Six on Saturday – Coming and Going

Time to join the SOS crowd again and share the going ons in my South Florida garden. The first few months of the year much of the tropical fruit flowers and many of the reseeding perennials set seed. The winter veg crops are also starting to produce.

The first tiny mangoes to appear on our Glenn Mango tree. I am happy to see the fruit, some years it is so windy the pollen gets blown away and no mangoes. The saying goes 100 days from flower to fruit, so we will see how that works out. The mangoes are early this year by about two months. Fingers crossed.

These are heirloom peppers from Nicaragua, Criollos. They will be wrinkled and red when ripe and are a standard in Ecudoran cuisine. I am very excited to try one.

Snow Peas grown from seed are climbing and flowering. I love the French version of the name for this vegetable, mange-tout. That translates to eat all in English as the whole pod is eaten. I will eat them all.

Papayas are bravely producing more buds. The Versa Moths have been around (they lay eggs in the fruit) Hopefully, they know something I don’t – and I will beat them to the fruit.

Currently eating – tomatoes, green beans and herbs.

Tropical Milkweed sharing its seed to the wind. I collected some seed and let the rest fly. Next, I will cut them to the ground to create some fresh growth to feed Monarch butterflies.

That is my Six for this Saturday. To visit other gardens via blog follow this link: http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

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!!

Six on Saturday – Relish

There are many things to relish about the winter garden in South Florida. Above is actually relish! This is Roselle/Apple/Pecan relish made from Roselles grown in my garden. We ate it on Christmas Eve with the classic American meal – turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans.

I have been enjoying vases and vases of flowers from these two, Globe Amaranth and Green Envy Zinnias. This one has culinary Fennel (not from the garden) I ate that, too.

The bag garden continues to recieve additions. This bag has Sugar Baby Watermelons underplanted with Bush Beans. Theoretically, the beans will fix nitrogen and feed the watermelons. I am going to, hopefully, train the watermelons up the hefty bamboo teepees and tie the fruit on with slings. The fruit weighs eight pounds, so this should be interesting.

Hopefully, these are the first fruit buds on the Cuban Avocado. A friend grew this from seed, it is the rare Avocado that is true to seed, they are usually grafted. It is now five years old and at the proper age to bear fruit. Fingers crossed.

A very typical sight on my front porch. A Anole lizard sunning on a pot of succulents. The succulents are, in bud, a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) and a Fish hook Senecio.

That’s the rundown this Saturday on what I am relishing in my garden. To see SOS posts from other gardens follow this link http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Winter Wonderland

Not exactly the image the words “winter wonderland” conjure up? Welcome to South Florida and 2022’s first edition of Six on Saturday. To see more, probably wintry garden scenes from garden bloggers in more northern climes, follow the link http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The flower above is a Billbergia Bromeliad, species ‘garage sale’ – though I suspect it is called ‘Purple Haze’. The foliage is purple, striped sideways sporting flowers of red, white and blue and flowering in January. Pretty trippy.

The next tropical surprise of the morning – ‘Chociana’ Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum ‘Chociana’) I am still wondering what Chociana is. Note the bonus spider inside the flower.

I have been enjoying this magnificent Tropical Hydrangea for a couple of weeks. It is a Dombeya wallachii and about 15 feet tall.

The vegetable garden is doing well, I have been picking tomatoes daily for a week or so, the birds have beat me to them once, diligence is key.

Planning to thin my second crop of radishes this morning. These are my favorite, French breakfast.

Happy New Year from my Winter Wonderland.

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 – Bees and Bags

Welcome to SOS, December 11, 2021 edition. It is warm and sunny in South Florida and the birds, bees and flowers are enjoying the blue skies. So is the gardener. Though it could be a little cooler (83 F today), are we ever happy with the weather? I am joining Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com with the SOS crowd linking to his blog. Follow the link for more garden fun.

I had to share my Malaysian Orchid in full bloom today. This is an amazing sight and the bees are enjoying the flowers. I finally got a picture of the elusive green orchid bee.

This is a very active, flitting bee. I stood and waited to take the picture. These bees are native to Central and South American and are thought to have been introduced to Florida in 2003 via a nest in a wood pallet from Mexico. There are a fair number in my garden.

The bag garden is producing cut flowers and vegetables for me this week. We have been eating green beans, radishes and tomatoes – it is time to plant a second crop of radishes and beans. I am rooting tomato suckers for a later crop of tomatoes. Here is a sunflower and below, the Cactus Zinnias.

The Papaya decapitated last spring is flowering again. The flowers so far are female, they are usually self pollinating hermaphrodite flowers – so, it will be interesting to see if it is self limiting the fruit production due to the pruning.

The hard cane dendrobium orchid I installed in a Gumbo LImbo tree has started budding. I am wondering how long this will take to flower???

That’s all from my garden this week.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Zinnia Envy

At long last my Zinnia Envy has been cured. I have been cutting the Zinnias to encourage more flowers and it seems to be working. ‘Green Envy’ Zinnias are doing well and may end up being the best of the bunch. I am encouraged enough to try Dahlias now. I have another case of plant envy that includes Dahlias.

It was an oddly overcast, showery day for winter (dry season) in South Florida. This vase lifted my spirits with its brightly colored cast of characters. I had to stop a couple of times and wait for the rain to stop before I could gather more flowers. I am constantly surprised by the quantity of flowers I can cram into a vase.

The vase is a thrift store find I have enjoyed tremendously. The neutral color shows off highly colored plants well and I like the shape.

A closer view:

Purple foliage with white flowers is ‘Purple Prince’ Alternanthera, it seems to flower in the winter, though this is a new plant to me. I sprinkled a few bits of long suffering purple Lantana from my butterfly garden. Green Zinnias are ‘Green Envy’, grown from seed. Pale pink buttons are Globe Amaranth.

Pink and peach Zinnias are from a Cactus Zinnia seed mix. Peach and orangey spike flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) it is not always red and I love the variety of colors.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly garden meme. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Hollydays!!

Six on Saturday – Hats and Hounds

It is Saturday again. I am having a blogging fest this week, participating in Cathy’s A Week in Flowers (www.wordsandherbs.wordpress.com) and today Jon’s Six on Saturday (www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com). Follow either link to view the garden fun.

I am also gardening like mad as the reason for the winter popularity of South Florida becomes clear. Skies are crystal blue, the temperature is in the 70s (F) and low humidity. Gardening involves a lot of hanging around outside with my greyhounds, Zepp and Fiona. That is the hound part. Here is the hat part.

Meet the shrub Chinese Hat (Holmskioldia sanguinea). This is a very tough native of the lower Himalayas that does very well in my garden. They flower in winter and are great attractors of butterflies and hummingbirds. Here is a branch view:

The vegetable bag garden is starting to produce actual vegetables! I ate green beans and my first radish this week. The first cherry tomato of the season is getting ripe.

This is my first foray into Sunflowers, a dwarf variety I am looking forward to greeting soon, and cutting!

And here are my garden hounds, Fiona and Zepp. Not wearing Chinese Hats.

That is all the news from my garden. Happy Gardening!

A Week in Flowers – Day Three – Orchids

Welcome to the third installment of A Week in Flowers. Cathy at http://www.wordsandherbs.wordpress.com invited us to share a post a day for a week of flowers in our gardens. Today I am featuring orchids from my South Florida garden – they stay outside year round here. Follow the link to find more flowers from around the world.

Fragrant white Cattleya Orchids live in a pot outside my low slung living room window. These bloom every September and I enjoy watching them and usually cut some for a vase to enjoy the flowers and fragrance up close.

Orange landscape orchids (along with Gallardia) are a fairly common sight around here. These are Epidendrums; sometimes called Ground Orchids. I had some in the garden, but they squirrels dug them up so many times they withered and passed on.

The Orchid tree, not really an Orchid, but a very pretty flower. This is Bauhinia purpurea, I think.

This Orchid tree has purple Cattleya orchids that grow on the trunk. This is my neighbor’s tree, so I see it daily when flowering. One of my favorite summer plantings.

That is all for Day Three. Happy Flower Watching!