In a Vase on Monday – Salvia – ation

Salvias have been the salvation of a few intractable areas in my garden. The native Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) has evolved into one of my favorite plants. It thrives in a mostly unirrigated area of my garden that is infested with soil borne nematodes. The nematodes have eaten the roots of virtually everything else I have tried there. I spent a great deal of time amending the soil and doubling the irrigation to grow vegetables – only to harvest about 3 tomatoes and watch the rest of the veg wither and die from the pests below. The salvias reseeded themselves into this space and are happily flowering away. I am glad something is enjoying all the soil amendments besides the nematodes. ‘Mystic Spires’ is the blue salvia in the arrangement, this one has been flowering in my garden since March 2021, the other one passed on this summer and this one is petering out, though I have no complaints about their performance. Surviving two Augusts in South Florida is an amazing achievement.

This is one of those dinner party vases. It looks great for a dinner party and fades a day or two later. I think the vase must have arrived with a floral arrangement at some point.

Closer views:

The salvias… Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) can be white, pink, salmon or neon orange. I have yet to see neon orange, but have all the other colors. Blue salvia is Mystic Spires.

The white flower is a vinca that reseeds from somewhere around my house. It has also done well in nematode land so I let it go. This is kind of a rangy plant, so I suspect it is a parent plant of all the cultivar vincas that got loose in Florida. I see these by the side of the road. Yellow flowers are from Thyrallis (Galpinia glauca) this is a shrub that used to be considered native but is now a foreigner. Sigh.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. Follow this link to see more vases: http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Natives and Friends

It is finally raining here, and in typical gardener fashion, I am going to complain – just a little too much. The weeds are going crazy and it is supposed to rain for the next several days. Fiona, the hurricane, not the greyhound. is supposed to meander by next week, undoubtedly bringing more rain. Fiona the greyhound is not terribly worried.

Back to plants and SOS. I am joining the SOS meme, hosted by Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. To see more posts, follow the link.

This is a native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cynathophora). These pop up here and there and do not reseed much, so I enjoy the little pop of red in the garden.

Native Dayflower (Commelina erecta). Another one that just pops up in the garden and behaves nicely.

Native Bidens alba. One of the many common names is Spanish Needles, which leaves me wondering if the Spanish explorers of the Florida peninsula used the seeds for sewing. Not sure how, they are sharp, but maybe a half inch long. The one I love to hate. Reseeds madly, but so cute and the pollinators love it.

Another great native for pollinators, the Beach Daisy (Helianthus debilis). I am not sure what that bug is. These go mad during a rainy summer and once you have them in the garden (I planted them) they never go away.

The fruits of a native Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) Something about this is supposed to have a spice fragrance. I have yet to find it and have had this in the garden for seven years or so. Birds like the berries.

A nice, and not native to Florida, Saturday morning surprise. This is an unnamed Cattleya orchid that regularly flowers in early September. I thought it wouldn’t flower because of the dry summer – but here it is after getting some rain and a little fertilizer.

That’s my Six for this Saturday….Happy Gardening!!!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Bougie Berries

Bougie Berries? What the flower? The leafy (or should I say bracty) white flowers in this vase are from ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea. The true flowers are at the center in white and the showy parts are bracts, like Poinsettias. Floridian landscapers refer to Bougainvilleas as ‘Bougies’. I was unable to resist cutting a few branches of the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) to join the Bougies.

The Bougies and Berries were cut quickly and the rest of the vase followed suit. After a very dry summer, we are experiencing an epic onslaught of humidity. My sliding glass door fogged over with moisture this morning highlighting the numerous greyhound noseprints in sweaty relief. I beat a quick retreat back into air conditioned space. Fortunately, the tropics remain quiet for this time of year and we are finally getting some rain.

The true flowers of the Bougainvillea are visible here. White daisies are Bidens alba, a local thug and lover of humidity. Yellow spikes are bits of Aechmea blanchetiana bromeliad flowers. The greenery is Boston Fern (Nepholepsis exaltata) and a juvenile Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal) frond.

Super drought tolerant Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in peach tones complete this vase. I am hoping to read about some autumnal weather on other blogs this Monday as we are sorely lacking even remote coolness. Visit our fabulous hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see other vases..

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Torch Parfait

More tropical madness from my garden. I know the peak of hurricane season is upon us when I see the Flaming Torch Bromeliads in bloom. September 10 is peak day. The Five Day Tropical Outlook looks good for now, so life is good. The parfait glass is a perfect container for the heavy flowers. I inherited this glass from my mother-in-law, who collected Colony pattern Fostoria glass. This is a juice or parfait glass, my husband’s fond memory of these glasses is they were filled with butterscotch pudding.

A closer view:

There is a good reason to call this Flaming Torch. It is also called Hurricane Bromeliad, due to its flowering time. These are not quite open and elongate a bit as they open. The latin name is Billbergia pyramidalis.

The support staff of the Torch…I decided to accent the purple tones in the flower with ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera foliage and a sprig of Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), added for fragrance.

I mentioned hearing the return of the Sand Hill Cranes for winter (I use that term loosely) a couple of vases ago. Here is a photo of the birds, they were walking through a neighboring yard. They are probably three feet tall.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Fall, please.

The end of August in South Florida is hot! Mix in a droughty summer, a few mosquitoes, some charbroiled plants, and yes, I am asking for fall. Please. I used to dread the end of summer, but now I embrace it as the best gardening weather is something to look forward to. I cut the summer stalwarts for this vase and selected the most autumnal tones in the garden. Feeling refreshed already. There are rain showers on the weather radar. Fingers crossed.

Posies in profile. The orange and red banana shaped flowers are Parrotflowers, in orange, Heliconia psittacorum “Chocociana”, in red H. psittacorum “Lady Di”; yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans); orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). Greenery is Asparagus ferns.

Another view.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Survivors

I am joining the SOS crew today sharing my summer survivors. This summer has been brutal, temperatures over 90 degrees F most days and very little rain. Add to that the demise of our irrigation system, I water what I can and am admiring what is surviving the onslaught. The tropical plants are outshining the native plants in the garden this summer.

Chocociana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). These small Heliconias are hunkered down under a Firebush and are doing quite well. Of course, I do have to squat down to see them.

Lady Di Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum) and native Tillandsia growing near the trunks of Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Spinach tree (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), a tropical subsistence vegetable I planted for the butterflies is doing remarkably well with no help from me. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies. The leaves may be cooked like spinach – if you know how to prepare it, otherwise it is poisonous. I leave it for the pollinators.

Chandelier Plant (Medenillia cummingii) is flowering again. Third or fourth time this year.

Schlomburgkia Orchid slipped out of its pantyhose noose. I reinstalled it with string. This orchid has put on four new canes this summer, but can’t quite get its roots in the trunk. I hope this works.

Several people have asked what the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) shrub looks like. This is it. It has dropped a lot of leaves in favor of the berries.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Hanging on with the orchids in the garden, waiting for fall. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – August Beauties

This vase accurately reflects what thrives in my South Florida garden with very little water or attention. August is the hottest month of the year, it is frequently 94 degrees in the shade (F or almost 35 C). Gardening is best abandoned for cooler days. There has also been a long dry spell here, we are 8 inches below normal on rainfall and some plants have burned up. My stalwart zinnias succumbed the first week of August, despite my best effort to hand water them, they are curled and crispy brownish tan. I left them to shade the lime green sedum in hopes of nursing it through August. The lush tropical border is a memory. The Dahlias dramatically folded their foliage up the stem and turned brown standing straight like soldiers praying to the rain gods. Bah.

Saturday night we had a refreshing rain shower and the white flowers in the vase, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani, smelled so lovely I had to cut some to bring inside. It seems the more tropical plants tolerate the dry heat a bit better than the Florida natives, which seems odd. Another gardening mystery to ponder.

Beauties in detail:

The lurid purple berries are from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); fragrant, white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani; orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens); yellow flowers are Esperanza (Tecoma stans).

The balance:

The peach flower is a Choconiana Heliconia (H. psittacorum ‘Choconiana’) I have tried to find out what the heck is a Choconiana to no avail. Purple foliage is from ‘Purple Prince’ Alternantera – I should admit to watering this one and keeping it in a pot in the shade. There is one in the garden, surprisingly still alive, but much smaller.

I wish everyone gentle rain, but not too much, and cooler weather. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Time in a Bottle

The blue bottle serving as a vase today reminds me of another time. The bottle belonged to my mother. My mother and grandmother had a peculiar habit of keeping bottles in the kitchen window. If the bottles were clear they were filled with water and food coloring. Colored bottles were left as is and used as vases for whatever somebody found in the yard; it was usually me finding things. My grandmother, a teetotaling Southern Baptist, especially enjoyed her slightly risque practice of displaying old liquor bottles filled with colored water.

A closer view:

This is a bouquet of summer in South Florida. Many of the annuals are starting to burn out and the true stalwarts of the garden are shining. In white, Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divaricata); peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), in blue, an improved cultivar of Plumbago, I think this is ‘Imperial Blue’ and it has deeper color and flowers longer than the standard; the fern is the ‘weed’ Asparagus Fern that tends to appear for no reason.

An even closer view of the Tropical Gardenias, I do love these.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more summer (or winter!) vases..

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Summer

Saturday morning finds heat and humidity in Florida – the Saharan sand drifting over the Atlantic is keeping the rain away and not much gardening is going on, except decapitating seed heads on weeds and watering. I have realized it is a bad idea to try and establish plants after May. Another backwards seasonality here, rest in summer and garden in winter. I am joining SOS today with summer flowers and foliage. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Blanchetiana Bromeliads are shooting up flower stalks. Below is the yellow/chartreuse version – sometimes called Lemon. Aechmea blanchetiana “Lemon”.

I bought this Red Velvet Aerva (Aerva sanguinolenta) last year. It was touted as a tough plant from Africa that is drought tolerant and native to desert, sandy soils. Not quite believing this, I planted some in the sand and took a few cuttings in case this was not true. The plant in the sand is long gone, but the cuttings love being coddled in potting soil.

Another oops from research. Last year I wrote an article for The American Gardener about Bougainvillea. Research in many forms claim Bougs bloom in cycles and stop when day length exceeds 12 hours. This one has been blooming all summer during the longest days of the year. Another myth busted.

The culinary ginger is finally growing. These are heat lovers and make ginger root during the summer, the fresh ginger root is wonderful. I am looking forward to it in a couple of months.

The Purple Gem Dahlias are getting smaller and moldier day by day. I decided to leave the tubers in the pots and not water them after they go dormant to see what happens. I also bought some uber cheap tubers to refrigerate and try later. Research is planned to find what day length inspires Dahlias to flower.

A Queen butterfly on the Firebush. These are cousins of the now endangered Monarch. They are supposed to be year round here, but are relatively rare in my garden.

There, my Six for this summer Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Summer Broms

There was a lovely breeze coming off the ocean this morning; reminding me of the old Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze” as I was cutting flowers. The version rattling around my brain was “summer broms make me feel fine” instead of the summer breeze lyric. The Arabian Jasmine next door is in full bloom, the sweet scent swirling through the garden adding another line from the chorus of that song to my garden musings.

Here is a snippet of the song. Beware if you remember this song, it is kind of an earworm and is haunting me.

[Chorus]
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ though the jasmine in my mind

A closer view:

The summer broms that make me feel fine are Aechmea miniata in red; blue flowers are ‘Mystic Spires’ Salvia; the foliage is a weird thing that popped up in my Rainforest garden under the Strangler Fig. Google lens identified it as Hen and Chick Fern (Asplenium bulbiforum) – a native of moist forests in New Zealand. My garden is not close to a moist forest, so I am not sure that is correct, but it is an interesting ferny thing I left in place to watch. I found the red vase by the curb while walking my dog.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!