In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Upcycle

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The  upcycle is the vase itself. Made from dried remnants of my front door Christmas wreath.  Here is the wreath in its previous life. The green bands are Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage wrapped around the wreath and tied with jute. When I took this down the flowers had dried to brown and the bands were curly and retained their color. I saved them because I thought they might make an interesting addition to a vase. Instead, I covered a plastic water bottle with the curled leaves and made a vase.

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The flowers are a bright mix designed to counter any winter blues. Low temperatures in the 40s (F) are forecast this week, appalling weather to anyone Floridized (living in Florida for over 5 years, blood completely thins out). We might have to wear long pants and  (gasp)  turn on the heat. A closer view of  the vase:

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Another view of  the flowers:

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The yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), a year round bloomer. The red and yellow daisies are Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella), another year round bloomer. Both are native and absurdly easy to grow. The pink flower is an unknown Zinnia. Deep pink and chartreuse spikes are Texas Vintage Rose Mix Celosia from Floret, I may really like these. I think they need cutting back, so here they are. Peachy and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). The more beige spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and funky stems with a bit of blue are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis), white daisies are another native Spanish Needles (Bidens alba).

I am really enjoying my winter garden this year and just planted another round of vegetable seeds. Hoping for more Zinnias and Celosia before the heat sets in.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/ for hosting. For more vases, visit Cathy’s blog.

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.

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

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

Six on Saturday – Waiting

It’s Saturday morning and time for The Propagators garden meme featuring six items of interest from your garden. For more interesting sixes, follow this link SIXES

I  think Tom Petty said ‘The waiting is the hardest part’. If there is one thing gardening teaches you it is patience. Our weather has cooled a bit and this slows everything down. Here are six things from my garden that I am waiting for:

The Dombeya,  I  had the buds in last weeks post,  they are tormenting me by just getting bigger and staying green. This uber tropical small tree should be covered in pink hydrangea like flowers soon.

img_20191206_143357Green Beans, not quite big enough  to eat:

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Radishes, again not quite big enough to eat:

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Tomatoes, every so slowly turning red:

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Papayas refusing to turn yellow or doing so at the moment a hungry bird flys by. These must have yellow streaks before  picking or they never get ripe.

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Lastly, fancy Zinnias grown from seed (Macrenia),  these are supposed to be an excellent cut flower – double and 3 inches across bronzy orange with scarlet tips. Waiting to see the flowers!

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That’s six from my garden. Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Walking the Dogs

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I walk my greyhounds frequently, they like to walk around the neighborhood and my garden. Here are some of  the plants we have encountered recently. Some are not to be sniffed by dogs or people. Above  is one of those plants, a Blue Agave (Agave tequilana) grown by a friend and gifted to me, this is the plant that tequila is made from and is very spiny with spines  on the leaf  tips.

Here’s another sharp plant,  my neighbor’s Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa). A poisonous plant with thorns, paradoxically having edible fruit and gardenia scented  flowers.

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Another Agave, not quite as sharp as the Blue one. This one is a Sisal Agave (Agave sisalana) – yes, where Sisal for rugs, ropes, etc. comes from. This is on a vacant lot on our walk and is shooting up a  bloom stalk that is at least 10 feet tall and not showing a bud yet. Somewhere south of here an enterprising soul started a Sisal plantation, the Sisal reseeded and took over an island in the Florida Keys and has blown seeds all the way to my neighborhood.

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Another sharp  plant, the Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). These can be used  to make  shampoo and are foamy if the leaves are snapped. After reading about these, I decided against the shampoo as it seems most people are allergic to it.

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The Autograph Tree (Clusia rosea), waiting to be planted – one of  the potted orphans that lurk in everyones garden, not sharp at all.

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Buds on the Dombeya (Dombeya wallachi). This is a pink tropical Hydrangea tree, if you can imagine that – and  they bloom in December! I walk by everyday looking for flowers.

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Happy gardening!

To see more Six on Saturday posts featuring six items of interest from gardens around the  world go to: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

In a Vase on Monday – della Robbia Memories

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It is a holiday week in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. I  live in South Florida, but in my mind, there should be a celebration with a vase of red and orange leaves and nuts and cones. These things are scarce in South Florida. I always think of my mother, a great gardener and Southern Lady this time of year.  She always had the perfect seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table. So I  went in search of a little bit of not so tropical flowers for this vase.

The vase in the picture is a sugar bowl from my formal wedding china, nestled in a della  Robbia candle ring I made from nuts and cones collected near the townhouse my husband and I lived in when we first married, almost thirty years ago. My mother had a similar ring made by my father’s mother, though I can’t recall what became of it, the ring is one of the holiday touchstones of my youth, usually sporting a  red or green pillar candle during the holidays.

I wonder if others call these della Robbia’s? I  think that term applies to garland decorated terracotta pots. I was working towards a fall arrangement with tropical plants that did not look tropical!  Hope it worked.

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The leaves are from Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); red flower spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the linen towel from a very dear friend lost to cancer seven years ago this October.

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Orange spikes are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers; off white spikes from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); and grass flowers from Muhly Grass  ( Muhlbergia capillaris). There is a stem of foliage with new red growth from Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uviflora)

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Tropically, not tropical ?

Happy  Thanksgiving, whenever celebrated and I am thankful for my garden blog friends.