Six on Saturday – Florida Foliage Fun

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094253016_cover

There is some marvelously funky foliage that can be grown in Florida. I have succumbed to more that one plant for its foliage alone. The flowers, for the most part, are less than inspiring. Above is a Mammey Croton (Codieaum varigegatum ‘Mammey’). These are dwarf and grow to about 3 feet. They are a foundation planting next to my peach painted house. It’s  tropical fun.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093420422_cover

The leaves of a Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Louisiana Red’) These are new to my garden, six feet is the mature height, I hope. They are at the back of the butterfly garden.

img_20200523_093506

This is a ‘Raggedy Ann’ Copperleaf, it wasn’t big enough as a mass of color and not being able to find another I put the Louisiana Red beside it. I think this will work out.

img_20200523_094113

Six on Saturday would not be complete without including a Bromeliad. This is a unnamed Neoregelia I enjoy for its  color and size, it is about 2 feet wide.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523094200216_cover

Another Croton, the Piecrust Croton. Planted in honor of my husband, the piemaker. The leaf edges are crimped like a piecrust.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200523093332245_cover

The groundcover in my Rainforest garden is Zebrina Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) a common interior hanging basket plant. This is nearly indestructible and thrives in sugar sand.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts from the world over, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Treats

img_20200517_101314

One of the few benefits of increasing humidity in South Florida is the appearance of the more tropical flowers. Their scents perfume the garden and I am currently enjoying them indoors, sans humidity. The fragrances of tropical Gingers, Frangipani and Gardenias are floating through the air. Ever so lightly.

The vase is a Crate and Barrel candleholder from the 1970s. Bought during my husband’s first marriage and similarly has lost its mate. Though I do love it (and him) for the occasional vase. Another view of the vase:

img_20200517_101429

A close up of the flowers. The yellow and pink flowers and buds are Frangipani (Plumeria) A friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and I have no idea what the name of the variety is. This one is more fragrant at night and before sunrise (my greyhounds love this time of day, me, not so much – chasing rabbits and armadilloes are low on my life  priorities). The white flowers and most of the green foliage is from Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata – or something like that); these are not from Florida, India I believe is their real home and they are mostly deciduous here. The pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) – these flower off and on year round and it is nearly a pleasure to prune them for the fragrance.

 

img_20200517_101509

I am hopeful everyone has enough food and lav paper (I love the English term) – our supplies are still a bit weird. My husband, who has never joked about the quality of the paper – is doing so. And we are  both laughing as circumstances are so, well, absurd. I am hoping not to be attempting to grow Papyrus for personal use this fall.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Amy or Amelia – I answer to both.

In a Vase on Monday – Mothers Day

img_20200510_111556

I put this vase together on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US. The vases often make me think of my mother, Miss Betty, an intrepid gardener, registered nurse and mother of  four, who would have loved to see all the vases on Monday. I took care of her the last years of her life and always did her grocery shopping on Tuesday. Tuesday always brought a vase to her kitchen – either flowers from my garden, her garden or the grocery store. We both had Red Alstromeria in our gardens and the grocery store usually did as  well – there was a lot of Alstromeria in those Tuesday vases. Recently a friend brought me a start of the original Alstromeria my mother gave her. It is currently suffering in my garden, and I hope it can cope with South Florida sand.

A closer view of the vase:

img_20200510_111805

It’s an unusually cool, gloomy day for May in South Florida. I decided to create a copper teapot full of color for my foyer. The teapot is a favorite find of mine, antiquing with my husband I spied this and had to have it. Then went running home to make sure the check I wrote wouldn’t bounce. It didn’t, but barely.

There are a lot of flowers stuffed into a pickle jar in the teapot (it doesn’t hold water, holes in the bottom) The big red flower is The President Hibiscus, an old variety that lives a long time. Blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); bigger white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri); smaller white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); the orange tubular flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); grey fuzzy foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolaris); yellow and red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigatem); the Guzmania Bromeliad from last week’s vase is at the bottom left in the arrangement. Here is another view:

img_20200510_111739

And here is my mother, Miss Betty with her mother, Miss Ethel in 1988 – in front of her prized Philadelphus. I wonder how she would feel about being in a blog post..

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200510134404953_cover

Six on Saturday – May Happenings

The month of May is coming in like a lion here. Stormy weather and cool temperatures are across the US. In Florida, it is a refreshing 70 degrees but the wind kicks up and it a bit too windy to sit outside. Some of the warm season shrubs are starting to flower.

Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) can flower anytime, but is more prolific in the summer.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095713721_cover

Firebush (Hamelia patens) and one of my favorites flower more during the warmer months.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095614507_cover

The Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini) is flowering. I don’t get any dates, though these will bear fruit if you have a male and female palm.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509095834998_cover

The Papaya has produced its second crop this year. This one fell off the tree – there is a moth that lays eggs in the fruit and causes it to drop off. You can tell by the sap oozing out that the moth has been there. If I had cut the fruit open it would be full of worms eating the flesh of the Papaya (I didn’t). The fruit that falls has to be picked up quickly to halt another generation of moths.

00000img_00000_burst20200509094451595_cover

The Thai Dessert Mango is tantalizing me. This is a Nam Doc Mai.

img_20200506_111557

The Nam Doc Mai is also flowering again, so I should get a few more Mangoes this summer. These can flower year round, though mine usually don’t.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509094313878_cover

There, six things happening in my garden in May. For other Six on Saturday posts, go to  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday – Spring Refresh

Perfect gardening weather ruled this week. There was even some rain for successful transplanting and weed removal. After the first rain, I started to pull out the evil invader, Asian Sword Fern. These ferns popped up in my garden a couple of years ago. I thought they were pretty, no longer. They have grown through everything and can only be pulled out if the soil is moist.

img_20200427_102902

During the course of my weeding, I pulled out a Gru Gru Palm (Acrocomia aculeata) seedling. It is said this is what pygmy tribes in the Amazon use for poison darts. Covered in thorns, these sliced right through my leather gloves and they get bigger as the palm does. I hope I got rid of the thing, I did not plant it. I see these from time to time as a specimen palm in gardens, the appeal is lost on me. Way too sharp.

img_20200427_114910

Our front garden is always under renovation as a small area has to be dug up once a year to service the septic tank. I question the wisdom of this design, but it has been made as accessible as possible. I put in a shelf of shells on a pizza pan with a pot of succulents behind and rocks on weed fabric that can be pulled out and replaced easily. I am not quite finished with this project.

img_20200502_094411

The pot has Flapjack Kalanchoe, Graptosedum and a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is pupping so this should look fuller later this summer. The access to the septic tank is under the pizza pan. I am probably the first person to ever write that sentence, and possibly use a pizza pan for such a thing.

.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200502094637463_cover

I decided to direct seed a new crop of Basil for the summer into my herb pots, so far so good.

00000img_00000_burst20200502094354115_cover

The Beautyberry is flowering luxuriantly, promising a bumper crop of purple fruit later this summer. This is native and a pollinator favorite, waiting to see some new butterflies.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200502093631841_cover

Wishing  the Six on Saturday crew a lovely gardening week and for more posts go and visit…. http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200420143211172_cover

Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425091647781_cover

Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

img_20200425_091718

The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

img_20200425_103344

This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425092012453_cover

The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200425103425818_cover

Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

 

In a Vase on Monday – Pastels

img_20200412_105406

It is Easter Sunday and I find myself making liquid hand soap after giving myself a haircut. Strange days, indeed. My haircut seemingly turned out better than the hand soap. Oddly, there is none in stores. Hand soap, or haircuts for that matter.

I decided pastels were necessary for Easter and cut flowers accordingly. The Bromeliad in the middle is from a couple of weeks ago and has faded to pale yellow. The glass pitcher is a wedding gift – possibly its second use after nearly thirty years. My 27th wedding anniversary is Friday and I can say with confidence we are not going out for dinner. The  good news is I found a rack of lamb online and my husband makes a great Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb!!

It is interesting to take the temperature (not literally)  of gardeners. There is a lethargy encompassing us all, I think. I wonder if it is intentional – in the cosmic sense. Having  spent many decades picking up the pieces after land development – is Mother Nature saying Pause and Reflect? I am feeling that and would  love to know what the rest of  the  world it thinking.

A close up:

img_20200412_105213

Shell Ginger (Zerumbet  alpinia) appears in pink. The aging Bromeliad is  Little Harv Aechmea. The chartreuse and white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia  (Begonia nelumbifolia). Foliage – the  ferns, Asian Sword Ferns, yard trash; varigated leaves  ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana “Java White”) the other green foliage is from Firecracker  Plant (Russelia spp.) no firecrackers  yet.

Spend some time in the sunshine, it will lift your spirits.

To see more vases visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Buds

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200411092140635_cover

Weather is heating up in South Florida as summer approaches, we had a round of thunderstorms yesterday and expect more in the coming week. The Frangipani (Plumeria) has set buds promising a fragrant yellow flower with pink accents.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200411092231332_cover

Buds and one tiny flower on the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae) .These will flower, put out some pups, and then stop blushing until next winter.

img_20200411_093610

More Bromeliad buds, these are Tillandsias and the flowers will tell the tale of which variety – they will be red or green. I am hoping for Cardinal Air Plants, red flowering Florida natives.

img_20200411_093359

This is a Roselle, an edible Hibiscus (H. sabdariffa) – Most of the plant is edible, the leaves can be cooked as greens or added to salads. Sometimes called Jamaican Sorrel, I am thinking is it sour, but haven’t tried it yet. The burgundy ‘fruit’ is the base of the flower, called a calyx – these are used as a substitute for cranberries. Thankgiving relish may  go tropical this year.

img_20200409_113111

This is not a bud, but a cone. It is the female cone of a Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) the only Cycad native to the U.S. Cycads are gymnosperms and have male and female cones.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200404100911252_cover

One of my garden buds and a frequent companion when I am in the garden. An Anole lizard, not sure which one. I have read there are 2,000 lizards per acre in Florida and I believe it.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. My husband and I are thinking this is causing brain fog. Probably best to keep thinking!

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

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

img_20200405_113002

Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

img_20200405_113400

The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

img_20200405_113218

I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!