Six on Saturday – Waiting for Dorian

I live on the Atlantic side of South Florida and for most of this week, we have been watching now Hurricane Dorian forecasts. Our area has gone from obliteration to partial obliteration, currently, the storm is predicted to not hit us, no obliteration! At least for this morning. I took photos of things that might be blown away by the wind.

First, my Dombeya, it is a tropical version of a Hydrangea. I have been pruning it into a tree form all summer. These flower in December with pink balls hanging below the branches.

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Second, a pink Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – these can flower white, pink, red or neon orange. I enjoy the little color surprises from the seedlings.

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Next, the Blanchetiana Bromeliads in bud. These flower stalks are about 6 feet tall and will survive high winds, blooming while bent over later this fall.

 

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Fourth, the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana). These are a Florida passalong plant that came from my neighbor, they bloom off and on year round.

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The flower of Setcresea pallida, Purple Hearts, these tend to appear in the garden and I enjoy their purpleness.

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Last, the native Chapman’s Goldenrod (Solidago chapmanii, I think) Chapman was an early plant explorer in Florida and many native plants carry his name.

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Happy Gardening, I hope all these plants are here next Saturday.

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In a Vase on Monday – Some Like it Hot

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Living in South Florida requires ‘liking it hot’. The weather certainly is and in my case the colors in my garden. I like it hot. I will say a little moderation in the temperature would be meaningful. I have seen our current weather described as ‘Hell’s Front Porch’.

 

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This morning my husband sent me this, I don’t think it was actually quite that hot. However,  I decided to retreat to the air conditioning and leave the garden, letting the weeds take over a little more. We are up to 11.5 inches of rain for August and are expecting a few more inches from a nearby tropical system. The weeds are deliriously happy and reveling in the plentiful precipitation.

A closer view of the vase. The orange tubular flowers are appropriately named for the season, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) There is a botany war about the proper name of this plant. I decided that is its proper name.

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The red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), enjoying a banner year with all the rain, red flower at the base of the arrangement is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); white spikes are from Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) another great butterfly plant. There is a lot of foliage in this vase. The grey foliage is from the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum); big green leaves at the base are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’); burgundy foliage is from a Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); two kinds of fern – Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and Asparagus Fern – both are volunteers. In the back some foliage from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Lemon’)

 

The Firebush with a friend. The Zebra Longwing butterflies have been enjoying its nectar this summer, I have seen five butterflies hovering around the flowers more than once. These are planted beside my front door, so I see them several times a day and enjoy the flowers and the Zebras.

 

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Every Monday Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com hosts In a Vase on Monday, to see more gardens and vases visit her blog.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday. Summer Tropicals

I decided to join the Six on Saturday meme at The Propagator’s blog this week. I live and blog in South Florida. Having been down here a while, I still think a lot of the flora is weird but cool. Here are six tropicals blooming in my garden this week:

Flaming Torch Bromeliad. A common and colorful addition to our late summer gardens.

Billbergia pyramidalis.

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Beautyberry, a native shrub with magnificent fruit.

Calliocarpa americana. 00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BUbeautyberry

One of my very favorite Bromeliads, reliable and so funky. And a great cut flower.

Aechmea miniata.

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Late summer brings Cattleya Orchids to the garden, the next ones will be huge, white and fragrant. These grow in my neighbor’s Hong Kong Orchid (Bauhinia) tree.00100lportrait_00100_burst20190710131119708_cover

Another common summer flowering Bromeliad. Little Harv.

Aechmea ‘Little Harv’

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More Florida funkness, this is a Jatropha – called Coral Plant usually and considered a novelty, flowering off and on all summer.

Jatropha multifida.

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Happy Gardening Saturday and thanks to The Propagator for hosting.

Funky Florida Flora – Flaming Torch Bromeliad

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Right about the time the Hurricane season begins to peak, as in today! The Flaming Torch Bromeliads start to flower. Some people call these Hurricane Bromeliads for that reason. Most people call them Torch or Flaming Torch Bromeliads, the botanists call them Billbergia pyramidalis.

These are common passalong plants in Florida and possibly the most common Bromeliad in the landscape. Hardy to 20 degrees, reliable flowering and blooming in groups lasting for a couple of weeks in late summer makes this a good plant to gift a friend.

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Foliage is on the yellow side of light green, making a good contrast with the bright flowers. This plant is best sited in well-drained partial shade and will happily climb trees, converting from a terrestrial to an epiphytic plant.00100lportrait_00100_burst20190820135843791_cover.

In A Vase on Monday – Jar of Weeds

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This is my final Jar of the August garden, featuring the weeds- an inevitable feature this time of year. It has rained just shy of 11 inches in my garden since the first of August. The weeds are thriving and having a joyous outbreak of reproduction. ACK.

Recently, the mailman (a native of the Florida Keys) informed me that his mother would have pulled out all of the Beach Sunflowers in my front yard, pronouncing them weeds.  He thinks I am a gardening radical. These are the yellow daisies in the vase. I cultivate them in masses in my garden, they grow with or without irrigation in plain sugar sand and form a mat that reduces the less desirable weed population. I trim them with electric hedge clippers to maintain a low mass. 20190107_102831-1I suppose beauty is in the eye of the weed holder. Beach Sunflowers surround a Blanchetiana Bromeliad.

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A closer view of my weeds: the white daisies are Bidens alba, a native Bidens prolific (producing an average of 1200 seeds per plant) to the point of making it difficult to like the flowers as well as the bees do. The pinkish-white, small, lily shaped flowers are from Florida Snow (Richardia grandiflora) – a Brazilian native that reportedly blew in with the hurricanes from the early 2000s. A low growing perennial weed that infests lawn creeping through the blades of grass then flowering until it looks like snow on the lawn. I have pulled a zillion of these, they also reseed and will grow from cuttings (lawn mower cuttings)

Tropical plants also get loose in Florida gardens, purple foliage is from Oyster Plants or Moses in a Cradle (Transcandentia spathacea). I happen to like this plant, but it reseeds with vigor and is considered invasive. Purple striped foliage is another Transcandentia I like, T. zebrina also appears unbidden in shady areas. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, spread by birds and tending to take over our native Boston Fern. The red tipped leafy foliage is from Surinam Cherries (Eugenia uniflora) also called Pitanga. Pitanga is a small red cherry-like fruit with an (in my opinion) not so tasty tang of turpentine spread everywhere by grateful wildlife. The wispy flowers at the top are from a plant I am not recalling the name of, have a carrot like taproot and produce hitchhiker seeds that stick to my pant legs and greyhound noses. These have different colored flowers and can be pretty – but, are always asked to leave the garden if the soil is moist enough to pull the taproot out.

Here are the three jars of August – appearing in the same repurposed pasta jar – The first, flowers:

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The second, tropical flowers:

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And this week, the weeds.

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You may notice the weeds appear in more than one jar.

Maybe I am a gardening radical.

In a Vase on Monday – Jar of August Tropical Version

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My repurposed pasta jar makes its second appearance filled with the tropical side of August in the garden. This month has been steamily perfect for growing tropical plants; more than 6 inches of rain has fallen thus far and it is currently pouring down. The greyhounds are a little grumpy. The lightning show offshore at night has been keeping everyone awake.

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A closer view, the colors were a happy gardening accident. I do not consider myself a pink person, but there it is. Foliage in the background is two ferns that freely go wild in Florida. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) and Asian Sword Fern (I think) – both are considered invasive – it would take a bulldozer to rid my garden of these. I have pulled out cubic yards of them.  The purple and silver leafy foliage is Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) – if there is a more politically correct common name, I am not aware of it, though I do wonder about all the wandering and why Jews? The yellow and pink spikey flower in the back is from one of my garage sale Bromeliads. I have no idea what it is; the foliage is very thorny and is grey with a pink cast. The purple flowers are Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’) dreadful name but a lovely little perennial that flowers off and on year round. The last pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). In white with yellow centers Bridal Bouquet Frangipani. The Frangipani keeps flowering and I keep cutting them, I love the fragrance and added some Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) to the jar for some additional punch. Recently I ran across a Ylang Ylang tree (a major part of Chanel No. 5 perfume’s allure) Finding they will grow in my garden I am plotting the perfect location. Not a particularly lovely tree, but the fragrance from the flowers is heavenly.

Both Jars of August for comparison:

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Last week

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This week – Tropical version.

Thinking I should do a jar of weeds next week. Some are attractive and a major component of the garden in August.

 

In a Vase on Monday – August in a Pasta Jar

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The Dog Days of Summer are upon us. August dawned with steamy tropical heat punctuated by thunderstorms followed by a deluge of rain that emboldened and enthralled weeds overtaking the garden. I try to keep all the seed heads picked off the most noxious weeds in hopes of containing their numbers. It seems things make seed earlier here taking advantage of the rainy season to establish a new generation.

My Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana)  is packed with fruit and was blocking access to our irrigation controller so I trimmed a branch for this vase. Floridians make jam with this – I may have enough berries this year, although the universal reaction to the jam (from non-Floridians) has been ‘it doesn’t taste like much’. Probably best left for the birds. And I won’t have to engage my botulism phobia. This is one stem of a 6-foot shrub.

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The vase is an old pasta container that long ago lost its lid. While cutting flowers, it occurred to me I was getting a real taste of late summer in Florida without any of the imported tropicals. I left Frangipani, Heliconias, Orchids, and Bromeliads flowering in the garden.

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The contents of August in a jar: purple and green berries; American Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); white flowers, Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); orange and yellow spikes, Bulbine frutescens; red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red star shaped flowers, Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); tubular red/orange flowers, native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); Daisies at the base; in yellow, Beach Daisies (Helianthus debilis); in apricot, some mysterious Zinnias and some native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella). The Gallardia was thoughtlessly cropped out by me – it can be seen in the picture at the top of the post.

Maybe next week I will have a Tropical Jar of August!