Six on Saturday – Tropical Weather

Tropical weather is on the menu this week in Florida. Two forecasted hurricanes are lurking in the Gulf of Mexico, an unheard of meteorological event. Both are taking aim at the Gulf Coast of the US. Batten down over there. This weather brings downpours that can dump 3 inches of rain per hour in my garden – even hundreds of miles away from the storms. I am joining the Six on Saturday crew at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more posts of six items of interest from gardens around the world.

I am featuring my more tropical plants today. This is a Blanchetiana Bromeliad ramping up to full flower. The flower in back is about seven feet tall.

The flowers on a Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). These shrubs should reach at least six feet.

A Travelers Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) I planted these last fall to screen a telephone pole behind my house. They will grow to 30 feet. They have just reached eight feet. These are planted as a sign of hospitality in the South Pacific. The stems hold a great deal of water and a thirsty traveler can cut one for a drink of fresh water.

Fruit forming on the Papaya tree. I am hoping the moths are done with my tree for the year and I get some fruit this winter. The tree is at least fifteen feet tall, so I will have to wait for the fruit to fall off.

The new Papaya planted last year from seeds of the tree above. Papayas are very short lived, so I started this new one. The tomato cage is for protection from my lawn guys

Leaves of the Pink Ball Tree (Dombeya wallachii) This is sometimes called Tropical Hydrangea and flowers during the winter. The shrub grew 9 feet in less than two years.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Rain Delay

Early this morning I was greeted with brilliant blue skies and informed by my phone of very little chance of rain. So, I hand watered some of the garden as our irrigation system had a valve get stuck open and couldn’t be turned off (we had to turn off the water supply to get one zone of sprinklers to stop) Strange going ons in the garden.

Then, an enormous thunderstorm blew in and it rained off and on until late afternoon. Relief for my parched garden; I was in and out between rain showers cutting flowers for this vase.

The vase is a Rose` bottle, I like the bottle better than the wine. I have wrapped the bottle with Bromeliad foliage to add some color. The burgundy leaf at the top is Luca Neoregelia, the yellow leaf is Lemon Blanchetiana Aechmea.

Below is a closer view, I was searching for contrasts in color and texture of the plant material. The lurid purple berries are from Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange flowers are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) and the ferns winding their way through are Wild Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden.

To see more vases from gardeners around the world visit Cathy at www. ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening, hopefully I will get the valve unstuck on my irrigation this week. Hand watering is not fun in the South Florida summer.

Six on Saturday – Seeds of Change

I am joining the Six on Saturday crew today featuring seeds. I started planting tomato seeds this week for my fall garden and noticed many plants producing seed in the garden. As usual, the tropical plants behave differently and the seeds start early, perhaps to catch the end of the rainy season and get a better chance at life?

This is Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – a shrub native to the Southeastern US. The berries are more spectacular in Florida, I think and locals make (I am told) tasteless jam from the fruit.

Flowers on a Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini). These palms will produce dates. but are dioecious. I am not sure if this is the male or female flower.

Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simarouba) berries, I suppose. These remind me of Crabapples, the birds love them. The Gumbo Limbo is sometimes called the Tourist Tree because of its flaky, red “sunburned” bark.

Firebush (Hamelia patens), this one flowers and fruits simultaneously; birds enjoy the fruit, bees and butterflies the flowers. I can hear the shrub buzzing first thing in the morning.

Seeds forming on Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal). These seeds eventually turn black and fall to the ground. Native Americans ground the husks into flour.

My neighbor grew these Roselles from seed. This is a tropical vegetable, a relative of Hibiscus and Okra. The foliage is edible; new leaves are reminscent of Arugula and the older leaves can be cooked as greens. The calyx of the flower is what these are usually grown for – they are burgundy colored and are used as a substitute for cranberries in the tropics. These were planted as seedlings in May and are now 4′ tall. Waiting for flowers and ‘cranberries’ – hoping for Roselle relish for Thanksgiving.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

Six on Saturday-Porch Pots

I am joining The Propagator this Saturday with six items of interest from my front porch. I use my porches for propagation and composed containers. Above is one of my containers with Zinnias, Gold Sedum and Flapjack Kalanchoe for the summer.

I found a strawberry pot by the side of the road and decided to plant it with succulents. Here is a Graptosedum taking hold in the side pocket.

The top of the strawberry pot has a Haworthia along the edge. A friend gifted me this one, I am not sure which Haworthia it is, I hope it flowers.

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the pot is in mid pupping, the mother plant on the left side is dying as the new pups takes over the container. The Graptosedums also have some offspring.

Here is a close up of the Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). This plant can be used as a groundcover here, but I have it planted as a spiller in a container.

I propagate plants on the front porch as well. From the left, a bit of ‘Song of India’ Dracaena I found by the side of the road and three Desert Rose cuttings taken while pruning bigger plants I have in containers at another entrance to my house. The Roses are slowly rooting while leaning on the wall.

That is my six for this Saturday, join the meme or see posts from around the world at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday Mini Pi

The title Mini Pi is due to:

The flower is Miniata Bromeliad.

There is a Mini Pineapple and a Pineapple Vase.

The foliage is Piecrust Croton.

I could have called this Many Pies..

A closer view:

The red flowers are from a stalwart of my July garden, the Miniata Bromeliad (Aechema miniata). The foliage is Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), there are numerous cultivars of Croton. I bought this one for my husband, the piemaker. Here is the foliage, the varigation is different on the front and backs of each leaf. The back is on the left, note the veins, and the front on the right. Leaf edges crimped like a pie crust.

The Pineapple vase is from Maui, my husband swears it is a palm tree. It could be either. The Pineapple is from my garden. Its demise occurred after ripening on the counter until its scent permeated the kitchen. Lunch today was a Roasted Salmon with Pineapple Salad.

The Pineapple was quite good and I am saving the top to grow some more..

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. To see more vases from around the world, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

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I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

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The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

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The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

Extreme Gardening

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I had a bad run in with an Agave a few years ago. It resulted in a course of steroids and antibiotics as it seems I am allergic to the thorns somehow. I have one big blue Agave in front of my house that is easily avoided and kept as thornless as possible by pruning. The Agave in the pot beside my side entrance has been taunting me for years. Not very attractive, but I really did not want to grab a hold of it and pull it out. The handle broke off  the shovel , the evil thorned one was not budging and loppers weren’t working. Then, a thought occured to me, lightbulb over head! I just had a trailer hitch put on my Jeep. Note the small rope tied around the Agave.
 
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Before anyone asks if I have a Bulldog, no. The Bulldog is the mascot of my alma mater, The University of Georgia. The rope is tied to my trailer hitch-I pulled the Jeep into the garage and the offending Agave popped out. The other plant is a Firesticks Pencil Cactus, easily removed.
 
Success!
 
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These days my side door is Agave free. I have thornless Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) in these pots underplanted with Flapjack Kalachoe and Fireball Bromeliads. The Roses flower in summer and look funky year round.
 
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In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

To see more vases from around the world, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Tropical Summer

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One of the wonderful things about South Florida in summer are the tropical flowers that love heat and humidity. Above is a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). This is native to Arabia and Africa and is a rare container plant that can stay outside all summer in the full blazing sun.

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The Bougainvilleas are spilling colorful flowers on arbors and trellis. This is Miss Alice Bougainvillea, the flower is the small part, the white bracts surrounding the flower are what make the show.

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Another favorite, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). I have these near the entries to my house, they have a light, sweet fragrance most noticable at night or early in the morning.

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This is actually fruit, Sea Grapes (Coccoloba uvifera). These grow just about anywhere in South Florida, usually seen near the coast as it is very salt tolerant. The fruit ripens to brown and tastes a bit like figs, however the seed is nearly as big as the grape – for me, it is too much trouble to eat them.

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Finally, this is my favorite summer flower – my neighbor grows Cattleya Orchids in her Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). I am trying to get some going in a palm tree, no flowers as of yet. Here is a closer view.

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That my six this Saturday from humidity central. To see more Six on Saturday posts visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.