In a Vase on Monday – A Different Slant

It is safe to say my garden has a different slant from most. Located in what is called USDA Zone 10A in the northern part of South Florida, our average low is 40 degrees (F). I am on the northern edge of tropical, and enjoy growing plants that hail from further south. The arrangement is intentionally slanted; the idea provided by the growth of the pink flower, a Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad.

A closer view of Little Harv.

The rest of the vase:

The vase, found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, is an old florist vase from who knows where. The white begonias are from my huge Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); the other white flowers are from Miss Alice Bougainvillea; ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and there is a leaf from a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) on the right side that is not visible in the images.

My lunch also had a different slant today:

A Chicken, Swiss and Nasturtium flower sandwich on Foccacia. With Blue Corn Chips – the salsa didn’t make it into the picture. It was good! And very colorful.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting every Monday. Follow the link to see spring in a vase from around the world.

Six on Saturday – Succulents n’ Stuff

There was some plant shopping this week. I went with a friend to a local nursery. Pinder’s Nursery grows a large selection of succulents. My strawberry pot needed a little rejuvenation, so I bought a few 2 inch containers. The blue grays are Echeverias (I Think); grey is Graptosedum; brownish is a Haworthia. I am not sure what the green one is. Growing out of the side is a Flapjack Kalanchoe.

In the side yard, a Firesticks Pencil Cactus and Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) live in an unirrigated bed.

Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) tower above Flapjack Kalanchoes in a planter by the door. These are just leafing out and flowering after a cold snap in January slowed them down.

Tillandsia ionantha producing pups inside another Bromeliad, these are native to Central American and have hot pink and blue flowers. I bought a couple last year and thought they were gone – hopefully I see some flowers and they will create a colony.

Buds on a Billbergia Bromeliad – not sure which one, though I am thinking it is Purple Haze..

My tower of Nasturtiums and Tropical Red Salvia. I am enjoying the Nasturtiums immensely.

That is my Six this Saturday, to join in or see posts from the world over, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Stuffed with Memories

This brown vase belonged to my mother, who loved things made by hand. She enjoyed making things with her hands, sewing, embroidering, cooking and gardening. I am certain my love for plants and gardening came from her. She filled this vase with blue pansies in winter and zinnias in summer. She almost always had a vase of grocery store Alstroemeria on the kitchen counter, preferring just one kind of flower, as combining flowers in a vase kind of threw her for a loop. I was called for flower duty more than once when she was having a party. Good training for future garden blogging!

Here she is, in embroidered Christmas apron, beckoning me to come inside and arrange the flowers:

I was surprised by how many flowers I could stuff into this seemingly small vase. The zinnias reminded me of my mother, but it would surprise me to find that she had seen any of the rest of them. We both embraced pink and orange flower combinations reluctantly; but the combo tends to grow on you after a while. Numerous clients have gagged at the thought of that color combination in their own gardens.

A closer view:

The peach, orange and pink flowers in the front of the vase are Zinderella Zinnia. None look like the picture on the seed packet. I cut them all off to the stem starting side shoots in hopes of bigger flowers. The fuzzy, red flower is a Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula) – these are supposedly a good flowering groundcover here. This one went dormant from August til January, not my idea of good groundcover – I was surprised it came back up. Pink Star Flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); I love these for the butterflies they attract, however, I wonder how perennial they are and if I should cut them back? Blue flowers are Blue Mist flowers, I think these are some kind of native Ageratum that appeared in the front garden. White daisies are the everpresent native weed, Bidens alba. The little blue and white flowers in the back are from Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica) – an uncommonly indestructible perennial.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – New Things

It’s Saturday again, I am joining the SOS crowd at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. I have some new blooms in my garden this week.

This is a Zinderella Peach Zinnia – these seeds are open pollinated, the flowers are fully double, semi double and single. None of them look like the photo on the seed package.

First ever buds on the Rangpur Lime tree. My neighbor planted the seed five years ago – it is seemingly well known it takes five years from seed to fruit. I have a Cuban Avocado tree the same age, they flower until April. I am watching the Avocado daily, leaf buds so far. I am excited about limes from the garden. The holes in the leaves are from Giant Swallowtail butterflies, citrus are the larval host plant.

The Jurassic Begonia is flowering..it is really a Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia). It is easily four feet tall.

A Ylang Ylang tree (Cananga odorata) acclimating to sun, waiting for determination of its final location. This is the flower that supplies the fragrance for Chanel No. 5 perfume. The directions stated it takes one, two or three years to flower. Waiting some more….

A new spring container planting. This has brightened my day everytime I see it. In purple, Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, the chartruese is another Plectranthus (can’t we just call them Coleus!?) Peach Impatiens, a white Begonia and a bit of Graptosedum for the spiller.

My first Nasturtiums, I kept planting them at the wrong time of year..going to try some poor mans capers from the seeds. Should be another first.

In a Vase on Monday – Going Gingerly

Since the Shell Ginger started flowering I have been thinking about a kind of graphic vase, with a linear feel reflecting the leaves and shape of the flowers. The other idea floating around in my head, it should look like a bridal bouquet.. Stretching my imagination, I visualise a bride picking this up and walking down the aisle. She would have to be tall, thin and have a really good grip. Maybe there is engaged American basketball player out there somewhere..who loves pink and ginger….Thinking I forgot the trailing ribbons. Or the basketballs. My husband commented it looks like flames…

A closer view:

The vase…a vintage Dansk candleholder from the seventies, its mate lost to the sands of time. The flowers, in pink, Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the white flowers, from my White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri). The green foliage is from the Shell Ginger.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this Monday. To see more vases from around the world, visit Cathy.

Happy (almost) Spring and Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday- Dinner Plans

The produce in my garden is coming along and I am starting to think about eating it. This is meaningful. I have tried to grow salad greens for a couple of years. The rabbits ate the ones in the ground immediately, so I tried them in pots, too much shade. I put up a rabbit fence, something tore it down in the middle of the night, the jury is still out on what varmint to blame that on – whatever it is, they are big enough to knock over 7 gallon containers!

The arugula is the current focus of my fancy. I bought a planter on 24″ legs and placed it in full sun and voila, arugula – enough to make a favorite dish. Homemade pasta with corn and arugula. Fresh corn is usually available in South Florida in the winter, however, this January was so cold the corn was stunted and has finally become available. Here is the pasta:

The mangoes are forming fruit. They are pea-sized now and I should have a lot of fruit in a couple of months. This is a Pickering Mango.

It’s future destination – a Mango Pie. This is a Mango Papaya pie. It has lime and coconut in it. I also like Mango pie with blackberries.

I have been watching these Yellow Pear tomatoes for months. Planted in November, from seed in August. I have had a few tomatoes – they are really setting some fruit now that the weather warmed. It has been in the high 70s (F) for the past week or so.

The plans for these? Tomato jam with fresh herbs for my Tuscan bread experiment from yesterday. I spent a summer in Italy in college and you just can’t get this bread in the U.S. It is made without sugar or salt and I wasn’t convinced the recipe would work. It did, one bite and I was back in the Convent having breakfast with nuns nearby. (It was a Studies Abroad program housed in a Convent, I wasn’t a nun)

That is my Six for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. I will be in the garden dreaming up dinner.

Happy Gardening..

In a Vase on Monday – Dawg Treats

Imagine my surprise when my stealth dog, Zepp, strolled up and started to have a bite of the Nodding Hibiscus. He was advised not to eat the flowers and they were moved to a higher shelf. I was happy for my phobia about bringing poisonous plants in the house. Zepp is oddly silent for a counter height dog and can startle me by materializing out of the darkness when in the fenced area at night.

The other Dawgs this arrangement reminded me of are Georgia Bulldawgs, the mascot of my alma mater, and the team colors are red and black. “Go Dawgs” is the battle cry at football games.

Here’s a better shot of the arrangement:

The black glass vase is a thrift store find from years ago I like to use with tall, thin plant material. Red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), these reseed prolifically and produce different colors, the latest is a nearly black stem I love. A few red Firecracker Plants (Russelia equisetiformis) are hanging over the base of the arrangement. The red flowers draped over the edge are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduiflorus), I am pretty sure these are edible, but didn’t try them out on Zepp as they can have a laxative effect – not good in a 80 lb. dog. The white flowers are branches from the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora), a large shrub with strange tropical fruit (known for its resinous taste). The branches remind me of plum or cherry flowers and are reminiscent of spring. The grey spike in the middle is the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe, a favorite succulent in my garden. I thought a little bronze foliage was in order, so the straplike leaves in the back were added. They are from Blanchetiana Bromeliads.

A closer view:

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to her blog to see more vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening..

Six on Saturday – Seeds and Bulbs

This Saturday I photographed the new plants I have grown from seeds or bulbs this winter. As usual, my learning curve for Florida gardening extended into trial by fire to find the proper season or temperature for success with germination. It seems all seeds come with some instructions for planting times based on frost – we have no frost here so timing is a wild guess for me most times.

Waltham Broccoli, a cool weather crop everywhere is a winter crop in South Florida. I started seeds in November, the package says these take 50 days to harvest, I think not.

My first Calendulas ever! Planted in early January, the seed collected by my neighbor last year. I am looking forward to the flowers.

Fiona the Greyhound checking out the Nasturtiums. I found these will not come up at all if planted when the temperature is too high. After trying them in August, I forgot about them until January and they came up then. Later I read December 1 is the magical start date. Sigh, these haven’t flowered yet and maybe that is why.

Tropical Milkweed, the larval host plant for Monarch Butterflies. Seedlings started when too cool. These suffered through December and January, developing nice root systems for some reason, so I planted them. I recently found out the seeds should be planted now..since I had a lot of seeds I scattered them all over the butterfly garden. The seeds have a reputation for high germination rates, though the ones I planted earlier in pots 3 out of 12 came up. It will be interesting to see what happens in the garden.

Spinach, Basil and Cilantro seedlings on my front porch. The seeds were planted in January. I gave up growing herbs in the ground, these are my best herb seedlings so far.

Shamrocks were originally collected in Ireland by a friend’s grandmother decades ago. These had been thriving in her South Florida garden for years. I think these will grow almost anywhere.

My Six for this Saturday. For more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – From Florida, With Love

This vase came together on Valentine’s Day. Walking through the garden, I was thinking about the polar weather seemingly everywhere else described in blogs this week. This inspired me to create a vase from the most tropical flowers I could find, sending some Floridian love and warmth out into cyberspace..

A closer view:

The white and pink flowers hanging over the side are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the only Ginger I can grow in my garden. Looking back, these flower every February – wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day from the garden. The purple flowers are from my neighbor’s Hong Kong Orchid Tree, certainly a straight species Bauhinia purpurea, as it is probably 5o years old. Newer varieties don’t reseed as prolifically as this one does – but, in winter it is covered in purple orchid flowers and in summer sports a huge mass of white and purple Cattleya Orchids growing on its trunk. I hope it stays around a long time.

The mad foliage I grow in my South Florida garden continues to amaze me. The green leaves in back are Shell Ginger, the purple leaves are from Moses in a Cradle or Oyster Plant (Transcandentia spathacea). The olive green foliage with fuchsia tips is from the aptly named Painted Fingernail Bromeliad (Neoregelia spectabilis); a favorite passalong plant in this neck of the woods.

Continuing to spread the love, I baked some treats for my favorite Valentines. A mini vegan apple pie for my husband and peanut butter treats for the greyhounds…

Wishing everyone a belated Happy Valentines and warmth from my garden.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting, to see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.