Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

Six on Saturday-Porch Pots

I am joining The Propagator this Saturday with six items of interest from my front porch. I use my porches for propagation and composed containers. Above is one of my containers with Zinnias, Gold Sedum and Flapjack Kalanchoe for the summer.

I found a strawberry pot by the side of the road and decided to plant it with succulents. Here is a Graptosedum taking hold in the side pocket.

The top of the strawberry pot has a Haworthia along the edge. A friend gifted me this one, I am not sure which Haworthia it is, I hope it flowers.

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the pot is in mid pupping, the mother plant on the left side is dying as the new pups takes over the container. The Graptosedums also have some offspring.

Here is a close up of the Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). This plant can be used as a groundcover here, but I have it planted as a spiller in a container.

I propagate plants on the front porch as well. From the left, a bit of ‘Song of India’ Dracaena I found by the side of the road and three Desert Rose cuttings taken while pruning bigger plants I have in containers at another entrance to my house. The Roses are slowly rooting while leaning on the wall.

That is my six for this Saturday, join the meme or see posts from around the world at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday Mini Pi

The title Mini Pi is due to:

The flower is Miniata Bromeliad.

There is a Mini Pineapple and a Pineapple Vase.

The foliage is Piecrust Croton.

I could have called this Many Pies..

A closer view:

The red flowers are from a stalwart of my July garden, the Miniata Bromeliad (Aechema miniata). The foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), there are numerous cultivars of Croton. I bought this one for my husband, the piemaker. Here is the foliage, the varigation is different on the front and backs of each leaf. The back is on the left, note the veins, and the front on the right. Leaf edges crimped like a pie crust.

The Pineapple vase is from Maui, my husband swears it is a palm tree. It could be either. The Pineapple is from my garden. Its demise occurred after ripening on the counter until its scent permeated the kitchen. Lunch today was a Roasted Salmon with Pineapple Salad.

The Pineapple was quite good and I am saving the top to grow some more..

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. To see more vases from around the world, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

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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:

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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:

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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.

Extreme Gardening

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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.
 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

To see more vases from around the world, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

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 – Good, Bad and Ugly

There is more good in the garden than bad or ugly. But there is always some bitter with the sweet, it seems. I will start with the good. With at least 20 inches of rain in June – and more on the way, I am seeing a lot of new growth and weeds! Here is the new growth on my husband’s Glenn Mango. Planted last year in honor of his father, Glenn. New growth on Mangoes is usually bronze, this is different and a pretty red.

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More new growth and a summer favorite, this is the bud of a Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata).

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A freshly picked Pickering Mango.

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Passionfruit ripening on the vine. This plant was misidentified when I bought it..should be an interesting taste test when ripe.

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Now, the bad. Papayas dropping off the tree due to Papaya Fruitflies, sometimes called Papaya Wasps as they are as big as wasps – they lay their eggs inside the fruit and the larvae hatch inside and eat the Papaya. It is important to get rid of these when they fall as the larvae mature in the ground and eat more Papayas. I seem to get one round of these in the summer. I think the lizard knows what is in there.

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The ugly, Papaya Fruitfly larvae escaping, I got this one just in time. Yuck.

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Happy Gardening, to see more Six on Saturday posts visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Shrubbery Lurking

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I am taking a native pollinators class online. I completed the bee section and was instructed to take photos of three different bees in my backyard. Little did I know how much time I was going to spend lurking in the shrubbery taking blurry pictures of  bugs. I did find it interesting to see how much was going on in the shrubbery. Above is a honey bee, the only identification I am certain of. The bee is collecting pollen from a Firebush (Hamelia patens)

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Another  bee, I think it is a Carpenter Bee. Bees, unfortunately are identified by the amount of hair and differences in stripes on their bodies – and most are striped and hairy. This bee is collecting pollen from a Dune Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

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This bee is perhaps a Longhorned bee, because of its long antennae. But, I am not sure. It is however, striped and hairy. Mr. (or Miss) Longhorn here is collecting pollen from a Sweet Almond flower (Aloysia virgata)

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A fly I mistook for a green metallic bee. There are green metallics bees in Florida and they are nearly impossible to photograph.

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A tiny wasp on a Sweet Begonia flower.

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A garden spider waiting on a Gallardia flower for an unsuspecting pollinator.

As for the rest of the garden, we have had 9 inches of rain this week and it is soggy and  green.

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

 

Six on Saturday – Rain Total – 12 inches

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.