In a Vase on Monday – Kaleidoscope

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I appreciate restrained color palettes for the most part. This vase is unrestrained and a kaleidoscopic view of summer in my garden. The flowers are restrained in a different way. Instead of a hand tied bouquet, this is a rubber banded bouquet, waiting to see how it holds up as the stems are fat and juicy. I was rooting around in the drawer and could not fish the jute twine out with one hand as I was holding the flowers in the other and did not want to put them down. Rubber bands were within easy reach and not too tightly applied.

There is a lot going on in this vase. Fruit, fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. The neutral colored vase, a thrift store find, is a necessity when colors range from deep purple to orange, apricot, red, pink and white. A closer view:

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The fruit is Muscadine Grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), a native grapevine that takes over everything and unfortunately tastes bitter and has a big seed. My neighbors, the native Floridians, love it and eat it. I wish they would eat more as they are so prolific. But pretty. White flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) lightly scented and lovely. The red flower with blue tips is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); orange flower and foliage with the grapes on top belong to Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); red and yellow flower in the center is Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum).

Another view:

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The apricot and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); red flowers, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); pink and white flowers, a sprig of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). Ferns are from the evil Asian Sword Fern – I don’t think I could make enough arrangements to get rid of this stuff.

I wish I could whirl the pictures around and see all the colors combined..like a real Kaleidoscope.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening – for more Monday vases; visit our hostess, Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

Six on Saturday – Blue Blazes

It’s time for Six on Saturday, a post about six items of interest in the garden, anything at all, shared with gardeners around the world.

To view the collection visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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One of my father’s favorite summertime sayings “It is hot as blue blazes”. I have no idea where that came from. Maybe New England where he was from. I can confirm it is hot as blue blazes in South Florida in July, though there is a nice breeze coming off the ocean currently.

Above is one of my favorite summer flowers, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)

Another Heliconia is flowering in my garden, the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata)

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I have been harvesting fruit. My first pineapple, cute and ripening on the counter along with Purple Possum Passionfruit. Say that 10 times fast..

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The Bromeliads are doing their thing, some just looking great in summer colors and some flowers. This is an unknown Neoregelia.

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The Blanchetiana Aechmea Bromeliads are shooting up buds, these are about five feet tall now and will get a little bigger and fully open in November. The flowers usually last until May.

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Another Aechmea Bromeliad, the Miniata. These are very reliable July bloomers, many Bromeliads have a mind of their own when deciding to flower – the Blanchetiana above took about six years to decide to bloom…the Miniata start out red and then get cobalt blue tips. Interesting to watch and they last a long time as cut flowers. The foliage is a bit scorched from two weeks without rain and some wind.

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That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

Six on Saturday – The Rainforest Garden

I started this garden several years ago, the idea was to recreate a rainforest using mostly colors and textures in shades of plum and green with a few pops of color. My Living Room looks into this space so the plants are placed around the windows to shape views from the inside and outside. Here is what I started with:

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I referred to this ‘landscape’ as the beach with weeds. The glob of plant material on the right side had to be removed with a bobcat – I poked around at it with loppers for a while then gave up and had everything scraped out. The existing irrigation was capped off and I installed above ground tubing and microspray heads to keep the water off the walkway and be very efficient. The sand holds very little water and is mostly unamended – plant material was chosen carefully to cope with the conditions.

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I planted the areas around the walk, and then hired a contractor to install plastic edging. I installed the fabric, then leveled the sand, added stepping stones and shell gradually. I have a crushed shell driveway and had a pile of leftover shell. This is 2018.

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Later in 2018 with the walkway completed. I am not sure how long all that took, though I remember it was many tiny wheelbarrows of shell…

Here it is today, I am standing under an Avocado tree planted about 4 years ago.

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One of the plum and green Bromeliad beds:

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Looking back, I am amazed at how quickly the garden has grown in and enjoy sitting in the garden with a glass of wine frequently.

For more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com…

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Red Hot Fourth

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The Fourth of July marks the birth of American Independence from Great Britain in 1776. Usually the general  public celebrates with loud fireworks and mass picnics in public parks. Many of these events  have been cancelled due to Covid concerns.  My greyhounds are blissfully happy (with no idea why) about no booming fireworks.

The holiday is on Saturday this week. My vase is celebrating the holiday in patriotic colors reflecting the heat in the garden with red and orange flowers. The vase is from the UK – a  teapot in Blue Willow. There is even a Firecracker Plant in the vase (Russelia equisetiformis)

I have been gardening in the mornings, the end of June signals the end of tolerable weather outdoors. July and August are listed as our  worst weather months despite Hurricane season peaking September 10. After over 20 inches of rain the first couple of weeks of June, the spigot got turned off and I have plants frying in the heat. Slightly windy and  90 degrees Fahrenheit will burn many plants. Surprisingly, I need to water some very tough Bromeliads later this afternoon ( and check on the irrigation)

Another view:

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And closer:

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The weeping red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); red spikes Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red and yellow daisies – Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); the orange flower, Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); grey foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare) – I can’t smell the Licorice…and a leftover Guzmania Bromeliad from last week.

Happy Gardening to all and Happy Fourth to those who celebrate it.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly event. To see more vases follow the link.

In a Vase on Monday – Shrimp and Greens

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I have learned to love Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) since taking up gardening in South Florida. My neighbor gave me a start of this several years ago and they just keep going – drought, rain, winter, summer – no problem and lots of flowers. The red flowers have been catching my eye since the onslaught of rain in June rejuvenated them.

I started with the Red Shrimp plants and just kept adding more and more foliage, then some Bromeliads and Frangipani and then some more foliage..lots of greens in this vase. The Shrimps ended up in a supporting role instead of starring in the vase. Here is a shrimpy close up.

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Here is a close up of the arrangement:

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The big leaf in the back is from Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum); there are a few bits of Burgundy Aechmea Bromeliad leaves in the back and some Red Shrimp Plants. And Asparagus Fern and Asian Sword Fern that appeared gratis in the garden. I am trying to hustle the ferns out of the garden before they take over. The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); smaller white flowers Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); red varigated foliage is from Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). More Red Shrimp below the Frangipani and a Red Guzmania Bromeliad flower.

I  have also learned to love Key West Pink Shrimp since moving to South Florida. They are readily available here and I can make myself a very nice meal with about four dollars worth of shrimp. My husband has odd shellfish issues, so I am the sole consumer. Here is my edible version of Shrimp and Greens.

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Happy Gardening, I hope everyone finds something lovely to go with the greens in the garden. Shrimps or not.

To see more vases from gardens around the world visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Wedding Bells

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It’s June, the most popular month for weddings in the US. I put together a big vase of fragrant white flowers and greenery, was ready to call it ‘Go Big or Go Home’ – then realized there were bells on the table and the crystal vase was wedding gift from a dear friend that worked with both my husband and me at the architectural firm where we met. The bells, year round residents on the table, are temple bells my father brought back from India after being stationed there during World War II.

I started to use Bridal Bouquet Frangipani but the stems are too short for this vase. What could be better for a June bride than a big bouquet of Gardenias? A closer view:

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The Gardenias are Tropical Gardenias, sometimes called Florida Gardenias – like the temple bells on my table, these hail from India. Their botanical name is Tabernaemontana divaricata. Adding to the fragrance from the Gardenias, the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). A spray of chartreuse flowers from the Adonidia Palm is hiding in the foliage. The rest of the foliage is Asian Sword Ferns and a few errant palm fronds from seedling Sabal Palms (Palmetto sabal).

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My foyer smells good enough to hold a very intimate wedding ceremony there. The need for witnesses might present a problem due to spatial constraints.

To see more vases from gardens around the world visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Fruit Harvest

We enjoyed out first Mangoes this week. We had one Pickering and one Nam Doc Mai Mango. Both were divine and worth the wait. The Pickering had a coconut taste and the Nam Doc Mai was sweet as well, without the piney taste I sometimes associate with Mangoes. This is the flower of the Nam Doc Mai.00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509094313878_cover

Here is the fruit ripening.

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Finally, I had to pick one because the fruit was starting to split from the 20 inch rain deluge. Here it is ripe on the counter.

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There are still a few Pickering Mangoes ripening on the tree. I picked one and it shriveled a bit on the counter but was still very tasty.

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Also waiting on my first pineapple.

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Here is where the Nam Doc Mai ended up. As a side of Mango Salsa with Parmesan Crusted Salmon and Green Bean Salad. The Pickering Mango met a similar fate. I admit to having a considerable sampling of the two Mangoes while my husband wasn’t looking.

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Happy Saturday and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts, go and visit The Propagator http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Rain Total – 12 inches

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We had one very stormy day and some tremendous thunderstorms this week. I decided to check our local rainfall totals for the past week – 12.04 inches. Wow. The glut of precipation has refreshed the garden and inspired new growth and flowers.

Above is the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens) – supposedly the flowers indicate rain is on the way. Oh, boy.

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The White Frangipani (Plumeria) tree has opened its first set of flowers. I am not tall enough to get a good picture.

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Hawaiian Snow Bush (Breynia nivosa) is putting out new foliage – frosted with ‘snow’. I bought this to replace one of my favorite shrubs I live too far south to grow, Burgundy Loropetalum. It is doing and admirable job so far.

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A Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) with its first flower. I very nearly killed this by leaving it in my plant orphanage too long. This is a native shrub, a great pollinator plant and is usually covered in yellow flowers (if you remember to plant it). I was surprised to see this sold as a summer annual in Atlanta.

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The Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) has greened up magnificentally and is filled with fragrant white flowers.

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Last, but not least, a bounty of Rain Lily (Zephyranthes) flowers followed the rain.

That is my six on this, so far, sunny Saturday. For more posts, go and visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Florida Foliage Fun

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There is some marvelously funky foliage that can be grown in Florida. I have succumbed to more that one plant for its foliage alone. The flowers, for the most part, are less than inspiring. Above is a Mammey Croton (Codieaum varigegatum ‘Mammey’). These are dwarf and grow to about 3 feet. They are a foundation planting next to my peach painted house. It’s  tropical fun.

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The leaves of a Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Louisiana Red’) These are new to my garden, six feet is the mature height, I hope. They are at the back of the butterfly garden.

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This is a ‘Raggedy Ann’ Copperleaf, it wasn’t big enough as a mass of color and not being able to find another I put the Louisiana Red beside it. I think this will work out.

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Six on Saturday would not be complete without including a Bromeliad. This is a unnamed Neoregelia I enjoy for its  color and size, it is about 2 feet wide.

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Another Croton, the Piecrust Croton. Planted in honor of my husband, the piemaker. The leaf edges are crimped like a piecrust.

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The groundcover in my Rainforest garden is Zebrina Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) a common interior hanging basket plant. This is nearly indestructible and thrives in sugar sand.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts from the world over, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Butterflies

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It has been a good week for bees and butterflies in my garden. My absurdly overgrown Firebush has started flowering prolifically and I am enjoying all the insect life. Above is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly diving into the flower of an Heirloom Penta. They also enjoy the Firebush. Here is the gigantic Firebush. I read the record Firebush is 13 feet tall. This one may be approaching record height.

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The Firebush was planted 6 or 7 years ago to screen the well. This is the Firebush at time of installation; I was told it was Dwarf and would get 4 feet tall! I have tree formed it as I enjoy watching the butterflies. And the well, currently dead is certainly screened.

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Firebush Hamelia patens

Fiona the Greyhound enjoys snapping up a bee now and again.

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A bee that is out of Fiona’s reach.

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Another part of my good butterfly week – I had an article published in The American Gardener about the Atala Butterflies in my garden. Below is the link.

The American Gardener:
May/June 2020

Check out this page

Happy Gardening!! For more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.