Six on Saturday – Day off

I  had a gigantic load of oak mulch delivered this week. After spending a couple of days ferrying mulch around in the wheelbarrow my back is complaining this morning so I am taking Saturday off from gardening.

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There is still a lot to do in the garden. These Heirloom Celosia seedlings are nearly ready for planting. They are called Texas Plume Vintage Rose Mix and reportedly make excellent cut flowers.

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A new Bromeliad flower appeared this is a Portea ‘Candy’.

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This is one of our native Air Plants, a Tillandsia that is going to seed. It fell out of a nearby Oak – I am going to add it to my Air Plant collection that lives in the Sabal Palm.

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A new butterfly caterpillar on a larval host plant I installed last year. The plant is Corkystem Passionflower, the tiny flower is hidden behind a leaf. The caterpillar will soon form a Chrysalis and become a Zebra Longwing butterfly. I hope.

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The Zebra Longwing Butterfly:

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This is the state butterfly of Florida, I have a large population in my garden and see these on a daily basis.

To see more Six on Saturday posts follow this link  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy  Gardening.

 

 

Happy Halloween from Bromeliads

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These are Tillandsia Bromeliads en pumpkin.

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Orange is the new black? A Black Chantinii Aechmea Bromeliad in full bloom. Perfect for Halloween.

Happy Halloween!!

Extreme Gardening – Dianella

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Here is my Dianella (Dianella tasmanica ‘Varigata’) or Varigated Flax Lily. This is one of those ‘drugstore parking lot’ plants that are really tough. I bought it from ‘the death rack’ at a big box store for fifty cents. I had it in a terracotta pot for a couple of years and pulled it out in June. Put it out of the way and promptly the Dianella slipped my mind.

This plant has sat above ground like this all summer long in South Florida, it has also sent up buds. and looks like it will soon flower! It is in the shade, potless, but still in better shape than while in the pot. I am thinking it will be really happy to be planted and have the perfect spot.

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.

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.