In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Goblet of Fire

It has been so rain free here the only flowers worth cutting are on the shrubs. My enormous Firebush is packed with bees and butterflies who were none too happy about me stealing their flowers. I chose the silver goblet before I realized I was making a Goblet of Fire. My husband and I are Harry Potter fans and coincidentally I have a family wand. Abracadabra!!!

The silver goblet is an heirloom from my mother, who loved to collect junk. Heirloom may be too strong a word. The goblet is more like something I found while cleaning out her house. I am not sure what became of my copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. It is probably around the house somewhere – though, Deathly Hallows looks better with the Firebush!

The Grant family wand. It had never occurred to me that we had a family wand, until today. Some years ago, my father, the geologist, was prospecting in the woods of North Georgia and ran across a water witch. Water witches direct people to the best locations to drill wells. She gave him this wand. Wands are also called divining rods. This particular witch used native Alder branches (Alders grow near streams) to divine where the water was most likely to be located underground. I am not sure how to operate the wand, though I tried when we dug a well at our house in South Florida, no luck from the wand. Perhaps it was too far from home or I am just a muggle.

A closer view:

There are two varieties of Firebush (the tubular flowers) in here..the red ones are the Florida native Hamelia patens var patens; the orange ones (I think) are from the Bahamas – Hamelia patens. People get into arguments about this, ugh. These arguments annoy me, love the plants. Beautiful, tough shrubs that bees and butterflies love. I don’t care where they originated. The yellow flowers are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca)..This one has several botanical names and is often sold as a native; though it is not. The grey accents are Adonidia Palm flowers. Background red and green foliage are tips from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (red) and Super Fireball Neoregelia (green).

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link for more vases.

Wishing everyone a magical gardening week..muggles or not.

In a Vase on Monday – Short Lived Passion

I am certain gardening is a lifelong passion for me. Undoubtedly passed on from my Mother, who referred to this passion as ‘getting the farmer gene’ – her father was a peach farmer in South Georgia. The vases were put together on Mother’s Day, so she has been on my mind – gone for 12 years later this month.

I have always been fascinated by Passionflowers, a graphic design by Mother Nature. A few years ago, I bought one online as a host plant for several butterflies native to South Florida. Despite its reputation as a weed, I had a difficult time establishing the vine in my sand. Two years later, I was disappointed when it flowered, instead of a red passionflower, it was white. Later in the year the fruit produced indicated it was a Purple Possum Passionflower. Passionfruit may be an acquired taste and I think the name is appropriate as most of the fruit was eaten by varmints of some sort. I suspect Raccoons, not Possums.

Since I rarely get any fruit, I cut a few flowers for a vase. These are in a tiny brandy snifter my husband tells me is used to flame brandy…I am well past drinking anything flaming, and the flowers seemed to be fading, so I decided to make another vase with a bit more variety.

Vase two, more colors and another Passionflower. I enjoy all the high colors produced in my garden. The yellow daisies are a recent addition to the butterfly garden; African Bush Daisies (Gamolepis chrysanthemoides) reportedly drought tolerant when established, and a butterfly attractant. I am not noticing either so far, but it is early and has been very dry. The mixed color daisies are Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella) – these have been considered native for years, but whatever genius decides these things declared them not so recently, though it is a rare, tolerant plant that thrives in my yucky sand and should be celebrated. I fear that will make them less popular. The red flowers are Russelia equisetifolium, Firecracker Plant. The orange flowers are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens). The blue flowers around the edges are Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, that turns out to be a long lasting cut flower. The blue flowers in the middle are Mystic Spires Salvia, which I am enjoying in my garden. Chartreuse foliage is from a mysterious Coleus that is thriving in several containers.

When the sun went down the Passionflowers followed suit, short-lived but worth the trouble.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – Going to Seed

Some days it seems I am the one going to seed. Maybe people are like plants, some look better than others while going to seed.. The tropical Lotusleaf Begonias (Begonia nelumbifolia) are one of my favorites when going to seed. They make lovely triangular, chartreusy seed heads that tower above the foliage. I have never had a Begonia grow from a seed dropped in my garden, but it is entirely possible I have not left them on the plant long enough.

A closer view:

I started out with the idea of using a hand tied bouquet to make the Begonias stand upright – then the slant grew on me and I added foliage to emphasize the non-political right slant.

The crystal vase, a wedding gift from a dear friend who I worked on perennial gardens with in Atlanta. The left leaning plants in the arrangement are: in black with coral spotted leaves, Piecrust Croton (Codieum varigatum). This shrub is used as a foliage accent in the garden. The new growth is yellow and green and eventually darkens. An amazing variety of colors exist in this well loved tropical shrub. Maybe the left lean is appropriate. The ferns, added for a green, graphic backdrop are from Florida’s native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). The day after the US Presidential election, my right leaning neighbor came out with his weedeater and cut the ferns in my garden down. The reason for this remains a mystery to me. The trimming rejuvenated the Boston Fern. The two strap like leaves are from a Neoregelia Bromeliad that is also on its way out. I cannot tell in some cases when to cut the mother plant off and get rid of it. Bromeliads are peculiar in the way they reproduce. I buy a plant, it may or may not flower, sooner or later a side shoot appears, called a pup, and then the original (Mother) plant dies. The pup on this one is nearly as big as the mother plant. The Neoregelia Bromeliad:

The Neoregelia Bromeliad in the front of the image is the mother plant, you guessed it, going to seed! I should add; very few Bromeliad have produced seed in my garden, though it happens. I am told growing Bromeliads from seed is a long, excruciating process – it’s better to use the pups for new plants.

Many thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and maintaining this wonderful meme. I enjoy the weekly posts from around the world. Follow the link to see more (probably upright) vases.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Sticks japonica

This week I decided to try creating a spare design with a Japanese feel. I also wanted to use some grapevine. I thought the brown pottery vase would give the arrangement some weight and tie the brown grapevine together with the limited plant palette. Limited may be an understatement. This arrangement has two plants!

The flowers and foliage are from the Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). This shrub does well and lives next to my neighbor’s fence. It benefits from light pruning so cutting the flowers is good for me and the plant. The grapevine is from our native Muscadine – Vitis rotundafolia. There are numerous types of grapes produced by this prolific vine. The fruit on this one is small, bitter and has huge seeds. My neighbors, native Floridians, eat it. It is one of those things you have to grow up on, I guess. I leave it for the animals and am trying to get rid of a lot of it as it climbs everything.

Happy Gardening and Sayonara!

To see Monday vases, with more flowers, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Notorious RBG

This Monday my vase may require an explanation. One of our truly great Supreme Court Justices was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights in the United States. She passed on last September serving as a Supreme Court Justice since 1993. She was well known for wearing a lace collar around her neck over black robes and somehow became known as ‘Notorious RBG’ after a prominent rap artist called Notorious B.I.G., evidentially due to her scathing dissenting opinions as a Justice.

The RBG in my vase this Monday is a Real Big Ginger and the crochet doily was done by another notorious woman, my mother-in-law – Joan Ethel Davis. She passed on in 2002, her initials are crocheted into this doily and I am certain she was a huge fan of the real RBG.

A closer view of the vase. The Real Big Ginger is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) in pink and white. It is notorious in my garden as I did not realize quite how huge it would get. Four feet tall and maybe eight feet wide, it has overrun a few milder plants in my landscape and was asked to leave the tropical garden. The off white and slightly pink Begonia is from the Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia). Most of the arranging of these flowers involved deciding what to cut off – I trimmed most of the leaves from the Shell Ginger and slipped the Begonia in as a afterthought.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM – to see more vases follow the link to her blog.

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – A Different Slant

It is safe to say my garden has a different slant from most. Located in what is called USDA Zone 10A in the northern part of South Florida, our average low is 40 degrees (F). I am on the northern edge of tropical, and enjoy growing plants that hail from further south. The arrangement is intentionally slanted; the idea provided by the growth of the pink flower, a Little Harv Aechmea Bromeliad.

A closer view of Little Harv.

The rest of the vase:

The vase, found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, is an old florist vase from who knows where. The white begonias are from my huge Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); the other white flowers are from Miss Alice Bougainvillea; ferns are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and there is a leaf from a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) on the right side that is not visible in the images.

My lunch also had a different slant today:

A Chicken, Swiss and Nasturtium flower sandwich on Foccacia. With Blue Corn Chips – the salsa didn’t make it into the picture. It was good! And very colorful.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting every Monday. Follow the link to see spring in a vase from around the world.

In a Vase on Monday – Stuffed with Memories

This brown vase belonged to my mother, who loved things made by hand. She enjoyed making things with her hands, sewing, embroidering, cooking and gardening. I am certain my love for plants and gardening came from her. She filled this vase with blue pansies in winter and zinnias in summer. She almost always had a vase of grocery store Alstroemeria on the kitchen counter, preferring just one kind of flower, as combining flowers in a vase kind of threw her for a loop. I was called for flower duty more than once when she was having a party. Good training for future garden blogging!

Here she is, in embroidered Christmas apron, beckoning me to come inside and arrange the flowers:

I was surprised by how many flowers I could stuff into this seemingly small vase. The zinnias reminded me of my mother, but it would surprise me to find that she had seen any of the rest of them. We both embraced pink and orange flower combinations reluctantly; but the combo tends to grow on you after a while. Numerous clients have gagged at the thought of that color combination in their own gardens.

A closer view:

The peach, orange and pink flowers in the front of the vase are Zinderella Zinnia. None look like the picture on the seed packet. I cut them all off to the stem starting side shoots in hopes of bigger flowers. The fuzzy, red flower is a Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula) – these are supposedly a good flowering groundcover here. This one went dormant from August til January, not my idea of good groundcover – I was surprised it came back up. Pink Star Flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); I love these for the butterflies they attract, however, I wonder how perennial they are and if I should cut them back? Blue flowers are Blue Mist flowers, I think these are some kind of native Ageratum that appeared in the front garden. White daisies are the everpresent native weed, Bidens alba. The little blue and white flowers in the back are from Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica) – an uncommonly indestructible perennial.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – From Florida, With Love

This vase came together on Valentine’s Day. Walking through the garden, I was thinking about the polar weather seemingly everywhere else described in blogs this week. This inspired me to create a vase from the most tropical flowers I could find, sending some Floridian love and warmth out into cyberspace..

A closer view:

The white and pink flowers hanging over the side are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the only Ginger I can grow in my garden. Looking back, these flower every February – wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day from the garden. The purple flowers are from my neighbor’s Hong Kong Orchid Tree, certainly a straight species Bauhinia purpurea, as it is probably 5o years old. Newer varieties don’t reseed as prolifically as this one does – but, in winter it is covered in purple orchid flowers and in summer sports a huge mass of white and purple Cattleya Orchids growing on its trunk. I hope it stays around a long time.

The mad foliage I grow in my South Florida garden continues to amaze me. The green leaves in back are Shell Ginger, the purple leaves are from Moses in a Cradle or Oyster Plant (Transcandentia spathacea). The olive green foliage with fuchsia tips is from the aptly named Painted Fingernail Bromeliad (Neoregelia spectabilis); a favorite passalong plant in this neck of the woods.

Continuing to spread the love, I baked some treats for my favorite Valentines. A mini vegan apple pie for my husband and peanut butter treats for the greyhounds…

Wishing everyone a belated Happy Valentines and warmth from my garden.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting, to see more vases, visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – February Forage

I decided to use my curly dried Bromeliad leaves one more time, just for fun. What in the world goes with burgundyish dried curled leaves?

The flower forage begins:

Many red flowers are in bloom and the orangey Aloe fell over in the wind, so the plant palette started there. The color scheme is a melange of one flower leading to another. The Soap Aloe (in orange) has purple tips, so I picked some blue purples then added the whites and stumbled on the spiky dark green Bromeliad flowers while wandering through the garden. Boston Ferns in back were turned to show the less green side and spores and accent the bronzey Bromeliad curls. This is turning into the Funky February Forage.

A closer view:

The larger red flowers hanging around the vase are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus arboreus); the smaller red flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); orangey flower, the fallen Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria); the blue flowers are from a Ageratum of some sort the botanists changed the name on – calling it Wild Ageratum and hoping I don’t regret leaving it in the garden. Purple foliage and flowers from Purple Queen or Setcreasea pallida, I think. White daisies are the dreadful Bidens alba or Spanish Needle, too cute to rip out all of them. Off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a charming native, more so than most of the human natives. Ferns are another charming native, Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) hope I spelled that right. The darker green ‘lobster claws’ are flower stalks from a native Bromeliad.

Another view:

Well, funky February foraging seems to be working.

Happy Gardening to all. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and allowing me to share rambles in my Florida garden. Visit Cathy’s blog to see more vases.