In A Vase on Monday – A Southern Classic

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In college, I took a class about perennials and designing perennial gardens. The teacher was Bob Hill, he has a Siberian Iris named for him – a deep purple. He was a true Southern plantsman and longtime professor, teaching Planting Design and Plant Identification. My guess is, by the time I took his class, Mr. Hill, in his 50s, had one too many smarty pants student say something annoying. He did not suffer fools gladly and you did not want to be the fool. A good teacher, if you listened. I was lucky to have the perennials course, it was rarely taught and I sincerely doubt the powers that be would even consider such a course nowadays. God knows you don’t want to teach Landscape Architects how to landscape anything. I’ll stop there and save my opinion about Landscape Architecture schools for another time.

Here is the point! We were taught the correct color scheme for a summer perennial garden is cool blue, pale and lemon yellows and pure white. This was supposed to be cooling and soothing in the summer heat. White gardens were brought up as a possible alternative and one wasn’t supposed to use hot colors until the fall and then pastels in spring. I suspect Bob Hill is spinning in his grave if he has visited my garden from the great beyond. A garden he worked on:

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The vase is blue and white china, very popular in the South (probably approved by Bob) and I collect it. This teapot is English and one of my favorite pieces. The colors are Southern Classic per my college class. Here is a close up of the flowers:

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The blue is Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), a stalwart shrub of South Florida gardens and nearly indestructible. The bud and white flowers are from Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divaricata), the white flowers with the yellow eye are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), pale yellow verging on apricot flowers on from Zinnias “HomeDepotensis”, the ferns are native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalata).

This teapotful of Classic Southern Summer color smells heavenly – and I do feel a bit cooler.

Hopefully, Mr. Hill understands and approves.

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Funky Florida Flora – Snake Plants

This is my side yard. When I moved to South Florida and rounded the corner of my new (old) house I could hardly believe my eyes.

Brain says “Snake Plant”, a person from much further north says “Not possible”. Oh, but it is. I would guess there is a ten-foot wide band of Snake Plant alongside my house- yes, Sansiveria and/or Mother in Law’s Tongue and the band is at least a hundred feet long. And they flower. I have cut them for arrangements, not a particularly long-lasting flower, but kind of interesting.

House plants run amok. One has to wonder, did someone throw out Snake Plant a hundred years ago and this is the result.

Snake Plants are considered invasive in South Florida. I have managed to make a dent in some of them:

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Yes, that is a pile of Snake Plants in front of a Bobcat (not the feline version) It is strange to me that we (my husband and I) would rather look at a telephone pole than all the Snake Plants and assorted garbage (Brazilian Peppers, another story for another day)

The Snake Plants grow running tubers (if that is a word) similar to Ginger. It is nearly impossible to pull up without breaking it and when it is broken it just reproduces – hence, the Bobcat.

Our landscapers are now mowing over the tubers weekly; we will see if the mowing actually helps.

I read somewhere a Snake Plant as a houseplant will clean the air. This means having one of these things in my house – and watering it. Um, no.

I am going to pass on that and use them in a vase. One less for the Bobcat. Here is a Vase with Snake Plant.

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In A Vase on Monday – Rabbit Food

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Early on Sunday morning I grabbed my shears and went into the garden to collect materials for my vase. My intention, to gather some Black Eyed Susans and other wildflowers for a casual vase.

After I closed the gate, keeping my greyhounds in their space – I spied the fattest rabbit I have ever seen lurking near my miniature pineapple plants. The tiny pineapple approaching its juicy peak.. I changed my mind and decided a slightly more tropical vase might be more appropriate. The lovely pineapple was quickly freed from its sharp crown.

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My wildflower theme completely blown by the plus size Rabbit, I searched for more tropical plants. I added some foliage from the miniature pineapple plant, a few sprigs of Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the orange flower is Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); the peach flower – the wildflower in the vase, a Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) for a light tropical fragrance. A Pandanus leaf is tied around the vase.

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I am glad I beat the rabbit to the pineapple.

Happy Monday.

Funky Florida Flora – Coral Plant

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It occurred to me this morning there are not too many plants that would work in this narrow space in my garden (about 18″ wide). This is a very funky plant, a Jatropha  multifida, called the Coral Plant. I thought initially the name was based on the color of the flower, but then realized the flower does resemble an actual coral.

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The foliage on this plant resembles something else. Cannabis, however, all Jatropha is poisonous, so I would resist the urge to smoke it and keep it away from children and pets.

The Jatrophas are interesting plants, tropical – this one is native to Mexico. They do best in South Florida or where temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Common to members of the Euphorbia family, they exude toxic, milky sap and can become a nuisance by its tendency to produce a lot of seeds. However, the seeds contain oils that have been proposed for use to make sustainable biodiesel fuel. They just haven’t quite figured out how yet.  Click for the Biodiesel story.

Despite the fact this plant is widely reported to love sharp drainage, full sun and noted for its extreme drought tolerance – it suffered in such a place in my pollinator garden and is much happier in its new skinnier digs with its own tiny irrigation bubbler and protection from the western sun. Butterflies continue to enjoy the flowers and I will as well now that the Coral Plant is in a happier place.

 

In A Vase on Monday – Dombeya Jambalaya

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This could be a year end vocabulary lesson. Dombeyas are tropical flowering trees and shrubs native to India. Jambalaya is a rice dish, consisting of rice, meat, vegetables and spicy seasoning cooked in a big pot – originating in Louisiana, the American Deep South. It is a mixture of many ingredients, like my vase.

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Here is the Dombeya flower, borne on a long stem hanging below big, fuzzy leaves. The bees and pollinators love them, and were objecting to my taking a few. A friend came by yesterday and said ‘this would be cool if it was a small tree and you could stand below and look up at the flowers’. The good news, it will be a small tree. The bad news, I was told maybe 6 feet tall and placed it accordingly. There is likely some judicious pruning in my future, but I love tree form shrubs.20181230_110831

The view from above, in light pink, the Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii); purple flowers are Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’ (sounds like a dreadful disease, really a small orchid); purple foliage is from a Hallelujah Bromeliad ( a Billbergia variety with a, yes, red, white and blue flower-note to breeder, just because you can doesn’t mean you should). The green foliage is from Asparagus Fern that pops up here and there in my garden. The vase is a thrift store find.

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Another view.

Thanks to Cathy, at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/, for another great year of hosting In A Vase on Monday. Follow the link to see what gardeners from the world over have filled their vases with this week.

And thank you to all who take time to view and comment on my blog and weekly vase post.

Happy New Year and here’s to 52 vases in 2019. I didn’t quite make it this year and also made a resolution to blog more in 2018, didn’t quite make that happen either!

There’s always next year, and it starts tomorrow!

Happy New Year!!

In A Vase on Monday- Corsage Ready

20180909_153340-1Gardenias always remind me of corsages. My mother, for some inexplicable reason, wanted a Gardenia wrist corsage when I married-unfortunately, it was April and no Gardenias could be found. She settled for Orchids. Non wrist at that.

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These are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divericata). The fragrance is not as strong as Gardenia jasminoides, but similar. This particular one is about 10 feet tall and I have been slowly reclaiming it from the blob of plant material that separates me from my favorite neighbor. The blob is a professional term I learned while in design school at The University of Georgia. One of my professors is probably feeling a really bad vibe right about now.

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My favorite neighbor also shared her big white Cattleya Orchid with me. Never one to struggle with convention, I installed it on a tomato cage hoping for an Orchid tower in the garden outside my Living Room window. I have been rewarded with three huge buds and am hoping for another corsage ready vase next week. Wrist band optional.

In A Vase on Monday- Fruitless Effort

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The big leaf in this vase is from my Papaya tree. Papayas are easily grown here, the time from planting seed to picking fruit can be as little as 9 months. But, it’s always something in the garden. I like Hawaiian Papayas, smaller like pears, pink flesh and sweeter than their bigger cousins from the Tropical Americas. I planted some seed last year from a Hawaiian Papaya I had eaten, numerous seedlings came up and I selected three to plant in the garden. Hurricane Irma took out two and I was left with one reasonably good looking tree. I was elated when it flowered recently and then nothing happened, raisin like bits fell out when the flowers were finished. Turns out seedling Papayas can be male, female or both. This one is female, so fortunately I was able to buy a self pollinating Papaya that should pollinate both trees. Next year sometime. Maybe.20180708_104558-1

Joining the Papaya leaf in the arrangement are: in white, lower, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); in white, upper, Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); orange tubular plants are our native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); in red and yellow, Parrottflowers (Heliconia pssitacorum); at the top a few stems of Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea).

A closer view:

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Here is the Papaya tree:

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To view Papaya free vases from the world over, visit our hostess, Cathy at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/.