In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

img_20200712_105827

I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

img_20200712_105916

The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

img_20200712_105842

The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

Six on Saturday – Blue Blazes

It’s time for Six on Saturday, a post about six items of interest in the garden, anything at all, shared with gardeners around the world.

To view the collection visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200711084137844_cover

One of my father’s favorite summertime sayings “It is hot as blue blazes”. I have no idea where that came from. Maybe New England where he was from. I can confirm it is hot as blue blazes in South Florida in July, though there is a nice breeze coming off the ocean currently.

Above is one of my favorite summer flowers, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)

Another Heliconia is flowering in my garden, the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata)

img_20200704_094057-1

I have been harvesting fruit. My first pineapple, cute and ripening on the counter along with Purple Possum Passionfruit. Say that 10 times fast..

img_20200709_144514

The Bromeliads are doing their thing, some just looking great in summer colors and some flowers. This is an unknown Neoregelia.

mvimg_20200704_094034

The Blanchetiana Aechmea Bromeliads are shooting up buds, these are about five feet tall now and will get a little bigger and fully open in November. The flowers usually last until May.

img_20200711_084443

Another Aechmea Bromeliad, the Miniata. These are very reliable July bloomers, many Bromeliads have a mind of their own when deciding to flower – the Blanchetiana above took about six years to decide to bloom…the Miniata start out red and then get cobalt blue tips. Interesting to watch and they last a long time as cut flowers. The foliage is a bit scorched from two weeks without rain and some wind.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200704094012607_cover

That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

Extreme Gardening

2extreme
I had a bad run in with an Agave a few years ago. It resulted in a course of steroids and antibiotics as it seems I am allergic to the thorns somehow. I have one big blue Agave in front of my house that is easily avoided and kept as thornless as possible by pruning. The Agave in the pot beside my side entrance has been taunting me for years. Not very attractive, but I really did not want to grab a hold of it and pull it out. The handle broke off  the shovel , the evil thorned one was not budging and loppers weren’t working. Then, a thought occured to me, lightbulb over head! I just had a trailer hitch put on my Jeep. Note the small rope tied around the Agave.
 
extreme gardening
 
Before anyone asks if I have a Bulldog, no. The Bulldog is the mascot of my alma mater, The University of Georgia. The rope is tied to my trailer hitch-I pulled the Jeep into the garage and the offending Agave popped out. The other plant is a Firesticks Pencil Cactus, easily removed.
 
Success!
 
3extreme
 
These days my side door is Agave free. I have thornless Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) in these pots underplanted with Flapjack Kalachoe and Fireball Bromeliads. The Roses flower in summer and look funky year round.
 
img_20200627_075038
00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200627075054118_cover

Six on Saturday – The Rainforest Garden

I started this garden several years ago, the idea was to recreate a rainforest using mostly colors and textures in shades of plum and green with a few pops of color. My Living Room looks into this space so the plants are placed around the windows to shape views from the inside and outside. Here is what I started with:

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 2.05.26 PM

I referred to this ‘landscape’ as the beach with weeds. The glob of plant material on the right side had to be removed with a bobcat – I poked around at it with loppers for a while then gave up and had everything scraped out. The existing irrigation was capped off and I installed above ground tubing and microspray heads to keep the water off the walkway and be very efficient. The sand holds very little water and is mostly unamended – plant material was chosen carefully to cope with the conditions.

walkway construction

I planted the areas around the walk, and then hired a contractor to install plastic edging. I installed the fabric, then leveled the sand, added stepping stones and shell gradually. I have a crushed shell driveway and had a pile of leftover shell. This is 2018.

rainforest garden

Later in 2018 with the walkway completed. I am not sure how long all that took, though I remember it was many tiny wheelbarrows of shell…

Here it is today, I am standing under an Avocado tree planted about 4 years ago.

img_20200702_133314img_20200702_133319

One of the plum and green Bromeliad beds:

img_20200702_093625

Looking back, I am amazed at how quickly the garden has grown in and enjoy sitting in the garden with a glass of wine frequently.

For more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com…

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Rain Total – 12 inches

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200530094321800_cover

We had one very stormy day and some tremendous thunderstorms this week. I decided to check our local rainfall totals for the past week – 12.04 inches. Wow. The glut of precipation has refreshed the garden and inspired new growth and flowers.

Above is the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens) – supposedly the flowers indicate rain is on the way. Oh, boy.

img_20200530_093159

The White Frangipani (Plumeria) tree has opened its first set of flowers. I am not tall enough to get a good picture.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200530092749435_cover

Hawaiian Snow Bush (Breynia nivosa) is putting out new foliage – frosted with ‘snow’. I bought this to replace one of my favorite shrubs I live too far south to grow, Burgundy Loropetalum. It is doing and admirable job so far.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200530093342782_cover

A Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) with its first flower. I very nearly killed this by leaving it in my plant orphanage too long. This is a native shrub, a great pollinator plant and is usually covered in yellow flowers (if you remember to plant it). I was surprised to see this sold as a summer annual in Atlanta.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200530093425839_cover

The Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) has greened up magnificentally and is filled with fragrant white flowers.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200530092408290_cover

Last, but not least, a bounty of Rain Lily (Zephyranthes) flowers followed the rain.

That is my six on this, so far, sunny Saturday. For more posts, go and visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – May Happenings

The month of May is coming in like a lion here. Stormy weather and cool temperatures are across the US. In Florida, it is a refreshing 70 degrees but the wind kicks up and it a bit too windy to sit outside. Some of the warm season shrubs are starting to flower.

Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) can flower anytime, but is more prolific in the summer.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095713721_cover

Firebush (Hamelia patens) and one of my favorites flower more during the warmer months.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095614507_cover

The Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini) is flowering. I don’t get any dates, though these will bear fruit if you have a male and female palm.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095834998_cover

The Papaya has produced its second crop this year. This one fell off the tree – there is a moth that lays eggs in the fruit and causes it to drop off. You can tell by the sap oozing out that the moth has been there. If I had cut the fruit open it would be full of worms eating the flesh of the Papaya (I didn’t). The fruit that falls has to be picked up quickly to halt another generation of moths.

00000img_00000_burst20200509094451595_cover

The Thai Dessert Mango is tantalizing me. This is a Nam Doc Mai.

img_20200506_111557

The Nam Doc Mai is also flowering again, so I should get a few more Mangoes this summer. These can flower year round, though mine usually don’t.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509094313878_cover

There, six things happening in my garden in May. For other Six on Saturday posts, go to  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200420143211172_cover

Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425091647781_cover

Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

img_20200425_091718

The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

img_20200425_103344

This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425092012453_cover

The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425103425818_cover

Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

 

Six on Saturday – Buds

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200411092140635_cover

Weather is heating up in South Florida as summer approaches, we had a round of thunderstorms yesterday and expect more in the coming week. The Frangipani (Plumeria) has set buds promising a fragrant yellow flower with pink accents.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200411092231332_cover

Buds and one tiny flower on the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae) .These will flower, put out some pups, and then stop blushing until next winter.

img_20200411_093610

More Bromeliad buds, these are Tillandsias and the flowers will tell the tale of which variety – they will be red or green. I am hoping for Cardinal Air Plants, red flowering Florida natives.

img_20200411_093359

This is a Roselle, an edible Hibiscus (H. sabdariffa) – Most of the plant is edible, the leaves can be cooked as greens or added to salads. Sometimes called Jamaican Sorrel, I am thinking is it sour, but haven’t tried it yet. The burgundy ‘fruit’ is the base of the flower, called a calyx – these are used as a substitute for cranberries. Thankgiving relish may  go tropical this year.

img_20200409_113111

This is not a bud, but a cone. It is the female cone of a Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) the only Cycad native to the U.S. Cycads are gymnosperms and have male and female cones.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200404100911252_cover

One of my garden buds and a frequent companion when I am in the garden. An Anole lizard, not sure which one. I have read there are 2,000 lizards per acre in Florida and I believe it.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. My husband and I are thinking this is causing brain fog. Probably best to keep thinking!

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

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

img_20200405_113002

Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

img_20200405_113400

The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

img_20200405_113218

I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!

Six on Saturday – Primavera (no pasta)

Our windy conditions finally wound down the middle of the week leaving clear blue skies, a light breeze and perfect conditions to stay outdoors – by yourself, no interaction with the germy masses. I have been celebrating Primavera (spring in Italian) enjoying the new growth, fruits and flowers developing and a new butterfly in my garden.

img_20200309_120805

This is a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly sipping nectar from a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri) . I planted a Senna ligustrina, larval host plant for the Sulphur butterflies and they have graced my garden ever since.

img_20200314_101838

Buds inside the cup of the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae). The blushing is more exciting than the flowers.

img_20200314_101409-1

Flower of Little Harv Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Little Harv’) . The  flower stalk is nearly 3 feet tall, I would like to see Big Harv.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200314100927447_cover

Foliage getting a bit glaucous on Traveller’s Palm (Ravenela madagascariensis) I planted these as much for the trunk as the foliage. I love both, the story behind the name is a thirsty traveler could cut a stem and get a glass of fresh water, These are just about five  feet tall and don’t quite produce a glass when cut.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200314100739106_cover

Dragonfruit (Hylocereus) just starting to climb a fence post. These are a night blooming cactus that produce a somewhat odd fruit, sometimes called Pitcaya.

img_20200314_102035

Surinam Cherries ripening, these are very deep red when ripe. Until they are very deep red they taste a bit like turpentine smells. A raw, piney taste. A friend makes jelly with the fruit and says it is very good. I leave them for the birds.

My Six for this Saturday. I have carrots and green beans in the garden. I might just make some Pasta Primavera for dinner. Cue Vivaldi..

Happy Spring!!

For more Six on Saturday posts, go to http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com.