I am joining the SOS crowd this Saturday, watching for any signs of ripening fruit and not finding any. It is all green. The tomatoes are especially frustrating- green for weeks, and it hasn’t been cold. Temperatures were in the high 80’s (31 C) yesterday, so maybe the intermittent heat is slowing them down?
All tomatoes I have planted are red, yellow or purple when ripe. Yet they all look like this now and there are a lot of them. Grrr.
Red Bell Peppers, resolutely green. I have high hopes for these, when they turn red.
Craspedia or Woolyheads. This should be yellow flowers, yet they are slammed shut.
Tiny miniature pineapples. Too cute to be mad at.
Glenn Mangoes, fruit set and growing.
Thai Dessert Mangoes, Nam Doc Mai, setting fruit.
Well, sooner or later I will be eating Mango Salsa!
I am joining Jim and the SOS gang this sunny Saturday morning from my South Florida garden. Anyone who reads my blog eventually notices my love for Bromeliads. This Saturday I am focusing on the winter color in my garden from these super tough tropical plants. Visit Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/
Bromeliads are native to the tropics and many of them hail from the Americas. Most that I grow are from Brazil. There are native Bromeliads in Florida, though many were collected to near extinction and are now protected. Tillandsias (Spanish moss and friends are the most common native to Florida) I see these native Bromeliads from time to time in state parks and relish sighting one. Native orchids met a similar fate.
I am not quite to the northern limit of growing Bromeliads in the garden, though most I grow here will not take any frost. When I first started gardening here the idea of having what I considered house plants in the garden seemed very odd. Now, not so much. My average low temperature is 40 F (4 C)
Jill Neoregelia climbing a palm trunk. Some Bromeliads will climb trees and some won’t. This one was planted at the base of a Christmas Palm and started up the trunk with no encouragement from me.
Martin Neoregelia started the change from winter to summer color. These are yellow and green striped in winter deepening to red in summer. The pink coloration lasts for a couple of months.
Silvery foliage of the Silver Urn Bromeliad. Aechmea fasciata. These are well known for their pink flowers. They bloom every other year in my garden.
I am very likely to buy unnamed Bromeliads at garage sales or garden shows as they are usually expensive elsewher and it is rare to find good directions on where to site the plants. This is a unnamed Neoregelia I have enjoyed, it is probably three feet wide.
Another garage sale find. I have no idea what this is – it flowers every winter. The flower is about four feet tall.
The very reliable February (Valentine’s!) bloomer. The flower of the Guzmania Bromeliad is starting to peek through.
The time to move Bromeliads in the garden ends in March. I am plotting relocations now to add some more of these tough beauties in new places…
I think of this as a posy, my (I think) American take on the definition of posy or posey – a small flower arrangement. I looked up the definition and came up with two spellings and several definitions. One that surprised me – posey, an informal adjective describing someone who is pretentious and trying to impress others. And I thought it was either a hand tied bouquet or a small flower arrangement!
The weather in South Florida has returned to warm winter and my cutting flowers are starting to bloom. Exactly 3 Zinnias and the everpresent blue Salvia. Enough for a posy, posey or tequila shot glass full of flowers. The vase is from my niece’s wedding. I am surprised to see in writing she has been married for almost eight years.
A closer view:
The Zinnias are: in pink, Cactus mix; in green, Envy; and in peach, Apricot Profusion. Blue spikes are my favorite Salvia, ‘Mystic Blue, and the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a garden weed here that is great for vases.
It is an overcast, cool and breezy Saturday in South Florida. The raptors (Hawks, Eagles or Turkey Vultures) are flying lazy circles over my garden. I can’t tell which one unless they slow down. The Eagles are usually solitary, but the Vultures and Hawks will fly with friends. There were two overhead this morning. They are difficult to catch with the camera and the quality of the image reflects that, but it also captures the mood of the day here.
I am finally seeing some flower action in the garden. My first Zinnia bloomed this week. Surprisingly pink. Cactus Zinnias are my favorite.
Cherry tomatoes started flowering this week. I think this must be the Lost Marbles variety, which is new to me and seems to be the first to flower in both groups of tomatoes. I am a lazy labeler, waiting for the fruits to tell what kind of tomato they are. Hopefully it will set fruit. It has been cool enough for tomatoes not to set fruit this week.
Two out of three of the Mango trees sent up buds this week. They look promising, although I have found with these trees looks can be deceiving. Last year, a bit earlier, the trees started to flower and as soon the flowers were open it became very windy and only one fruit was produced from all those flowers. Mangoes are wind pollinated and if it is too windy all the pollen gets blown away and there is little fruit. God is in the details, as always. Below is a Condo Mango “Pickering”. This is a type of Mango selected to be grown on the porch of a Condo and kept under six feet tall in a container. The fruit is yummy, I am hoping for a good harvest this year.
This is a Glenn Mango, a bigger tree topping out at 30 feet. Another tasty one. And I have had two whole fruits! We bought this in honor of my late Father in Law, Glenn, who would have loved the fruit. The flowers do look very different. My third Mango tree is a Nam Doc Mai, a Thai variety known for flowering up to four times a year. This one is not flowering at all!
Another far away bird picture, but typical of my garden. I looked out the window and thought “who put a white pillowcase in the front yard?” Then realized it was a White Heron. These are spectacular birds, about four feet tall, they pass through fairly regularly eating insects and grubs. Fiona the greyhound does not know what to think of them as they are taller than she is.
That completes my Six from South Florida this Saturday. To visit more gardens via SOS follow the link http://gardenruminations.uk.com and say hello to our host, Jim.
A brilliant blue sky awaited this morning as I trundled out to view my seedlings. Despite a cold setback in December, things are coming along nicely at long last. A few successes and a few losses greeted the gardener. Situation – back to whatever passes for normal in South Florida.
Meet my only surviving rooted cutting of Mystic Blue Salvia. I am very proud and happy to have one more. I started with two plants, one passed on last year and the other has been flowering nearly non-stop since March 2021. I took six cuttings and only one took. I would love to know why?
I moved the Zinnia seedlings to a bigger pot to allow them to grow cut flowers. During all the jostling around plants with the freeze all the tags were lost, so I have to wait for the flowers to see what colors are left. About half of the Zinnias succumbed to the cold, dying at the base of the stem.
All the Dwarf “Sunspot” Sunflower seedlings made it through the cold. I covered them with a pillow case for two days. I am not sure what the other seedlings are though I am suspecting weeds.
This is a new variety of big red bell pepper, I have a couple of plants that are doing well. Last year I had heirloom South American peppers, designed for the heat. They were a bit weird, so this year I am trying the classic bell pepper. Hopefully, getting enough water on them.
Tomatoes, finally back in the garden. These are all cherry tomatoes. Lost Marbles, Sweet 100 and Yellow Pear, I think. Started from seed about a month ago. I have downsized to six plants this year. Last year I had nine and was overrun with tomatoes for a long time. The containers are all grow bags, reused from last year. The bamboo sticks are squirrel abatement. I have an idiot neighbor who feeds the squirrels peanuts – this gives them a maniacal urge to dig up any nearby container with nice soil and plants. This guy is obviously not a gardener and set to poison the universe in the name of lawn. Sigh.
The massive (bahahaha) culinary Ginger harvest. I watered this plant all summer and got two roots. The cost of the water probably exceeded the value of the Ginger at the supermarket. Unless these are phenomenally delicious, I won’t bother again.
I did not post last week as, for the first time in my blogging history, it was too cold to go outside. Most of Florida experienced the coldest Christmas in 30 years. On the Treasure Coast we had temperatures in the mid 30s (close to 0 C) with a cold north wind coming off the Atlantic. Ordinarily our average low is 40 F (4.4 C).
Above is a Mammey Croton, these are notoriously cold sensitive and true to form, it is dropping leaves. Advice on this is to leave it alone and they will grow back with warmer weather. It had not occurred to me to cover it. The orchids I thought about covering, but didn’t are fine as is another Croton. This one may get a bit more wind.
Below is Miss Alice Bougainvillea, burned by the cold, and currently ‘snowing’ white bracts. This is already coming back nicely.
I am fortunate to have gotten off to a late start on planting seeds. Earlier in December, I planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, sunflowers, papayas, Chinese forget me nots and a few types of zinnias. The plants were just getting big enough to pot up when the cold hit. They spent a few days in the bathtub of our guest bathroom. I was surprised to see some cold damage on the zinnia seedlings and grew some pink slime mold on the surface of the potting mix. This pink stuff had me scratching my head for a bit, did I lose a Pepto Bismol tablet somehow? An internet search revealed the pink slime mold, I have only seen the dog vomit version of this in shades of yellow.
The seedlings. I have Lost Marbles, Black Cherry and Sweet 100 tomatoes and two red bell pepper plants. I gave up on big tomatoes a few years ago and usually have bumper crops of cherry tomatoes. Lost Marbles is a good name for this past year! I am letting these recover a bit before potting them up, hoping for Valentine’s tomatoes.
More seedlings. The zinnias seem to be recovering, though I lost several. I think a cast iron bathtub on the north wall might be colder that I thought it would be. The three seedlings in the second row are papayas grown from two Mexican Papayas we ate this fall. (I have been making Papaya Coconut cupcakes). It takes about a year to get fruit from a seedling if you get a hermaphrodite plant (with self pollinating flowers) Time will tell on these papaya seedlings; they can be male, female or hermaphrodite.
An unusual sight, but not around here. I took my dog to the vet (a neighbor’s Rottweiler bit her! she is doing well). Near the vet’s office is the former estate of Frances Langford, a movie star from fifty years ago. She kept a flock of peacocks and their descendants are still around today. There were about twenty of them, hens and peacocks. Not a great picture, but I always enjoy seeing them. Fiona the greyhound was puzzled.
That is my six from warmer South Florida. It is 84 F (28 C) today and I am grateful for the warmth. To see more posts, visit our host, Jim at gardenruminations.co.uk
I am sending warm holiday wishes from South Florida along with some warm colors from my garden. Fiona the greyhound is not fond of my annual attempt at getting her in the holiday spirit. Hopefully all this verbal and photographic warmth will counteract the temperatures outside…it was 35 F (1.6 C) this morning, making this the coldest morning in recent memory.
I am looking forward to sharing more blogging adventures in the New Year!
Winter is the prime gardening season in South Florida. It is time to start vegetables, herbs and flowers and move back outside. The temps have been in the high 70s (F, 25C), the humidity has dissipated for the most part and there is a nice, refreshing breeze coming off the Atlantic. I replaced all my porch cushions, easier said than done, and have been adding pots to complete the space.
The group from above.
This is a Billbergia Bromeliad. I am not sure which one. I bought it at our local farmer’s market, so it is likely from nearby. The container is antique Portmerion, one of my favorites.
A bowl of Bromeliads and Succulents. The Bromeliads are Fireball Neoregelias. The succulents in grey, Graptosedum; the others are types of Sedum, I think.
What I started with for the bowl. The cuttings are placed in the soil and resting on the edges of the bowl. I topped everything with orchid bark to hide the pots.
A gift from a neighbor, the Pink Star Calathea. These will grow in the garden here, but need more water that I can reasonably provide, so they stay on the porch.
Tomato, pepper and zinnia seedlings on the sunnier porch. My attempt at rooting Mystic Blue Salvia resulted in a 1 out 6 success, I think. I have Papaya, Parsley, Dill and Chinese Forget Me Nots nearby. A mysterious animal took my ID stickers and ate a few seeds.
I am joining the SOS crew today sharing my summer survivors. This summer has been brutal, temperatures over 90 degrees F most days and very little rain. Add to that the demise of our irrigation system, I water what I can and am admiring what is surviving the onslaught. The tropical plants are outshining the native plants in the garden this summer.
Chocociana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). These small Heliconias are hunkered down under a Firebush and are doing quite well. Of course, I do have to squat down to see them.
Lady Di Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum) and native Tillandsia growing near the trunks of Miss Alice Bougainvillea.
Spinach tree (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), a tropical subsistence vegetable I planted for the butterflies is doing remarkably well with no help from me. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies. The leaves may be cooked like spinach – if you know how to prepare it, otherwise it is poisonous. I leave it for the pollinators.
Chandelier Plant (Medenillia cummingii) is flowering again. Third or fourth time this year.
Schlomburgkia Orchid slipped out of its pantyhose noose. I reinstalled it with string. This orchid has put on four new canes this summer, but can’t quite get its roots in the trunk. I hope this works.
Several people have asked what the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) shrub looks like. This is it. It has dropped a lot of leaves in favor of the berries.
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…