In a Vase on Monday – Some Like it Hot

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Living in South Florida requires ‘liking it hot’. The weather certainly is and in my case the colors in my garden. I like it hot. I will say a little moderation in the temperature would be meaningful. I have seen our current weather described as ‘Hell’s Front Porch’.

 

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This morning my husband sent me this, I don’t think it was actually quite that hot. However,  I decided to retreat to the air conditioning and leave the garden, letting the weeds take over a little more. We are up to 11.5 inches of rain for August and are expecting a few more inches from a nearby tropical system. The weeds are deliriously happy and reveling in the plentiful precipitation.

A closer view of the vase. The orange tubular flowers are appropriately named for the season, Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) There is a botany war about the proper name of this plant. I decided that is its proper name.

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The red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), enjoying a banner year with all the rain, red flower at the base of the arrangement is Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata); white spikes are from Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) another great butterfly plant. There is a lot of foliage in this vase. The grey foliage is from the Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum); big green leaves at the base are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’); burgundy foliage is from a Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); two kinds of fern – Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and Asparagus Fern – both are volunteers. In the back some foliage from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Lemon’)

 

The Firebush with a friend. The Zebra Longwing butterflies have been enjoying its nectar this summer, I have seen five butterflies hovering around the flowers more than once. These are planted beside my front door, so I see them several times a day and enjoy the flowers and the Zebras.

 

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Every Monday Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com hosts In a Vase on Monday, to see more gardens and vases visit her blog.

Happy Gardening.

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In a Vase on Monday – Jar of August Tropical Version

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My repurposed pasta jar makes its second appearance filled with the tropical side of August in the garden. This month has been steamily perfect for growing tropical plants; more than 6 inches of rain has fallen thus far and it is currently pouring down. The greyhounds are a little grumpy. The lightning show offshore at night has been keeping everyone awake.

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A closer view, the colors were a happy gardening accident. I do not consider myself a pink person, but there it is. Foliage in the background is two ferns that freely go wild in Florida. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) and Asian Sword Fern (I think) – both are considered invasive – it would take a bulldozer to rid my garden of these. I have pulled out cubic yards of them.  The purple and silver leafy foliage is Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) – if there is a more politically correct common name, I am not aware of it, though I do wonder about all the wandering and why Jews? The yellow and pink spikey flower in the back is from one of my garage sale Bromeliads. I have no idea what it is; the foliage is very thorny and is grey with a pink cast. The purple flowers are Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet’) dreadful name but a lovely little perennial that flowers off and on year round. The last pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). In white with yellow centers Bridal Bouquet Frangipani. The Frangipani keeps flowering and I keep cutting them, I love the fragrance and added some Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) to the jar for some additional punch. Recently I ran across a Ylang Ylang tree (a major part of Chanel No. 5 perfume’s allure) Finding they will grow in my garden I am plotting the perfect location. Not a particularly lovely tree, but the fragrance from the flowers is heavenly.

Both Jars of August for comparison:

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Last week

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This week – Tropical version.

Thinking I should do a jar of weeds next week. Some are attractive and a major component of the garden in August.

 

Funky Florida Flora – Snake Plants

This is my side yard. When I moved to South Florida and rounded the corner of my new (old) house I could hardly believe my eyes.

Brain says “Snake Plant”, a person from much further north says “Not possible”. Oh, but it is. I would guess there is a ten-foot wide band of Snake Plant alongside my house- yes, Sansiveria and/or Mother in Law’s Tongue and the band is at least a hundred feet long. And they flower. I have cut them for arrangements, not a particularly long-lasting flower, but kind of interesting.

House plants run amok. One has to wonder, did someone throw out Snake Plant a hundred years ago and this is the result.

Snake Plants are considered invasive in South Florida. I have managed to make a dent in some of them:

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Yes, that is a pile of Snake Plants in front of a Bobcat (not the feline version) It is strange to me that we (my husband and I) would rather look at a telephone pole than all the Snake Plants and assorted garbage (Brazilian Peppers, another story for another day)

The Snake Plants grow running tubers (if that is a word) similar to Ginger. It is nearly impossible to pull up without breaking it and when it is broken it just reproduces – hence, the Bobcat.

Our landscapers are now mowing over the tubers weekly; we will see if the mowing actually helps.

I read somewhere a Snake Plant as a houseplant will clean the air. This means having one of these things in my house – and watering it. Um, no.

I am going to pass on that and use them in a vase. One less for the Bobcat. Here is a Vase with Snake Plant.

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In A Vase on Monday – Rabbit Food

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Early on Sunday morning I grabbed my shears and went into the garden to collect materials for my vase. My intention, to gather some Black Eyed Susans and other wildflowers for a casual vase.

After I closed the gate, keeping my greyhounds in their space – I spied the fattest rabbit I have ever seen lurking near my miniature pineapple plants. The tiny pineapple approaching its juicy peak.. I changed my mind and decided a slightly more tropical vase might be more appropriate. The lovely pineapple was quickly freed from its sharp crown.

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My wildflower theme completely blown by the plus size Rabbit, I searched for more tropical plants. I added some foliage from the miniature pineapple plant, a few sprigs of Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the orange flower is Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera); the peach flower – the wildflower in the vase, a Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) for a light tropical fragrance. A Pandanus leaf is tied around the vase.

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I am glad I beat the rabbit to the pineapple.

Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Frond Farewell

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I am bidding farewell to a flower from my Blanchetiana Bromeliad that has served me well. It opened at the end of November, I enjoyed if for a couple of weeks, then used part of it to create a wreath for Christmas. On Saturday, I cut the rest to use as part of a talk I gave about Bromeliads in the Garden.

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The wreath is still on my door and has dried to a nice brown, I am still mulling whether to get rid of it

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The frond in the arrangement is from a Chinese Fan Palm (Livingstonia chinensis) seedling that popped up between me and my neighbor. It gives a really tropical vibe to the area, so I left it. I figure I will long gone before it reaches full size (60 feet!)  Odd for winter in South Florida, it has been raining since yesterday afternoon. The vase holds about half of the frond, I went out in the pouring rain with Loppers in search of a bold bit of foliage to contrast with the Blanchetiana flower (at least 3 feet tall). Upon lopping the frond, I spied a wasp nest in the other half. For whatever reason, the wasps were not bothered by me and I left the other half of the frond where I found it, ensuring no homeless wasps and hoping for beneficial wasps. I cut the frond in half again – one quarter is hanging over the edge and the rest is in the vase upright.

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Farewell, fine Flower.

In A Vase on Monday – Tea Time

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Wintry weather has arrived in South Florida. Having had a warm and too dry winter thus far a bit of rain was welcome, my suspicion is the wind following the rain will blow the moisture out of everything. Myself included.

Seems like a really good time for a cup of tea. I brewed a cup of English Breakfast and got the antique teapot from Rington Limited Tea Merchants down to serve as my vase. It seemed there was not much blooming, after the rain stopped and the sky cleared I went out and looked. To my surprise, I shortly had assembled a vase with an unusual combination of plants.

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The pink balls are from the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi);  white flowers spilling over the edge are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); a few purple Ground Orchids (Spathoglottis ‘Cabernet) are peeking out about above the Begonias; the yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); the purples are Lilac Emperor Zinnias and Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis); the backdrop of burgundy leaves is Red Giant Mustard ( I don’t eat it, I use it in winter containers) other greenery is another form of Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden.

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We have added a new family member, meet Fiona the greyhound. She is going to be a garden hound, I think. She waits patiently by the gate while I putter around in the garden.

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In A Vase on Monday – Long Stemmed Salvia

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For reasons unknown to me, I have a bumper crop of Tropical Red Salvia. Usually a short and somewhat scruffy looking perennial (or reseeding annual, it seems perennial due to the constant supply of seedlings). The Tropical Red Salvia this winter is bearing long, lushly foliated stems with fat blossoms. The bees were not happy with me and my clippers again.

The Tropical Red Salvia also comes in peach, pink and neon orange. I rarely get a neon orange, but I do enjoy the softer colors and seedling variation. You have to wonder why it can’t be called simply Tropical Salvia as it is native to Florida, or, Florida Salvia?

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Another native added to the vase, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – These ferns graciously popped up in the nether regions between my driveway and my neighbors fence. I have been enjoying ferns in vases since it’s arrival. The red and orange zig zag shaped bits are flowers from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad; the sprays of blue/white flowers are from Dianella (some call it Blueberry Flax), the variegated leaves are also from Dianella. Grey fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolare) – a plant in a winter container that I just cut back. I was happy to learn the Licorice Plant will grow here. More plants to propagate. Or try.

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I am having the exact opposite experience with China Asters and will not ask them into the garden again. I love the flowers and am not sure if this is the second or third attempt. Here is a seedling- sowed in September! Had one flower about the size of a fingernail.

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Ironically, the seedlings coming up in the pot are Tropical Red Salvia.

Life in the Garden. Happy Monday.