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.

In a Vase on Monday – Mothers Day

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I put this vase together on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US. The vases often make me think of my mother, Miss Betty, an intrepid gardener, registered nurse and mother of  four, who would have loved to see all the vases on Monday. I took care of her the last years of her life and always did her grocery shopping on Tuesday. Tuesday always brought a vase to her kitchen – either flowers from my garden, her garden or the grocery store. We both had Red Alstromeria in our gardens and the grocery store usually did as  well – there was a lot of Alstromeria in those Tuesday vases. Recently a friend brought me a start of the original Alstromeria my mother gave her. It is currently suffering in my garden, and I hope it can cope with South Florida sand.

A closer view of the vase:

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It’s an unusually cool, gloomy day for May in South Florida. I decided to create a copper teapot full of color for my foyer. The teapot is a favorite find of mine, antiquing with my husband I spied this and had to have it. Then went running home to make sure the check I wrote wouldn’t bounce. It didn’t, but barely.

There are a lot of flowers stuffed into a pickle jar in the teapot (it doesn’t hold water, holes in the bottom) The big red flower is The President Hibiscus, an old variety that lives a long time. Blue flowers are Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); bigger white flowers are from White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri); smaller white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); the orange tubular flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); grey fuzzy foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum petiolaris); yellow and red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigatem); the Guzmania Bromeliad from last week’s vase is at the bottom left in the arrangement. Here is another view:

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And here is my mother, Miss Betty with her mother, Miss Ethel in 1988 – in front of her prized Philadelphus. I wonder how she would feel about being in a blog post..

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Six on Saturday – May Happenings

The month of May is coming in like a lion here. Stormy weather and cool temperatures are across the US. In Florida, it is a refreshing 70 degrees but the wind kicks up and it a bit too windy to sit outside. Some of the warm season shrubs are starting to flower.

Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) can flower anytime, but is more prolific in the summer.

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Firebush (Hamelia patens) and one of my favorites flower more during the warmer months.

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The Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini) is flowering. I don’t get any dates, though these will bear fruit if you have a male and female palm.

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The Papaya has produced its second crop this year. This one fell off the tree – there is a moth that lays eggs in the fruit and causes it to drop off. You can tell by the sap oozing out that the moth has been there. If I had cut the fruit open it would be full of worms eating the flesh of the Papaya (I didn’t). The fruit that falls has to be picked up quickly to halt another generation of moths.

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The Thai Dessert Mango is tantalizing me. This is a Nam Doc Mai.

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The Nam Doc Mai is also flowering again, so I should get a few more Mangoes this summer. These can flower year round, though mine usually don’t.

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There, six things happening in my garden in May. For other Six on Saturday posts, go to  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – White Shoulders

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The Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) in my garden began flowering this week. I wanted to use it in a all white arrangement, but did not make it very far. The all white arrangement was kind of boring. I think the architect Robert Venturi said after hearing ‘Less is More’ one too many times – Less is a Bore. So, I added more color.

While putting this together I added a sprig of Sweet Almond to the Florida Gardenia and Sweet Begonia, then the first thing that popped into my head was this smells like White Shoulders perfume. When I was growing up, a friend’s mother used this as her ‘signature fragrance’ and you could smell her coming. I sneeze at the memory. Below is the Florida Gardenia, these are sometimes called Pinwheel Gardenias and are not quite as potent as Gardenia jasminoides.

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I have been gardening so much over the past couple of weeks I have anything but white shoulders. A terrible farmer tan right down to the Birkenstock sandal marks on my feet. But the garden is looking good, and I have been enjoying my time outside. Here is a closer view:

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The red flower is a Guzmania Bromeliad fading away; white flowers spilling over the edge of the vase are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); varigated foliage is from Java White Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana ‘Java White’); the ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

Something about this reminds me of a corsage from the 1950s. Maybe it is the scent of White Shoulders.

Happy gardening and thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases, go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Refresh

Perfect gardening weather ruled this week. There was even some rain for successful transplanting and weed removal. After the first rain, I started to pull out the evil invader, Asian Sword Fern. These ferns popped up in my garden a couple of years ago. I thought they were pretty, no longer. They have grown through everything and can only be pulled out if the soil is moist.

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During the course of my weeding, I pulled out a Gru Gru Palm (Acrocomia aculeata) seedling. It is said this is what pygmy tribes in the Amazon use for poison darts. Covered in thorns, these sliced right through my leather gloves and they get bigger as the palm does. I hope I got rid of the thing, I did not plant it. I see these from time to time as a specimen palm in gardens, the appeal is lost on me. Way too sharp.

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Our front garden is always under renovation as a small area has to be dug up once a year to service the septic tank. I question the wisdom of this design, but it has been made as accessible as possible. I put in a shelf of shells on a pizza pan with a pot of succulents behind and rocks on weed fabric that can be pulled out and replaced easily. I am not quite finished with this project.

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The pot has Flapjack Kalanchoe, Graptosedum and a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is pupping so this should look fuller later this summer. The access to the septic tank is under the pizza pan. I am probably the first person to ever write that sentence, and possibly use a pizza pan for such a thing.

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I decided to direct seed a new crop of Basil for the summer into my herb pots, so far so good.

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The Beautyberry is flowering luxuriantly, promising a bumper crop of purple fruit later this summer. This is native and a pollinator favorite, waiting to see some new butterflies.

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Wishing  the Six on Saturday crew a lovely gardening week and for more posts go and visit…. http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Blues, Whites and Greys

The skies have been blue, white and grey this week. We have had some stormy weather that required greyhound consolation and enough rain to kick off some new flowers and foliage.

Below is my “Lady Margaret” Passionflower.  I bought this as a red flowering Lady M two years ago and babied, watered and trained it to my fence only to find white flowers after breathlessly observing buds for days. The vine is a larval host for a few butterflies and holds all life stages currently. I contacted the seller to see what it actually is and either they wouldn’t say or didn’t know. I am hoping it bears a good Passionfruit for cocktails. Time will tell. I got my money back as I did not want to establish and train another vine.

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Another vine I have been working on is the Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Miss Alice is a nearly thornless variety and I am working her into a pillar.

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Graptosedum gifted to me by a friend is reproducing in a pot on the front porch. The pink flowers are Dwarf Chenille Plant and grey foliage is Licorice Plant (Helichryseum).

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The Painted Fingernail Aechmea Bromeliad is flowering.

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This is a new variety of Rosemary to me and as a treat to myself I bought a big one. It’s a good thing, we have eaten about a quarter of it! This is a Blue Lagoon Rosemary, great for containers.

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The fruit of Candy Portea Bromeliad. The flower is purple and the fruit hangs around for awhile, then turns brown.

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Wishing everyone gentle rain, many flowers and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts go to, http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

 

In a Vase on Monday – Lions and Corals

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I went in search of some cheerful colors for my vase to offset the dark cloud cast over me by my trip to the grocery store. People were wearing masks mostly and everyone was behaving well except one guy fondling the fresh corn that really annoyed me (I wanted some, bought some, brought it home and stripped the outer leaves off and washed it) Fresh corn is fantastic this time of year in Florida. Yecch, I could tell it was good by just looking. No need to fondle the corn.

Back to the garden. I was surprised to find Leonitis (the lion) in flower. I think this is my new favorite and I will have a lot more next year. Another unusual plant, Coral Jatropha is flowering in response to our rain this week. I think the vase ended up looking a bit architectural. Here is a closer view:

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The orange flowers are the Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia); grey, fuzzy foliage is from Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare); red flowers in front are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida); the brown ‘branches’ in back are dried flowers from Adonidia Palm (Adonidia veitchii). The vase is a thrift store find. The green pods on the Coral Plant are seed pods.

Thanks to everyone for the Happy Anniversary wishes. Dinner had a few revisions – Lamb Chops with Onion and Red Pepper Gravy and Mashed Potatoes followed by Rum Cake.

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

In a Vase on Monday – Pastels

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It is Easter Sunday and I find myself making liquid hand soap after giving myself a haircut. Strange days, indeed. My haircut seemingly turned out better than the hand soap. Oddly, there is none in stores. Hand soap, or haircuts for that matter.

I decided pastels were necessary for Easter and cut flowers accordingly. The Bromeliad in the middle is from a couple of weeks ago and has faded to pale yellow. The glass pitcher is a wedding gift – possibly its second use after nearly thirty years. My 27th wedding anniversary is Friday and I can say with confidence we are not going out for dinner. The  good news is I found a rack of lamb online and my husband makes a great Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb!!

It is interesting to take the temperature (not literally)  of gardeners. There is a lethargy encompassing us all, I think. I wonder if it is intentional – in the cosmic sense. Having  spent many decades picking up the pieces after land development – is Mother Nature saying Pause and Reflect? I am feeling that and would  love to know what the rest of  the  world it thinking.

A close up:

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Shell Ginger (Zerumbet  alpinia) appears in pink. The aging Bromeliad is  Little Harv Aechmea. The chartreuse and white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia  (Begonia nelumbifolia). Foliage – the  ferns, Asian Sword Ferns, yard trash; varigated leaves  ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana “Java White”) the other green foliage is from Firecracker  Plant (Russelia spp.) no firecrackers  yet.

Spend some time in the sunshine, it will lift your spirits.

To see more vases visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

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Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

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The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

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I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!

Six on Saturday – Coming Along Nicely

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Despite what is going on in the world my garden is coming along nicely. I  have spent a lot of time outside in the past weeks as the weather is pretty close to perfect, temperatures in the 70s with a breeze. Gardening or having a glass of wine  to enjoy the results are equally enjoyable.

Above is a  container on my screen porch I planted this winter, the plants are growing together and I look forward things spilling over the sides shortly. There are 3 kinds of Bromeliads in the container (found at Good Will). The Bromeliads were collected from my garden and friends. The burgundy is Neoregelia ‘Luca’, the green is  Neoregelia ‘Super Fireball’ and the smaller grey ones (getting a pup!) are Tillandsia ionantha. The smaller green plant in the middle near the edge is a Haworthia succulent.

The tropical fruit is making strides as well, the Pineapple and Mangoes keep getting bigger.

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A few of my hot weather favorites are starting to flower. This is a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri)

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The Firebush (Hamelia patens) is starting to flower, I have seen a few tiny hummingbirds enjoying the flowers. A rarity on the east coast of Florida. I realized when looking at the pictures the reason I  like Leonitis so much is I like this as well..

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The Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa stringulosa) is filling back in and flowering a bit. This is a native groundcover that is recommended as a turf replacement. I think that is not such a great idea as my lawn maintenance guy nearly always tries to get rid of it, thinking it is a weed, but the flowers are cute.

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See what gardeners around the world are doing with time on their hands and more Six on Saturday posts at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.