Six on Saturday – Winter Wonderland

Not exactly the image the words “winter wonderland” conjure up? Welcome to South Florida and 2022’s first edition of Six on Saturday. To see more, probably wintry garden scenes from garden bloggers in more northern climes, follow the link http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The flower above is a Billbergia Bromeliad, species ‘garage sale’ – though I suspect it is called ‘Purple Haze’. The foliage is purple, striped sideways sporting flowers of red, white and blue and flowering in January. Pretty trippy.

The next tropical surprise of the morning – ‘Chociana’ Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum ‘Chociana’) I am still wondering what Chociana is. Note the bonus spider inside the flower.

I have been enjoying this magnificent Tropical Hydrangea for a couple of weeks. It is a Dombeya wallachii and about 15 feet tall.

The vegetable garden is doing well, I have been picking tomatoes daily for a week or so, the birds have beat me to them once, diligence is key.

Planning to thin my second crop of radishes this morning. These are my favorite, French breakfast.

Happy New Year from my Winter Wonderland.

In A Vase on Monday -Time In A Bottle

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As I was thinking about a subject for a vase, it occurred to me putting a vase together every week is a bit like saving time in a bottle. The dates are right on the blog post for reference and I  find (not being a keeper of garden journals) myself referring back to my blog to see when plants have been in bloom. The watch ( a la Salvador Dali) a gift from my father many years ago. The persistence of memory can be troubling.

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The largest plant in a preowned pink champagne bottle is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Shell Gingers were a bit of a mystery to me upon my arrival in Florida. The variegated type is commonly used as an annual further north for its foliage, but the green ones I had not encountered until I ran across one at a garage sale for (my favorite price) five bucks. Warnings are commonly issued about the size of these plants, a few years after planting it is six feet by six feet – but it also also planted in front of an ugly six foot fence. Gotta love it when a plan works out. It also appears to be on the verge of bursting into full bloom all over, however, this is difficult to discern as buds. leaves, etc look remarkably similar. If the whole thing does flower I will definitely post some pictures.

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The heirloom blue bottle (another gift from my mother) holds a new arrival to my garden, in purple, Ground Orchids, I think this is a Bletilla of some sort, but as usual no one selling these plants really knows. Ground Orchids are fairly common in South Florida and used as 18″ height perennials – mine have been placed under a Pink Frangipani, next to a plum foliaged and flowered Bromeliad of unknown origin and beside a group of the Pink Bromeliads-the flower currently displayed in the gold bottle. Alongside the mysterious Orchid we have culinary Dill flowers, pink Tropical Salvia (Salvia coccinea) and Dwarf Pineapple foliage.

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This vase contains a Billbergia Bromelaid of uncertain origins ( found thrown out with trash whilst walking my greyhounds) What I can say is I find it unreasonably sharp and beautiful. I may someday learn its botanical name, though I doubt it. In the vase there is some foliage from another, unrelated Bromeliad, a Neoregelia of the Fireball continuum I think.. And a bit of Asparagus Fern that appeared one day and I suspect my floral ambitions are keeping it at bay. The gold bottle has a cork and has served as an olive oil container.

Time in these bottles preserves mid February flowers in my garden or maybe the photos really provide the preservation. Next year will bring the answer all gardeners want to know – will it flower again?

Will our memory persist? One can hope or ask Dali.