Six on Saturday – Like a Lion

March is coming in like a lion in South Florida. There is a steady 20 mph northeasterly wind blowing today. The wind is coming from the Atlantic Ocean, making it a bit chilly despite clear blue skies. I think Alan the Greyhound has the best idea about what to do this Saturday morning.

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The fruit and flowers are coming along in the garden. The pineapple seems a little bigger every day.

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The Pickering Mango – a condo Mango, known for small size and high yield is doing a magnificent job at both. About four feet tall; setting fruit and putting out more flowers. Last year the squirrels got 2/3 of the fruit.

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My neighbor grew some Petunia exserta from seed I gave her and gifted some seedlings to my garden. The first flowers:

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This grouping is next to the Petunias, it is turning into a hot colors butterfly garden. Gallardia, a little Tropical Red Salvia and Penta lanceolata. I would like some more of the Pentas, does anyone know how to propagate these? While I like this picture, the Pentas are not terribly clear, the blurry reds in the background.

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Last, but not least. The obligatory Bromeliad from my garden. This is a Neoregelia with a really odd name that completely escapes me. Another one I bought somewhere for 5 bucks; its sole purpose – to catch the sunlight in the afternoon. The rest of the bed is a bit dark.

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There are my Six this Saturday, to see more posts follow THE LINK to Propagator Blog.

I will be joining Alan the Greyhound in a nap shortly.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Pole Beans and Papayas

It’s time for Six on Saturday. A garden meme based in the UK; hosted by The Propagator. The concept is to post photos of six items of interest from your garden. Follow this link to see more:THE LINK.

I have flowers, fruits and vegetables coming along in my garden. Today I had a papaya for breakfast and picked pole beans. I may make a Papaya Seed dressing for the beans later, this papaya had especially peppery seeds.

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The Mango trees are busy making fruit and they are big enough to see the difference in varieties. This is a Nam Doc Mai, a fiberless Thai dessert Mango.

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This is a Pickering, a condo Mango – dwarf varieties that bear fruit early.

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A pineapple flower, just starting.

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Buds on the Lotusleaf Begonia

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And  buds on the Leonitis, I love these spiky ball buds and flowers. I am proud of these, started from seed in September.

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That’s my six from South Florida.

Happy Gardening.

Dirty Little Secrets in the Garden

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Since I live in the former ‘Pineapple Capital of the World’ I feel compelled to eat a lot of the fruit; and then attempt to grow more. The dirty secret? I cut the tops off and throw them into the front foundation planting in my garden. If they take root, yay! Then they get moved to the pineapple patch in my pollinator garden.

These two are coming along nicely and will join their friends in the backyard. Eventually, I will have homegrown pineapple.

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Here is their destination:

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Here is a link to more information about pineapples.

https://theshrubqueen.com/2016/05/19/pineapples-and-their-cousins/

Happy New Year, I think I need some pineapple in a festive cocktail later….

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In A Vase on Monday – Rabbit Food

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Early on Sunday morning I grabbed my shears and went into the garden to collect materials for my vase. My intention, to gather some Black Eyed Susans and other wildflowers for a casual vase.

After I closed the gate, keeping my greyhounds in their space – I spied the fattest rabbit I have ever seen lurking near my miniature pineapple plants. The tiny pineapple approaching its juicy peak.. I changed my mind and decided a slightly more tropical vase might be more appropriate. The lovely pineapple was quickly freed from its sharp crown.

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My wildflower theme completely blown by the plus size Rabbit, I searched for more tropical plants. I added some foliage from the miniature pineapple plant, a few sprigs of Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the orange flower is Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); the peach flower – the wildflower in the vase, a Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) for a light tropical fragrance. A Pandanus leaf is tied around the vase.

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I am glad I beat the rabbit to the pineapple.

Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Uber Tropical

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Frequently I receive comments about my vases being tropical or exotic. Much of this plant material is commonplace in Florida. The above vase, however, seems Uber Tropical to me.

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Here is a closer view. The arrangement is a stem of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); a sprig of Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) and a potential replacement for the umbrella in tropical drinks, a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is a cutting from a friend and I have no idea what botanical name goes with it. I cut it because the varmints in my garden usually eat them at about this size. They are not edible, extremely fibrous I am told, but may be juiced.

Here is the pineapple in the garden:

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I am happy I beat the varmints to my little pineapple. They are currently eating the new shoots on all the Bromeliads.

Happy Monday!

In A Vase on Monday-Borrowed Aloha

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Sunday afternoon I found myself in a wine tasting room near the top of Haleakala, a brooding dormant volcano on the Island of Maui in Hawaii. The time change is a bit significant between Hawaii and the UK, but I think it probably is already Monday in the UK so I decided to borrow these vases for my post.

These are Queen Emma Crinum Lilies cut from the grounds of Maui Wine, located in Ulupalakua in the Upcountry of Maui. Another vase on the bar held Anthuriums, also from the grounds. The bar itself is 20 feet long and made from slices of an old Mango tree. Probably my favorite bar ever and the wines are pretty good. I bought 3 bottles. Call me girly, I like the Pineapple Wine.

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The winery grows grapes and produces wine from grapes and pineapples. It is situated below a cloud forest of (among other things) Eucalyptus, Norfolk Pines and purple flowering Jacaranda trees. The tasting room is set in a lovely garden, Jade Vines cascade from a pergola, Agapanthus line the walkways, and tropical perennial beds surround  a ring of wood sculptures emulating hula dancers.  A misty rain was falling as we made our way up the mountain into the clouds. When the clouds part, the views of the coast sprawling below are spectacular.

Soon we will be packing up to head back to our slightly less tropical paradise in South Florida. I have seen some wildly tropical plants here and will be posting more pictures later this week.

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Aloha!

In A Vase on Monday – Pina Coladas

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An idea formed in my head as I was walking my dogs yesterday morning, a coconut rolled down the street from a nearby palm and one of the dogs stopped to see what it was. Not very interesting to a dog, but I thought otherwise and picked it up. Then, I walked through my garden and spied this miniature pineapple, it has been around for so long the mother plant was producing pups and I had been thinking that it might be better for the plant to cut the pineapple.

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The next thing to find was some rum. The cabinet supplied enough for one frozen cocktail. Perfect. My husband is not a fan of such girly drinks. If only I had some umbrellas.

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The vase is a monogrammed highball glass from my in laws collection. A friend gave me the pineapple, the plant is red and green striped and the pineapple is inedible. But it looks great. The foliage is from a Dwarf Jamaican Heliconia and the spray of pink flowers is from Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus). The coconut is Cocos nucifera, the Coconut Palm, very common in my neighborhood.

In my Rainforest Garden, later in the afternoon….rum, what rum?

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The Pina Colada actually has some Mango granita in it. Maybe it is a Sunset Pina Colada or a Mango Colada.

Pineapples and their Cousins

 

A common element in South Florida gardens is the pineapple patch. Almost everybody has one, from a northern perspective, it seems kind of weird. Grow your own pineapples? Why not? Even one of our neighbors, his yard could be described as nouveau retch, is seen regularly hand watering his pineapples.

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Pineapples are in fact a Bromeliad, which are currently my favorite tropical perennial. Among the many Bromeliads I have planted that are purely ornamental I am afraid I have fallen prey to the trend and now have a pineapple patch between my citrus trees. I eat pineapple just about year round and the tops kept rooting in the compost heap. Unfortunately, the above is my patch, not too pretty.

Pineapples have an interesting history. Originally from the area where modern day Brazil is located, they moved via canoes paddled by traveling natives north to the Caribbean Islands where sea captains picked up on them and carried them home. One early accounting of the discovery of pineapple recounts a meal served by the Caribe tribe where a plate of pineapple rested next to a cauldron of boiling cannibalized humans. I think I would have asked for the fruit plate.

A status symbol on the dining tables of colonial America, pineapples were often rented for centerpieces and then sold after a few uses for eating. Thus the pineapple as a symbol of lush hospitality was born. The prevalence of pineapples as a decorative element may be explained by its being cheaper to carve decorative pineapples into bed posts or garden ornaments instead of renting them by the hour.

The Treasure Coast of Florida, the area I currently call home was once home to a large pineapple plantation. In 1895, Jensen Beach, Florida was named the Pineapple Capital of the World, shipping a million boxes of pineapples a year during the summer season. Later that year a devastating freeze decimated the crop, followed by a few tragic fires and fungal diseases that finished off the pineapple industry by 1920. Agricultural pursuits were redirected towards citrus. Wild Pineapple plants can still be seen on Hutchinson Island and are attributed to the original owner of the plantation, John Jensen.

Like many other popular plants, pineapples have also been bred for Ornamental use. Here are two prettier pineapple plants.