A friend of mine who has lived in Florida for a long time claims Mother’s Day is the bitter end of snowbird season. Another friend says the rise in humidity make the tourists skedaddle. I think both are right, the humidity went up this week and Mother’s Day is next Sunday. Another symptom of Summer is the flowers and scent of Frangipani and Gardenias in the air.
I was standing on my back porch Sunday morning, keeping an eye on Zepp the Greyhound, who is tall enought to eat Mangoes off the tree and just might do so. He is a fruit eating dog and has been sniffing and licking the unripe Mangoes. This is our first fruit from this particular tree and I want to eat it! Anyway, while dog watching I noted the wonderful fragrance of a nearby Frangipani. The Gardenia is more fragrant at night.
A closer view: In white, Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata); in yellow, Frangipani (Plumeria spp.) I have no idea the name of this Frangipani, a friend gave me a cutting and this one is fairly common around town – a small tree with pink buds opening to yellow. The purple flowers are from Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, seemingly a relative of Coleus and Creeping Charlie houseplants. I have been enjoying the flowers for months and am interested to see how they fare as cut flowers and through the summer. The purple striped foliage is from Transcandentia zebrina, one of the groundcovers called Wandering Jew. This plant is so prolific I have been making compost with it. The vase is a thrift store find.
The Mona Lavendar in situ.
Well, I love the color and have enjoyed it even if it fries in the heat shortly. It is sharing a container with Begonias, I had this odd idea Bronzeleaf Begonias made it through anything…except South Florida Summer.
Sunday morning found me baking bread to make Pulled Pork sandwiches for a friend who came down with shingles. While the bread was rising, I toured the garden to find the components of a vase. The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) has just started flowering in earnest and the scent wafting through the air in the early morning stopped me and my clippers.
I clipped a stem of the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani and looked around to see a Pink Desert Rose (Adenium) flowering and cut one of those to add to the vase. What vase? A small red glass one from the GoodWill (thrift or charity shop) seemed in order. Then a bit more red in the form of foliage. A few leaves of Pie Crust Croton (Codiaem varigatum “Pie Crust”) The Pie Crust Croton foliage has the unlikely color combination of red, black, green and a bit of yellow. The shrub will give you a bit of a pause when seen in the garden. The Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpurea’) has come back with the rains and I added a bit of that for deep grey foliage, then found some errant Asparagus Fern to complete my vase. Here is a close up.
I punched the Foccacia dough down and set it into the oven to rise again and finished the arranging the vase. Here is the finished Foccacia:
This is a Parmesan Crusted Low Sodium Foccasia, my specialty. Here is the bad news.
I woke up the other morning feeling I needed to check on the Night Blooming Cereus:
The bud was no longer on the plant. During the night something knocked off the bud! Maybe next year.
I have a Bridal Bouquet Plumeria I like so much I decided to plant a hedge of them to screen my neighbor’s monumentally ugly fence. These are evergreen Plumeria with an upright habit, when planted about three feet apart, they are perfect for a six foot height skinny hedge.
Bridal Bouquet Plumeria
Given the plant’s reputation for ease of propagation, I decided to try growing the new plants from cuttings rather than buying them. I had such good luck with the plants I gave some as gifts.
Propagation is simple, clip 4- 6″ long cuttings from the tips of the branches:
Next, strip all the leaves with the exception of the two or three at the top:
The cuttings tend to ooze white liquid so, put them on some cardboard and let them dry in a shady area until the stems appear to have healed.
After drying place the cuttings into 4-6″pots and keep moist for several weeks. The cuttings will start to produce leaves when they are rooted. Then they can be planted in the garden.
I have three left from my original six, one succumbed to unknown causes and two were gifted to other gardeners. I still need six for my hedge – so it’s time to get the clippers again.