This vase is a result of my plant shopping trip last week. I posted some pictures last week on my blog from the tropicals nursery I visited with a friend (made through gardening on social media, not blogging, though). The idea for the vase was started by another nursery we visited, Indian Trails Natives Nursery located in Lake Worth, Florida. Here is a link to their website Indian Trails
The nursery has an extensive stock of native plants, a demonstration garden and they will give a price list. Meaningful. I bought several plants and decided to deadhead my new Black Eyed Susans in hopes of more flowers -the genesis of this vase.
I have been working on my native pollinators garden for a little over a year. The results are amazing, so I keep adding butterfly and bee plants concentrating on natives. My big however is … I don’t feel that it’s mandatory that every plant is native. I would go as far as to say non natives enhance the appeal of the garden to pollinators. No elitism in my garden!
Plants in this vase include: the Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) – these are Florida’s native Black Eyed Susan, I grew Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ further north and tried to grow these Rudbeckia from seed to no avail. Hopefully, the plants fare better and I end up with too many. Red flowers are Tropical Red Sage (Salvia coccinea); blue flowers are from Porterweed (Stachytarpeta); off white spikes are Wireweed (Don’t know whatis); white flowers are from the one non native, Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) hailing from Argentina, our native (endangered) Atala Butterflies love this one. Pink plumes are from Muhly Grass (Muhlebergia) just starting their fall show; the sticks are from the native grape Muscandines (Vitis rotundifolia) – I stripped the leaves, the raccoons ate all the grapes.
Here’s our native Atala butterfly emerging from their chrysalis on native Coontie Palms. Their mom enjoyed nectar from Beautyberry and Sweet Almond before settling down to lay eggs.
This afternoon I have been glued to the television watching Hurricane Michael make landfall about 500 miles north my garden. The sheer size of these storms always amaze me. I can feel the hot breath from Michael flowing through my garden if I step outside. Praying for those in the storm’s path.
Earlier this week I went plant shopping – heading south to the numerous nurseries supplying South Florida. Much of the plant material grown in this area is too tropical for my garden, though I enjoy looking. This is ‘instant effect’ plant material, the above Heliconia is about 15′ tall – prices are not displayed.
This is a hanging basket filled with Medinilla myriantha, 3 or 4 feet wide and tall. These plants are famously difficult to keep. Usually a very expensive flower arrangement.
This is a pink and yellow unnamed Heliconia psittacorum. I could probably grow this one, but couldn’t lift the container it was in!
Huge, grey Bromeliad.
A Starfish Plant, variety lost to me.
I bought nothing at this nursery, but gained an idea for a palm tree with boots I was planning to remove (growing into power lines)
I can have the top removed and keep the trunk, then tuck Bromeliads, Ferns and Orchids into the pockets left by the boots. Like this:
I am aware I have been, well, complaining about the extreme subtlety of seasonal change in South Florida. As I was putting this arrangement together today, I realized this really reflects the seasonal change in my garden. As the weather cools, a few more plants produce berries – other plants flower. With the exception of the varigated foliage (which is year round and (I know, weird) a foundation plant. The balance of the arrangement is what comprises fall color in South Florida.
The red flowers anchoring the arrangement are Turks Cap (Malvaviscus penduliflorus); the berries are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens); the off white flowers are Wireweed (Neverlearnedthe latin); yellow and red lobsterclaws, Bromeliad Aechmea blanchetiana flowers; dark foliage is from Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpurea); amazingly still living after supporting several generations of Swallowtail Butterflies and my flower arrangements; varigated foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum ‘Mammey’)
Last weeks vase is still holding up and displays more of Florida’s actual fall colors.
My quest for anything Autumnal continues and the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) satisfied my Fall in the garden desires this week displaying its wares at their lurid purple peak. Days have been numbered for the branches loaded with purple fruit that were too close to the house. I planted this beside the door from our screened porch as it is reputed to deter mosquitoes. I sometimes put a few crushed leaves in my shoes when working in the garden and it does seem to help.
The guy next to the vase-a mythological figure gifted to my husband by some friends from South America.
This is a rangy shrub that is difficult to prune into cooperation, I think there are still some structural decisions to be made. There were so many berries on the branches the vase was actually heavy from the weight of the fruit.
Adding to my happiness, I found a touch of fall color on the foliage. Just a touch, can’t get too excited. Joining the plethora of purpleness in the vase are: in green with purple backs, Oyster Plants or Moses in a Cradle (Rhoeo or some botanist changed the name) and a sprig of Setcresea or Purple Queen (tired of botanists-think they are both Transcandentias now, but it won’t keep me up nights)
Celebrating our Fall potential by starting seeds for my butterfly garden.
The mermaid watches over everything and encourages the seeds to sprout and grow. The winter butterfly garden will have (hopefully) Heirloom Lavendar Cactus Zinnias, Phlox drummondi, Sea Star Asters, Lime Basil, Petunia excelsa, Moonvine and Coral Vine. I think I need to find some yellows or lime greens to temper the color mix. Any thoughts?
Today is the second official day of Fall. Looking over my coffee cup this morning, I noted the temperature was already in the 80s (25 C) with 97% humidity. My garden is calling me to get back in the groove and clean things up for South Florida’s winter gardening season. I am desperately seeking the season and was inspired to create a Autumnal vase.
The vase is a silver plate goblet collected by my mother on one of her many ‘junk store’ adventures. It doesn’t hold water, so it requires a recycled yogurt container tucked inside when used as a vase. I don’t think I would use it for beverages.
My pseudo Fall flowers include: Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella) in red and gold; fruit is Surinam Cherries (Eugenia uniflora); the sprays of berries are from the non native Firebush (Hamelia patens); red “fall” leaf from Raggedy Ann Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana); grey background foliage is Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) and the cream colored spikes are from Wireweed.
The flowers in my vase this week are Cattleya Orchids, from a plant gifted to me several years ago by my neighbor. I have been watching this plant for years, moved it around in the garden – nothing. Finally – three buds appeared, weeks ago. I watched, waited and watched some more, not a sign of opening. Just big, juicy buds displaying a tasty reticence. I occasionally had to chase some leering grasshopper away. Sigh, more waiting.
After a rough couple of weeks, my husband and I decided we needed a change of scene and took a few days to walk on the beach and rest. We packed up Alan the Greyhound and some coolers and headed to a lovely semi deserted beach miles from home.
Of course, I checked the Orchids just prior to leaving and one bud was opening! Sigh, again. Hoping I wouldn’t miss the show, off we went. The picture is sunrise on North Hutchison Island, Florida.
Deciding to cut the flowers was easy, I have two more buds and these were browning on the edges a bit. I’ll enjoy them in the house as long as they last. The vases (three again) were another story. Seeking a simple container for these complex flowers; I decided they needed a backdrop of a big tropical leaf (Seagrapes – Coccoloba uvifera). For vases, I started with a rose teapot, then went to the black vase, then the glass vases.
No leering grasshoppers in my house, but I did bring in a little bee.
Gardenias always remind me of corsages. My mother, for some inexplicable reason, wanted a Gardenia wrist corsage when I married-unfortunately, it was April and no Gardenias could be found. She settled for Orchids. Non wrist at that.
These are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divericata). The fragrance is not as strong as Gardenia jasminoides, but similar. This particular one is about 10 feet tall and I have been slowly reclaiming it from the blob of plant material that separates me from my favorite neighbor. The blob is a professional term I learned while in design school at The University of Georgia. One of my professors is probably feeling a really bad vibe right about now.
My favorite neighbor also shared her big white Cattleya Orchid with me. Never one to struggle with convention, I installed it on a tomato cage hoping for an Orchid tower in the garden outside my Living Room window. I have been rewarded with three huge buds and am hoping for another corsage ready vase next week. Wrist band optional.