Six on Saturday – Natives and Friends

It is finally raining here, and in typical gardener fashion, I am going to complain – just a little too much. The weeds are going crazy and it is supposed to rain for the next several days. Fiona, the hurricane, not the greyhound. is supposed to meander by next week, undoubtedly bringing more rain. Fiona the greyhound is not terribly worried.

Back to plants and SOS. I am joining the SOS meme, hosted by Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. To see more posts, follow the link.

This is a native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cynathophora). These pop up here and there and do not reseed much, so I enjoy the little pop of red in the garden.

Native Dayflower (Commelina erecta). Another one that just pops up in the garden and behaves nicely.

Native Bidens alba. One of the many common names is Spanish Needles, which leaves me wondering if the Spanish explorers of the Florida peninsula used the seeds for sewing. Not sure how, they are sharp, but maybe a half inch long. The one I love to hate. Reseeds madly, but so cute and the pollinators love it.

Another great native for pollinators, the Beach Daisy (Helianthus debilis). I am not sure what that bug is. These go mad during a rainy summer and once you have them in the garden (I planted them) they never go away.

The fruits of a native Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) Something about this is supposed to have a spice fragrance. I have yet to find it and have had this in the garden for seven years or so. Birds like the berries.

A nice, and not native to Florida, Saturday morning surprise. This is an unnamed Cattleya orchid that regularly flowers in early September. I thought it wouldn’t flower because of the dry summer – but here it is after getting some rain and a little fertilizer.

That’s my Six for this Saturday….Happy Gardening!!!!!

In a Vase on Monday – Bougie Berries

Bougie Berries? What the flower? The leafy (or should I say bracty) white flowers in this vase are from ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea. The true flowers are at the center in white and the showy parts are bracts, like Poinsettias. Floridian landscapers refer to Bougainvilleas as ‘Bougies’. I was unable to resist cutting a few branches of the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) to join the Bougies.

The Bougies and Berries were cut quickly and the rest of the vase followed suit. After a very dry summer, we are experiencing an epic onslaught of humidity. My sliding glass door fogged over with moisture this morning highlighting the numerous greyhound noseprints in sweaty relief. I beat a quick retreat back into air conditioned space. Fortunately, the tropics remain quiet for this time of year and we are finally getting some rain.

The true flowers of the Bougainvillea are visible here. White daisies are Bidens alba, a local thug and lover of humidity. Yellow spikes are bits of Aechmea blanchetiana bromeliad flowers. The greenery is Boston Fern (Nepholepsis exaltata) and a juvenile Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal) frond.

Super drought tolerant Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in peach tones complete this vase. I am hoping to read about some autumnal weather on other blogs this Monday as we are sorely lacking even remote coolness. Visit our fabulous hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see other vases..

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Raindrop Close ups

I am joining the SOS crowd this morning, celebrating a very recent rain shower in my garden. The weather guessers predicted a much wetter September (usually our rainiest month). On this third day of the month, they are right.

I have been attempting to watch the Artemis 1 rocket launch this week; depending on weather the launches are visible from my backyard. If we see them my husband is usually squealing “this is so cool!!!!” This is NASA’s run up to another manned trip to the moon in a couple of years. The first attempt was scrubbed on Tuesday and the second is scheduled for this afternoon. Currently it is overcast, so time will tell. If the weather clears and the launch happens I may see a rocket fly by this afternoon.

On to plants:

Esperanza (Tecoma stans). Sometimes called Yellow Elder. This plant amazes me. It had virtually no water and a very dry summer and it just keeps going.

The base of Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascarensis). Another survivor with very little watering. I love the base of these. This is a member of the Strelitzia family related to Bird of Paradise.

Aechmea rubens in the final stages of flowering. I have never heard a common name for this. This bromeliad started flowering at the end of May, lasting all summer. I am wondering if the black tips are seeds?

These bromeliads are just starting to flower. They are Billbergia pyramidalis and have many common names – Flaming Torch, Hurricane, Foolproof Plant, Summer Torch. They are foolproof if planted in the right spot. I enjoy these every fall.

A mystery bromeliad in full bloom. This has lasted most of the summer.

Dancing Ladies Ginger (Globba winitii). My garden is too dry to support these, so I grow them in a pot. The plant is dormant during the dry season, then pops up mid June and flowers late summer. A neighbor gave me this plant. I think I will upsize the pot to see the plant will spread.

That’s it from South Florida. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Survivors

I am joining the SOS crew today sharing my summer survivors. This summer has been brutal, temperatures over 90 degrees F most days and very little rain. Add to that the demise of our irrigation system, I water what I can and am admiring what is surviving the onslaught. The tropical plants are outshining the native plants in the garden this summer.

Chocociana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). These small Heliconias are hunkered down under a Firebush and are doing quite well. Of course, I do have to squat down to see them.

Lady Di Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum) and native Tillandsia growing near the trunks of Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Spinach tree (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), a tropical subsistence vegetable I planted for the butterflies is doing remarkably well with no help from me. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies. The leaves may be cooked like spinach – if you know how to prepare it, otherwise it is poisonous. I leave it for the pollinators.

Chandelier Plant (Medenillia cummingii) is flowering again. Third or fourth time this year.

Schlomburgkia Orchid slipped out of its pantyhose noose. I reinstalled it with string. This orchid has put on four new canes this summer, but can’t quite get its roots in the trunk. I hope this works.

Several people have asked what the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) shrub looks like. This is it. It has dropped a lot of leaves in favor of the berries.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Hanging on with the orchids in the garden, waiting for fall. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Summer

Saturday morning finds heat and humidity in Florida – the Saharan sand drifting over the Atlantic is keeping the rain away and not much gardening is going on, except decapitating seed heads on weeds and watering. I have realized it is a bad idea to try and establish plants after May. Another backwards seasonality here, rest in summer and garden in winter. I am joining SOS today with summer flowers and foliage. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Blanchetiana Bromeliads are shooting up flower stalks. Below is the yellow/chartreuse version – sometimes called Lemon. Aechmea blanchetiana “Lemon”.

I bought this Red Velvet Aerva (Aerva sanguinolenta) last year. It was touted as a tough plant from Africa that is drought tolerant and native to desert, sandy soils. Not quite believing this, I planted some in the sand and took a few cuttings in case this was not true. The plant in the sand is long gone, but the cuttings love being coddled in potting soil.

Another oops from research. Last year I wrote an article for The American Gardener about Bougainvillea. Research in many forms claim Bougs bloom in cycles and stop when day length exceeds 12 hours. This one has been blooming all summer during the longest days of the year. Another myth busted.

The culinary ginger is finally growing. These are heat lovers and make ginger root during the summer, the fresh ginger root is wonderful. I am looking forward to it in a couple of months.

The Purple Gem Dahlias are getting smaller and moldier day by day. I decided to leave the tubers in the pots and not water them after they go dormant to see what happens. I also bought some uber cheap tubers to refrigerate and try later. Research is planned to find what day length inspires Dahlias to flower.

A Queen butterfly on the Firebush. These are cousins of the now endangered Monarch. They are supposed to be year round here, but are relatively rare in my garden.

There, my Six for this summer Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Summer Broms

There was a lovely breeze coming off the ocean this morning; reminding me of the old Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze” as I was cutting flowers. The version rattling around my brain was “summer broms make me feel fine” instead of the summer breeze lyric. The Arabian Jasmine next door is in full bloom, the sweet scent swirling through the garden adding another line from the chorus of that song to my garden musings.

Here is a snippet of the song. Beware if you remember this song, it is kind of an earworm and is haunting me.

[Chorus]
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ though the jasmine in my mind

A closer view:

The summer broms that make me feel fine are Aechmea miniata in red; blue flowers are ‘Mystic Spires’ Salvia; the foliage is a weird thing that popped up in my Rainforest garden under the Strangler Fig. Google lens identified it as Hen and Chick Fern (Asplenium bulbiforum) – a native of moist forests in New Zealand. My garden is not close to a moist forest, so I am not sure that is correct, but it is an interesting ferny thing I left in place to watch. I found the red vase by the curb while walking my dog.

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

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Shrimp and Fruit

It is Saturday again. Time to peruse the garden for six items of interest. Today it occurred to me the Shrimp Plants look their best in summer heat and the plants set fruit earlier here than in my former garden. The beautyberries are already turning purple; further north this happens in late September or October.

It is hot here, 92F or 33C, but nothing like what Europe is experiencing and fortunately we have had a lovely breeze off the ocean and rain showers all week so the garden is hydrated. The weeds are taking control – I noted them as I walked through the garden taking pictures but failed to take any action. I should pull weeds…blogging about them instead.

The Shrimp:

This is a Red Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana), they grow in the sugar sand without irrigation or much of anything else. It crossed my mind I should propagate more of these, they are easily rooted in water.

The fruit:

The incredibly prolific Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). This one never fails to amaze me. It grows on a wall facing due north. Full shade in winter and full sun in summer. And thrives.

The very pretty but inedible Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundafolia). These must be the hardy rootstock other tastier varieties are crossed with or grafted to. These have two large seeds and are very bitter tasting. The raccoons and local wildlife love them and spread them far and wide.

Bromeliads love the mid summer heat and are showing off.

One of my garage sale finds – no clue what variety this is. The flower looks like it might be purple.

Aechmea rubens in full bloom. I have enjoyed these this summer and wonder how much longer they will last.

Aechmea blanchetiana in bud. These will flower and last for months. A little photo bomb by Johnson’s grass, my least favorite weed. It is still out there, waiting to produce a hundred thousand seeds while I recline in air conditioned comfort. I will decapitate it before the seed disperses. Hopefully.

My Six for Saturday. To see more, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and stay cool..

Dahlia Rant

I am getting the odor of a bad vibe from the Dahlia. Overnight we have yellowing leaves and sunken black spots on the foliage. Hope springs eternal for the two final buds to produce flowers.

On another note, the story of my garden was published in GardenRant, a garden blog dispensing ideas, problems and sometimes trashing out Martha Stewart.

Anyway, here is the link:

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Tutti Frutti

The colors in my vase this Monday reminded me of my mother’s favorite ice cream, Tutti Frutti. I suspect she just liked saying the word while ordering. The ice cream was an unidentifiable, overly sweet fruit flavor in shades of pink, green and orange..lime, strawberry and orange, maybe? I am a confirmed chocoholic so it was not my thing.

The vase is also from my mother, a relic from her travels in the Southwestern US. The pineapple I found in my garden while cutting the Gardenias. It is small enough to fit in my pocket, though I found out the hard way that it was not a terribly good idea. Stabbed, yes. The pineapple is not quite ripe. I don’t think I am going to eat it as something took a bite out of the bottom. It is really cute, about 3 inches long, grown from a pineapple top from the grocery store. Vigilance is required to beat the animals to the fruit in the garden. Sigh.

A closer view:

The pineapple, on its good side. The flowers are: in peach, pink and green, Apricot Profusion, Cactus and Envy Zinnias; the pink flower is the same Dahlia from last week, identified as Purple Gem; white flowers are from Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata). A few stems of Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) are in the back.

This vase has a delicious fragrance. A combination of pineapple, gardenia with a bit of sage and dahlia thrown in. I did not realize dahlias were fragrant. Another reason to grow them.

Visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see other vases.

Here’s to cooler weather and gentle rains, Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Tropical Senescence

Unlike humans or maybe it is just me, flowers on tropical plants can look great for a long time, aging well. Above, the fading flowers of the relatively ephemeral Tropical Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes robusta). I enjoy these in the garden, the pink flowers celebrating rain. Here they are new:

The Silver Urn (Aechmea fasciata) flower opened about a month ago. Here is it today, the pink is a bit faded, but it is still a showstopper.

The opening flower:

Guzmania Bromeliads are another long lasting flower. I like these at all phases. These Bromeliads actually produce brown seed heads, which is unusual as most seem to produce vegetative pups. The flowers start red and slowly fade to chartreuse. This one is mid fade.

A fresh Guzmania flower. In March!

The Aechmea miniata flower, nearly full bloom with a friendly dragonfly. These are covered with blue when in full flower and slowly fade to apricot over the summer.

The buds from a couple of weeks ago.

Oops, I think that is Eight on Saturday. Oh, well. I am aging in the garden along with the Bromeliads…

To see more proper Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!