In a Vase on Monday – From Florida with Love

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As I was putting this vase together it occurred to me there probably isn’t another garden with this mix of plants in January unless it is in Florida. It is a season spanning  concoction. Spring and Summer flowers, some fall berries and pineapple foliage. My husband and I refer to this time of year as Not Summer. The rest of the year is Summer.

The weather during Not Summer is delightful for gardening, highs in the 70s with low humidity and ocean breezes. The climate is not without drawbacks, I cannot let my cat outside as there are several things that might eat her, I believe I have nematodes in my vegetable garden (disastrous), persnickety rabbits ate most of my radishes but only one kind of Basil and I am slightly overrun with Papayas. Not to mention the possibility of hurricanes. I will persevere. Actively looking for Papaya fans. Few takers.

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A closer view of the vase:

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The big pink flowers are Zinnias, despite my best efforts I have no idea what kind. Popsicle sticks labeled everything blah, blah, blah. Planted some free mixed seeds,  but I labeled them something else.  Ironically, my favorite Zinnia thus far.

The  yellow and orange flowers are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), Florida natives that reseed freely and invent new colors every year. The chartreusy spike above the Gallardia is a new Celosia (Texas Vintage Rose Mix) from Floret. Described as heart breakingly beautiful like faded velvet or something like that; my heart is not broken yet though  I will  monitor these. Pink stars are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata). There are a few white  and  peach Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The big orange flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), red and green foliage from a Miniature Pineapple, purple berries are still hanging around on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Birds  have eaten the berries on the other shrubs further out in the garden. These are closer to the house and my dogs may be keeping the birds away.

From last weeks vase, the Dombeya everyone  was interested in. The  wind  died down a bit and here is the whole shrub.

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From Florida with Love.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – New Year’s Projects

For 2020, I decided to add more vegetables to the garden, containers to my screen porch and fix an ongoing drainage problem.

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See all  the sand on the porch? I am adding a walkway and a wall to hopefully capture most of it. I have planted the pots with vegetable seeds – lettuce, spinach and  root vegetables.

The walkway under construction, landscape fabric filled with drainage gravel will go under the area where most of the water flows.img_20200104_095639

A concrete mermaid will be added  along with crushed shell and stone in front of the pots to help with drainage. Here is the mermaid, I call her me-maid as I have grey hair and brown eyes, considering adding glasses. And  fixing her arm, oops

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Replanted pots on the screen porch: A Fireball  Neoregelia Bromeliad, Flapjack Kalanchoe and Boston Fern. All transplanted from the garden.

 

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Another pot. The dark Bromeliad is Luca Neoregelia, the green one is Super Fireball, a bit of Asian Sword Fern and Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) More garden transplants.

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Papaya seedlings grown from the fruit of my tree. Papaya trees grow fast and don’t last long so you need back up trees for continous Papayas.

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That’s my New Year’s SOS, join the Saturday fun at  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year and  Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Dombeyas End the Decade

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Dombeyas fill the last vase of the decade. Ten years ago, I did not blog; I did not live in Florida and I did not know what a Dombeya was. What a difference a decade makes.

We have spent the past few weeks cooking and going to holiday parties. My husband and I enjoy cooking but we are taking a break and fortunately have leftovers. He is a great pie baker – this year making an apple, a pumpkin and a Rangpur Lime pie with fruit from my neighbor’s tree. I need to get back to the garden to work all the calories off.

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Here is a closer view:

The  pink flowers are the Dombeyas (Dombeya wallichii); the burgundy and silver striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina, sometimes called Wandering  Jew; the silvery succulent is  the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe and the ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata).

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Dombeyas are sometimes called Tropical Hydrangeas though they are not related to Hydrangeas but belong to the Mallow family. Hydrangeas have their own family (Hydrangeaceae). Here is the Dombeya flower in situ. The shrub is about 9 feet tall and wide and the leaves are at least a foot wide and fuzzy. The bees love the flowers and I brought one in with the flowers. I think of them as reverse Hydrangeas since the flowers hang under the foliage.

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade, hopefully the twenties will roar again. But, nicely and with many flowers.

A heartfelt Thank You to Cathy for hosting this wonderful weekly meme. More vases may be seen in the comments of her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – The Deluge

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One day this week we had 4 or 5 inches of rain,  this wheelbarrow full of water is from that storm. The crushed shell residue is from my work on the cleaning and touching up the pathways in my garden.

Below you can see the cleaner part at the bottom of the photo is the new shell, well water irrigation has been staining the shell rust, and I have redone the irrigation so it doesn’t spray on the walkways – the rain helped by compacting the shell.

 

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The rain also made this fungus open and let loose their spores. We called these puffrooms when I was a child. And stomped on them.

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I had to tie the Snow Peas up.

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The rain also gave me some flowers: Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

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And a new flush on the Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacaensis)

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A little rain can be a good thing, it has been fairly dry here lately. I just looked at the weather radar, more storms on the way!

That’s the six from my garden this Saturday.

To see more Six on Saturday posts,  go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening. Stay dry.

Six on Saturday – Waiting for Dorian

I live on the Atlantic side of South Florida and for most of this week, we have been watching now Hurricane Dorian forecasts. Our area has gone from obliteration to partial obliteration, currently, the storm is predicted to not hit us, no obliteration! At least for this morning. I took photos of things that might be blown away by the wind.

First, my Dombeya, it is a tropical version of a Hydrangea. I have been pruning it into a tree form all summer. These flower in December with pink balls hanging below the branches.

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Second, a pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – these can flower white, pink, red or neon orange. I enjoy the little color surprises from the seedlings.

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Next, the Blanchetiana Bromeliads in bud. These flower stalks are about 6 feet tall and will survive high winds, blooming while bent over later this fall.

 

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Fourth, the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana). These are a Florida passalong plant that came from my neighbor, they bloom off and on year round.

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The flower of Setcresea pallida, Purple Hearts, these tend to appear in the garden and I enjoy their purpleness.

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Last, the native Chapman’s Goldenrod (Solidago chapmanii, I think) Chapman was an early plant explorer in Florida and many native plants carry his name.

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Happy Gardening, I hope all these plants are here next Saturday.

Funky Florida Flora – Snake Plants

This is my side yard. When I moved to South Florida and rounded the corner of my new (old) house I could hardly believe my eyes.

Brain says “Snake Plant”, a person from much further north says “Not possible”. Oh, but it is. I would guess there is a ten-foot wide band of Snake Plant alongside my house- yes, Sansiveria and/or Mother in Law’s Tongue and the band is at least a hundred feet long. And they flower. I have cut them for arrangements, not a particularly long-lasting flower, but kind of interesting.

House plants run amok. One has to wonder, did someone throw out Snake Plant a hundred years ago and this is the result.

Snake Plants are considered invasive in South Florida. I have managed to make a dent in some of them:

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Yes, that is a pile of Snake Plants in front of a Bobcat (not the feline version) It is strange to me that we (my husband and I) would rather look at a telephone pole than all the Snake Plants and assorted garbage (Brazilian Peppers, another story for another day)

The Snake Plants grow running tubers (if that is a word) similar to Ginger. It is nearly impossible to pull up without breaking it and when it is broken it just reproduces – hence, the Bobcat.

Our landscapers are now mowing over the tubers weekly; we will see if the mowing actually helps.

I read somewhere a Snake Plant as a houseplant will clean the air. This means having one of these things in my house – and watering it. Um, no.

I am going to pass on that and use them in a vase. One less for the Bobcat. Here is a Vase with Snake Plant.

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Funky Florida Flora – Jamaican Caper

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One of my favorite Florida natives (people not included) started to flower last week, the Jamaican Caper (Capparis cynophallophora). This plant is related to the culinary caper, but is not edible for humans – though birds enjoy the fruit. One of the interesting things about this plant is the flowers start white and the next day turn purple.

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The different colors make for a more colorful show and contrast nicely with the olive green and brown backed evergreen foliage. If you look closely at the foliage you can tell something has been munching on it. This is also a host plant for the Florida White Butterfly, many have stayed in my garden after starting life on the Jamaican Caper.

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The Jamaican Caper is reported to be a large shrub/small tree. I think it must be fairly slow growing as I have had one several years and it is only 3 feet tall. Although, my husband ran over it with the lawn mower and I moved it during the dry season.

This is a pretty good plant.