Six on Saturday – Recovering for the New Year

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

Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – The Hurricane Report

I am joining the SOS crowd after a rare event, a November hurricane – the third one to occur since the mid 1800s. If you look at the map above – where the red line hits the east coast of Florida, that’s my house. The hurricane, named Nicole, made landfall as a Category 1 (min 70 mph winds) at 3 am Thursday morning about 30 miles north. We all slept through it, the dog included. The hurricane was immediately downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall. I would guess we might have had 50 mph wind gusts, the damage minimal.

Floridians generally scoff at Category One hurricanes. The problem is you never really know where the thing is going to end up and the wind field on this one was so huge it was difficult to drive away from it. The wind kicked up Monday afternoon and continued until Thursday. We put up our storm shutters just in case, my husband is currently outside, grumbling and taking down the shutters.

A scattering of debris from Sabal Palms.

My Rangpur Lime tree is bent over. I guess I should tie it up to the fence to straighten it up? Lime trees are quite thorny and this is almost leaning into the pathway.

Miss Alice Bougainvillea was knocked off her column.

Further north, close to the ocean and rivers, people weren’t so lucky. This hurricane hit during a full moon and at fall king tide time, so the water was already high and the storm surge was 3 to 5 feet. The Daytona Beach area was also hit hard by Hurricane Ian, 43 days before. Some of the houses damaged by Ian fell into the ocean with this additional insult. These images are what you are seeing on the news.

The barrier island protecting us had quite a bit of flooding and an native American burial ground on the beach was unearthed; it will be interesting to learn how old the skulls are found on the beach.

A few images from further north:

Wind and water damage from further north.

Thanks to Jim at https://gardenruminations.co.uk/ for hosting Six on Saturday. To see more posts, follow the link.

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 – Foraging for Flowers

Once in a while I give plant talks at a local nursery, one of the girls I work with there contacted me to say she enjoyed my Monday vases and had the idea for a talk about Foraging for Flowers in Your Garden. I love the idea and it truly reflects this weeks vase.

August can be unkind to to gardens in South Florida. We can have 3.5 inches of rain in a few hours, hurricanes or weeks long dry spells with temperatures in the high 90s (F) -37 Celsius. The garden can be baked, drowned and/or dessicated. The gardener as well. Last week I noted the much smaller size of the flowers from well, August. Foraging for my vase, I found some true stalwarts to cut.

The view from the side. The vase is a favorite and a thrift store find. Transcandentias are prominent in this vase. Solid purple foliage is Transcandentia pallida called Setcresea, from last weeks vase. Setcresea certainly sounds like a botanical name, but it is not. Go figure. My husband calls these secretions. The striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina; Inch Plant, Wandering Jew, etc. Really hard to kill if it gets a little shade and water, hard not to love this one in August. The pink flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); chartreuse flower is a fading Guzmania Bromeliad that begin life red. Grey foliage is from Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum frutescens). Inevitably I fiddle with these as I take pictures. I think I like it better without the Barometer Bush???

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly meme. Follow the link to see more vases.

Six on Saturday – Tropical Summer

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One of the wonderful things about South Florida in summer are the tropical flowers that love heat and humidity. Above is a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). This is native to Arabia and Africa and is a rare container plant that can stay outside all summer in the full blazing sun.

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The Bougainvilleas are spilling colorful flowers on arbors and trellis. This is Miss Alice Bougainvillea, the flower is the small part, the white bracts surrounding the flower are what make the show.

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Another favorite, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). I have these near the entries to my house, they have a light, sweet fragrance most noticable at night or early in the morning.

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This is actually fruit, Sea Grapes (Coccoloba uvifera). These grow just about anywhere in South Florida, usually seen near the coast as it is very salt tolerant. The fruit ripens to brown and tastes a bit like figs, however the seed is nearly as big as the grape – for me, it is too much trouble to eat them.

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Finally, this is my favorite summer flower – my neighbor grows Cattleya Orchids in her Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). I am trying to get some going in a palm tree, no flowers as of yet. Here is a closer view.

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That my six this Saturday from humidity central. To see more Six on Saturday posts visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Bone Dry

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The hose has seen a lot of action this week. I  don’t recall the last time it rained, this is the last 6 weeks of our dry season. I have a irrigation system and detest hand watering – the exception, I will water containers. I am watering in the garden after the irrigation runs. I have also been enjoying sitting in the garden, away from the news.

The Roselle (Florida Cranberry Hibiscus) my neighbor grew is waiting for moister weather to be planted. Though, I think they might prefer to get their feet in the ground. This is a Hibiscus with edible leaves and flowers, most commonly used for tea. I haven’t grown it or eaten it, it is an annual here.

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I have seen birds and butterflies looking for water in my fountain, so I cleaned and filled it. Always a negotiation with the pump and leveling the container so it doesn’t pump itself dry.

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My so called lawn, you can see how far the irrigation goes.

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No, I don’t hand water this. This is the Greyhound zone and they don’t care.

A few things seem  to be enjoying the weather. The culinary Bay Leaf is putting on some new leaves; I am cooking with them as I write my post.

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This Lotusleaf Begonia is almost 5 feet tall and a mad tropical accent plant. I think the leaves will look better with some rain.

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That’s my Six this Saturday – go and visit The Propagator to see more..www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Hope everyone has enough to do in the garden and stays amongst the plants.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Upcycle

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The  upcycle is the vase itself. Made from dried remnants of my front door Christmas wreath.  Here is the wreath in its previous life. The green bands are Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage wrapped around the wreath and tied with jute. When I took this down the flowers had dried to brown and the bands were curly and retained their color. I saved them because I thought they might make an interesting addition to a vase. Instead, I covered a plastic water bottle with the curled leaves and made a vase.

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The flowers are a bright mix designed to counter any winter blues. Low temperatures in the 40s (F) are forecast this week, appalling weather to anyone Floridized (living in Florida for over 5 years, blood completely thins out). We might have to wear long pants and  (gasp)  turn on the heat. A closer view of  the vase:

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Another view of  the flowers:

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The yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), a year round bloomer. The red and yellow daisies are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), another year round bloomer. Both are native and absurdly easy to grow. The pink flower is an unknown Zinnia. Deep pink and chartreuse spikes are Texas Vintage Rose Mix Celosia from Floret, I may really like these. I think they need cutting back, so here they are. Peachy and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The more beige spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and funky stems with a bit of blue are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis), white daisies are another native Spanish Needles (Bidens alba).

I am really enjoying my winter garden this year and just planted another round of vegetable seeds. Hoping for more Zinnias and Celosia before the heat sets in.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/ for hosting. For more vases, visit Cathy’s blog.

Six on Saturday – The Deluge

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One day this week we had 4 or 5 inches of rain,  this wheelbarrow full of water is from that storm. The crushed shell residue is from my work on the cleaning and touching up the pathways in my garden.

Below you can see the cleaner part at the bottom of the photo is the new shell, well water irrigation has been staining the shell rust, and I have redone the irrigation so it doesn’t spray on the walkways – the rain helped by compacting the shell.

 

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The rain also made this fungus open and let loose their spores. We called these puffrooms when I was a child. And stomped on them.

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I had to tie the Snow Peas up.

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The rain also gave me some flowers: Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

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And a new flush on the Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacaensis)

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A little rain can be a good thing, it has been fairly dry here lately. I just looked at the weather radar, more storms on the way!

That’s the six from my garden this Saturday.

To see more Six on Saturday posts,  go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening. Stay dry.

In a Vase on Monday – Purple Jam Session

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One of the components of this arrangement could be used to make jam..it’s the purple Beautyberries. The green fruit on the table is Florida Avocadoes from a neighbors tree. My grandfather referred to these as Alligator Pears, which makes sense to me now. It’s a sweeter, creamier version of the Hass Avocado. I have a Cuban Avocado tree in my garden, the fruit is similar just twice the size of the Florida version. My grandfather might have called these Alligator Footballs.

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I didn’t set out to do a purple vase, it just evolved after I found the Ground Orchids blooming (Spathoglottis “Cabernet” small purple orchids in the middle). I added some peachy pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and Purple Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Then some white accents, spilling over the side Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata) the creamy white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa). Greenery is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a burgundy Bromeliad leaf  – Luca Neoregelia.

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Now, if only one of my neighbors would make some Beautyberry Jam!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday.

To see more vases follow this link to Cathy’s blog, ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Red and Black

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It’s college football season in the US and I graduated from a football school, the University of Georgia. A football powerhouse currently ranked #3 in the country. Our team colors are Red and Black, hence the vase. The Landscape Architecture program left me with a peculiar love of plants that I like to share in vases. After watching football on Saturday. Only in the fall. And maybe a few bowl games after January 1st.

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The vase is black, a thrift store find I have enjoyed. The red flowers hanging over the side, Turks Cap or Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), the red and yellow flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum), white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) and ferny greens are volunteer Asparagus Fern.

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It occurred to me this also looks a bit like an early holiday vase, and I had to laugh considering the images floating through my mind of burly men wearing gigantic pads fighting over a pointy football.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs.