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.

Six on Saturday – In the Bag

My Bag Garden is coming along. I have two kinds of tomatoes ripening and small green beans on the bush beans. This group has tomatoes, green beans, radishes, dill and zinnias. The seeds were planted in September and I used some different soil mixes to see what works best. Of course, the most expensive mix was doing best at first. So, I amended the cheaper, heavier soil mix with compost and Osmocote. Now the cheaper mix is catching up. The first radish planting was a bust as the cheap soil was too heavy for radishes.

When I tied the tomatoes to the cages I pruned the suckers off the plants and put them in a vase to root for a later season set of tomatoes. The suckers are flowering in their vase on the counter behind my kitchen sink.

I am not sure what to think or do about the flowers – cut them off? There is very little natural light in this area, although there is LED lighting above the sink.

The other bags are in a more protected location where I potted everything up. They seemed to be doing well so I left them in their spot.

I have a couple of different kinds of zinnias, sunflowers and mystery seedlings from a cutting flower mix. Nigella surprised me by germinating, not supposed to grow here, so hopefully I get some flowers. This week, with cooler weather, I planted another big pot with snow peas, spinach and cilantro. The sticks in the pot are rabbit and squirrel abatement. I had a great deal of trouble with squirrels when I planted the sunflower seeds. My snowbird neighbors amuse themselves by growing a highly toxic, poison green lawn and feeding the squirrels peanuts – the squirrels in turn tear up my potted plants. The sticks are 24″ reeds from reed fencing and are working well.

This is not quite in the bag. It is in the bromeliad, specifically a frog I spied while looking for a flower. The bromeliad is a Aechmea ‘fasciata’, sometimes called Silver Vase. I think these bloom in winter, but only frogs so far.

There! my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, follow the link: http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Belles

My garden is in seasonal transition, there are a few flowers, some fruit and buds for the winter flowers – all in all, not a lot of flowers. I enjoy these respites and have cut a lot of the summer performers back as they tend to get buggy as they age. The dragonflies showed up in droves this week and hopefully ate all the mealybugs on the Salvias, portending a new batch of salvia flowers for the winter. Most of the flowers I cut seemed to be bell shaped – and I added some Muhly because, well, everyone loves the Muhly Grass.

Some closer views:

The red belles are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equiseteum); yellow belles are from Esperanza (Tecoma stans); and the orange, admittedly less bell like are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); my perennial favorite for its flowers, ease of culture and butterfly nectar.

The yellow belles are from Tecoma stans, this is also another common name for them. They have several. The background ephemeral wispies are from Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capallaris). This seems to be everyone’s favorite this time of year. I am guilty of this, currently loving them in the garden and waiting for their full pink floaty goodness. I may need to stop cutting the wispies.

That is the vase for this Monday from South Florida. Happy Gardening and Happy Fall Y’all. I will be in the garden admiring the Muhly Grass. For more vases from worldwide gardens, visit our intrepid hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

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.