Six on Saturday – Fruits and Flowers

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It has been a rainy and windy week in South Florida, Christmas is over and I am looking forward to a new decade in my tropical paradise. Winter brings changes to the flora and is the most enjoyable time of the year to be outdoors. We live on our screen porch, my next task is to plant some containers for the porch.

Above is a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), I cut these  frequently in the winter; they have a light, gingery scent and are very reliable in the garden. Other Gingers suffer in silence in my garden.

Below is a Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) These are common parking lot trees and produce a lot of seeds and seedlings.

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The Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii) finally opened  on Christmas Day, a wonderful gift. It is so windy it makes pictures difficult to take as the flowers swing in the wind.

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Zinnia of unknown origin. In December.

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I have three types of Mango trees in my garden, all are flowering, it is a bit early.  Here is the flower of the Glenn Mango. These are panicle flowers, if pollinated produce numerous small Mangoes.

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And  finally, my first homegrown Papaya breakfast – with honey vanilla yogurt and granola. A very satisfying end to my gardening year.

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Six on Saturday is a gardening meme hosted by The Propagator. For more posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year!!

Amelia

In a Vase on Monday – della Robbia Memories

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It is a holiday week in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. I  live in South Florida, but in my mind, there should be a celebration with a vase of red and orange leaves and nuts and cones. These things are scarce in South Florida. I always think of my mother, a great gardener and Southern Lady this time of year.  She always had the perfect seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table. So I  went in search of a little bit of not so tropical flowers for this vase.

The vase in the picture is a sugar bowl from my formal wedding china, nestled in a della  Robbia candle ring I made from nuts and cones collected near the townhouse my husband and I lived in when we first married, almost thirty years ago. My mother had a similar ring made by my father’s mother, though I can’t recall what became of it, the ring is one of the holiday touchstones of my youth, usually sporting a  red or green pillar candle during the holidays.

I wonder if others call these della Robbia’s? I  think that term applies to garland decorated terracotta pots. I was working towards a fall arrangement with tropical plants that did not look tropical!  Hope it worked.

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The leaves are from Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); red flower spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the linen towel from a very dear friend lost to cancer seven years ago this October.

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Orange spikes are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers; off white spikes from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); and grass flowers from Muhly Grass  ( Muhlbergia capillaris). There is a stem of foliage with new red growth from Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uviflora)

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Tropically, not tropical ?

Happy  Thanksgiving, whenever celebrated and I am thankful for my garden blog friends.

GBFD – August 2017- Foliage of the Hellstrip

So, maybe I should ask who among us admits to having a Hellstrip? I do, mine is in the front garden along the edge of the road. About 10 feet deep, catching all the heat from the sun and pavement and not having the benefit of irrigation, I decided to plant this area with hardy, nearly indestructible plants, focusing on native plants.

 

The anchor plant in the Hellstrip is a Gumbo Limbo tree (Bursea simarouba) this usually gets some giggles. I like this tree and it has grown from a 2″ caliper twig to a respectable 6″ trunk in about four years. Mind you, without the benefit of regular water, I watered it, to establish it but that it. This tree is also called the Tourist Tree, if you look at the bark photo, the bark is red and peeling, like a sunburned tourist.

Below the Gumbo LImbo, Bromeliads and Native Perennials are planted. The natives were selected for their very fine texture which is fairly unusual among semi tropical plants. The Bromeliads are used for their extreme hardiness and textural contrast to the natives.

The Natives:

 

On the left, Muhly Grass, (Muhlbergia capillaris), the right is a Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). The Muhly Grass seemingly grows almost everywhere, but many gardeners have difficulty growing it. I think the key may be locating it in a Hellstrip. Both of the plants will produce lovely pink flowers in addition to their fine texture. The other native in the garden is Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

20170720_185225The coarse green foliage of this plant is beautiful in its own right,  but really shines when contrasted with the finer textured natives.

The final members of my Hellstrip composition include Bromeliads, for their evergreen  color and contrasting texture to the native plants.

 

On the left, a Martin Bromeliad, medium sized and red, green and yellow striped. The center plant is a Painted Fingernail Bromeliad and the plant on the tight is a smaller red and chartreuse groundcover Bromeliad, meant to spread like groundcover. These are all passalong Bromeliads, two out of three gifted to me by friends. I am not certain of any botanical names, but I am certain they will thrive with little care making my Hellstrip seem a bit heavenly.

In A Vegetable on Monday – Faux Fall

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I like gourds in the fall. My husband told me once he knew when it was fall because I had the gourd arrangement on the dining room table. So, here is the 2016 version.

Florida is tricky about fall. September, in my opinion, should be, the transition to cooler weather. September, in Florida is a sweaty repeat of August. Fall manifests itself subtly, fruits appear on the Beautyberry, Muhly Grass bravely sends up a pink cloud and then slowly the calendar reaches October and becomes the savior of all things pleasant outdoors. We have now reached the magical day when a cold front arrives, humidity disappears and all windows and doors can be thrown open to invite the outdoors back in. In celebration of all things autumnal, here are the gourds filled with flowers from my garden.

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The gourds aren’t all gourds. The striped centerpiece is a Carnival Squash, a vegetable, my husband wouldn’t eat squash on a dare, the result of a Midwestern upbringing featuring Butternut Squash baked with a lump of sausage. I had no worries about wasting an edible squash for a flower arrangement. This green one is an inedible gourd.

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The mini pumpkins are just that and completely ornamental. Flowers from my garden include – in red, Tropical Red Sage (Salvia coccinea), in yellow, Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), purple berries, Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), pink plumes of grass, Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia), orange firecracker flowers and foliage are from Firebush (Hamelia patens). The off white spikes are a mystery volunteer (i.e. weed) . The ‘Autumn’ leaves strewn about being from the Raggedy Ann Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Raggedy Ann’)20161023_122725

It occurred to me that almost everything here is native to Florida with the exception of the faux leaves from Raggedy Ann, and the gourds, maybe there is fall in Florida – you just have to open your eyes and see it.