Six on Saturday – New Year’s Projects

For 2020, I decided to add more vegetables to the garden, containers to my screen porch and fix an ongoing drainage problem.

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See all  the sand on the porch? I am adding a walkway and a wall to hopefully capture most of it. I have planted the pots with vegetable seeds – lettuce, spinach and  root vegetables.

The walkway under construction, landscape fabric filled with drainage gravel will go under the area where most of the water flows.img_20200104_095639

A concrete mermaid will be added  along with crushed shell and stone in front of the pots to help with drainage. Here is the mermaid, I call her me-maid as I have grey hair and brown eyes, considering adding glasses. And  fixing her arm, oops

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Replanted pots on the screen porch: A Fireball  Neoregelia Bromeliad, Flapjack Kalanchoe and Boston Fern. All transplanted from the garden.

 

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Another pot. The dark Bromeliad is Luca Neoregelia, the green one is Super Fireball, a bit of Asian Sword Fern and Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) More garden transplants.

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Papaya seedlings grown from the fruit of my tree. Papaya trees grow fast and don’t last long so you need back up trees for continous Papayas.

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That’s my New Year’s SOS, join the Saturday fun at  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year and  Happy Gardening.

Art in the Garden

I usually write about the art of the garden, but here is a bit of art in the garden. The above photos are of a woven willow structure currently under construction at the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, Florida. This piece of environmental art is nestled in a grove of palms and constructed of willow saplings and bendable twigs woven together to form a temporary structure. The structure will eventually have three willow towers. Here is a close up of the twig structure:

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And here is an overall view:

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The artist is Patrick Dougherty and the concept is STICKWORK, here is a link to more information on the artist and installation,  http://www.mckeegarden.org/current-exhibition.php

I am usually not very enthralled with environmental art, but I love this. The organic willow towers complement the formality of the palms and I like the facts that the structure is built from willows grown in a sustainable tree farm and after a few years the structure will be evaluated to decide to keep it or compost it. I have visions of the entire thing rooting into the ground and growing a twisted fairy tale castle in the palm grove.

The rest of the garden has a bit of a fairy tale feel as well. Conceived by pioneer developers in South Florida during the first half of the twentieth century – the first buildings were based on Polynesian structures in keeping with the “Jungle” theme. The garden fell into disrepair and was reborn in the early 2000’s shepherded by a dedicated group of garden enthusiasts. Below is one of the original buildings, a great hall centered around a table constructed from a 38 foot long single piece of Mahogany:

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The rest of McKee is well worth touring and has a wealth of tropical plants. I saw many types of Bromeliads I had never seen before and an array of Palms, Orchids and tropical trees. The garden began in a mature forest hammock and boasts some incredible native trees and a pathway meandering through the garden inviting you to stop and study the flora. Here are some of my favorite photos from my trek through the garden.

 

It’s Winter Starburst Clerodendrum Again

Everybody in South Florida is talking about Winter Starburst again. This time of year the shrub bursts forth with a floral display like no other. The flowers eventually spread to about 10 inches across and the shrub itself can grow to 10 feet tall. A Winter Starburst Clerodendrum in full bloom is nothing short of spectacular. A bonus to the Winter Starburst is deep green coarse textured foliage with purple backs that look great year round.

My first January in South Florida I nearly wrecked my car trying to get a good look at this shrub and figure out what it was. It is a showstopper that resembles a funky tropical rhododendron. Here’s the scoop, the botanical name is Clerodendrum quadriloculare. These shrubs are native to Southeast Asia and members of the Clerodendrum genus of plants which encompasses vines, shrubs and vining shrubs. Given their viny tendencies these plants can be troublesome in our gardens, they can spread unchecked and lend either – overgrown or if you prefer, a cottage garden vibe to your environs.

The photos above are of my late Winter Starburst. It expired last year due to poor installation and maintenance by the owner. It is true that these plants need partial shade and moist soil until well established. As I live in Scruburbia (Florida Scrub – sand, not sandy soil) I did not take the advice to heart and prepare the soil or water regularly. However, having witnessed another winter display from this shrub, I think I will try another planting or three!