In a Vase on Monday – Fresh as a …

A Beach Daisy.

South Florida is experiencing another cold spell. I have been covering summer (ha!) vegetables and flowers at night due to temperatures hovering in the high 30s (F). One more night of cold seems to be on tap, followed by a warm up. The more tropical plants are sulking and browning, leafy plants like Heliconias look particularly unhappy.

Some of the native plants are looking, well, fresh as a daisy. I don’t recall the Beach Daisies (in yellow) ever looking so good in January. They usually flower madly during the summer, get moldy, and are asked to leave the garden (by the wheelbarrow load) due to their scraggly appearance. The new year seems to be presenting new gardening challenges. I will cover my plants one more night and hope for some zinnias in the coming weeks. There are buds!

The cast of characters:

Daisies first! In yellow, Beach Daisies (Helianthus debilis); in white, Bidens alba, sometimes called Spanish Needles; blue spikes, Mystic Spires Salvia; white and coral spikes, another happy native, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); finer textured white spikes, Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata).

Fluffy flowers and needle like foliage are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). The vase was left to me by my mother, made by the Ute Indians in the Southwestern US.

The happy Beach Daisies and Tropical Red Salvia in the garden:

I am hoping for warmer days here, but am grateful for the happy flowers in the garden. Thanks to Cathy for hosting this week and every week! To see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthgarden.wordpress.com.

In A Vase on Monday – Boxed Florida Sunshine.

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The Beach Sunflowers are overtaking my front yard. The mailman, raised in the Florida Keys, stopped to inform me no one left the Beach Sunflowers in their garden when he was growing up – they were considered weeds, though clearly he was wondering if maybe it was a good idea. Floridians, the rare native ones,¬† tend not to appreciate things that are common (and wonderful). I think the tide of appreciation is turning to plants more suited to their native environment – who couldn’t appreciate a box of sunshine from Florida on a fine February morning?

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The blue watercolor box is filled with Helianthus debilis, Beach Sunflower. Beach Sunflower is a native reseeding biennial – the reasons I love these, they bloom nearly year round, thrive in pure sand, outcompete most weeds and can be pruned to low masses. What’s not to love?

The fruit tree update. Mangoes are flowering here, we will have fruit in June or July, the panicles produce numerous fruits Рmost fall off and maybe one to three fruits per flower is left. By late spring, the branches will be bending from the weight of the fruit.

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This is a big Haden Mango located on my daily dog walk route. My little Mangoes are flowering a little, but nothing like this.

I bought another fruit tree, a Red Jaboticaba:

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This is a South American fruit tree that bears a grape like fruit on the trunk. In a few years. Patience, gardeners.