In a Vase on Monday – Not Summer Blues

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January in South Florida is not summer, it just seems like it today. The air conditioning is running; despite the fact this is the dry season, rain showers are making above 80 degrees (F) weather steamy and not conducive to gardening. My reward is flowers and vegetables in the garden. I have ripe tomatoes and Papayas; my second planting of green beans and first lettuces and spinach have come up. Some interesting flowers are also gracing the garden.

The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, bought with my mother on a long ago antiquing adventure (she referred to this as ‘Going to the junk store’).

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Zinnias grown from seed continue to boggle my mind – not sure what they are at all. These are much bigger than those in the smaller vase and have longer stems. I’ve added pink and green Dombeya (Dombeya wallachii) flowers. The green are the buds, the Dombeya itself is huge and I don’t mind cutting some buds, though I feel the bees would disagree. The flowers have an amazing honey fragrance and I have never seen as many bees on a plant. A closer view:

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The white flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), another subtly fragrant flower and the spikes are seedheads from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)

This vase, another ‘junk store’ find has Dombeyas and Zinnias, just the shorter-stemmed version. The green seed heads are from the Sweet Begonia. I like the seeds as well as the flowers.

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I have both vases in my foyer; the Dombeyas tend to be ephemeral in vases, not lasting more than a day. The fragrance from the combination of Dombeyas and Sweet Begonias is ethereal, I can imagine angels in flight leaving this scent. Worth every moment and curing the Not Summer Blues. Back outside tomorrow.

Six on Saturday – Too Windy

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I have a Florida Box Turtle family in my garden, this one was scurrying (as fast as a turtle can scurry) away from me as I snapped the picture.

I have planted some seeds for lettuces and root vegetables and wanted to plant more, but the wind has been blowing steadily about 20 mph seemingly for the last week. Here are some Arugula seedlings, they need a major thinning, I dropped the seed packet into the pot.

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Winter brings a new color to Bromeliad foliage. These are Super Fireball Neoregelias, they are green in summer and go to reds and greens during the winter.

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Winter also brings some new and different flowers, these are buds on a Dracaena reflexa.

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The New Zealand Flax Lily (Dianella) has finally started flowering. It suffered through the summer sitting on the ground without a pot. Amazing survivor.

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My one Passionfruit. I planted a Passiflora edulis vine for larval hosting of butterflies. I have seen very few butterflies on it, two flowers and one fruit. I am interested to taste the fruit; it has been ripening for at least a month and I am told you must wait until they fall off to eat them. I hope I see it before the turtle does.

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That is my Six on Saturday, for more posts go to thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see six items of interest from gardens all over the world.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Dombeyas End the Decade

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Dombeyas fill the last vase of the decade. Ten years ago, I did not blog; I did not live in Florida and I did not know what a Dombeya was. What a difference a decade makes.

We have spent the past few weeks cooking and going to holiday parties. My husband and I enjoy cooking but we are taking a break and fortunately have leftovers. He is a great pie baker – this year making an apple, a pumpkin and a Rangpur Lime pie with fruit from my neighbor’s tree. I need to get back to the garden to work all the calories off.

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Here is a closer view:

The  pink flowers are the Dombeyas (Dombeya wallichii); the burgundy and silver striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina, sometimes called Wandering  Jew; the silvery succulent is  the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe and the ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata).

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Dombeyas are sometimes called Tropical Hydrangeas though they are not related to Hydrangeas but belong to the Mallow family. Hydrangeas have their own family (Hydrangeaceae). Here is the Dombeya flower in situ. The shrub is about 9 feet tall and wide and the leaves are at least a foot wide and fuzzy. The bees love the flowers and I brought one in with the flowers. I think of them as reverse Hydrangeas since the flowers hang under the foliage.

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade, hopefully the twenties will roar again. But, nicely and with many flowers.

A heartfelt Thank You to Cathy for hosting this wonderful weekly meme. More vases may be seen in the comments of her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Fruits and Flowers

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It has been a rainy and windy week in South Florida, Christmas is over and I am looking forward to a new decade in my tropical paradise. Winter brings changes to the flora and is the most enjoyable time of the year to be outdoors. We live on our screen porch, my next task is to plant some containers for the porch.

Above is a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), I cut these  frequently in the winter; they have a light, gingery scent and are very reliable in the garden. Other Gingers suffer in silence in my garden.

Below is a Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) These are common parking lot trees and produce a lot of seeds and seedlings.

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The Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii) finally opened  on Christmas Day, a wonderful gift. It is so windy it makes pictures difficult to take as the flowers swing in the wind.

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Zinnia of unknown origin. In December.

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I have three types of Mango trees in my garden, all are flowering, it is a bit early.  Here is the flower of the Glenn Mango. These are panicle flowers, if pollinated produce numerous small Mangoes.

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And  finally, my first homegrown Papaya breakfast – with honey vanilla yogurt and granola. A very satisfying end to my gardening year.

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Six on Saturday is a gardening meme hosted by The Propagator. For more posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year!!

Amelia

In a Vase on Monday – Zinnias & Indiscretions for Christmas

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My South Florida garden, being perverse as usual,  produced Zinnias for Christmas. I have been trying to figure out when to start seed for a couple of years and bought some fancy seed from Floret to try this fall. The seeds were Macarenia Zinnias – the red and gold flowers are Macarenias, most of the rest  came up from the same seed pack and are solid pinks, apricots and oranges. I actually like those better, the Macarenias look like  weird Marigolds to me.

The small tree is a European Cypress, I forwent a big Christmas tree as my younger greyhound, Fiona has been suffering from dietary indiscretions. First, I caught her trying to eat a CD?!  They are very crunchy. And then she gorged herself on Cabbage Palm berries resulting in a trip to the vet and a special diet for almost two weeks. I make an excellent canine chef and have cooked vats of rice, pumpkin and turkey for her. The food and medicine has her running laps in the backyard again. Here she is reclining on the porch.

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Some close ups of the Zinnias. I am not sure what they are at this point. Mixed Christmas surprise Zinnias. The vase is a sugar bowl; the white flowers from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and Asparagus Fern greenery that just floats around in my garden until I cut it for flower arrangements.

The back side of the vase, more surprises. I  planted some other Zinnia seeds – 4 cells out of about 20.

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My older, more discreet greyhound, Alan Alda – under a past Christmas tree.

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Thanks to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly event. Visit her blog to find links to vases from all over the world.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah to all.

 

 

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Bus Again

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Here’s my favorite holiday tin again. Several years ago a client of my husband brought this from the UK, filled with Scottish Biscuits (shortbread cookies in US speak). The cookies were divine (and didn’t last very long). I am a lover of tins and used it IAVOM twice before during the holidays. This year it is crammed full of red, green and white flowers and foliage, having some perspective on my garden and many others through blogging I realized how downright odd it is to have red and green foliage to cut for Christmas decorations. And I haven’t  done the wreath yet.

A closer view:

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The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), smaller white flowers and bigger foliage is from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); white and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the red spikes on the sides are Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), red berries are from Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebenthifolia) – a dreadful weed.

Below is a better image of the red and green foliage – at the right end a Martin Bromeliad (Neoregelia Martin) leaf, the middle has foliage from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigata ‘Mammey’)

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Here is the tin from 2016:20161211_102634-1

And  the original tin/ vase from 2015.

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Hmm,  which is your favorite.? 2016 has one of my favorite plants, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)  – I like the Flapjack Kalanchoes in 2015 (grey foliage). I may combine all the plants next year into a 2020 mash up.

For more vases on Monday, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Holidays!

Six on Saturday – The Deluge

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One day this week we had 4 or 5 inches of rain,  this wheelbarrow full of water is from that storm. The crushed shell residue is from my work on the cleaning and touching up the pathways in my garden.

Below you can see the cleaner part at the bottom of the photo is the new shell, well water irrigation has been staining the shell rust, and I have redone the irrigation so it doesn’t spray on the walkways – the rain helped by compacting the shell.

 

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The rain also made this fungus open and let loose their spores. We called these puffrooms when I was a child. And stomped on them.

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I had to tie the Snow Peas up.

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The rain also gave me some flowers: Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

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And a new flush on the Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacaensis)

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A little rain can be a good thing, it has been fairly dry here lately. I just looked at the weather radar, more storms on the way!

That’s the six from my garden this Saturday.

To see more Six on Saturday posts,  go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening. Stay dry.

In a Vase on Monday – Christmas Palm Forest

 

IMG_20191208_115516It’s an oddly dreary day in South Florida, making it feel more like the holidays to me. I decided to do a mini forest basket for this second week of Advent. The forest idea sprang to mind when I saw the Christmas Palm seedhead from last week lost all its berries and looked like a  birch tree in winter. I usually call these Adonidia Palm, this is one of  those  plants with several common names. The common name can be Christmas Palm or Manila Palm, and my neighbors call them Triple Palms as many have three trunks. The botanical name is Veitchii merrilli. Below is a Christmas Palm with red fruit.

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The arrangement has the white stalk from the Christmas Palm seedhead. Red flowers are from Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); red berries are from the evil Brazilian Pepper  (Schinus terebinthifolia) – the Peppers are invasive in South Florida to the point it is illegal to plant them. I have gotten rid of mountains of  these things, but there are always a few lurking and using them in flower arrangements saves Florida a few in the woods. The ferns are: Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back and Asparagus Fern around the edges. Both are volunteers in the garden. A closer view:

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The  basket is a thrift store find and the gold cat is in honor of Mr. Bob, our resident Bobcat.

Feeling a bit more Christmassy this week. Maybe a tree and wreath on the front door next week.

For vases from around the world, follow this link to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Infusion

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For me, it is always a bit strange being in South Florida during the holidays. I spent most of my life in a place that experiences winter. Yesterday I found myself in the grocery store dressed in shorts and a tank top, surrounded by gaping tourists and listening  to  Christmas carols play in the background. While driving home I noted my neighbors planting Poinsettias in their yard for holiday color. Odd. Clearly a holiday vase was in order.

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The big red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos); red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red star shaped flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); white spikes are from the sweetly scented Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); white stems are from Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli); white daisies are from Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) ferns are from the native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata).

The vase is another oddity found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, likely a historic florist vase from the 1980s. With all the red and green in my vase…my Christmas spirit is cranking up a bit. Maybe my holiday mood will improve once my neighbor puts the flamingoes out. Yes, there is a sled and Santa that goes with it.

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Didn’t I say it was a bit strange in South Florida during the holidays?

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At least the Nodding Hibiscus looks a bit like a Christmas ornament.

Happy Holidays!  To see more vases from around the world go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Walking the Dogs

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I walk my greyhounds frequently, they like to walk around the neighborhood and my garden. Here are some of  the plants we have encountered recently. Some are not to be sniffed by dogs or people. Above  is one of those plants, a Blue Agave (Agave tequilana) grown by a friend and gifted to me, this is the plant that tequila is made from and is very spiny with spines  on the leaf  tips.

Here’s another sharp plant,  my neighbor’s Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa). A poisonous plant with thorns, paradoxically having edible fruit and gardenia scented  flowers.

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Another Agave, not quite as sharp as the Blue one. This one is a Sisal Agave (Agave sisalana) – yes, where Sisal for rugs, ropes, etc. comes from. This is on a vacant lot on our walk and is shooting up a  bloom stalk that is at least 10 feet tall and not showing a bud yet. Somewhere south of here an enterprising soul started a Sisal plantation, the Sisal reseeded and took over an island in the Florida Keys and has blown seeds all the way to my neighborhood.

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Another sharp  plant, the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). These can be used  to make  shampoo and are foamy if the leaves are snapped. After reading about these, I decided against the shampoo as it seems most people are allergic to it.

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The Autograph Tree (Clusia rosea), waiting to be planted – one of  the potted orphans that lurk in everyones garden, not sharp at all.

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Buds on the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi). This is a pink tropical Hydrangea tree, if you can imagine that – and  they bloom in December! I walk by everyday looking for flowers.

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Happy gardening!

To see more Six on Saturday posts featuring six items of interest from gardens around the  world go to: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/