In A Vase on Monday – Floridian Fall

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It’s another stormy Sunday in South Florida. Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast of Texas on Friday and is still pummeling the Greater Houston area. Our blog friend, the Automatic Gardner, is there.  According to her latest post, so far, so good. Best wishes and luck to her.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is in full swing, peaking on September 10. So far, our area has avoided any truly stormy weather. The flowers in my vase today are all native to the area and at their best during the height of Hurricane season.

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All of the materials in this vase just appeared in my garden with the exception of one. Beautyberry . The purple berries come from the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) I bought a few of these shrubs from a local nursery going out of business. The rest of the flowers just came up and me being me, I left these unknown plants to see what interest they brought to the garden. The orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens), the yellow flowers are Chapman’s Goldenrod (Solidago odora), the blue flowers are Porterweed (still not sure exactly which one).

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The white flowers and foliage in back of the arrangement are from our native Hymenocallis latifolia (or a friend) These are sometimes called Alligator Lilies and have a lovely scent at night. I found a huge clump of these in the front garden years ago, mistook them for Amaryllis, divided them and have an enormous border of Alligator Lilies in my back garden. Soon to be spectacular, October last year we had Hurricane Matthew here and then the Alligator Lilies flowered. I was surprised, humbled and happy I had divided all of them.

I think of the components of this arrangement as a gift from Mother Nature to remind us of the good things she provides.

Hurricane season notwithstanding.

Happy Gardening.

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via Maple Mustard Salmon for Dinner — Spotted Hound Kitchen

GBFD – August 2017- Foliage of the Hellstrip

So, maybe I should ask who among us admits to having a Hellstrip? I do, mine is in the front garden along the edge of the road. About 10 feet deep, catching all the heat from the sun and pavement and not having the benefit of irrigation, I decided to plant this area with hardy, nearly indestructible plants, focusing on native plants.

 

The anchor plant in the Hellstrip is a Gumbo Limbo tree (Bursea simarouba) this usually gets some giggles. I like this tree and it has grown from a 2″ caliper twig to a respectable 6″ trunk in about four years. Mind you, without the benefit of regular water, I watered it, to establish it but that it. This tree is also called the Tourist Tree, if you look at the bark photo, the bark is red and peeling, like a sunburned tourist.

Below the Gumbo LImbo, Bromeliads and Native Perennials are planted. The natives were selected for their very fine texture which is fairly unusual among semi tropical plants. The Bromeliads are used for their extreme hardiness and textural contrast to the natives.

The Natives:

 

On the left, Muhly Grass, (Muhlbergia capillaris), the right is a Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). The Muhly Grass seemingly grows almost everywhere, but many gardeners have difficulty growing it. I think the key may be locating it in a Hellstrip. Both of the plants will produce lovely pink flowers in addition to their fine texture. The other native in the garden is Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

20170720_185225The coarse green foliage of this plant is beautiful in its own right,  but really shines when contrasted with the finer textured natives.

The final members of my Hellstrip composition include Bromeliads, for their evergreen  color and contrasting texture to the native plants.

 

On the left, a Martin Bromeliad, medium sized and red, green and yellow striped. The center plant is a Painted Fingernail Bromeliad and the plant on the tight is a smaller red and chartreuse groundcover Bromeliad, meant to spread like groundcover. These are all passalong Bromeliads, two out of three gifted to me by friends. I am not certain of any botanical names, but I am certain they will thrive with little care making my Hellstrip seem a bit heavenly.

In A Vase on Monday – Stormy Weather

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No one is singing the blues at my house today. It is a blessedly cool, overcast day in South Florida, the temperatures hovering around 80 degrees (F). Thunder can be heard from about 25 miles away in the Atlantic and the colors in the sky inspired my arrangement. In this climate these flowers and berries announce the coming of Fall. In purple. Seems a bit weird to think of Orchids as a fall flower. I do have some native Goldenrod in bud right now and that seems more normal to me as does the Beautyberry in the vase.

The weather today is not a tropical storm, just leftover moisture from one or some weather thing I failed to fully grasp. I have learned the Hurricane season is difficult to predict as are the storms. Named storm Harvey is meandering around in the Caribbean and there are two disturbances hanging around the tropical Atlantic that probably won’t do anything. Or not. Last year Hurricane Matthew brushed the coast near me (first week of October) and that was quite enough. Forever.

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The Blue Violin holding the flowers belonged to my grandmother. She kept colored bottles in her windows as long as I can remember.

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The flowers in the vase are: in purple Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’ Orchids, the berries are Beautyberries (Calliocarpa americana) For foliage we have a bit of Asparagus Fern and the leaves from a Martin Bromeliad. The Bromeliad is such a weird cross I don’t have a clue what the latin name is. Bromeliad ‘Martin’ that works.

No gardening for me today. Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Where The Wild Things Are

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As these things go sometimes I started out with one idea and ended up with another. My first thought was to create a vase that looked as if it had been put together in an English garden. The English garden vase was going reasonably well until I realized the Sunflowers were full (extraordinarily full) of insects resembling Lightning Bugs. I hope they are Lightning Bugs and not a dreadful all consuming beetle. I carried several of these beetles outside and then realized the vase needed something like Artemisia or Lambs Ears, requiring a several hundred mile drive to the north.

So, I went to the back garden, where the wild things are, to search for some contrasting foliage. Looking up, I spied ripe, purple wild grapes that ramble through the Surinam Cherry hedge. The wild things are usually in the hedge eating something. Surinam Cherries, Passionfruit, rootstock Oranges and Seagrapes grow nearby. Sometimes at night it sounds like the creatures from Jurassic Park are in the garden.

The grapes are native Muscadines (Vitis rotundafolia) and the local wildlife usually gets the  fruit before I see it ripen. These look like Champagne Grapes, but taste nothing like them! Less than an 1/2 inch diameter with 3 large seeds inside, tasty but barely edible. I cut some, not very English at all and started a bigger vase for the grapes.

Into the big crystal vase they went and some tropical friends joined in:

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The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica) flourishing in the heat of August. The orange flowers, Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). The ferns, gigantic fronds of Asian Sword Fern, I think. The big leaves are from Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata) and the spikey foliage Dwarf Varigated Pineapple.

Here is the “English Garden” vase:

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I think it could pass for Black Eyed Susans, Red Salvia, Blue Veronica and Gazanias? That’s not exactly what is in there.

Where The Wild Things Are  by Maurice Sendak was my absolute favorite book as a child. The book is now 54 years old. Maybe those creatures are living in my back garden.

In A Vase on Monday – Gardening with Armadillos

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Sunday got off to a bit of a rough start, about 3 a.m. one of my greyhounds started to run around and whine. I got up, thinking he needed to go out and opened the door – only to hear a strange sound crashing around in the garden. Decided to turn on the security lights and low and behold, I spied an Armadillo. The shelled rodent (IMO) digging beside the metal screen enclosure on our porch, bashing his shell against the metal. Driving my poor dog mad and depriving both of us our beauty sleep.

As the dog ran out the door the foolish Armadillo ran into the fenced part of our yard – who knew an Armadillo could out run a greyhound?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo

Cartoon time 3 a.m. My backyard. Starring Alan the Greyhound. Shown below in his usual state. Alan is the brown dog, the other one has no interest in getting up at 3 a.m.

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A few hours and cups of coffee later, I went to look for vase components in the garden the Armadillo had been digging in. Sure enough, he or she had been overturning Bromeliads, a favorite pastime for some reason made better by overturning burgundy or spotted Bromeliads. By trial and error, I eventually found out cardboard and mulch will keep the armadillos away, needs another application. Sigh.

20170806_100322 Seeking the components of a vase, I noted the Spathoglottis is flowering again. I know this really sounds like a disease, but is actually a lovely little Ground Orchid called Caberet. This is the second round of flowering since I planted it in January. It is the purple flower in the vase. The blue flowers are Porterweed, the jury is still out on which one and today it is really shedding for some reason. The yellow flowers are Lantana, Silvermound would be my guess for variety. The purple spotted foliage is from a Bromeliad the Armadillo overturned ‘Hallelujah’ Billbergia. A sprig of fern finishes the vase.

The Armadillo’s work last night:

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In A Vase on Monday – Back Up Pitcher

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The concept for my Monday vase was to arrange a low bowl of Frangipani with spiky accents. The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani are blooming profusely and I wanted an arrangement for the foyer.  I started with (I found out later) my lowest Blue Willow bowl with a glass frog to hold the white flowers in place. While placing the white Frangipani flowers I decided to pick some spiky red and blue ones to go with the bowl. As I was meandering through the garden one of my greyhounds lost his collar and I had to stop and find it. By the time the collar was found and I got back in the house the red and blue flowers had wilted.

Then, I realized the flowers were too short for the bowl. In search of a lower bowl, I concluded there were none and happened upon the glass pitcher. The Back Up Pitcher. My husband is the baseball fan, Atlanta Braves specifically. The baseball is from the 1995 World Series, signed by Mark Wohlers, a backup pitcher.

Here is another view:

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I left the spiky flowers soaking in the abandoned bowl, hoping for rejuvenation. Oddly enough, this worked. At this point a return trip to the garden was needed for some taller flowers.

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The players in my Back Up Pitcher: in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), in orange, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens), in rosy red, Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), in blue, Porterweed, in red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), in red and yellow Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum). Foliage accents are Asparagus Fern and Split Leaf Philodendron. Practically as many players as a baseball team.

Is the arrangement a home run?

Happy Monday.