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.

Six on Saturday – Fab Feb Fleurs

Saturday morning has rolled around again and I took to the garden to find February flowers to join the SOS crowd. To see more February fun, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Above is an underside view of a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) opening. Eventually the flower hangs down from the branch. These flower every February and a few other times during the year at their discretion.

Long Island Mammoth Dill flower. I am not sure if I should cut this off or let it go to seed. The dill has been wonderful and is recommended for winter in Florida.

A perversely peachy Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). One of my favorite reseeding flowers. Probably hasn’t had water in weeks.

Here is the red flower…Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) I like the texture of this plant, though it is kind of gangly, and dangly.

Sugar Baby Watermelon flower. Hoping for some fruit! I am trying to grow these on a teak stool to keep them off the ground. Time will tell.

A blessing and a curse, white wildflower, Bidens alba. The blessing, an indestructible, happy prolific flowering plant. The curse, the same, and it can produce 1200 seeds per plant providing Bidens sod.

That’s it this week.

Happy Gardening from South Florida.

In a Vase on Monday – Dombeyas…Inverted

One of my favorite winter gifts from the garden are the pink flowers of the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachi). Unlike French or Mophead Hydrangeas, the flowers are borne hanging down from the branches like Christmas ornaments. These same flowers do not appreciate being turned upside down for flower arrangements – they tend to be top heavy and fall out of the vase for spite, this is after the bees chase you into the house because the most delicious cake batter scented treat in the garden is being repurposed for aesthetic reasons.

The recalcitrant flowers were conquered by a riff on the hand tied bouquet. I made mini bouquets of four flowers twist tied together, then placed them on the edge of the container.

Dombeya flowers in their natural state:

Someone described these as dreamy, I tend to agree. A big plus to the plant is they are very easy to grow. Unlike their blue French relatives, who I could never grow in my northern garden. I am going to try some cuttings for propagating when flowering is finished.

A closer view of the vase:

The vase is a Fostoria crystal ice bucket that belonged to my grandmother. I think the pattern is Americana. It dawned on me this was probably a wedding gift and over a hundred years old.

The foliage backing up the Dombeyas – in purple stripes, Transcandentia zebrina. The ferns are Asian Swords, a lovely weed. I compost or throw out a lot of both of these plants monthly. They both appeared, unbidden, in my garden – I use them where I would rather not mulch and recycle the rest.

To see more vases from gardeners worldwide, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Sharing Sunshine

The Winter Solstice passed last week, days are slowly getting longer and more sunshine is on the way. I thought I should share some Florida sunshine with a brightly colored mix from my garden. I have noticed the wildflowers in my garden germinate late in the year – which should have given me a clue years ago about when to grow cut flowers. I am guilty of reading and following directions on seed packages….again. South Florida reigns peculiar over American horticulture.

It is difficult to find a sunnier group of flowers. All were grown from seed started in September (some named and some in a cutting garden mix) and currently flourishing (with the exception of Nigella, not sure about that) in containers. I am wondering how long the Zinnias will last. Here is a photo of a seedling from the cutting mix I cannot identify.

Any thoughts? It is not a Hollyhock. That was not included in the mix.

Some closer views:

Yellow Sunflowers are ‘Dwarf Sunspot’. Green Zinnias are ‘Green Envy’; purple tubes are from Mona Lavendar Plectranthus. Pink Zinnia is from an Etsy purchase ‘Cactus Mix’. Here is a close up of the Zinnia, I love the stamens (I think?)

The other side:

Pink Zinnia and the very different green one are from the ‘Cactus Mix’. The African Marigolds are from the cutting seed mix with the mystery seedling. The big leaf forming the wave hugging the flowers is a big ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). The leaf is 6 inches long and across. It rolled over naturally.

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more posts, follow the link.

Happy Monday!

In a Vase on Monday – It’s Back…

A few years ago I inadvertently started a Shrub Queen holiday tradition. A rock n roll friend of my husband’s brought him a tin of biscuits from the UK. I am a lover of tins and this one has become a favorite ‘vase’ for holiday arrangements.

A few former Holiday Buses:

This year I added new colors to the red and green palette. Burgundy and chartruese and pink. Going wild.

A closer view:

Green Envy Zinnias are front and center. The pink flowers are Globe Amaranth; in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani; in red, Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida),

Burgundy flowers are from Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); red foliage is Ti Plant (Cordyline); red flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); Asian Sword Fern add some greenery.

Happy Holiday Monday to everyone and Best Wishes for a Joyous Christmas.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this weekly event. To see more vases, visit her blog at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Seeds and Flowers

It is Saturday yet again and time to join the SOS crew in the UK and beyond. My six items of interest this week are flowers and seeds that are new to the garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

My first ever ‘Green Envy’ Zinnia. I started these from seed in September, the plants are quite healthy and I am looking forward to bigger flowers.

Buds on the Dombeya. This is a pink Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) and a sight to behold when in full flower. This is a tree form Hydrangea about 14 feet tall.

Seedheads forming on the Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). I left several on the plant as someone always want to try these for fun. The seedhead eventually turns brown and may be ground and used as a coffee substitute. Not trying that, but will collect seed for next year. I cut most of the flowers and am getting a second crop of smaller flowers on some of the plants.

A new shoot on the Dragonfruit. The lawn maintenance guys mangle these every time a new shoot appears; this one wised up and went away from weed eater range. Time will tell if I ever actually harvest a Dragonfruit.

Snow Peas (mangetout in Britspeak, a new name to me) and spinach emerging in grow bag.

First green beans harvested, made me wish I had planted more bags!

The Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia caparillis) in full flower. It seemed it was taking a long time for this to get going.

Oops, make that Seven on Saturday. Oh, well.

Happy Gardening to all.