Six on Saturday – In the Bag

My Bag Garden is coming along. I have two kinds of tomatoes ripening and small green beans on the bush beans. This group has tomatoes, green beans, radishes, dill and zinnias. The seeds were planted in September and I used some different soil mixes to see what works best. Of course, the most expensive mix was doing best at first. So, I amended the cheaper, heavier soil mix with compost and Osmocote. Now the cheaper mix is catching up. The first radish planting was a bust as the cheap soil was too heavy for radishes.

When I tied the tomatoes to the cages I pruned the suckers off the plants and put them in a vase to root for a later season set of tomatoes. The suckers are flowering in their vase on the counter behind my kitchen sink.

I am not sure what to think or do about the flowers – cut them off? There is very little natural light in this area, although there is LED lighting above the sink.

The other bags are in a more protected location where I potted everything up. They seemed to be doing well so I left them in their spot.

I have a couple of different kinds of zinnias, sunflowers and mystery seedlings from a cutting flower mix. Nigella surprised me by germinating, not supposed to grow here, so hopefully I get some flowers. This week, with cooler weather, I planted another big pot with snow peas, spinach and cilantro. The sticks in the pot are rabbit and squirrel abatement. I had a great deal of trouble with squirrels when I planted the sunflower seeds. My snowbird neighbors amuse themselves by growing a highly toxic, poison green lawn and feeding the squirrels peanuts – the squirrels in turn tear up my potted plants. The sticks are 24″ reeds from reed fencing and are working well.

This is not quite in the bag. It is in the bromeliad, specifically a frog I spied while looking for a flower. The bromeliad is a Aechmea ‘fasciata’, sometimes called Silver Vase. I think these bloom in winter, but only frogs so far.

There! my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, follow the link: http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Wild Thing

Wild Thing .. you make my heart sing! Remember that? The Troggs are the original artists, here is the youtube version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qHX493bB3U

I truly enjoy the wild things (they make my heart sing) I grow in my South Florida garden and have filled, well, not a vase – but a Portmerion canister with fall wild things. Maybe I should call them weird things, though there is not a song for that!

A closer view:

The pink fuzzzies (hubs refers to them as wooly worms) are from Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula); pale pink chandeliers are from the Chandelier Plant (Medinillia cummingii); burgundy edible flowers are Roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa); yellow flowers and green beans are Esperanza (Tecoma stans). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in there for green texture.

Ivory Zinnia is my first flower from Cactus Zinnia seeds I started in September. I have Green Envy Zinnias (started at the same time) budding and am hoping I have figured out when to plant Zinnias here. I noted some mature Zinnias around when I planted seed so it may be a two Zinnia season here?? Fluffy pink grass in the background is Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris)

My vase from last week (Palm berries, etc.) is holding up nicely. The bits and bobs have settled a bit and are drying in place, colors are deepening. This may end up being a dried holiday arrangement with the addition of some sparklies, time will tell.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to find more vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – November Bounty

November is usually a glorious weather month in South Florida. The past few days have been cold and rainy, which is odd. Temperatures have been in the 60s (F)/15(C). We are cold, my greyhounds are covered in a film of sand and so are the floors. The dogs have enjoyed racing in the cool weather. The garden soaked up the rain and provided some bounty for the gardener.

New to the garden this year and the first time I have seen the flower – Medinilla cummingii. Chandelier tree is its common name and a very apt description of the plant. It has numerous buds and I am waiting for the full flowering. Should be spectacular. These are similar to orchids, ocurring naturally growing in trees somewhere in the South Pacific. It must be a fabulous forest. This one is shares a pot with Dwarf Chenille Plant on my front porch.

A closer view of the flower.

I started seeds earlier this year (September) and have my first bud on the Cactus Zinnias.

Tomato seeds were started at the same time in early September. I planted Yellow Pear and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, these look like neither, but I hope to eat some next week.

I espaliered the red flowering Nodding Hibiscus shrub to my neighbor’s fence – very pleased with how it is turning out.

A favorite winter flower – Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad. These flowers last a long time and then produce an interesting seedhead. Such mad cool flowers.

There, my Six for this Saturday. To see other SOS posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

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!!