In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Forking Around

I had a disturbing rabbit issue this week. A butterfly gardening friend sent Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) seed. I very carefully started the seed, potted the seedlings up and grew them up a trellis before installing them in my garden. The morning after the installation, the plants were gnawed back to the ground. Arggh. I have been seeing this plastic fork solution here and there and decided to give it a try for rabbit abatement. So far, so good – the plants are growing back. Has anyone else tried this? I have also read blue tea can be made from the flowers of this vine…anyone try this??

It finally rained this week..yay!!! and the flowers are popping out in appreciation of the drenching. This is a Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), the flowers provide nutritious nectar for butterflies. The leaves are good for people. This is a tropical vegetable native to Central America. I have not eaten any as it must be cooked properly or it is poisonous.

Flowers starting in the cup of a Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad. The blue star shaped flowers eventually fill the cup.

Guzmania Bromeliad flowering again. I have had this Bromeliad for years in a clay wok container. It flowers every summer and lasts for months. Sometimes I cut them for arrangements.

Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes) I am not sure which species this is – though it is tropical. One of my favorites and a not too prolific reseeder.

This is the result of having a Papaya tree chopped off a few months ago. I am not sure what is going to happen next, though the shoots seem too narrow to cope with summer rain and wind. The top of the cut also dried out leaving a shell. I have a back up Papaya tree coming along.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Join the crowd and visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see a world of gardening sixes.

Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday – Back to the Garden

I am rejoining the Six on Saturday crowd this week after tending my husband last week. He is on the mend and I am happy to be back in the garden. I planted a few new things and found some summer flowers in the garden. Above is a Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca). These have been in the garden for two years. They are advertised to flower year round, not quite so far – though they make long lasting cut flowers.

A new plant in the garden – a Joy Perfume tree (Magnolia champaca). This is a tropical Magnolia, the flowers are used to make Joy perfume. I love the almost polka dotted foliage. I added a Ylang Ylang tree this winter (Chanel No. 5 is made from this tree’s flowers). I hope they are far enough apart. I have a Tropical Lavendar on the other side of the garden. I have a feeling there is enough scent in the garden. Both trees have a reputation for strongly scented flowers. Time will tell.

Another interesting tropical, Chandelier Plant (Medinilla cumingii). A friend shared a rooted cutting with me this spring, it is taking off in a container on my front porch. Similar to orchids, a tropical rainforest plant that lives in trees. This one should have flowers like pink grapes this summer. I am excited to see the flowers. The usual Medinilla I see around here is M. magnifica.

Petunia exserta, grown from seed by my neighbor, are in full flower on the front porch. My porch is a bit overrun with plants right now. I have found it is the best place to grow things from seeds and cuttings.

The first Passionfruit of the year. These have to stay on the vine to ripen – the gardener has to keep a close eye on these to beat the varmints to the fruit.

The last tomatoes of the season. I have had so many good tomatoes this year I decided it was worth the trouble to do it again – but only in containers. The plants in the ground did not do well even with irrigation..

That’s Six from South Florida this Saturday. To see more posts from gardens around the world visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Going to Seed

Some days it seems I am the one going to seed. Maybe people are like plants, some look better than others while going to seed.. The tropical Lotusleaf Begonias (Begonia nelumbifolia) are one of my favorites when going to seed. They make lovely triangular, chartreusy seed heads that tower above the foliage. I have never had a Begonia grow from a seed dropped in my garden, but it is entirely possible I have not left them on the plant long enough.

A closer view:

I started out with the idea of using a hand tied bouquet to make the Begonias stand upright – then the slant grew on me and I added foliage to emphasize the non-political right slant.

The crystal vase, a wedding gift from a dear friend who I worked on perennial gardens with in Atlanta. The left leaning plants in the arrangement are: in black with coral spotted leaves, Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum). This shrub is used as a foliage accent in the garden. The new growth is yellow and green and eventually darkens. An amazing variety of colors exist in this well loved tropical shrub. Maybe the left lean is appropriate. The ferns, added for a green, graphic backdrop are from Florida’s native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). The day after the US Presidential election, my right leaning neighbor came out with his weedeater and cut the ferns in my garden down. The reason for this remains a mystery to me. The trimming rejuvenated the Boston Fern. The two strap like leaves are from a Neoregelia Bromeliad that is also on its way out. I cannot tell in some cases when to cut the mother plant off and get rid of it. Bromeliads are peculiar in the way they reproduce. I buy a plant, it may or may not flower, sooner or later a side shoot appears, called a pup, and then the original (Mother) plant dies. The pup on this one is nearly as big as the mother plant. The Neoregelia Bromeliad:

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the front of the image is the mother plant, you guessed it, going to seed! I should add; very few Bromeliad have produced seed in my garden, though it happens. I am told growing Bromeliads from seed is a long, excruciating process – it’s better to use the pups for new plants.

Many thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and maintaining this wonderful meme. I enjoy the weekly posts from around the world. Follow the link to see more (probably upright) vases.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Notorious RBG

This Monday my vase may require an explanation. One of our truly great Supreme Court Justices was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights in the United States. She passed on last September serving as a Supreme Court Justice since 1993. She was well known for wearing a lace collar around her neck over black robes and somehow became known as ‘Notorious RBG’ after a prominent rap artist called Notorious B.I.G., evidentially due to her scathing dissenting opinions as a Justice.

The RBG in my vase this Monday is a Real Big Ginger and the crochet doily was done by another notorious woman, my mother-in-law – Joan Ethel Davis. She passed on in 2002, her initials are crocheted into this doily and I am certain she was a huge fan of the real RBG.

A closer view of the vase. The Real Big Ginger is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) in pink and white. It is notorious in my garden as I did not realize quite how huge it would get. Four feet tall and maybe eight feet wide, it has overrun a few milder plants in my landscape and was asked to leave the tropical garden. The off white and slightly pink Begonia is from the Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia). Most of the arranging of these flowers involved deciding what to cut off – I trimmed most of the leaves from the Shell Ginger and slipped the Begonia in as a afterthought.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM – to see more vases follow the link to her blog.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Garden Happies

This Saturday I am joining the SOS gang featuring six things in my garden that made me happy today. To see more SOS posts visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

First, from my refrigerator – the growing jar of nasturtium capers..made from seed pods from my garden. The capers are luxuriating in a bath of white wine vinegar, red pepper, bay leaf and thyme.

Second, the Fire Sticks Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) is putting on new growth – earning its name.

Third, despite virtually no rain the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is flowering abundantly.

Fourth, the Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) flowers.

Fifth, the results of my pruning the Miss Alice Bougainvillea, here is the before:

Sixth, the results of last September’s pruning.

The greyhound is still standing sentinel. The image made me realize I need to go put the landscape light back on the Bouganvillea, it is lying on the left side lighting nothing!

Happy Gardening….

In a Vase on Monday – In a Pickle

I thought “in a pickle” was American slang. The Dutch started it using “in de pekel zitten” to describe an uncomfortable situation, this translates to “sit in the pickle brine” Seems that would be a stinging experience. Easter Sunday morning found me in the garden thinking “there are no flowers to cut for a Monday vase” – I thought I was in a pickle..Not so much, this rarely proves true, though sometimes I have to look harder to come up with an arrangement. Oddly, there was an abandoned pickle jar in the garden near my Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliads. Being “in a pickle” passed through my mind until inspiration hit via the pickle jar. There are also some salsa jars out there I need to get rid of…

The pickle jar is wrapped with a leaf and tied with jute twine. I left the twine trailing given the casual feel of, well, a covered pickle jar. A closer view of the flowers.

The leaf wrapping the jar is from a Raspberry Blanchetiana Bromeliad. This is a mahogany and greenish red leaf plant with large (4 feet long) red and yellow flowers. The flowers start in November and are looking ragged now. They are as tall as I am when I cut them back to the ground.There are orange and lemon Blanchetiana with the appropriately colored foliage to go with the flowers. I have used the other colors to wrap vases.

The flowers:

In blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; I am enjoying these so much I am hoping they last the summer. The white daisies are Spanish Needles, an annoying native, botanical name, Bidens alba. Orange daisies are from Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenpodoides); orange tubular flowers from the native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Yellow daisies are Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) and a white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) is in the back. Two red and yellow native Gallardia round out the front of my pickle jar.

I am glad I did not find myself in the Dutch version of the pickle this Monday.

Happy Gardening, and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to see more spring fun in a vase..

Six on Saturday – Learning Curve

One of the good things about gardening is the ongoing lessons learned. Above is my Jurassic Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) undergoing Vivipary – defined as a precocious growth of offspring while still attached to the mother plant. I had to ask a botanist friend what this plant was doing. Evidentially, I can trim the leaf around this tiny plant and place stem in soil and it will root.

My finally pruned correctly Miss Alice Bougainvillea in spring flowers.

New bed in my front garden. Plant palette is Indigo Spires Salvia, Blue Daze Evolvulus, Yellow Callibrachoa, and White Pentas. Shrubs in background are Maui Red Ixora. Lesson learned here – I have tried several plants here, Florida lacks good groundcover plants – and the soil is not soil. So, I removed and replaced a wheelbarrow full, see below.

Yes, plants will actually grow in this. I am fearful the good soil is going to sink…

Lessons learned from SOS, how to make Nasturtium capers. Letting them rest in salt.

Starting the jar of pickles. I will add more as the seeds are formed. Thank you, Fred, a French Gardener.

That is my six this Saturday, welcome spring everyone and Happy Gardening.

To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Slant

It is safe to say my garden has a different slant from most. Located in what is called USDA Zone 10A in the northern part of South Florida, our average low is 40 degrees (F). I am on the northern edge of tropical, and enjoy growing plants that hail from further south. The arrangement is intentionally slanted; the idea provided by the growth of the pink flower, a Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad.

A closer view of Little Harv.

The rest of the vase:

The vase, found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, is an old florist vase from who knows where. The white begonias are from my huge Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); the other white flowers are from Miss Alice Bougainvillea; ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and there is a leaf from a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) on the right side that is not visible in the images.

My lunch also had a different slant today:

A Chicken, Swiss and Nasturtium flower sandwich on Foccacia. With Blue Corn Chips – the salsa didn’t make it into the picture. It was good! And very colorful.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting every Monday. Follow the link to see spring in a vase from around the world.

Six on Saturday – Succulents n’ Stuff

There was some plant shopping this week. I went with a friend to a local nursery. Pinder’s Nursery grows a large selection of succulents. My strawberry pot needed a little rejuvenation, so I bought a few 2 inch containers. The blue grays are Echeverias (I Think); grey is Graptosedum; brownish is a Haworthia. I am not sure what the green one is. Growing out of the side is a Flapjack Kalanchoe.

In the side yard, a Firesticks Pencil Cactus and Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) live in an unirrigated bed.

Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) tower above Flapjack Kalanchoes in a planter by the door. These are just leafing out and flowering after a cold snap in January slowed them down.

Tillandsia ionantha producing pups inside another Bromeliad, these are native to Central American and have hot pink and blue flowers. I bought a couple last year and thought they were gone – hopefully I see some flowers and they will create a colony.

Buds on a Billbergia Bromeliad – not sure which one, though I am thinking it is Purple Haze..

My tower of Nasturtiums and Tropical Red Salvia. I am enjoying the Nasturtiums immensely.

That is my Six this Saturday, to join in or see posts from the world over, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening..