Six on Saturday – New Things

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I have some new things in my garden, flowers, foliage, fruit and non-toxic weedkiller. My Six for this Saturday.

Above, a  Texas Plume Vintage Rose Mix Celosia flower. I started these from seed last fall, the colors in the mix are Burgundy, Chartreuse and this – I suppose it is pink? I have not had Celosia in this garden, though it seems it is becoming popular. I will be interested to see how long it lasts.

The flower of a Guzmania Bromeliad just opening. I would love to know the variety of this one, it flowers every winter.

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Winter brings  color to Bromeliad foliage. These are aptly named Painted Fingernail Aechmea.

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Color on new growth of Southern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii). This is a native Florida blueberry, I doubt it will bear fruit as it struggles in my sandy soil.

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The fruit is setting on the Nam Doc Mai Mango. This is a Thai Dessert Mango and very tasty. Last year I did not have any as it was too windy for the flowers to pollinate.

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I discovered a non-toxic weedkiller that works like Glyphosate, which I refuse to use in my garden. My pathways will look a lot better now. This new weedkiller is EcoMIGHT http://ecomight.com/ and is peppermint oil based. Here is a lovely dead weed.

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That’s my Six for this Saturday. To see other gardeners take on Six on Saturday, follow  this link to  Visit the Propagator!!

Happy Gardening.

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.

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 – 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.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Gifts from the Garden

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It’s  time for Six on Saturday. Six pictures of anything interesting from your garden.

Just in time for Christmas the garden is gifting me with some wonderful things. Above, finally a nearly ripe Papaya.

Below, green beans and radishes:

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In honor of the holidays, a few red flowers are blooming. The weather is dreadful today,  howling wind and rain, so pictures were taken inside.

This is Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus malvaviscus)

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Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana)

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The garden provided plenty of Blanchetiana flowers (and foliage) to make this wreath.

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And a greyhound to watch over the front porch:

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

For more Six on Saturday posts go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com