Six on Saturday – Fun Things

The weekly garden tour commences now. So many tropicals coming to life with the onset of the rainy season in South Florida. It has been stormy all week and the first named tropical storm of the year appeared in The Gulf of Mexico this week – Arlene. The storm is a long way from here and set to wind down into a tropical depression before making landfall in Cuba with a lot of rain. The first thing I spied when powering up the computer this morning was a Coastal Flood Watch; rainy season is definitely here.

To see more SOS garden tours, visit Jim at

The Frangipani hedges are flowering. This is Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica). I have these in front of wood fences that aren’t so pretty. They are columnar plants about 8 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. These are unusual as they are semi evergreen.

The Frangipani hedge with a Java White Copperleaf shrub accent.

A psychedelic Aucuba? No, this is a Pie Crust Croton. Named as the edges of the leaves are crimped like – pie crust. New growth is yellow and will mature into a mostly red and black shrub later in the season.

In the above image you can see a bit of an orange flowering shrub – this is a Dwarf Red Ixora, a butterfly nectar source. I let the larval host plant, Corkystem Passionflower, a vine, ramble through the shrubs for the Zebra Longwing butterflies to lay eggs on. This is the first caterpillar I have spotted this season, though the butterflies have been out in force.

I am finally picking a few mangoes. They are delicious. The lower mango is a condo mango, Pickering. The others, Glenn Mango, a big tree. Condo mangoes are usually less than 6 feet tall.

And just for fun, a gift from my friend Lu. Gardening socks!

That is all from the moist South Florida. Thanks to Jim for hosting and…

Happy Gardening!!


In a Vase on Monday – Celebrate Summer

I decided to celebrate summer with a colorful vase after the garden served up a batch of bright colors this week. I think the garden is celebrating a few soaking rains. The difference between hand watering and rain always surprises me – it seems all the plants enjoyed it from the fruit trees to the succulents. The mango trees are covered with fruit, I managed to give them their summer feeding before the rains started and now they are putting out new foliage. The mangoes are beautiful, but still hard as rocks. More gardening patience required. The Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers are back in action. I added them to two vases this week, this one and a birthday vase for my neighbor.

A closer view:

The vase is a crystal rose bowl that belonged to my mother. Gracing the rose bowl front and center are the BEG Sunflowers in yellow; salmon flowers with green tips are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); blue flowers are Black and Bloom Salvia.

The back of the vase has two colors of foliage from Pie Crust Croton, a mad tropical shrub about five feet tall currently. The yellow and green foliage is new growth and the darker is the mature foliage. The shrub resembles a psychedelic Aucuba. White flowers are from the stalwart Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea, the white version)

Thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. For a summer garden tour from other bloggers visit

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Broms and Bunnies

It’s time for the weekly visit with other SOS gardeners. My South Florida garden received plentiful rain this week, the plants enjoyed it and are starting to show their summer colors. Bromeliads in the garden change colors with the seasons. Some in the winter and others in summer. The color change I notice most is from green to red (and back). Markings on the foliage that change vary from spots to streaks to bands of color.

For the SOS garden tour follow this link to visit Jim:

‘Jill’ Neoregelia climbing a palm trunk. The foliage tips and cups on this one deepen in color in the summer.

‘Hallelujah’ Billbergia. These tend to go a bit green in the summer. The purple color deepens in winter.

Aechmea ‘fasciata’. The bands of grey coloration sharpen with warm weather, these produce big pink flowers every other summer. Also known as the Silver Urn Bromeliad.

‘Luca’ Neoregelia, one of my favorites, is almost too dark but the chartreuse spots lighten things up.

An unknown Neoregelia in flower. This one has pink stripes in sunny areas and white in shady areas.

The bunny, we have had a banner year for bunnies. Fortunately, they like weeds and are eating something in the so called lawn while tormenting Fiona the Greyhound. This is a Marsh Rabbit. I am impressed with the camouflage, I could not see the rabbit as I was taking a picture of it.

That is my Six for this Memorial Day weekend Saturday. Thanks to Jim for hosting.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Plumb Wonderful

I am very pleased with my Plumbago shrubs this year, they have burst forth with a display of flowers like no other. Why this happened is another mystery of the gardening universe. They inhabit the “hell strip” – a dry area between the street and my driveway. There is no irrigation, I am pretty sure I forgot about the fertilizer and they are growing under some good sized trees. Yet they prosper. My neighbor gave me the original shrub about 10 years ago, offspring of the one her grandmother planted in the 60’s. I added a darker blue variety last year and that is what I have in the vase.

The two Plumbagos, the darker one on the left. The lighter blue one is at least eight feet wide and five feet tall.

A closer view of the vase:

I was taught in my college perennial garden design class (by a very old school design professor) that the classic Southern (the Southeastern US) summer color scheme for a garden is yellow, blue and white. I decided against the yellow in favor of grey green. I am pretty sure my professor wouldn’t consider Florida part of the south, so he is probably not spinning in his grave over the lack of yellow. The only yellow in the garden currently is daisies and the shape of the flower needed to provide some contrast as all the other flowers are daisy shaped.

The gray green flowers are the buds of the Adonidia Palm (Adonidia veitchii). The flowers eventually open, turn nearly white and then produce bright red fruit. The white flowers and glossy green foliage belong to the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata). The vase was a thrift store find I have enjoyed immensely. It is my favorite for the Gardenias as they lounge over the side so well.

That’s all from my simmering summer South Florida garden. Thanks to Cathy at for hosting. To see more vases follow the link.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Early Summer

Memorial Day usually kicks off the summer season in the US. Memorial Day is next Monday, as usual Florida starts summer early. It has been pleasant here, mid 80s (F) daytime highs and thunderstorms breaking up our usual dry May weather and giving the garden a few good soakings.

For a global view of gardens in early summer, late spring everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, follow the link and see more SOS posts.

The mangoes continue to mock me, almost ripe. We have eaten one. I shared a bowl of mango salsa with my husband, served as a side dish with roasted steelhead trout. It was delicious. These will be picked when the blush is covering most of the fruit. Several friends have advised they pick them when the squirrels start eating them.

Another out of season bromeliad. This one, Quesnelia testudo, usually (and did) bloom in February. Last week the September broms were flowering. I don’t know what to think about this.

Brown Eyed Girl Sunflowers have given me a lot of flowers this year. They seem to be gearing up for summer with another flush.

Another sure sign of summer. The Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is on the move and flowering. This is a low native groundcover pushed as a lawn alternative. Unfortunately it is not evergreen and looks dreadful for several months, now it looks great and is running amok in the garden.

With the rain this week the Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) has burst into flower. I have two varieties, this is the old fashioned pale blue.

This is a newer variety of Plumbago. I am not sure of its name, or if it has one. This one is more reminiscent of hydrangeas to me. I am too far south to have much success with hydrangeas, so this is a good alternative.

That is all from the heat zone this Saturday.


In a Vase on Monday – Sage Indians

I have two Indian elements in my vase today. First, the vase itself was made by the Ute tribe of Utah in the US. They still call themselves Indians so I think it is okay if I do. They also refer to themselves as the Ute People, which I like better. The second, the red and yellow daisies are called Indian Blanket (Gallardia pulchella). The flowers are native to the Great Plains in the US, though they have naturalized throughout the country right down to my garden. These reseed and required no maintenance and are relatively well behaved. What’s not to like? I was searching for a rust colored flower to accent the vase and was happy to find several groups in bloom.

The sage in the vase is not wisdom, but Salvia. Two kinds, Black and Bloom and Roman Red. The red exudes the fragrance of culinary sage.

A closer view:

Brown Eyed Girl sunflowers (in yellow) have reappeared after taking an extended break from flowering. I am reserving judgement on these. They were great for about six weeks, then stopped flowering for about the same amount of time and are loaded with flowers again. Time will tell. For those who were intrigued by the Golf Beauty Craspedia, it has passed on, leaving me to believe it is a cool season annual in South Florida. I will be interested to see the progress of others with Craspedia this summer. The deep blue flowers are Black and Bloom Salvia; the lighter blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). Shiny foliage is from Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa), a native shrub I have for butterfly habitat. Evidenced by the botanical name, you can drink it, but shouldn’t.

The rest of the crew. Standing in back in red, Roman Red Salvia; white spikes are from Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata)

Wishing all a very happy Monday and a big thank you to Cathy for hosting. To see more vases, visit Cathy at

Six on Saturday – Prelude to Summer

I am joining Jim and the gang yet again for a Saturday garden update. South Florida is slowly working its way to summer and some plants are a little early this year. This makes me worry a bit about what the weather gods are planning for the rainy season. For a world tour of gardens on Saturday, follow this link to Jim’s blog. htpp://

Torch Bromeliad (Billbergia pyramidalis) blooming very early. These are sometimes called Hurricane Lilies as they usually flower at the peak of hurricane season, the first week of September.

Mangoes are mostly a summer fruit. These are Nam Doc Mai, Thai dessert mangoes. I bought the tree in 2016 because it can produce up to four crops a year and is coconut flavored with no fiber. This is the most fruit I have had and it has always been this time of year. They are almost ready, turning a solid apricot color when ripe.

This is a Red Jaboticaba. A tropical fruit from Brazil. This one is a shrub, reported to grow five feet tall. These are usually trees that take forever to produce fruit. Interesting fruit. The flowers are borne on the trunk and the fruit is like a Muscadine grape on the trunk. The tree looks like the trunk is covered in swirls of purple grapes. Tasty. It took a long time for this to establish, four or five years. Maybe some fruit, someday. The Red Jaboticaba is supposed to set fruit earlier than the trees. There is some cold damage I need to prune out.

The Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) blooming its heart out. This smells wonderful and is bouncing back from a severe prune.

Tree spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) flowering for the first time this year. This is a subsistence vegetable for tropical climates, growing without supplemental water and providing nutrition to those who know how to cook it. Poisonous to those who don’t. I don’t eat the stuff and planted this for its flowers – they provide a nectar source for many tropical butterflies.

Frightened frog hiding from Fiona. I walked out with Fiona the greyhound the other night and found this native tree frog sitting on an ottoman on the porch. Fiona started barking and the startled frog hopped under a pillow.

That is all from SoFla. Happy Spring to everyone further north.

In a Vase on Monday – Mystic Flame and Fire

The title of this post sounds like a Harry Potter book with wizards and witches – but it is just a combination of the names of the plants in the vase. I admit to wondering where plant breeders come up with these names sometimes..oh, magic.

Only a little magic in the garden this week, though I am enjoying the late spring weather and some rain showers keeping the plants happy. I am (as usual) almost (key word) finished for the season, waiting for the heat to set in and gardening to slow down. I have less than 10 tomatoes left on my plants and the plants are lurching into decrepitude just in time to be tossed out. Almost all the spring flowers have burned out – a few dianthus left, the snapdragons are toast and ranunculus a distant memory. Oddly, my latest batch of zinnias is really sluggish, despite what seemingly should be good zinnia weather. This gardener needs a little zinnia magic.

The Mystic Flame and Fire:

The Mystic is Mystic Spires Salvia in blue, this one has been flowering since March 2021 and has given me one new plant (from six cuttings, one survived). The Flame is White Flame Salvia, the flowers are a lot smaller since the plants were put in the ground and look more like Salvia farinacea now – it is a cross between S. farinacea and longispicata. The Fire is the Firebush (Hamelia patens), an orange flowering native shrub that will flower until cold weather comes back, usually January. Asian Sword Ferns add some greenery.

The other white flower in the vase is from the White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). I like the crinkled flowers and so do the Sulphur butterflies.

That is all from slow simmering South Florida this Monday. Thank you to Cathy at for hosting this garden meme. Follow the link for a visit with more gardeners and vases.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Spring Scents and Surprises

It’s Saturday morning and time to look around the garden for new things. I have been noticing pleasant fragrances upon stepping out on my porch in the morning and did a little detective work. Warmer weather and longer days bring the fragrant flowers into bloom. Nothing says tropical summer like the scent of Frangipani in the air.

This is a locally common Frangipani (Plumeria spp.) I have no idea what variety it is, but these are everywhere and likely shared as cuttings for decades. A friend gave me a cutting several years ago, it is now about four feet tall. They make a nice small tree, if you know how to prune them. I don’t, though it is big enough to give it a try this winter when dormancy reappears.

The first Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) of the season. These are not as fragrant as the Gardenia jasminoides, but leave a light scent at night. The Frangipani are also more noticeable at night.

I pruned the Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) rather severely about a month ago. It is rewarding me with fresh, deep green leaves and a flush of fragrant flowers. This fragrance is more noticeable during daylight hours, so I have round the clock scents right now.

Now I am wobbling into things that smell weird. This is a New Gold Lantana. I have issues with this plant from working on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where it was a theme plant. There were so many plants around town, I never wanted to see another one. I guess it took me 27 years to get over it. I bought two in pots last year as they are sterile and a great butterfly plant. They remained in their pots until a couple of weeks ago and look at them now.

Gallardias or Indian Blankets (Gallardia pulchella). Another wildflower that does well in hot Florida sand. Despite being considered native for years they have been ruled non native. These have jumped into the crushed shell walkways for some reason. Left in place and stepped on sometimes, they are thriving with no water and growing in the shell. Amazing. Do I care if they are native? Not one bit.

Presenting the ‘Alaska’ Nasturtium. I planted a package of these seeds a little late (February, I think. December 1 is the time here) The seeds in the beds came up, gasped and died. A few in pots grew up and flowered. My opinion on these is the varigated foliage looks a bit sickly instead of crisply attractive. Back to Jewel Mix Nasturtiums, here’s hoping I will remember in December.

Voila, my Six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts follow this like to Jim’s blog –

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Layers

South Florida experienced yet another crazy weather day on Sunday. Rain, thunder, tornado watches and warnings. Madness. I sat with Fiona the greyhound to gauge her reaction to all the weather warnings. She slept through it. A good sign and nothing happened except more water and leaves and debris down and probably more weeds will emerge shortly.

After all this weather, I decided to cut the orchid in the Gumbo Limbo tree so I could see it before it was smashed to bits. The stems on this orchid are about four feet long, as it is installed in the crotch of the tree it is a bit difficult to see anyway. Probably 10 feet above the ground. I dashed out into the rain and clipped the orchid. So satisfying.

This is a Schomburgkia orchid. Native to the mangrove groves on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula. How it found its way here is a mystery to me. Based on its coloring, orchid, red and yellow, I decided to put it in my big red vase. My husband refers to this as the ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ vase. Hopefully, you remember the 1960s TV show about Jeannie or the Genie?

I thought some layers of tropical foliage and a bit of red would accent the vase and the orchids nicely. The red flowers are Firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the big leaf in back is a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum); the left green leaf is from a Lady Palm (Rhaphis excelsa); grey striped foliage is Inch Plant (Transcandentia zebrina)

Fiona on a sunnier day. Looking for sky raisins (my husband’s words again). She eats bees sometimes.

That is all from my garden this week. Hoping for sun and blue skies. To see more vases follow the link to Cathy’s blog

Happy Gardening!