Six on Saturday – Summer Whites

This is the last weekend of summer as next Monday is Labor Day in the US. Theorectically, the end of summer signals the end of wearing white clothing (if you are a proper Southern lady). Being a pseudo proper Southern lady, I decided to photograph the summer whites in the garden.

A ‘Bridal Bouquet’ Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are the most reliable flowering Plumeria, they are a nearly continuous show all summer. Very lightly fragrant, I notice the scent at night.

Another much more fragrant flower, the Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata). This is a bee and butterfly magnet planted near the back door for maximum enjoyment.

The flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli). Palm flowers fascinate me. This one makes a grape like hard fruit that turns red around the holidays. These are sometimes called Christmas Palms because the fruit looks like ornaments.

Another fragrant plant, the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata) This also flowers most of the summer.

Another white semi year round bloomer. This is the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri), there is a orange version of this tree that is native to Florida. I have been contemplating how to prune this tree, it has a really weird habit, branches growing over and over each other with no particular shape.

Last, but not least. A white flower on the Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). These are usually red, but pop up in many other colors. A fun plant to let reseed freely in the garden. It’s a Forrest Gump “Life is like a box of chocolates” plant – you never know what you are going to get.

If you are wondering about Covid in Florida, it is awful. I only go out for food and to walk. I am fortunate to have dogs and my garden. Our local hospital is 50% occupied with Covid patients, 90% of them unvaccinated and most in the ICU are unvaccinated. Elective surgeries have been cut by 90% because there is no one to care for the patients. Vaccines are free and readily available. I have been vaccinated since April and was very relieved to get the jab. A number of vaccinated friends have caught the Delta variant while masked in the grocery store. Fortunately, all have recovered.

The governor of Florida refuses to allow local governments and school boards to enact mask mandates. Local school boards revolted and began their own mask mandates, sued the governor and won. The university system (colleges) are being made to have classes in person (they were starting classes online and were stopped) I think Florida has 1 in 5 of the new Covid cases in the US. Yet, the tourists continue to pour in. I am baffled by the whole thing. The governor has also opened numerous Regeneron clinics around the state, for when you get exposed to the virus, I am further baffled by this….

That is my six with a bit of commentary this Saturday. Thanks to Jon at www. thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for hosting this week. Follow the link to see more Six on Saturday fun..

In a Vase on Monday – Striking

Heliconias are very striking plants. The fiery colors of the flowers inspired me to create this vase. The container is a antique French match holder. I envision lovely, fashionable people sitting in a cafe by the Seine in Paris using the ribbed surface to strike matches and light hand rolled cigarettes.

Do people still roll their own cigarettes? I have no clue. One whiff of smoke and I am history. Gone to find clean air.

The vase is designed to hold long wood matches. I added a bit of floral foam in the base. The foam would not hold the heavy Heliconias up so I wound some Bromeliad foliage around the inside of the neck to hold the flowers in place. Perhaps the first Bromeliad foliage shim ever…?

A closer view:

The orange “flames” are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum ‘Choconiana’); red “flames”, another Parrotflower (H. psittacorum ‘Lady Di’); red hot foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum ‘Piecrust’); white “smoke” (also supplying fragrance) Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata).

Hoping this is the last hot blast of summer. Happy Gardening!!

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases follow the link.

Six on Saturday – New Friends

I’m joining the Six on Saturday gang again with some new friends and growth in the garden. I select plants that butterflies and I enjoy. Above is a Gulf Fritillary that probably started out life as an egg on my large Passionfruit vine and has hung around the garden to sip nectar from the Tropical Red Salvia and Sapphire Showers Duranta.

A black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. This guy started life as an egg on a parsley plant in a pot on my front porch. He ate all the parsley and I had to import some from another pot to feed him until he made the transition.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar starting to form a chrysalis.

The transition complete, the butterfly will take 10 to 20 days to form. The chrysalis hangs from the basil plant in the same pot.

I finally caught the scent and flowers of the Moonvine. These are pollinated by night flying moths, I haven’t seen the moths.

A Red Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) well known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. I rarely see a hummingbird here, they usually go down the west coast of Florida.

That’s it from me this Saturday. Hoping to see more butterflies shortly. To see more SOS posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – White Hot

It’s not white hot in South Florida. Yet. The fragrant white flowers are in bloom and some soothing fragrance for the house seems necessary (read, for me!). I decided to add some hot colors for spice and put them in a crystal rose bowl from my mother. I am not sure it has ever held roses during my tenure, certainly not while in South Florida. Roses can be grown here, but it is a lot of trouble and I would rather have the tropical flowers. Honestly, I would never do the amount of tending roses would need here. Here is an easier and much more forgiving fragrant flower, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani. Shove a few cuttings in the ground and they reward you with six foot semi evergreen foliage and fragrant flowers for months.

Bridal Bouquet Frangipani is a favorite of mine, and oh, so easy to grow. It joins some other fragrant friends in my vase this Monday.

The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) is on the right side. The fragrant friends, in white, are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) hanging over the side and Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) spikes in the background. The hot colors, in red, front and center, the Red Guzmania Bromeliad; the red bells are Russelia equisetiformis, sometimes called the Firecracker Plant. Purple flowers are from Mona Lavender Plectranthus, and the purple foliage is Little Ruby Alternanthera. The ferns, much as I enjoy them in vases are the weed, Asian Sword Fern.

Thanks every week to Cathy, who hosts In a Vase on Monday at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegaarden.wordpress.com. Follow the link to find more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Forking Around

I had a disturbing rabbit issue this week. A butterfly gardening friend sent Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) seed. I very carefully started the seed, potted the seedlings up and grew them up a trellis before installing them in my garden. The morning after the installation, the plants were gnawed back to the ground. Arggh. I have been seeing this plastic fork solution here and there and decided to give it a try for rabbit abatement. So far, so good – the plants are growing back. Has anyone else tried this? I have also read blue tea can be made from the flowers of this vine…anyone try this??

It finally rained this week..yay!!! and the flowers are popping out in appreciation of the drenching. This is a Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), the flowers provide nutritious nectar for butterflies. The leaves are good for people. This is a tropical vegetable native to Central America. I have not eaten any as it must be cooked properly or it is poisonous.

Flowers starting in the cup of a Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad. The blue star shaped flowers eventually fill the cup.

Guzmania Bromeliad flowering again. I have had this Bromeliad for years in a clay wok container. It flowers every summer and lasts for months. Sometimes I cut them for arrangements.

Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes) I am not sure which species this is – though it is tropical. One of my favorites and a not too prolific reseeder.

This is the result of having a Papaya tree chopped off a few months ago. I am not sure what is going to happen next, though the shoots seem too narrow to cope with summer rain and wind. The top of the cut also dried out leaving a shell. I have a back up Papaya tree coming along.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Join the crowd and visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see a world of gardening sixes.

Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Symptoms of Summer

A friend of mine who has lived in Florida for a long time claims Mother’s Day is the bitter end of snowbird season. Another friend says the rise in humidity make the tourists skedaddle. I think both are right, the humidity went up this week and Mother’s Day is next Sunday. Another symptom of Summer is the flowers and scent of Frangipani and Gardenias in the air.

I was standing on my back porch Sunday morning, keeping an eye on Zepp the Greyhound, who is tall enought to eat Mangoes off the tree and just might do so. He is a fruit eating dog and has been sniffing and licking the unripe Mangoes. This is our first fruit from this particular tree and I want to eat it! Anyway, while dog watching I noted the wonderful fragrance of a nearby Frangipani. The Gardenia is more fragrant at night.

A closer view: In white, Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata); in yellow, Frangipani (Plumeria spp.) I have no idea the name of this Frangipani, a friend gave me a cutting and this one is fairly common around town – a small tree with pink buds opening to yellow. The purple flowers are from Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, seemingly a relative of Coleus and Creeping Charlie houseplants. I have been enjoying the flowers for months and am interested to see how they fare as cut flowers and through the summer. The purple striped foliage is from Transcandentia zebrina, one of the groundcovers called Wandering Jew. This plant is so prolific I have been making compost with it. The vase is a thrift store find.

The Mona Lavendar in situ.

Well, I love the color and have enjoyed it even if it fries in the heat shortly. It is sharing a container with Begonias, I had this odd idea Bronzeleaf Begonias made it through anything…except South Florida Summer.

Happy Gardening to all and Thank You to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases follow the link to Cathy’s blog..

In a Vase on Monday – In a Pickle

I thought “in a pickle” was American slang. The Dutch started it using “in de pekel zitten” to describe an uncomfortable situation, this translates to “sit in the pickle brine” Seems that would be a stinging experience. Easter Sunday morning found me in the garden thinking “there are no flowers to cut for a Monday vase” – I thought I was in a pickle..Not so much, this rarely proves true, though sometimes I have to look harder to come up with an arrangement. Oddly, there was an abandoned pickle jar in the garden near my Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliads. Being “in a pickle” passed through my mind until inspiration hit via the pickle jar. There are also some salsa jars out there I need to get rid of…

The pickle jar is wrapped with a leaf and tied with jute twine. I left the twine trailing given the casual feel of, well, a covered pickle jar. A closer view of the flowers.

The leaf wrapping the jar is from a Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliad. This is a mahogany and greenish red leaf plant with large (4 feet long) red and yellow flowers. The flowers start in November and are looking ragged now. They are as tall as I am when I cut them back to the ground.There are orange and lemon Blanchetiana with the appropriately colored foliage to go with the flowers. I have used the other colors to wrap vases.

The flowers:

In blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; I am enjoying these so much I am hoping they last the summer. The white daisies are Spanish Needles, an annoying native, botanical name, Bidens alba. Orange daisies are from Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenpodoides); orange tubular flowers from the native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Yellow daisies are Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) and a white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) is in the back. Two red and yellow native Gallardia round out the front of my pickle jar.

I am glad I did not find myself in the Dutch version of the pickle this Monday.

Happy Gardening, and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to see more spring fun in a vase..

Six on Saturday – Learning Curve

One of the good things about gardening is the ongoing lessons learned. Above is my Jurassic Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) undergoing Vivipary – defined as a precocious growth of offspring while still attached to the mother plant. I had to ask a botanist friend what this plant was doing. Evidentially, I can trim the leaf around this tiny plant and place stem in soil and it will root.

My finally pruned correctly Miss Alice Bougainvillea in spring flowers.

New bed in my front garden. Plant palette is Indigo Spires Salvia, Blue Daze Evolvulus, Yellow Callibrachoa, and White Pentas. Shrubs in background are Maui Red Ixora. Lesson learned here – I have tried several plants here, Florida lacks good groundcover plants – and the soil is not soil. So, I removed and replaced a wheelbarrow full, see below.

Yes, plants will actually grow in this. I am fearful the good soil is going to sink…

Lessons learned from SOS, how to make Nasturtium capers. Letting them rest in salt.

Starting the jar of pickles. I will add more as the seeds are formed. Thank you, Fred, a French Gardener.

That is my six this Saturday, welcome spring everyone and Happy Gardening.

To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Slant

It is safe to say my garden has a different slant from most. Located in what is called USDA Zone 10A in the northern part of South Florida, our average low is 40 degrees (F). I am on the northern edge of tropical, and enjoy growing plants that hail from further south. The arrangement is intentionally slanted; the idea provided by the growth of the pink flower, a Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad.

A closer view of Little Harv.

The rest of the vase:

The vase, found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, is an old florist vase from who knows where. The white begonias are from my huge Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); the other white flowers are from Miss Alice Bougainvillea; ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and there is a leaf from a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) on the right side that is not visible in the images.

My lunch also had a different slant today:

A Chicken, Swiss and Nasturtium flower sandwich on Foccacia. With Blue Corn Chips – the salsa didn’t make it into the picture. It was good! And very colorful.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting every Monday. Follow the link to see spring in a vase from around the world.