Six on Saturday – Tropical Senescence

Unlike humans or maybe it is just me, flowers on tropical plants can look great for a long time, aging well. Above, the fading flowers of the relatively ephemeral Tropical Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes robusta). I enjoy these in the garden, the pink flowers celebrating rain. Here they are new:

The Silver Urn (Aechmea fasciata) flower opened about a month ago. Here is it today, the pink is a bit faded, but it is still a showstopper.

The opening flower:

Guzmania Bromeliads are another long lasting flower. I like these at all phases. These Bromeliads actually produce brown seed heads, which is unusual as most seem to produce vegetative pups. The flowers start red and slowly fade to chartreuse. This one is mid fade.

A fresh Guzmania flower. In March!

The Aechmea miniata flower, nearly full bloom with a friendly dragonfly. These are covered with blue when in full flower and slowly fade to apricot over the summer.

The buds from a couple of weeks ago.

Oops, I think that is Eight on Saturday. Oh, well. I am aging in the garden along with the Bromeliads…

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

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Cool Summer Shades

Summer has turned the heat up full blast on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Daytime highs have been over 90 degrees (F) and thunderstorms pop up all afternoon. Not that my garden is getting very much rain, it seems to be missing us most days. So aggravating. So much rain and none falling where I need it.

The heat and humidity brings out the Tropical Gardenia, which was covered in flowers until I relieved it of a number of them. This Gardenia is about ten feet wide and tall and I should have taken a picture before I cut so many flowers. Oops.

I decided to use my vintage Blue Willow teapot and add some cooling colors and fragrances to my vase. The Gardenias are a lighter version (fragrance and size wise) of Gardenia jasminoides, which I love, but its scent is overwhelming indoors and they are more difficult to grow than the Tropical version. I cut this one out of an overgrown hedge between me and my neighbor’s house, once it got its head in the sun it took off and I tree formed it. I never water it and it is perfectly happy. My kind of Gardenia.

The close up:

Tropical Gardenias are Tabernaemontana diviricata; green flowers are ‘Green Envy’ Zinnias; deep blue spikes are ‘Mystic Blue’ Salvia; lighter blue flowers are Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); ferns are the evil invasive Asian Sword Ferns.

The colors and the combined fragrances of Gardenia and Salvia are adding a light sweet herbal presence to my foyer. Here is a view from above:

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

Happy Summer Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – June Bouquet

June in South Florida brings thunderstorms, moisture and flowers. I am enjoying the flowers, but could do with a little less moisture, we have had some intense thunderstorms with more lightning that I can recall experiencing.

Above is the very appropriately named Rain Lily (Zephyranthes spp.) I am not sure which Rain Lily this is – it reseeds freely in the garden. I have several clumps of this along the pathways in the garden and enjoy it as it flowers off and on throughout the rainy season.

Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) flowers. A great garden plant for growing in sugar sand. It flowers at least four times a year.

Aechmea fasciata or Silver Urn Bromeliad in full bloom. Many brom flowers last a long time if not cut. I am leaving these to see how long they last.

Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli) flower buds. These open and make red fruit late in the year that gives them another common name, Christmas Palm, as the fruit looks like Christmas ornaments.

This is a Vitex trifolia purpurea, I think. I am not sure about the purpurea part, the backs of the leaves are purple, so maybe that is the right name. It is sometimes called Arabian Lilac. I bought it in place of Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) as I am really too far south to have success with those. It is finally establishing itself after a few years of suffering in the sugar sand. I hope the butterflies find it soon, it is a nectar plant for many.

The formerly native Thyrallis (Galpinia glauca). The tiresome native plant continuum changed their mind about this one. It is reportedly a very drought tolerant shrub, although I find it needs water during the dry season. Also advertised to bloom year round, doesn’t do that, either. Oh well, I still like it in summer and maybe it hasn’t been in the garden long enough. A gardener’s hope springs eternal.

That is my Six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Roadsidia in Red

A gardening friend collects plants from the side of the road and transplants them into his garden; referring to these plants as his roadsidia – and has a beautiful garden. The roadsidia element in this arrangement is the vase, found on the curb with the trash while walking the dog. It reminds me of a bottle that would contain a genie..I hope one is in there and he or she will clean my house!

A closer view:

The bigger red flower is a Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata) – it doesn’t get much more tropical than this. The varigated leaf is from ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); smaller red flower is Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis).

Pale yellow flowers are from the Java White Copperleaf, red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the arching green leaves are foliage from the Lobsterclaw Heliconia; pale green stems are Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’)

I spied the first Monarch butterfly in my garden today; visiting the Firebush for a sip of nectar and wanted to share a link to some good news about this butterfly at long last.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/butterfly-effect-monarchs-are-making-a-huge-comeback/1195131

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM; follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Not Alex

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. The rainy remnants of the first named hurricane of the Pacific season, Agatha, started to fall in my garden yesterday late afternoon and continue this morning. Agatha hit the west coast of Mexico, crossed that country, emerged in the Caribbean and is predicted to form a tropical storm after it passes over South Florida later today – it will be called Alex. The wind speed and rain is still literally up in the air.

All the tropical moisture has been a boon to the garden. I walked Fiona the Greyhound this morning, she meandered around then came in the garden with me and proceeded to dig a hole and do a greyhound speed run. Yes, she is covered in sand. And soggy like the rest of the garden.

One of my favorite natives, a Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata). This is a pretty palm, one of only 12 native to Florida, but very slow growing. I have had this one for at least 7 years, it might be 18 inches tall.

Summer rain brings out the tropicals, this is a Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata). These take a lot of water, I finally placed them under the edge of the gutterless roof and they are thriving at long last.

The unnamed Bromeliads are in full bloom.

The chandelier plant (Medinillia cummingii) started its second round of flowers this year. I am wondering if this plant will provide year round color. The flowers and fruit last a long time.

I have three mango trees. This one, a Glenn variety, has grown a foot this week. Amazing. Despite having three trees, I only had one mango and the squirrels got to it before I did. There is still hope, the Thai mango, Nam Doc Mai, has the potential to flower in the summer. The others, hopefully next year.

My neighbor’s mango, doing much better than mine. He cut this tree back hard last year and I suppose that is why it has fruit? The foliage looks a bit chlorotic to me. I bought a new bag of fertilizer in hopes of getting a little more color in the foliage on mine and more fruit in the future.

There! Six from South Florida. Not sunny. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Mixed Media

What is mixed media? In my garden it is tropical plants vs. more conventional plants. For some reason, I don’t really like to mix the two – though I am slowly getting past that. Possibly latent brain washing from design school. Tropical plant material was not on the menu where I went to college.

Who knows? There is not really a color scheme here, either. Totally mixed media. I started cutting the weird red Dahlias (a mistake from the bulb supplier) and just kept going. Added some white for fragrance and then decided more color was needed….snip, snip, snip.

Voila, it had to go in a clear glass vase. An old florist vase from a long ago gift of flowers.

What’s the media?

Tropicals, in red and yellow, ‘Lady Di’ Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); in white, Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata). Conventionals, in chartreuse, Envy Zinnias; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – there is a dilemma, it is called Tropical, but really is not?

White spikes in back are fragrant Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); blue flowers are Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable); white daisies, Bidens alba; Red Dahlias of unknown name. Oops from the bulb supplier, these have oddly short stems – I think? These are my first Dahlias, so please share any Dahlia insights with me. The corrected Dahlias (Labyrinth) have arrived and should be cactus type. I have planted them and am breathlessly waiting for big, fluffy cut flowers. I hope they haven’t been overwatered.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link for some potentially less mixed vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Fragrant Whites and Mysteries

It is Saturday again, time to check out what’s new in the garden. Six things! Rain has finally fallen on my garden, and with a bit of warmth some mysterious buds have shot up from some longtime residents that have never flowered.

These appeared this week. Buds on (I am guessing) an Aechmea Bromeliad. I bought it at a garage sale some years ago. At least five. Garage sale Bromeliads are about five bucks, named plants are easily ten times that at the nursery, so I have a lot of garage sale mysteries. Here’s the one that is opening.

Whatever it is, it will be an interesting flower. Stay tuned.

One of the Haworthias in my succulent collection sent up a flower. I did not realize they flowered. This should be another interesting flower.

The rain also brought out the fragrant white flowers; and hordes of mosquitoes. I am waiting for the dragonflies to save me.

This is a Frangipani (Plumeria spp) of unknown origin I bought at a Master Gardener’s sale. Finally gaining some height, it is about 7 feet tall. I love the clean graphics of these flowers and their fragrance.

The Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) started blooming in earnest this week. Their scent is most notable at night.

Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) spills its scent during the day near the back porch.

The garden is scentsational right now. I need a swarm of dragonflies to clean out the bad bugs. I’m expecting them anytime now….

My South Florida Six for this Saturday! To see more SOS, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com…

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Eggcentric Blues

It was a lovely, sunny holiday weekend punctuated by a much needed soaking rain. The garden and I are both feeling relieved and celebrating Easter Monday with an egg dyed by my neighbor and blue flowers from the garden.

The egg gets a close up:

The egg was dyed with flowers from the Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternata). It almost looks like a robin’s egg. The flower:

The vase contents:

The smaller bright blue flowers are Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amabile), grown for cutting, the stems have just gotten long enough to use. Darker blue spikes are Mystic Blue Salvia; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); white flowers at base are Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Another view:

Chartreuse flowers are Envy Zinnias, the latest batch. The white spike flowers are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); ferny foliage and wild green stems are from Wild Asparagus Fern, which is probably invasive, I keep it at bay using it in flower arrangements. It is oddly sharp for a fern and difficult to pull out.

The vase is actually taupe and pottery, though it doesn’t look like that in the images. I found this at a thrift store a few years ago and have enjoyed it immensely.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening to all.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting, follow the link to see more Monday vase and maybe an egg or two.

Six on Saturday – Sky Blue

It is Saturday yet again and a beautiful, sunshiny late spring day in South Florida. The skies are blue and so are the flowers this week. I am joining the Six on Saturday crowd at Jon’s blog; http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link for more late spring garden views.

Another garden first, the Chinese Forget Me Not (Cynoglossum amiable) flowers! So pleased with these. These reportedly make good cut flowers, though the stems are not very long yet.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternata) has started flowering again after a winter hiatus. These vines, after recovering from severe rabbit abuse are supposed to be perennial here, so I am hoping they will cover the fence.

Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacaicensis) is starting to flower again.

I have two shades of blue flowering Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) – a nearly indestructible tropical shrub. Can you tell the difference? The darker blue is the more recent selection, the paler flower is the heirloom version.

Blue Daze Evolvulus can be used as a perennial groundcover here. I am not sure what inspires it to flower. It just does periodically?

There, my six. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday weekend and sunny blue skies.

In a Vase on Monday – The Red Wave

This vase was actually done on Friday. A surprise Amaryllis appeared in my garden a couple of weeks ago. After watching it carefully it became evident it was a red Amaryllis descended from some very old heirloom bulbs in my garden, inherited from my late father in law. How it managed to jump over the roof is a mystery to me. The flower was being buffeted by gusty winds, so I cut it and placed it in an old florist vase I found by the side of the road.

I filled the stem with warm water having read this makes the flower last longer. As of Sunday, the flower is turning black! Experiment number nine million a failure. Since I liked the slant of the Amaryllis I added some similarly slanted Firecracker Plant creating a red wave. The white flowers are Love In A Mist, a first in my garden.

A closer view:

I am guessing this is a Red Lion Amaryllis as that was Glenn’s (my father in law) favorite. The Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) has been around the garden for years. While I like the plant and flowers, it has a frumpy habit, sort of languishes along the ground…very handy if you want a wave, but otherwise sort of weird.

The Love in a Mist (Nigella sativa). I am aware these are very familiar to many gardeners, however, this is the first one I have seen and I love it! and the seeds are edible! Magnificent. I was surprised when it opened white as I was expecting blue. I planted the seeds in November, so they seem to be cool season annuals here. I will grow more when the season is right. There are still a few budding, so I may get a blue one.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases follow the link to her blog.

Wishing everyone Happy Gardening with nice surprises and a little Nigella for seasoning.