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.

In a Vase on Monday – March Madness

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First of all, this has nothing to do with American college basketball. March Madness is a college basketball tournament, I  would rather read about invasive weeds than watch basketball. College football is a different story. That I will watch.

South Florida seemingly lacks seasons. Spring is subtle, but here. Almost everything takes a few months off, not growing. Just resting for the inevitable plunge into March Madness. The Oak trees, grasses and obscure weeds no one ever heard of are flowering and the pollen is dreadful – the native butterflies and insects are enjoying all of  this and literally making hay while the sun is shining. I am seeing butterflies and insects I have  never seen  before. My bush and pole bean leaves have been folded by butterflies to create chrysalis and while I still have beans, the butterflies emerging are just starting to  amaze me.

img_20200206_133605 This is a Longtail Skipper larvae from a couple of weeks ago, I saw the first butterfly today (it got away from me). I will  post a picture another day if I catch one.

Back to the vase. The actual vase is a old florist vase from the 80s I found by the side of the road. It holds up some heavy cut flowers. Heavy is what I have.

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The pink flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). They flower off and on year round; not reliably but at some point there they are. And  too pretty to ignore, like some teenage  girls from high school. The ferns are my old stand by, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the white flowers, Dracaena reflexa. Yes, it grows in my garden and the flowers  have a wonderful scent. Close ups of the flowers:

Happy Spring!!

For more vases follow the link and visit our hostess, Cathy at MORE VASES

Six on Saturday – Lessons Learned

Gardening is a learning experience that never ends. This Saturday’s Six represent my most recent lessons.

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Lesson 1:  Build it and they will come is true of butterfly gardening. I have been planting for  pollinators for about six years. This is my first White Peacock butterfly.

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Lesson 2: Tree Spinach cuttings root really fast and I don’t think I am going to eat any. A friend gave me these cuttings two weeks ago, they are growing and putting out flower buds already. Tree Spinach or Chaya is a very healthy tropical vegetable, filled with cyanide unless you cook it and then it’s OK. The vapors from cooking are also toxic, and if cooked in a aluminum pan the broth will give you diarrhea. The nectar in the flowers is very nutritious for butterflies-leaving this one to the butterflies.

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Lesson 3: I really dislike Culantro. The plant in the lower part of the picture is Culantro, I bought this to try as I love Cilantro and this is supposedly easier to grow. It is easy to grow – unfortunately tasting like soap. The first time I have picked herbs out of my lunch. My husband was appalled. The plant sharing the pot is Dill, decimated by last night’s Italian Wedding Soup.

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Lesson 4: I like Jaboticabas. I ate a few from this tree. A tropical fruit tree also known as Brazilian Grape Tree. It flowers and bears fruit on its trunk. The fruit is like Scuppernong Grapes with a big seed. This one is in a nursery, I have one in my garden – they are well known for taking years to produce fruit; still waiting.

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Lesson 5: Rabbits like spinach and will raid the garden regardless of patrolling Greyhounds.

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Lesson 6: Wind will blow over a tripod of even the thickest bamboo if the Passionfruit vine is big enough. Time to move this.

That is my Six this Saturday. Follow this link to the Propagators blog to see more posts like it. THELINK

 

 

In a Vase on Monday – Jurassic Parts

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While perusing my garden for vase materials this morning I was seeing a lot of the same old thing and decided I needed to do something different. I wanted to use the dried Bromeliad leaves one more time and the Tillandsia covered branch seemed to go with the idea. The result seems a bit prehistoric to me and in some ways it is containing ferns, palms and bromeliads, all monocots and found in fossils. Here is a closer view:

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The dried brown stems are from the seedhead of an Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii); the white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); fern is a Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the dried Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchitiana) leaves wrapped around the vase and holding the Begonia stems together were originally on my Christmas wreath, reused a couple of weeks ago  to wrap a whole vase and this is the final appearance. The hanging Bromeliad and branch were found while walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, these are Tillandsia recurvata, Ball Moss.

The vase is a pasta container I use as a vase since the top was lost some years ago. My husband refers to the gardeners inevitable stockpile of unplanted pots of plants as my ‘Spare Parts’. I am rarely without spare parts, currently holding at six ‘Java White’ Copperleaf.

If only I had a tiny dinosaur to go with this one.

Here it is in black and white, maybe even a bit more Jurassic.

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For more vases from around the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog MORE VASES

 

Six on Saturday – Hallelujah

Time for six pictures of what going on in my garden. I am joining in with gardeners from around the world on The Propagators blog, follow this link to see more posts THELINK

The Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad has finally bloomed. Flowers and foliage don’t get much crazier than this one:

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Here is another Bromeliad flower, I think of these as the tropical version of tulips. Meet Quesnelia testudo, this one has very sharp foliage and one of  the hardiest of  the Bromeliads, surviving 25 degrees (F).

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Another Bromeliad, an unnamed Guzmania in full flower.

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The seedling of a Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) growing in my Tiki. I need  to take  this out soon.

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A bud of yet another Bromeliad, ‘Little Harv’ Aechmea. These are yellow and pink when in full flower.

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My Leonitis flower, I am very pleased about this one I started it from seed last year and it has straight stocky stems. The plants from last year were curved and languished on the ground when flowering.

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That’s my six this very windy day. The wind has been howling since yesterday morning. It is a north wind so gusty it blew the Papayas off the tree and the cushions off the chairs on the screen porch. No gardening today for me.

In a Vase on Monday – Winter Cheer

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Our air conditioner has been running today, this always seems odd to me given the month is February. This explains why I have Summer flowers to provide Winter cheer. It’s warm in South Florida!

Despite the black vase, the colors of the flowers are so bright and happy and the foliage is Pineapple Sage – It’s like a bowl of summer radiating an herbal fruity scent of the tropics in my foyer. During the completion of the arrangement I had to relocate two whitish green garden spiders  (with the long front legs) outside and suffer a proper foliage selection dither (chartreuse or deep green?) Pineapple Sage won based on color and scent.  I was cheered by this vase once I finished it.

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The vase is a thrift store find I have enjoyed tremendously, I hope whoever made it feels the happiness it generates for me. I placed a glass flower frog inside the vase to support my Zinnias; they are oddly short stemmed (day length not long enough?) A majority of the flowers were grown from seed by me. This is a first for me as I usually buy plants and not seeds. The seeds were a bit of work – the results have been fun to witness.

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There are two colors from the Texas Vintage Rose Celosia mix hanging over the edge, the  jury is still out on this series of seed. The plants are just not that attractive, and in my heart, I think Celosia is weird. Trying to keep an open mind as is does thrive in my sugar sand. So far, anyway, I will be interested to see what summer brings.

The Zinnias are a mystery – I  planted several kinds of seeds and these don’t really look like any of the pictures on the seed packets. Yellow and red Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) and a seedhead are stalwarts in my garden and provide nectar  for many butterflies – the Tropical Red Salvia  (Salvia coccinea) in the background (in peachy mode) does as well. The thick stems with blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis) another amazing nectar plant for butterflies. The backdrop of fragrant chartreuse foliage is from Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) there is a red Pineapple Sage flower in there as well.

I have been having trouble commenting on blogspot blogs  – if anyone knows how to fix this please let me know! Thanks.

Happy Gardening!