Six on Saturday – The Last Mango, Embarrassed

Time once again for Six on Saturday, six items of interest from your garden shared to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more.

Above is my last mango, perhaps a prune mango. Seasons are changing and South Floridians are gearing up for gardening. I picked my last two Nam Doc Mai mangoes this week – they looked a lot better than this one. It seems the squirrels managed to split the fruit open to eat the seed and ruined my mango.

Tomato seedlings just popping up. These are my favorite cherry tomatoes, Yellow Pear and Sweet 100.

Yesterday was the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, so it is downhill from here. Right on time are the Hurricane Bromeliads budding – Billbergia pyramidalis.

The Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) tree is finally getting established. We had a dry spell midsummer and I was not certain it was going to make it, all the foliage turned brown and the branches dried up, so I cut them back to the trunk and it is coming back. Fingers crossed for wafts of Chanel No. 5 scented flowers in the future.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) finally made it back after being consumed by rabbits twice. I resorted to bamboo tiger sticks around the vine as rabbit abatement. It has buds and I am awaiting my first flower.

Another summer survivor. I have been trying for years to grow Butterfly Weed for Monarch butterfly larval hosting. Finally, I have buds. I think these buds have been taunting me for two weeks. Bloom already! I saw a few Monarchs hovering around yesterday, so these may be gone soon. It is funny how things called weeds can be so difficult to grow.

Happy Gardening!!!

In a Vase on Monday-Bass Ackwards

Many Mondays I wonder how many gardeners out there recognize the flowers I grow in my garden…because, it is some pretty weird stuff and I will try just about anything. Gardening in South Florida can make you rethink the limits of what is possible or pull some hair out cuz you can’t figure out how to make it work.

Bass ackwards describes the seasons here. This may be a Southern term. Not sure of the origin; though I suspect it is a more polite version of Ass Backwards. A few examples. Mid summer, in South Florida, fresh corn on the cob and tomatoes are not available as it is too hot for plants to pollinate. In January, tons of both, and green beans and on and on. A fiesta of fresh vegetables, citrus and avocadoes in winter. I eat from my freezer in summer and gorge on fresh in winter. Bass ackwards.

Flowers are another story. We are approaching the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, it is raining and things are blooming. The reason, my guess, producing flowers utilizing rain while they know it is available, plants being smarter than we are. Our dry season starts the end of November.

The weird stuff in my vase:

The red flower, Aechmea miniata Bromeliad; blue flowers, Mystic Spires Salvia; the touch of grey foliage, a succulent, Graptosedum; white flowers ‘Miss Alice’ Bougainvillea.

The other side:

White and blue flower; Hallelujah Billbergia Bromeliad; green tropical foliage is a small Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum) from the garden. The vase in an old candlestick holder from Crate and Barrel.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.rambliningthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and Happy Gardening. Follow the link to see less weird vases.

Six on Saturday – Fruit, Flowers and Foliage

The heat and humidity have gone into hyperdrive here. Highs over 90 (F) / 32 (C) for the next few days. The dog days of summer are here and my dogs have the right idea, reclining in air conditioned comfort. Not a good time to be in the garden, though I am thankful for the shade trees.

My first image today is a tree planted to shade my driveway about seven years ago, starting to really take over now. This is the fruit and foliage of Gumbo Limbo (Bursea simaruba)

The Gumbo Limbo has a hard cane Dendrobium orchid growing on its trunk. My neighbor brought this to me and it is just starting to root into the trunk. It should bloom in the winter with 4 or 5 foot long sprays of flowers. I am really looking forward to seeing this! The tree is sometimes called the Tourist Tree – because the bark looks like peeling, sunburned skin. I tied in onto the tree with pantyhose, you can see these on the right side of the image.

Duranta “Sapphire Showers” is a reliable summer bloomer. I planted this for butterflies, they love the nectar.

A new plant in the garden. Meet Aerva ‘Red Velvet’. I like a bit of burgundy foliage in the garden and it is a difficult plant to find that will grow in frying sugar sand. This is a ‘native’ of gravelly sand from India and a medicinal herb there. I am not going to eat any, but have taken several cuttings to propagate and spread throughout the garden.

This is Allamanda, creeping over from my neighbor. These are pretty – and very hard to get rid of. The sap from the vine is supposedly used by tribes in the rainforest for poison darts.

Interesting foliage today is the new growth on a Piecrust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) The older foliage eventually is black with green, yellow and red varigation.

That’s it! Six plants and one dog image. From South Florida. To see more Six on Saturday posts visit Jon the Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening and stay cool!

Six on Saturday – Simple Treasures

I am joining the SOS group again to share six garden related images. This Saturday I was thinking of all the simple plants I enjoy everyday, most are in containers by a doorway leading outside.

I keep succulents in containers on my south facing front porch. Many of these would drown if left outside during the rainy season. I found the strawberry pot by the side of the road, thinking when I picked it up “these things are useless”. Then, I filled it with sand and a little potting soil I had around and put some cuttings in.Voila, one of my favorite containers. To my knowledge, these are Haworthia, Graptosedum, and Echeveria in the top. Flapjack Kalanchoes are hanging out of either side and a Tillandsia and Graptosedum are hanging out in grey at the bottom. The pot is a bit of trick to water – dribble is the best way to water.

Fishhook Senecio hangs over the side of a former table lamp base that belonged to my parents.

This is another container in my back garden with Mona Lavendar Plectranthus and chartreuse Coleus (maybe that is Plectranthus, too?)

A very happy Tropical Red Salvia growing in a pot of Bay Leaf on the back porch. These two peacefully coexist and I think the Bay may like the shade from the Salvia.

Fresh Rosemary, Oregano, Basil and Bay Leaf from my pots. There was a buy one get on free sale on turkey breasts at our grocery store. So, I am making a Balsamic Herb Roasted Turkey Breast for dinner. My husband smoked his and it is finished and on the counter. Not really sure what’s for dinner.

Not sure if smoked turkey counts as six. Here is another plant.

I planted a Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) by my screen porch door in hopes it would repel mosquitoes. I am not sure it does, though I do stuff leaves in my shoes sometimes if the bugs get bad (that does work, but you must wear socks) Anyway, the berries are forming rapidly and should show some color soon. It is also still flowering so I should have a long berry season.

That’s my six or seven for this Saturday.

Happy Gardening. Thanks to Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for hosting

In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Year End Favorites

It’s the last Monday of 2020, and the final vase of the year. In celebration of the end of this year, I decided to use some of my favorites. The pink flowers are Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – I love French and Oakleaf Hydrangeas, but live too far south to grow either. So, I was more than pleased to find this giant “Hydrangea”; – 10 or 12 feet tall and wide. Dombeyas are not related to Hydrangeas; they are actually members of the Mallow family – I live at the northern end of their hardiness zone. The honey scented flowers are just opening and there were a few angry bees after I cut these.

A closer view:

The greenery is cut from a Passionfruit vine. I am not sure which Passionfruit (there are a surprising number of varieties), although it seems to be Possum Purple, the raccoons get almost every one of them – it should be called raccoon purple. The floaty grass is the finale of the Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) for the year, another favorite of mine. The vase, an antique, picked up years ago somewhere north of here.

Thank you to Cathy for 52 weeks of hosting IAVOM! May 2021 usher in health and happiness for everyone – and A Vase every Monday. To see more vases, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

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

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Of Cabbages and Parrots

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Well, I am not literary enough to chat about the origins Of Cabbages and Kings; though I remember the line. The cabbages in my vase this Monday are in the back of the vase, a dramatically pruned frond from a Cabbage Palm seedling (Palmetto sabal). The seedlings of this palm appear sort of randomly in my garden and grow so slowly they are no cause for alarm, and I occasionally cut one for a vase. I like the graphic backdrop the palm frond provides.

The parrot in the vase is the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). The tallest flower in yellow and red. The Parrotflower is a small Heliconia, relatively easy to grow here, but it needs a lot of water. I have just transplanted some bits into my (ha) vegetable garden to see if I can grow some for cut flowers as something else usually seems to eat my vegetables. And it is not my husband or the greyhounds. The  culprits, that I am aware of, are rabbits, bobcats, armadillos and more recently iguanas. What’s a girl to do? Plant flowers these things won’t eat, of course.

Here is another view:

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And a closer view:

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I think the Palm frond and Parrotflowers have been covered. The other flowers are in white, flowers from an Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli); the red ferny flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) – a perennial in South Florida I used as a summer container plant further north. The red flowers at the edge of the vase are from Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) – so called as it seems not to have the energy  to fully  open.

Feeling a bit that way myself.

Hope everyone is safe and well and please stay in a bit longer…to see more Monday vases please visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Treats

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One of the few benefits of increasing humidity in South Florida is the appearance of the more tropical flowers. Their scents perfume the garden and I am currently enjoying them indoors, sans humidity. The fragrances of tropical Gingers, Frangipani and Gardenias are floating through the air. Ever so lightly.

The vase is a Crate and Barrel candleholder from the 1970s. Bought during my husband’s first marriage and similarly has lost its mate. Though I do love it (and him) for the occasional vase. Another view of the vase:

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A close up of the flowers. The yellow and pink flowers and buds are Frangipani (Plumeria) A friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and I have no idea what the name of the variety is. This one is more fragrant at night and before sunrise (my greyhounds love this time of day, me, not so much – chasing rabbits and armadilloes are low on my life  priorities). The white flowers and most of the green foliage is from Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata – or something like that); these are not from Florida, India I believe is their real home and they are mostly deciduous here. The pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) – these flower off and on year round and it is nearly a pleasure to prune them for the fragrance.

 

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I am hopeful everyone has enough food and lav paper (I love the English term) – our supplies are still a bit weird. My husband, who has never joked about the quality of the paper – is doing so. And we are  both laughing as circumstances are so, well, absurd. I am hoping not to be attempting to grow Papyrus for personal use this fall.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Amy or Amelia – I answer to both.

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

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Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

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The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

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I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!