In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

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The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

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I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

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The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Refresh

Perfect gardening weather ruled this week. There was even some rain for successful transplanting and weed removal. After the first rain, I started to pull out the evil invader, Asian Sword Fern. These ferns popped up in my garden a couple of years ago. I thought they were pretty, no longer. They have grown through everything and can only be pulled out if the soil is moist.

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During the course of my weeding, I pulled out a Gru Gru Palm (Acrocomia aculeata) seedling. It is said this is what pygmy tribes in the Amazon use for poison darts. Covered in thorns, these sliced right through my leather gloves and they get bigger as the palm does. I hope I got rid of the thing, I did not plant it. I see these from time to time as a specimen palm in gardens, the appeal is lost on me. Way too sharp.

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Our front garden is always under renovation as a small area has to be dug up once a year to service the septic tank. I question the wisdom of this design, but it has been made as accessible as possible. I put in a shelf of shells on a pizza pan with a pot of succulents behind and rocks on weed fabric that can be pulled out and replaced easily. I am not quite finished with this project.

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The pot has Flapjack Kalanchoe, Graptosedum and a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is pupping so this should look fuller later this summer. The access to the septic tank is under the pizza pan. I am probably the first person to ever write that sentence, and possibly use a pizza pan for such a thing.

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I decided to direct seed a new crop of Basil for the summer into my herb pots, so far so good.

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The Beautyberry is flowering luxuriantly, promising a bumper crop of purple fruit later this summer. This is native and a pollinator favorite, waiting to see some new butterflies.

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Wishing  the Six on Saturday crew a lovely gardening week and for more posts go and visit…. http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Palmy Weather

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We have been having Palmy weather. Rain off and on and accompanying humidity have inspired the Adonidia Palm in my garden to flower.  I have been eyeing the flower to cut for a vase. It’s the white stemmed flower in the middle.

A palm flower is a bit of a process and interesting to watch. A bud shoots up from the base of fronds, and the flower slowly unfurls. Below is a bud and a flower. The green part is the sheath at the base of the frond. The sheath above was shed, and the buds revealed; the buds later move horizontally and flower. The palm flowers eventually form berries that look very similar to the flower and fall off. This takes until late fall; most people trim the flowers off.

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I have been watching other types of palms flowering as I walk my dogs in the morning. It is like a trip through the Cretaceous period, cycads and ferns included, no dinosaurs as of yet.

Another view of the vase:

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And  a closer view:

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The glass container is a heavy, old florist vase I found by the side of the road. Orange and chartruese fruit is from Surinam Cherries, sometimes called Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), My neighbor, a local, explained I should soak them in water to get the worms out before eating. I declined, though I did try them once, the flavor is a bit reminiscent of turpentine. Another fruit left for the birds, though a friend makes jam from them and says it is good. Red flowers are from the native Firebush, Hamelia patens.

I hope everyone is coping with the solitude and enjoying time in the garden. I seem to be moving a lot of plants around with the rain. And planning more gardens…

Thanks to Cathy, hostess of this garden meme, for carrying on with our Monday fun. See more vases at her blog, http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

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Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

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Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

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The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

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This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

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The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

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Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

 

In a Vase on Monday – Lions and Corals

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I went in search of some cheerful colors for my vase to offset the dark cloud cast over me by my trip to the grocery store. People were wearing masks mostly and everyone was behaving well except one guy fondling the fresh corn that really annoyed me (I wanted some, bought some, brought it home and stripped the outer leaves off and washed it) Fresh corn is fantastic this time of year in Florida. Yecch, I could tell it was good by just looking. No need to fondle the corn.

Back to the garden. I was surprised to find Leonitis (the lion) in flower. I think this is my new favorite and I will have a lot more next year. Another unusual plant, Coral Jatropha is flowering in response to our rain this week. I think the vase ended up looking a bit architectural. Here is a closer view:

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The orange flowers are the Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia); grey, fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare); red flowers in front are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida); the brown ‘branches’ in back are dried flowers from Adonidia Palm (Adonidia veitchii). The vase is a thrift store find. The green pods on the Coral Plant are seed pods.

Thanks to everyone for the Happy Anniversary wishes. Dinner had a few revisions – Lamb Chops with Onion and Red Pepper Gravy and Mashed Potatoes followed by Rum Cake.

To see more vases from around the world visit our hostess, Cathy, at  http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Seasonal Shift

I am joining The Propagator today in posting six items of interest from my garden. This Saturday I am noting the season shifting from dry to rainy. We have had inches of rain in the past couple of days provided by thunderstorms. The mosquitoes came out with a vengence as did the humidity and some flowers I haven’t seen in a while.

The first flowers on the Frangipani (Plumeria spp). These are planted near my back porch and the fragrance drifts by when the door is opened.

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Dayflowers  (Commelina erecta) starting the season. I like these, a native wildflower that just pops up here and there in my garden. The pink foliage is from a nearby native Darrowi Blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii)

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Flowers and new foliage on the Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) Eventually these flowers form long hanging bunches of small grapes. They taste like figs, I leave them for the birds as the seeds are huge.

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Another scented flower on the other side of my porch. The Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata), a lovely flower and great butterfly nectar plant.

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The Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) were repotted a few weeks ago and are showing their approval of my work. I will prune them in a couple of weeks.

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Some new foliage color I added to the garden. This is a Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’). I am not usually a fan of varigated plants, but I like this one.

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That’s my Six for Saturday. To see more visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

I hope everyone is holding up in their solo gardening pursuits. I have been weeding, actually clearing is a more accurate term, beds and planted almost all my spare parts (plants in pots waiting for a home). There is going to be a dilemma when I run out of spare parts.