In a Vase on Monday – Fall Vase Theory

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This vase is filled with the fall colors of South Florida. All of these plants are native to the area and thrive without too much help from the gardener. These are my kind of plants, easy to grow and maintain and not too rude about taking over. An added bonus is they last as cut flowers (or berries).

This week I was asked for a post explaining how I arrange flowers, so my vase design theory will follow the components of the vase:

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The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); the off white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); pink plumes are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the ferns are Boston Fern (Nepholepis exaltata).

Vase Theory

The way I go about arranging flowers is less theory and more ‘that needs to be pruned’. I do not have a cutting garden. Anything within reach of the clipper is a cut flower as far as I am concerned. And I like garden space to be year-round, with the exception of vegetables. Flowers feed the soul, vegetables the body. Of course, having spent decades in the design business, there are certain knee jerk reactions to any design problem. And designers can overcomplicate anything.

This morning I noted my Beautyberry needed to be cut back again and decided to use the purple berry stems in a vase.

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The long, skinny stems dictated a tall, slender vase to hold them, I chose the smoky grey glass vase to contrast with fall colors I was thinking about using. I usually put the dishtowel headed towards the washing machine under the vase to catch bugs and trimmed plant bits. For proper scale with the vase, I cut some Beautyberry stems twice the height of the vase.

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I added the Beautyberry stems splayed around the vase into thirds, leaving spaces for more flowers.

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I cut some Muhly Grass stems (taller than the berries) for wispy purple texture change from the berries and greenish-white Juba Bush spikes for color contrast. Then decided the wispy grass needed a more solid green background. Back to the garden.

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I liberated a few Boston Fern fronds from the driveway (only in South Florida would this happen), then compared the size to the rest of the vase, decided they were too tall and cut a few inches off the stems. After adding the ferns, I decided more color was needed and went back into the garden for some Firebush flowers to fill the lower third of the arrangement with orange tubular flowers and some leafy foliage.

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The result, In a Vase on Monday! IAVOM is a Garden Bloggers meme based in the UK. Cathy from Rambling in the Garden is the hostess of this meme. To see more vases follow this link. More Vases

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Six on Saturday – McKee Botanical Garden

Last Saturday instead of blogging, I went to McKee Botanical Garden with my friend Marjorie. This garden is a former tourist attraction called McKee Jungle Gardens, located in Vero Beach, Florida. We had a wonderful curry lunch in the restaurant on site and strolled the gardens and water features. It is a bit jungly, but a lovely walk on a sunny afternoon.

This is my favorite container garden. An ornamental pineapple (Lava Burst?), Coontie Palm (Zamia integrifolia) and a bit of Spanish Moss spilling over the side.

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Tropical Blue Water Lilies.

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An introspective owl.

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Gigantic mushroom.

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My other favorite container garden. Ferns and Orchids.

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Resurrection Ferns and Bromeliads overhang a pathway.

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Today it is rainy and we are in the grips of Tropical Storm Nestor.  Last Saturday was much better.

Happy Gardening! For more Six on Saturday go to: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday – Flowers, and Friends

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This is Alan the Greyhound, my constant garden companion, and a champion hole digger.

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Flowers on a White Geiger (Cordia boissieri). This tree flowers frequently,  more in cooler weather.

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‘Miss Alice’Bougainvillea finally making her presence known. A nearly (Nearly?!) thornless Bougainvillea, this means the thorns are shorter and more limber but can still stab you.  I have been training  Miss Alice into a pillar for a couple of years.

 

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Florida Avocados from a neighbors tree. I just asked my husband what he wanted with Guacamole? We’ve decided on Mojo Chicken Nachos for dinner.  In summer friends give us Mangoes, fall and winter Avocados and Papayas.

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A new addition to my butterfly friends, a Giant Swallowtail. Easily the biggest butterfly I have ever seen, I thought it was a bird.

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The Desert Roses are flowering a bit. This is a popular type of Aeonium in South Florida, native to sub-Saharan Africa and a rare plant that will survive the summer here in full sun and a container.

Happy Saturday!

To see more of Six on Saturday, go to the https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

In a Vase on Monday – Red and Black

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It’s college football season in the US and I graduated from a football school, the University of Georgia. A football powerhouse currently ranked #3 in the country. Our team colors are Red and Black, hence the vase. The Landscape Architecture program left me with a peculiar love of plants that I like to share in vases. After watching football on Saturday. Only in the fall. And maybe a few bowl games after January 1st.

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The vase is black, a thrift store find I have enjoyed. The red flowers hanging over the side, Turks Cap or Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), the red and yellow flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum), white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) and ferny greens are volunteer Asparagus Fern.

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It occurred to me this also looks a bit like an early holiday vase, and I had to laugh considering the images floating through my mind of burly men wearing gigantic pads fighting over a pointy football.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs.

Six on Saturday – Orchids and Butterflies

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The Cattleya Orchids are flowering again in my garden. My neighbor gave me these, she calls them “The Boner”, not sure I want to know why.

Below are the buds of a Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’)

I am beginning to associate fall with Orchids, which seems weird.

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Here is a little fruit in honor of fall, from the Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens).

 

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A little more fruit, this is for me – Papayas.

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I was excited to find caterpillars of the Cloudless Sulphur butterfly on this Senna ligustrina, planted to attract Sulphur butterflies.

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My funky iron leaves, reinstalled after taking them down prior to Hurricane Dorian’s near miss.

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Happy Six on Saturday, for more posts, go to The Propagators blog. Here’s the link -https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

In a Vase on Monday – Cheers for Fall

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We are finally getting hints of fall in South Florida. Temperatures have fallen to highs in the mid-80s (F) and humidity is down as well. I washed all my porch furniture slipcovers and had my first glass of wine outdoors in months. My husband smoked some Mahi Mahi and I made some Smoked Fish Dip in celebration of porch day.

The ‘vase’ is a brandy snifter, though no one around here sniffs any brandy. The Honey Pepper Vodka is used to make Smoked Fish Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce. Nemiroff sounds like a villain in a James Bond movie, I wouldn’t drink any. The variety of vodka flavors available boggles my mind, this one adds some sweet spice to the sauce on the pasta.

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Another vase view.

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Sometimes it surprises me the number of stems I can get into a vase. This is one of those vases. The flowers are: starting at the base: red star-shaped flowers, Old Fashioned Pentas (Penta lanceolata); the white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia bossieri); orange and red daisies are Gallardia (G. pulchella); grapes are from Muscadine vines (Vitis rotundafolia); pink and red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); blue flowers are Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicensis); grey foliage is Barometer Bush (Leucophyllum); off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa).

Here’s a close up:

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As always, Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this weekly garden meme. To see other vases follow this link Cathy’s blog.

Cheers to Fall!

In a Vase on Monday – Feeling Cooler, Not.

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September in Florida. It’s still blazing hot summer, though the calendar is telling me otherwise. Fall doesn’t arrive until October and it could be really late in October. My mental calendar still lives further north sometimes and expects cooler weather after Labor Day. In hopes of some mental cooling, I went in search of autumnal hues for my vase.

The vase is a thrift store find that I have used frequently and love for its chunky pottery vibe and the grey color provides great contrast to high colors.

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This is one of those vases I would have never conceptualized (realize I am a very highly seasoned design person, grey-haired and spicy). Conceptualized is design BS for ‘wouldn’t have thought of this’. Ugh, I hate that stuff sometimes. But there it is. Just popping out.

Wandering through the garden, I cut some white and purple – the white flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – sometimes it is white. The purple flowers are ‘Cabernet’ Spathoglottis, a Ground Orchid. Then I saw the apricot/orange panicles, these are flowers from the Miniata Bromeliad, fading away. I was surprised to like the color. The usual color is below. The deep purple and gold berries are from a Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens) – this is one of the supposedly ‘easy to grow natives’ that is not so easy to grow. It has been moved several times and finally seems content, in a place no book recommends. And it doesn’t smell like spices as of yet. The orange tubular flowers are from a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), supposedly people made shampoo with these in the past – and then, the disclaimer. Many people are allergic to this, so caution is advised. There is not enough Benadryl in my house to make shampoo with this Aloe. The graceful creamy white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) – this is named for a Caribbean dance – Juba, because it sways in the wind like the dancers, and it really does. I guess I need a Limbo plant. Striped foliage in the back is from Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) that grows wild in my garden.

Here is the Miniata Bromeliad in flower.

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An interesting difference in the Miniata, though I like both colors and this week the color is decidedly cooler.

I just finished a good book and would like to share it with you. This book resonated deeply with me, having many similar thoughts and experiences in my garden. (I talk to my mother – who is dead – often in the garden, usually about my lack of gloves) I was happy to read other people do this.

A very enjoyable read by Cynthia Reyes, ‘Twigs in my Hair’

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