In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Flowers

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Our banishment continues, I was just trying to think of where Napoleon’s exile was…Elba. That sounds pretty good, except it is in Italy. Oh well, I  will just stay here and look at the spring flowers in my garden. I am guessing mine are different from most other Six on Saturday posts. To see other posts for spring flower comparisons, go visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Above, I started with a Florida classic, the Hibiscus. This is an old fashioned red that is decades old in my garden.

Below, a flower on the Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). This is my neighbor’s tree – you can tell by the foliage how dry it has been here.

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This is a Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) a funky plant – about 18″ wide and 5 feet tall. I have it in a narrow space. The flowers do look like coral and the foliage looks like marijuana.

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Miss Alice Bougainvillea is just starting to flower. I waited a long  time to find a nearly thornless Bougainvillea and here she is. You still need gloves for pruning, just not rose gloves.

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There are several Justicia (Shrimp Plants) I grow as perennials. This is called Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), it is a shrub – about four feet tall currently.

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Last, but not least, the flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli). On the left side of the trunk is the bud.

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Hopefully everyone is making the best of our global exile and working in the garden. I realized I should make a list – there are so many little details to work on. I am making broth and soup this afternoon. I bought a 22 lb turkey and cooked it this week for many future turkey sandwiches and soups. My husband smoked the thighs and I saved the carcass to make broth. In the kitchen for me this afternoon. I am proud that I was able to stop myself from posting large turkey pictures and making political comments. Well, not quite.

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 – March Madness

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First of all, this has nothing to do with American college basketball. March Madness is a college basketball tournament, I  would rather read about invasive weeds than watch basketball. College football is a different story. That I will watch.

South Florida seemingly lacks seasons. Spring is subtle, but here. Almost everything takes a few months off, not growing. Just resting for the inevitable plunge into March Madness. The Oak trees, grasses and obscure weeds no one ever heard of are flowering and the pollen is dreadful – the native butterflies and insects are enjoying all of  this and literally making hay while the sun is shining. I am seeing butterflies and insects I have  never seen  before. My bush and pole bean leaves have been folded by butterflies to create chrysalis and while I still have beans, the butterflies emerging are just starting to  amaze me.

img_20200206_133605 This is a Longtail Skipper larvae from a couple of weeks ago, I saw the first butterfly today (it got away from me). I will  post a picture another day if I catch one.

Back to the vase. The actual vase is a old florist vase from the 80s I found by the side of the road. It holds up some heavy cut flowers. Heavy is what I have.

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The pink flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). They flower off and on year round; not reliably but at some point there they are. And  too pretty to ignore, like some teenage  girls from high school. The ferns are my old stand by, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the white flowers, Dracaena reflexa. Yes, it grows in my garden and the flowers  have a wonderful scent. Close ups of the flowers:

Happy Spring!!

For more vases follow the link and visit our hostess, Cathy at MORE VASES

Six on Saturday – Lessons Learned

Gardening is a learning experience that never ends. This Saturday’s Six represent my most recent lessons.

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Lesson 1:  Build it and they will come is true of butterfly gardening. I have been planting for  pollinators for about six years. This is my first White Peacock butterfly.

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Lesson 2: Tree Spinach cuttings root really fast and I don’t think I am going to eat any. A friend gave me these cuttings two weeks ago, they are growing and putting out flower buds already. Tree Spinach or Chaya is a very healthy tropical vegetable, filled with cyanide unless you cook it and then it’s OK. The vapors from cooking are also toxic, and if cooked in a aluminum pan the broth will give you diarrhea. The nectar in the flowers is very nutritious for butterflies-leaving this one to the butterflies.

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Lesson 3: I really dislike Culantro. The plant in the lower part of the picture is Culantro, I bought this to try as I love Cilantro and this is supposedly easier to grow. It is easy to grow – unfortunately tasting like soap. The first time I have picked herbs out of my lunch. My husband was appalled. The plant sharing the pot is Dill, decimated by last night’s Italian Wedding Soup.

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Lesson 4: I like Jaboticabas. I ate a few from this tree. A tropical fruit tree also known as Brazilian Grape Tree. It flowers and bears fruit on its trunk. The fruit is like Scuppernong Grapes with a big seed. This one is in a nursery, I have one in my garden – they are well known for taking years to produce fruit; still waiting.

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Lesson 5: Rabbits like spinach and will raid the garden regardless of patrolling Greyhounds.

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Lesson 6: Wind will blow over a tripod of even the thickest bamboo if the Passionfruit vine is big enough. Time to move this.

That is my Six this Saturday. Follow this link to the Propagators blog to see more posts like it. THELINK

 

 

In a Vase on Monday – Jurassic Parts

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While perusing my garden for vase materials this morning I was seeing a lot of the same old thing and decided I needed to do something different. I wanted to use the dried Bromeliad leaves one more time and the Tillandsia covered branch seemed to go with the idea. The result seems a bit prehistoric to me and in some ways it is containing ferns, palms and bromeliads, all monocots and found in fossils. Here is a closer view:

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The dried brown stems are from the seedhead of an Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii); the white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); fern is a Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the dried Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchitiana) leaves wrapped around the vase and holding the Begonia stems together were originally on my Christmas wreath, reused a couple of weeks ago  to wrap a whole vase and this is the final appearance. The hanging Bromeliad and branch were found while walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, these are Tillandsia recurvata, Ball Moss.

The vase is a pasta container I use as a vase since the top was lost some years ago. My husband refers to the gardeners inevitable stockpile of unplanted pots of plants as my ‘Spare Parts’. I am rarely without spare parts, currently holding at six ‘Java White’ Copperleaf.

If only I had a tiny dinosaur to go with this one.

Here it is in black and white, maybe even a bit more Jurassic.

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For more vases from around the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog MORE VASES

 

Six on Saturday – Hallelujah

Time for six pictures of what going on in my garden. I am joining in with gardeners from around the world on The Propagators blog, follow this link to see more posts THELINK

The Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad has finally bloomed. Flowers and foliage don’t get much crazier than this one:

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Here is another Bromeliad flower, I think of these as the tropical version of tulips. Meet Quesnelia testudo, this one has very sharp foliage and one of  the hardiest of  the Bromeliads, surviving 25 degrees (F).

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Another Bromeliad, an unnamed Guzmania in full flower.

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The seedling of a Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) growing in my Tiki. I need  to take  this out soon.

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A bud of yet another Bromeliad, ‘Little Harv’ Aechmea. These are yellow and pink when in full flower.

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My Leonitis flower, I am very pleased about this one I started it from seed last year and it has straight stocky stems. The plants from last year were curved and languished on the ground when flowering.

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That’s my six this very windy day. The wind has been howling since yesterday morning. It is a north wind so gusty it blew the Papayas off the tree and the cushions off the chairs on the screen porch. No gardening today for me.