In A Vase on Monday – Tea Time

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Wintry weather has arrived in South Florida. Having had a warm and too dry winter thus far a bit of rain was welcome, my suspicion is the wind following the rain will blow the moisture out of everything. Myself included.

Seems like a really good time for a cup of tea. I brewed a cup of English Breakfast and got the antique teapot from Rington Limited Tea Merchants down to serve as my vase. It seemed there was not much blooming, after the rain stopped and the sky cleared I went out and looked. To my surprise, I shortly had assembled a vase with an unusual combination of plants.

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The pink balls are from the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi);  white flowers spilling over the edge are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); a few purple Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet) are peeking out about above the Begonias; the yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); the purples are Lilac Emperor Zinnias and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); the backdrop of burgundy leaves is Red Giant Mustard ( I don’t eat it, I use it in winter containers) other greenery is another form of Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden.

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We have added a new family member, meet Fiona the greyhound. She is going to be a garden hound, I think. She waits patiently by the gate while I putter around in the garden.

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The Mulchmeister

20190110_151300I could be the Mulchmeister, given the love/ hate relationship with mulch that I have nurtured for years. I love the appearance mulch gives the garden – a soothing blanket of hopefully brownish material, tucking all the plants in for good growth, saving water and helping keep weeds at bay.

Unfortunately, I hate to mulch. Below is the usual result of me buying 5 bags of bark mulch. After 3, I can’t deal with schlepping the bags around anymore and it stays in the garden so long the plastic bags are rendered rust colored from the iron in the well water. And the weeds! Arggh. Florida Jurassic weeds. Oddly, the bark is still fresh as a daisy inside the bag – making me wonder what is on the stuff and in the vegetables I grow?

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I am learning to love again with an old friend, pinestraw. Some call it pine needles, naturally shed by Pine trees! A good thing and more sustainable than chopping down and chopping up trees to use for mulch. It occurred to me to seek out pinestraw as I was working on a project in Atlanta, using pinestraw as mulch. For some reason, pinestraw is very uncommon in South Florida-even though it is harvested in North Florida.

I began the search and after a bit of asking around was gifted with 10 bags of QuickStraw, just in time for Christmas. Compressed and bagged for storage, I can move these around easily and am not ending up covered in mulch.

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I scraped the Jurassic weeds off, put down some brown woven (the key to long lasting fabric) weed control fabric and mulched with the QuickStraw.

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Ahhh, cozy plants, just waiting for everything to grow together.

In A Vase on Monday -Cheers to 2019

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My vases this first Monday of 2019 reflect my mood and the New Year. Celebratory. The Silver Goblet could be used to quaff the contents of the Champagne bottles. My girlfriends from college were here last week for a toast to 2019 – Champagne always seems to materialize with them. The bottles were saved for a toast from my garden.

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The Pinkballs (common name) are Dombeya wallichii, purple flowers are Zinnia “Lilac Emperor” and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); pink foliage is Alabama Sunset Coleus; off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); green foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Another view:

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Here’s a gardening toast to 2019, I found a lovely new seed source in the US (ordered seeds, of course! I was excited to find Lime Zinnia seed) Here is a link:

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Cheers to 2019!

 

In A Vase on Monday – Dombeya Jambalaya

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This could be a year end vocabulary lesson. Dombeyas are tropical flowering trees and shrubs native to India. Jambalaya is a rice dish, consisting of rice, meat, vegetables and spicy seasoning cooked in a big pot – originating in Louisiana, the American Deep South. It is a mixture of many ingredients, like my vase.

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Here is the Dombeya flower, borne on a long stem hanging below big, fuzzy leaves. The bees and pollinators love them, and were objecting to my taking a few. A friend came by yesterday and said ‘this would be cool if it was a small tree and you could stand below and look up at the flowers’. The good news, it will be a small tree. The bad news, I was told maybe 6 feet tall and placed it accordingly. There is likely some judicious pruning in my future, but I love tree form shrubs.20181230_110831

The view from above, in light pink, the Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii); purple flowers are Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’ (sounds like a dreadful disease, really a small orchid); purple foliage is from a Hallelujah Bromeliad ( a Billbergia variety with a, yes, red, white and blue flower-note to breeder, just because you can doesn’t mean you should). The green foliage is from Asparagus Fern that pops up here and there in my garden. The vase is a thrift store find.

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Another view.

Thanks to Cathy, at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/, for another great year of hosting In A Vase on Monday. Follow the link to see what gardeners from the world over have filled their vases with this week.

And thank you to all who take time to view and comment on my blog and weekly vase post.

Happy New Year and here’s to 52 vases in 2019. I didn’t quite make it this year and also made a resolution to blog more in 2018, didn’t quite make that happen either!

There’s always next year, and it starts tomorrow!

Happy New Year!!

In A Vase on Monday -Wintry Mix

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I used to dread the words ‘Wintry Mix’ on the weather reports. It meant freezing rain mixed with other frozen precipitation. A cold and damp experience usually followed by slippery, frozen walkways. I am liking the Florida version of Wintry Mix from my garden much better than the weather kind.

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The colors seem like a mad mix, purple, coral, charteuse, pink, white and blue with a bit of vegetably burgundy and gold metallic berries for good measure. The vase is a Dansk candle holder from the 1970’s that long ago lost its partner.

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The centerpiece in the arrangement is a Lilac Emperor Zinnia, the other purple flowers are Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); peach flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); small white flowers are from White Plumbago (Plumbago scandens); white daisy flowers are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) a cheerful, rampant, annoying wildflower.

Flowers in the background are Blueberry Flax (Dianella), the foliage is from Alabama Sunset Coleus (pink and chartruese) and some sort of Red Mustard (the burgundy leaf). Gold berries are painted fruit from the Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba) tree. There was a bigger surprise than gold fruit under the tree earlier in the week.

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Glancing out my window I spied – to my surprise, a White Heron stalking something under the Gumbo Limbo tree. I watched as he or she marched over and plucked a small snake off a branch and flew away!

 

 

In A Vase on Monday – Winter Gardening

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The gardening season is heating up in South Florida. The reverse of most of the Northern Hemisphere, we grow vegetables in the winter as it is too hot for tomatoes or corn to pollinate in the summer. I received the last of my vegetable seeds (Haricot verte) over the weekend and will sow my vegetable garden in the next week or so.

While I grow flowers year round, I plant some of the more common summer flowers in the winter. Deciding to grow some from seed this year, I have Zinnias, Asters, Petunias, Moon Vine and Coral Vine to add to the pollinator garden and cut. The seeds were planted around the first of October and my first Zinnia bloomed this week.20181121_094921_HDR-2This is a Zinna Super Cactus Lilac Emperor, an heirloom variety. It doesn’t quite resemble the picture on the packet – not nearly as stringy or cactusy (new word?) However, it may be the biggest Zinnia I have run across (4 inches wide).

20181125_095513The vase I inherited from my mother, who bought it from the Ute Indian tribe in the Southwestern US. Accenting the Zinnia in the arrangement are in white and fragrant spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); Purple Verbena is next, a native (Glandularia tampaensis); the deep blue flowers are from Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis); purple flowers with grey foliage are Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens); the background plants are Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and a sprig of Hawaiian Snowbush (Breynia nivosa).

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The pollinators attracted to my garden continue to amaze. We had two groups of honeybees resting in the garden and I spotted this dragonfly while weeding yesterday.