiting the fruit production due to the pruning.

The hard cane dendrobium orchid I installed in a Gumbo LImbo tree has started budding. I am wondering how long this will take to flower???

That’s all from my garden this week.

Happy Gardening.

A Week in Flowers – Day Three – Orchids

Welcome to the third installment of A Week in Flowers. Cathy at http://www.wordsandherbs.wordpress.com invited us to share a post a day for a week of flowers in our gardens. Today I am featuring orchids from my South Florida garden – they stay outside year round here. Follow the link to find more flowers from around the world.

Fragrant white Cattleya Orchids live in a pot outside my low slung living room window. These bloom every September and I enjoy watching them and usually cut some for a vase to enjoy the flowers and fragrance up close.

Orange landscape orchids (along with Gallardia) are a fairly common sight around here. These are Epidendrums; sometimes called Ground Orchids. I had some in the garden, but they squirrels dug them up so many times they withered and passed on.

The Orchid tree, not really an Orchid, but a very pretty flower. This is Bauhinia purpurea, I think.

This Orchid tree has purple Cattleya orchids that grow on the trunk. This is my neighbor’s tree, so I see it daily when flowering. One of my favorite summer plantings.

That is all for Day Three. Happy Flower Watching!

Six on Saturday – Frogs and Fun

Another Saturday is upon us. I am sharing six fun items from my garden this week. Here is the frog:

This is a Cuban Tree Frog, native to Cuba *duh. These are considered invasive in Florida as they can out reproduce our native tree frogs. I was surprised by how small this frog is – they are very loud.

A Dancing Lady Ginger gifted to me by a friend. This is potted in canal mud and compost. I wish I had some canal mud to plant it in. Where to plant it is a bit of a dilemma.

A Medenillia underplanted with Dwarf Chenille Plant. The Medenillia is an orchid that grows in trees in Java, another gift from a friend. Hoping for flowers, they look like pink grapes.

This Cattleya Orchid lives in a pot in the garden – its blooms the first week of September every year.

Another favorite of mine. I love the stems for the flowers and the color. This is a non native Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacianensis, I think) Indestructible and reliable.

So happy to be using my house made compost. It took a couple of years for this to break down into compost, I started with a shredded oak tree and added to it…This week it is time to plant tomato seed for winter vegetables.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – The Pits

This Saturday we are in the midst of the peak of hurricane season in South Florida. The cicadas are singing, the temperature and humidity are soaring, the plants are wilting and so am I. Oddly, the hurricanes are in New England and Mexico. Last weekend, Tropical Storm Fred dropped eight inches of rain at my house. The garden was happy for a while, but is thirsty once again. We are definitely in the pits.

The pit above is much more interesting and from the garden. I finally got one Nam Doc Mai mango from my tree. This is a Thai mango bred to eat for dessert, featuring a small pit, fiberless flesh and a coconut mango flavor. The pit is nearly as long as the mango (6 inches) and about 1/4 inch thick. Here is the mango with a cherry tomato. My husband and I ate most of it for dessert last night. Yummy.

Another interesting observation in my steamy jungle this week – the formation of new shoots on the Hard Cane Orchid I installed in my Gumbo Limbo tree this winter.

Another view:

The Orchid is putting out roots and hopefully will grow into the tree trunk and flower this winter. The sprays of flowers are supposed to be five feet long. Hopefully. I mounted the Orchid by tying it onto the tree with old pantyhose. There is a bit of Orchid soil mix in the hose that has supported the plant while it grows in. I was about to remove it when a swarm of large ants came bursting out..the hose are still in the tree, ants and all.

Another new shoot.

A new butterfly in my garden this week. This is a Mallow Scrub Hairstreak on a Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) flower. A tiny butterfly, maybe an inch wingspan. Picture taken while crossing my fingers. The Sweet Almond is very popular with bees and butterflies.

That is it from the pits. To see more SOS posts follow the link and visit Jon, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday. Summer Tropicals

I decided to join the Six on Saturday meme at The Propagator’s blog this week. I live and blog in South Florida. Having been down here a while, I still think a lot of the flora is weird but cool. Here are six tropicals blooming in my garden this week:

Flaming Torch Bromeliad. A common and colorful addition to our late summer gardens.

Billbergia pyramidalis.

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Beautyberry, a native shrub with magnificent fruit.

Calliocarpa americana. 00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BUbeautyberry

One of my very favorite Bromeliads, reliable and so funky. And a great cut flower.

Aechmea miniata.

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Late summer brings Cattleya Orchids to the garden, the next ones will be huge, white and fragrant. These grow in my neighbor’s Hong Kong Orchid (Bauhinia) tree.00100lportrait_00100_burst20190710131119708_cover

Another common summer flowering Bromeliad. Little Harv.

Aechmea ‘Little Harv’

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More Florida funkness, this is a Jatropha – called Coral Plant usually and considered a novelty, flowering off and on all summer.

Jatropha multifida.

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Happy Gardening Saturday and thanks to The Propagator for hosting.

Not Shopping for Tropicals

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This afternoon I have been glued to the television watching Hurricane Michael make landfall about 500 miles north my garden. The sheer size of these storms always amaze me. I can feel the hot breath from Michael flowing through my garden if I step outside. Praying for those in the storm’s path.

Earlier this week I went plant shopping – heading south to the numerous nurseries supplying South Florida. Much of the plant material grown in this area is too tropical for my garden, though I enjoy looking. This is ‘instant effect’ plant material, the above Heliconia is about 15′ tall – prices are not displayed.

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This is a hanging basket filled with Medinilla myriantha, 3 or 4 feet wide and tall. These plants are famously difficult to keep. Usually a very expensive flower arrangement.

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This is a pink and yellow unnamed Heliconia psittacorum. I could probably grow this one, but couldn’t lift the container it was in!

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Huge, grey Bromeliad.

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A Starfish Plant, variety lost to me.

 

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Tiny Aloes.

I bought nothing at this nursery, but gained an idea for a palm tree with boots I was planning to remove (growing into power lines)

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I can have the top removed and keep the trunk, then tuck Bromeliads, Ferns and Orchids into the pockets left by the boots. Like this:

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A stumpery – in tropical mode.

In A Vase on Monday-Trading Vases & Places

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The flowers in my vase this week are Cattleya Orchids, from a plant gifted to me several years ago by my neighbor. I have been watching this plant for years, moved it around in the garden – nothing. Finally – three buds appeared, weeks ago. I watched, waited and watched some more, not a sign of opening. Just big, juicy buds displaying a tasty reticence.  I occasionally had to chase some leering grasshopper away. Sigh, more waiting.

After a rough couple of weeks,  my husband and I decided we needed a change of scene and took a few days to walk on the beach and rest. We packed up Alan the Greyhound and some coolers and headed to a lovely semi deserted beach miles from home.

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Of course, I checked the Orchids just prior to leaving and one bud was opening! Sigh, again. Hoping I wouldn’t miss the show, off we went. The picture is sunrise on North Hutchison Island, Florida.

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Deciding to cut the flowers was easy, I have two more buds and these were browning on the edges a bit. I’ll enjoy them in the house as long as they last. The vases (three again) were another story. Seeking a simple container for these complex flowers; I decided they needed a backdrop of a big tropical leaf (Seagrapes – Coccoloba uvifera). For vases, I started with a rose teapot, then went to the black vase, then the glass vases.

No leering grasshoppers in my house, but I did bring in a little bee.

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In A Vase on Monday – Gardening with Armadillos

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Sunday got off to a bit of a rough start, about 3 a.m. one of my greyhounds started to run around and whine. I got up, thinking he needed to go out and opened the door – only to hear a strange sound crashing around in the garden. Decided to turn on the security lights and low and behold, I spied an Armadillo. The shelled rodent (IMO) digging beside the metal screen enclosure on our porch, bashing his shell against the metal. Driving my poor dog mad and depriving both of us our beauty sleep.

As the dog ran out the door the foolish Armadillo ran into the fenced part of our yard – who knew an Armadillo could out run a greyhound?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo

Cartoon time 3 a.m. My backyard. Starring Alan the Greyhound. Shown below in his usual state. Alan is the brown dog, the other one has no interest in getting up at 3 a.m.

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A few hours and cups of coffee later, I went to look for vase components in the garden the Armadillo had been digging in. Sure enough, he or she had been overturning Bromeliads, a favorite pastime for some reason made better by overturning burgundy or spotted Bromeliads. By trial and error, I eventually found out cardboard and mulch will keep the armadillos away, needs another application. Sigh.

20170806_100322 Seeking the components of a vase, I noted the Spathoglottis is flowering again. I know this really sounds like a disease, but is actually a lovely little Ground Orchid called Caberet. This is the second round of flowering since I planted it in January. It is the purple flower in the vase. The blue flowers are Porterweed, the jury is still out on which one and today it is really shedding for some reason. The yellow flowers are Lantana, Silvermound would be my guess for variety. The purple spotted foliage is from a Bromeliad the Armadillo overturned ‘Hallelujah’ Billbergia. A sprig of fern finishes the vase.

The Armadillo’s work last night:

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