Six on Saturday – Seeds of Change

I am joining the Six on Saturday crew today featuring seeds. I started planting tomato seeds this week for my fall garden and noticed many plants producing seed in the garden. As usual, the tropical plants behave differently and the seeds start early, perhaps to catch the end of the rainy season and get a better chance at life?

This is Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – a shrub native to the Southeastern US. The berries are more spectacular in Florida, I think and locals make (I am told) tasteless jam from the fruit.

Flowers on a Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini). These palms will produce dates. but are dioecious. I am not sure if this is the male or female flower.

Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simarouba) berries, I suppose. These remind me of Crabapples, the birds love them. The Gumbo Limbo is sometimes called the Tourist Tree because of its flaky, red “sunburned” bark.

Firebush (Hamelia patens), this one flowers and fruits simultaneously; birds enjoy the fruit, bees and butterflies the flowers. I can hear the shrub buzzing first thing in the morning.

Seeds forming on Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal). These seeds eventually turn black and fall to the ground. Native Americans ground the husks into flour.

My neighbor grew these Roselles from seed. This is a tropical vegetable, a relative of Hibiscus and Okra. The foliage is edible; new leaves are reminscent of Arugula and the older leaves can be cooked as greens. The calyx of the flower is what these are usually grown for – they are burgundy colored and are used as a substitute for cranberries in the tropics. These were planted as seedlings in May and are now 4′ tall. Waiting for flowers and ‘cranberries’ – hoping for Roselle relish for Thanksgiving.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

In a Vase on Monday – Braving Isaias

The impending path of Hurricane Isaias has been big news this week in Florida. A friend is calling this storm Hurricane Unpronounceable. Research tells me Isaias replaces the name Ike, retired after a particularly disastrous storm in 2008. They downgraded Isaias to a Tropical Storm before it reached my neck of the woods.

Ordinarily I would not cut flowers during a tropical weather event. This one was mild enough that I walked my greyhounds this morning. Alan, the weather phobic hound, did not take notice of the weather. During the walk I avoided the house with Coconut Palms – the coconuts are still hanging on the tree. We had winds up to 30 mph, off and on, and very little rain. The pots on my porch had to be watered. It is interesting to note the change in direction in the winds, especially when not scared witless. The circular wind direction can be felt and noted by watching which way the palms are swaying. Just stay away from Coconut Palms.

What Hurricane?

The vase! Oddly, my husband received flowers recently for helping someone and this is the vase from his flowers. I used it to collect a hot color palette of what is flowering in my garden.

The foliage in the back of the arrangement is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘varigata’); yellow and orange spikes are Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Blanchetiana’) flowers; peach and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and blue tipped panicle flower is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flowers in the middle of the vase are Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); orange flowers hanging over the side are Firebush (Hamelia patens); and a few unnamed Zinnias. The Zinnias are grown in Miami and are my favorite (because they survive) summer container flower. I would love to know the name if anyone can share that information.

It is late Sunday afternoon and while the wind is still blowing it has died down considerably. Fingers crossed for the rest of those in the path of this storm.

To see more vases from less tropical climes visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening and hopefully sunny skies…

Six on Saturday – Preparation H

My husband and I spent last night and this morning securing our house and garden in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. It is quite literally a pain in the ….here he is installing storm shutters:

Every window on the house is covered with corrugated aluminum shutters secured with pins cast into concrete window frames and wing nuts. Anything loose in the garden has to be turned over to catch the least possible wind. The teak coffee table has assumed dead cockroach position near the house. I have turned all the garden furniture over, then picked up all the loose bits and nursery pots I have left lying about.

Why, oh, why do I have so many cushions?

For the porch furniture and seating for greyhounds, of course. Piled up to avoid wind gusts.

I ran across this map recently, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, so named because of all the shipwrecks just offshore. Caused by – you guessed it, hurricanes. And lack of Preparation. People find gold coins at the beach from time to time.

I have one pretty flower for this Saturday, this is called either a Flaming Torch or Hurricane Bromeliad. It’s a Billbergia pyramidalis. Appropriately prepared for the hurricane.

Isaias is predicted to pass by here tomorrow, time will tell how the garden fares.

I am joining Jon the Propagator and gang for Six on Saturday; sharing six pictures of what is going on in my garden this Saturday. To see more Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening from the Treasure Coast!!

In a Vase on Monday – Flaming Gardenias..

Flaming Gardenias sounds like a polite curse from women of a certain age, myself included. No cursing here, except maybe about the heat or politics, but the garden is not involved.

The red flower in the arrangement is a Flaming Torch Bromeliad. These do their name justice and appear at the apex of the hurricane season – another common name is Hurricane Bromeliad. The latin name, Billbergia pyramidalis. Here it is in the garden.

The Gardenias are the tropical kind, sometimes called Florida Gardenias although they are native to India. Tabernaemontana diviracata is the latin. The shrub is at least 10 feet tall and the fragrance, subtle and mostly noticeable really late or really early in the morning. During the Five AM Greyhound romp, I am enjoying the scent of Gardenias, the dogs..Armadilloes or something. It’s a group effort.

A closer view:

The backdrop, I do love a little foliage with textural contrast. The big leaf is from a Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) and the ferny bits – Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden. The cobalt glass bowl, a gift from my brother, years ago. I love it with white flowers.

To see more vases from gardeners around the world, follow the link to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday-Porch Pots

I am joining The Propagator this Saturday with six items of interest from my front porch. I use my porches for propagation and composed containers. Above is one of my containers with Zinnias, Gold Sedum and Flapjack Kalanchoe for the summer.

I found a strawberry pot by the side of the road and decided to plant it with succulents. Here is a Graptosedum taking hold in the side pocket.

The top of the strawberry pot has a Haworthia along the edge. A friend gifted me this one, I am not sure which Haworthia it is, I hope it flowers.

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the pot is in mid pupping, the mother plant on the left side is dying as the new pups takes over the container. The Graptosedums also have some offspring.

Here is a close up of the Dwarf Cheniile Plant (Acalypha pendula). This plant can be used as a groundcover here, but I have it planted as a spiller in a container.

I propagate plants on the front porch as well. From the left, a bit of ‘Song of India’ Dracaena I found by the side of the road and three Desert Rose cuttings taken while pruning bigger plants I have in containers at another entrance to my house. The Roses are slowly rooting while leaning on the wall.

That is my six for this Saturday, join the meme or see posts from around the world at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Buds

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Weather is heating up in South Florida as summer approaches, we had a round of thunderstorms yesterday and expect more in the coming week. The Frangipani (Plumeria) has set buds promising a fragrant yellow flower with pink accents.

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Buds and one tiny flower on the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae) .These will flower, put out some pups, and then stop blushing until next winter.

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More Bromeliad buds, these are Tillandsias and the flowers will tell the tale of which variety – they will be red or green. I am hoping for Cardinal Air Plants, red flowering Florida natives.

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This is a Roselle, an edible Hibiscus (H. sabdariffa) – Most of the plant is edible, the leaves can be cooked as greens or added to salads. Sometimes called Jamaican Sorrel, I am thinking is it sour, but haven’t tried it yet. The burgundy ‘fruit’ is the base of the flower, called a calyx – these are used as a substitute for cranberries. Thankgiving relish may  go tropical this year.

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This is not a bud, but a cone. It is the female cone of a Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) the only Cycad native to the U.S. Cycads are gymnosperms and have male and female cones.

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One of my garden buds and a frequent companion when I am in the garden. An Anole lizard, not sure which one. I have read there are 2,000 lizards per acre in Florida and I believe it.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. My husband and I are thinking this is causing brain fog. Probably best to keep thinking!

To see more Six on Saturday posts visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Flowers

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Our banishment continues, I was just trying to think of where Napoleon’s exile was…Elba. That sounds pretty good, except it is in Italy. Oh well, I  will just stay here and look at the spring flowers in my garden. I am guessing mine are different from most other Six on Saturday posts. To see other posts for spring flower comparisons, go visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Above, I started with a Florida classic, the Hibiscus. This is an old fashioned red that is decades old in my garden.

Below, a flower on the Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). This is my neighbor’s tree – you can tell by the foliage how dry it has been here.

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This is a Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) a funky plant – about 18″ wide and 5 feet tall. I have it in a narrow space. The flowers do look like coral and the foliage looks like marijuana.

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Miss Alice Bougainvillea is just starting to flower. I waited a long  time to find a nearly thornless Bougainvillea and here she is. You still need gloves for pruning, just not rose gloves.

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There are several Justicia (Shrimp Plants) I grow as perennials. This is called Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), it is a shrub – about four feet tall currently.

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Last, but not least, the flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli). On the left side of the trunk is the bud.

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Hopefully everyone is making the best of our global exile and working in the garden. I realized I should make a list – there are so many little details to work on. I am making broth and soup this afternoon. I bought a 22 lb turkey and cooked it this week for many future turkey sandwiches and soups. My husband smoked the thighs and I saved the carcass to make broth. In the kitchen for me this afternoon. I am proud that I was able to stop myself from posting large turkey pictures and making political comments. Well, not quite.

Happy Gardening.

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 – From Florida with Love

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As I was putting this vase together it occurred to me there probably isn’t another garden with this mix of plants in January unless it is in Florida. It is a season spanning  concoction. Spring and Summer flowers, some fall berries and pineapple foliage. My husband and I refer to this time of year as Not Summer. The rest of the year is Summer.

The weather during Not Summer is delightful for gardening, highs in the 70s with low humidity and ocean breezes. The climate is not without drawbacks, I cannot let my cat outside as there are several things that might eat her, I believe I have nematodes in my vegetable garden (disastrous), persnickety rabbits ate most of my radishes but only one kind of Basil and I am slightly overrun with Papayas. Not to mention the possibility of hurricanes. I will persevere. Actively looking for Papaya fans. Few takers.

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A closer view of the vase:

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The big pink flowers are Zinnias, despite my best efforts I have no idea what kind. Popsicle sticks labeled everything blah, blah, blah. Planted some free mixed seeds,  but I labeled them something else.  Ironically, my favorite Zinnia thus far.

The  yellow and orange flowers are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), Florida natives that reseed freely and invent new colors every year. The chartreusy spike above the Gallardia is a new Celosia (Texas Vintage Rose Mix) from Floret. Described as heart breakingly beautiful like faded velvet or something like that; my heart is not broken yet though  I will  monitor these. Pink stars are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata). There are a few white  and  peach Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The big orange flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria), red and green foliage from a Miniature Pineapple, purple berries are still hanging around on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). Birds  have eaten the berries on the other shrubs further out in the garden. These are closer to the house and my dogs may be keeping the birds away.

From last weeks vase, the Dombeya everyone  was interested in. The  wind  died down a bit and here is the whole shrub.

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From Florida with Love.

Happy Gardening.

In A Vase on Monday – Surinam Shrimp

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I am aware ‘Surinam Shrimp’ sounds like a dish at a Vietnamese restaurant, however the two main components of this vase are Surinam Cherries and Shrimp Plants. The Surinam Cherries are the fruit in the lower part of the arrangement.

I have a large hedge of these shrubs and was pleased to have a fruit producing hedge, thinking (silly me) the fruit could be eaten. I kept thinking the fruit wasn’t ripe or something as it tasted so bad. Finally my neighbor, a Florida veteran, picked one for me – properly ripe. Still tasted bad. I have seen the taste described as resinously bitter, and the description fits the fruit. Given the taste of the fruit and the colors in various stages of ripeness an arrangement seemed like a better use of the fruit. The rest will be left for our wildlife friends.

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Here is another view with the nearly ripe Surinam Cherry beside the vase. As for the other members of the plant crew, we have: in dark red, flowers of the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); the foliage of Boston Fern and the upright sticks are from a ‘Firesticks’ Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’); in orange and chartreuse, the fruits of the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora).

The vase was a long ago Christmas gift to my husband from his ex-wife’s cousin! We have absolutely no idea what it is, so if anyone has a clue please send a comment. We have been wondering for years what this is. The top of the vase is much thinner than the base and has a hole in it. It reads “Gd Cafe des Viticulteurs”

As for the ‘Firesticks’ Pencil Cactus’ here is a picture of the plant. Euphorbias still blow my mind, hello, Poinsettias? so weird- I have a few of these around the garden as they easily root from cuttings:

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Now I am craving some Shrimp Pasta for dinner. Without the Euphorbias, of course.