In A Vase on Monday- Spa Day

 

20190331_110422From time to time I make an arrangement that generates comments like ‘it belongs in the lobby of a spa’. I think there is a relaxation vibe from some of the more tropical plants in my garden. I have been gardening madly to get my pollinator/fruit garden finished before the rainy season starts, so I could use a Spa Day myself.

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Here is a close up, there is a lot of foliage in this vase. The flowers are; in red, Guzmania Bromeliad, in white, Lotus Leaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) – a recent addition to the garden, this Begonia gets 5 feet tall and wide. It has just started to flower and is really shooting up in size. The burgundy and green leaves are from Neoregelia Bromeliads, I am not quite sure of the variety. The thinner leaves are from a Varigated Minature Pineapple (currently bearing tiny pink pineapples). Bigger leaf behind is from the Ornamental Banana (Musa ensente). Ferns are from my driveway edge volunteer Boston Ferns (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and the volunteer Asparagus Fern. Vase is wrapped with a Pandanus leaf.20190331_124536-1

Here is my volunteer Boston Fern garden, I have a crushed shell driveway, the shells are held in place by wood timbers and there is an inches wide space between the driveway and my neighbor’s fence where the ferns thrive. I have really enjoyed this gift.

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Happy Monday.

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In a Vase on Monday – Exserta Experiment

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This is an In A Vase on Monday story. Every Monday morning, Cathy from ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com invites us to share a vase of flowers from our gardens. The meme is called In A Vase on Monday and gardeners from around the world share flowers from their gardens. I have learned so much from fellow ‘vasers’ and the contents of this vase bear witness to my affinity for IAVOM.

Sometime last summer, Chloris from thebloominggarden.wordpress.com shared photos of the Petunia exserta she had grown in her garden.  I had never seen or heard of this plant and looked it up. To my surprise, this Petunia was rare, from Brazil and grew in cracks on the sides of sandstone towers and is pollinated by Hummingbirds. Sounds perfect for my incredibly well drained sugar sand garden with a bonus of attracting Hummingbirds. I live on the east coast of Florida, where Hummers are not as prolific (I see 3 or 4 a year) I bought a packet of seed (oddly from the US Pacific Northwest)

Not being native to South Florida and really more a plant buyer than propagator, I decided to plant seeds the first of September for winter flowers. They promptly sprouted and were planted in the ground, in pots and gifted to my neighbor to see what happened. They flowered a bit all winter, but as soon as the temperature hit 80 – off they went. I needed to cut them back and they landed in my vase this Monday. Clearly, something has been pollinating them, although I have not seen a Hummer nearby. Here is a close up of the vase, a candle holder from Pier One.20190324_102907_Burst01

The Petunia exserta, the red star shaped flowers, the grey plants are Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima), viny grey plants are Helichryseum petiolaris; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); foliage Boston Fern (Neophrolepis extalta) and a Red Banana Leaf (Musa ensente).

Here is the Petunia exserta in my garden, placed next to a rock to make it feel at home.

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In a Vase on Monday – Heirloom Pentas

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Last week I attended a talk about Butterfly Gardening, so naturally I had to add to my collection of nectar plants for pollinators. I bought an Heirloom Penta (Pentas lanceolata), the deep red flower in the middle of the vase. This may be my new favorite flower, they are sometimes called Egyptian Star Flower and are perennials in my part of Florida. This one is supposed to grow to three or maybe, five feet tall! It is a rich, deep, red with dark green foliage, I really need a few more now that I have seen them in the garden. I also saw my first Monarch Butterfly today. Here it is in the garden:

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I wish I had taken the picture before I cut the flowers. Oh, well. A close up of the vase:

20190317_105435The white flowers at the bottom of the arrangement are from the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri); yellow and red are native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Psuedogynoxys chenopodiodes); white daisies are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba); grey, fuzzy leaves are from the Licorice plant (Helichryseum petiiolaris); backdrop foliage is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); striped leaves and blue flowers are from Blue Flax Lilies (Dianella caerulea) and a few Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea).

The first mangoes of the year have formed on my Pickering Mango, this is a dwarf ‘condo’ Mango known for quality fruit and bearing early. We shall soon see.

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In a Vase on Monday – South of the Border

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I called this ‘South of the Border’ as most of the plants are from Mexico and it has a festive vibe, just need some Enchiladas (have some in the freezer, chicken) and maybe a cold beer with a lime squeezed in. Voila! South of the Border Party. A Mariachi Band would be a great addition.

Here is a close up:

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The bigger orange flowers in the arrangement are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), reportedly a great hummingbird and butterfly plant. I have had this in the garden for a few years and noticed none of the above. The smaller orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides). No, I could not spell that one on a dare. The vine is an escapee of the confines of my neighbor’s garden and the butterflies do love this one. It climbs through the hedge of Surinam Cherries and I don’t mind a bit. Every now and again I give it a whack with the loppers. The grey foliage in the arrangement is from the Licorice Plant (Helicryseum petiolaris); when reading about this plant you will find mentions of ‘slight scent of Licorice’. For the record, this plant is native to South Africa and I have never detected any licorice odor, despite having them in my garden off and on for decades.

Given the images of indoor Amaryllis on IAVOM this winter, I thought you all might like to see the one that lives in my garden. The bulb originally belonged to my father in law, Glenn, who is long gone. I have had it for decades and planted it in my garden about six  years ago. Currently, it is about 3 feet tall, not staked, and has 4 flowers and 8 buds on three stalks. I was taking pictures in a high wind, so add some imagination. The ferns have overrun things a bit.

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Interestingly enough, Glenn’s birthday is March 20, the Amaryllis is usually flowering in celebration.

Happy Birthday, Glenn from my garden and Happy Monday.

In a Vase on Monday – Spring Salad Surprises

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Winter in South Florida (or as I call it, Not Summer) is winding down. As I was planting my last crop of vegetable seeds, I noticed the lettuces fading and bolting. I grew Red Romaine lettuce this winter and was surprised to see how pretty the flowers are. While picking them, I could tell by the scent that the Romaine had turned bitter, no need to taste it. Even the rabbits have quit eating it and turned to munching on my Bromeliads and eating the old green beans.

20190303_100841-1Another surprise in the garden was the emergence of 5 flowers on a Guzmania Bromeliad I left in a container for a little too long. I did not know Guzmanias would even put out multiple flowers, so I cut one since it went so well with the Romaine.

In keeping with the salad theme, I added some Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) to the arrangement. The vase is a junk store silverplate heirloom from my mother, gaining patina (rust) with every use.

Here is the Papaya update: More surprises, six fruit so far. I think there will be more.20190303_162431

In A Vase on Monday – Shell Loopy

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The Shell Gingers (Alpinia zerumbet) are flowering again. This is such a dramatic plant, I think it should be displayed on its own. Of course, me being me, I had to do something with it. Feeling there was a bit too much foliage in the arrangement I cut a lot of it out, enjoying the gingery fragrance and wishing for a Thai food lunch. As I was in a state of ‘garden dress’, lunch out was out of the question; so I persevered with my arrangement. I rolled some leaves into loops and added a few red burgundy Blanchetiana Bromeliad leaves.

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Shell Ginger needs a bit of shade to be at its best. Last year, my neighbor destroyed all the shade, removing trees on the other side of the fence. Oddly enough, the Ginger has responded with lighter foliage and a bounty of buds, the likes I have never seen before. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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News from the garden. I have been reporting/complaining about my Papaya experience. Well, the tree added some newly hermaphrodite flowers and now I am getting female and mixed (hermaphrodite) flowers – and more fruit. Four, so far. I can’t wait to see what the tree produces. Here is the first fruit from last week.

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