Six on Saturday – Bountiful Butterflies

It’s a dreadful Saturday morning in Florida, our first cold front of the season is moving through spawning 35 mph winds and pouring rain. I spotted some new butterflies in my garden this week and decided that would be a better post than blurry, windblown flowers photos. I started a pollinator garden about two years ago and was astonished at how many butterflies appeared in my garden to devour my botanical treats. Here are a few:

The Giant Swallowtail on Firebush.

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Cloudless  Sulphur Caterpillar on Senna ligustrina.

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Zebra Longwing Butterfly:

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Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Zinnias:

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Pipevine  Swallowtail Butterfly on Firebush:

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Black Swallowtail on screen porch:

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For more Six on Saturday posts,  hopefully from drier gardens – follow this link to The  Propagators blog  More SOS.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Harvest Mood

 

img_20191103_135728It has been a rainy, overcast, blustery weekend in my garden. Feeling like a somewhat warmer and more humid version of fall further north. I went searching for some vegetation to fit the moody weather. The plants in the arrangement speak of fall in Florida – fruits from flowering and shade trees and “fall” leaves.

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The green fruit is from a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri) a smallish white flowering evergreen tree. The berries are from the Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba) a native shade tree affectionately called the Tourist Tree because of its red, peeling bark is similar to sunburned skin. The fruit is not edible from either tree. The “fall” leaves are from “Louisiana Red” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) they are this color year-round. This is a recent addition to the garden and has just started showing color.

Here is a more edible fall fruit, my first Corkystem Passionfruit, something other than me ate it. I planted it as a larval butterfly plant, the butterfly caterpillars have been eating the leaves, not sure who ate the fruit.

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Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Screen Planting

My husband and I moved to Florida almost eight years ago, it took seven years and a lot of dedication to clear our back property line of what could be politely called ‘unwelcome vegetation’. A mass of invasive Brazilian Pepper and as weird as it seems Snake Plant/Sansiveria/Mother In Law’s Tongue. It takes heavy equipment to get rid of the Sansevieria. It was so dense we couldn’t tell what was behind us.

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While this may not look that bad, the guy that lives behind us keeps a semi-abandoned boat on the property line. It is past time for a screen planting. I dithered, uh debated a lot of different plant material, and combinations but finally settled on these:

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Clusia (Clusia rosea), a fast growing Florida native sometimes called the Autograph Tree as you can scratch your initials into the leaves and they last for years. These usually get about 20 feet tall.

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Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’) a variegated yellow, white and green shrub for a 6 – 8-foot hedge at the end of my vegetable garden. The hedge will tie into the taller screen plantings.

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Silver Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus ‘sericues’). Another Florida native, these silvery trees reach about 20 feet and the wood is good for smoking fish.

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The anchor plants screening the worst view – Traveller’s Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis). These are not palms at all but related to Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) These should reach 30 feet tall and grow very upright and retain their fan shape at the base. Called Traveller’s  Palm as a thirsty traveler in the tropics can cut into the base and find a drink of fresh water – I have not tried this.

 

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Yet another Florida native, Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) these flower off and on year round and reach about six feet.

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Now, all I need to do is plant this.

For more Six on Saturday follow this link to the Propagator’s blog MORE Six on Saturday.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday – Nearly Perfect

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Today was nearly a perfect fall Sunday in South Florida. Clear blue skies, a light breeze, the native flowers blooming luxuriantly in my pollinator garden buzzing with green bees and butterflies. Unfortunately, it was 88 degrees Fahrenheit/31 Celsius. Too hot to hang around outside very long. Summer can last seemingly forever here. Endless Summer is not just a Beach Boys song. Though the vegetables and what the rest of the Northern Hemisphere considers summer flowers are thriving in the heat. I am hoping for bouquets of Zinnias and baskets of radishes, herbs, and tomatoes later in the season.

A closer view of my native flowers:

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I love the striking green stems with blue flowers, these are a native (according to some, the native plants’ people get tiresome to me), I think they are Stachytarpheta jamaicensis- Blue Porterweed, maybe the latin means they are native to Jamaica, I don’t know. These flowers are well behaved in my garden and flower nearly year-round. Orange and red daisy-like flowers are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) these change with the pollinators and reseed producing different flowers, fun to watch – last year I had some pinks. The pink flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in a lighter shade; purply pink grasses are Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia capillaris), my favorite Florida grass. Greenish white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) Ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata). The bowl vase is a handmade thrift store find I love.

In my garden, we are hoping for cooler weather and the fruit already out to ripen. Papayas and Passionfruit:

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I hope to catch a Passionflower soon! Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. For more vases, follow this link More vases. Cathy hosts the vase extravaganza every Monday.

Six on Saturday – Winter Veg

This is not actually Winter Veg, it’s Muhly Grass growing next to the Winter Veg and hard to resist.

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Here is the Winter Vegetable Garden, the first half just coming up. It is too hot in South Florida in summer for many vegetables to pollinate. I have Tomatoes, Snow Peas, Radishes, Carrots, Green Beans and Cilantro.

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Papayas. I have Avocado and Lime trees in the garden, if they were old enough they would have fruit at this time of year. Two years to go on those trees, it takes five years from seed.

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The Pineapple patch, no pineapples yet. And the feature dead solar pathway light.

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More seeds coming up, Cactus Zinnias, Winter Flowers not Veg.

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The seeds. The most irksome thing, the Cosmos seeds didn’t come up.

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Go to the Propagators blog on WordPress for more of Six on Saturday.

In a Vase on Monday – Fall Vase Theory

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This vase is filled with the fall colors of South Florida. All of these plants are native to the area and thrive without too much help from the gardener. These are my kind of plants, easy to grow and maintain and not too rude about taking over. An added bonus is they last as cut flowers (or berries).

This week I was asked for a post explaining how I arrange flowers, so my vase design theory will follow the components of the vase:

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The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); the off white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); pink plumes are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the ferns are Boston Fern (Nepholepis exaltata).

Vase Theory

The way I go about arranging flowers is less theory and more ‘that needs to be pruned’. I do not have a cutting garden. Anything within reach of the clipper is a cut flower as far as I am concerned. And I like garden space to be year-round, with the exception of vegetables. Flowers feed the soul, vegetables the body. Of course, having spent decades in the design business, there are certain knee jerk reactions to any design problem. And designers can overcomplicate anything.

This morning I noted my Beautyberry needed to be cut back again and decided to use the purple berry stems in a vase.

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The long, skinny stems dictated a tall, slender vase to hold them, I chose the smoky grey glass vase to contrast with fall colors I was thinking about using. I usually put the dishtowel headed towards the washing machine under the vase to catch bugs and trimmed plant bits. For proper scale with the vase, I cut some Beautyberry stems twice the height of the vase.

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I added the Beautyberry stems splayed around the vase into thirds, leaving spaces for more flowers.

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I cut some Muhly Grass stems (taller than the berries) for wispy purple texture change from the berries and greenish-white Juba Bush spikes for color contrast. Then decided the wispy grass needed a more solid green background. Back to the garden.

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I liberated a few Boston Fern fronds from the driveway (only in South Florida would this happen), then compared the size to the rest of the vase, decided they were too tall and cut a few inches off the stems. After adding the ferns, I decided more color was needed and went back into the garden for some Firebush flowers to fill the lower third of the arrangement with orange tubular flowers and some leafy foliage.

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The result, In a Vase on Monday! IAVOM is a Garden Bloggers meme based in the UK. Cathy from Rambling in the Garden is the hostess of this meme. To see more vases follow this link. More Vases

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