In a Vase on Monday – Yin and Yang

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There is a yin yang aspect to my garden I had not considered until I put this vase together. The yin, female and present in even numbers must be the less tropical side of the vase. The more tropical plant (Lobsterclaw Heliconia) is the yang, the male side, represented by 5 bracts containing the flowers and the unbroken line of the stem…however, the colors don’t really work out to the Eastern philosophical concepts. Yin being represented by orange and yang, azure. I often have some difficulty combining the tropical with more familiar plant material. Maybe the balance is the difference…

I should put the philosophical aside as the arrangement is in gold Prosecco bottle from my usually Champagne bearing college roommate. The reflection is a funhouse version of me taking a picture in my foyer. Look for the grey hair in the middle of the image.

The Vase:

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The colors reflect the Lobsterclaw Heliconia on the other side. Red flowers are from Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis); the yellow flowers are from the Florida native shrub, Thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis).

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The masculine side of the arrangement. A Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata), the leaf in the bottle is also from the Heliconia.

I am considering brewing some Holy Basil tea and thinking my garden design through. It is a good time of year for retrospective in South Florida. The gardening season cranks up in 90 days. Tomato seeds are planted July 15.

Yin and yang in the garden await.

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

Happy Gardening!!

In a Vase on Monday – Shrimp and Greens

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I have learned to love Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) since taking up gardening in South Florida. My neighbor gave me a start of this several years ago and they just keep going – drought, rain, winter, summer – no problem and lots of flowers. The red flowers have been catching my eye since the onslaught of rain in June rejuvenated them.

I started with the Red Shrimp plants and just kept adding more and more foliage, then some Bromeliads and Frangipani and then some more foliage..lots of greens in this vase. The Shrimps ended up in a supporting role instead of starring in the vase. Here is a shrimpy close up.

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Here is a close up of the arrangement:

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The big leaf in the back is from Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum); there are a few bits of Burgundy Aechmea Bromeliad leaves in the back and some Red Shrimp Plants. And Asparagus Fern and Asian Sword Fern that appeared gratis in the garden. I am trying to hustle the ferns out of the garden before they take over. The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica); smaller white flowers Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata); red varigated foliage is from Louisiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). More Red Shrimp below the Frangipani and a Red Guzmania Bromeliad flower.

I  have also learned to love Key West Pink Shrimp since moving to South Florida. They are readily available here and I can make myself a very nice meal with about four dollars worth of shrimp. My husband has odd shellfish issues, so I am the sole consumer. Here is my edible version of Shrimp and Greens.

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Happy Gardening, I hope everyone finds something lovely to go with the greens in the garden. Shrimps or not.

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

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Treats

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One of the few benefits of increasing humidity in South Florida is the appearance of the more tropical flowers. Their scents perfume the garden and I am currently enjoying them indoors, sans humidity. The fragrances of tropical Gingers, Frangipani and Gardenias are floating through the air. Ever so lightly.

The vase is a Crate and Barrel candleholder from the 1970s. Bought during my husband’s first marriage and similarly has lost its mate. Though I do love it (and him) for the occasional vase. Another view of the vase:

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A close up of the flowers. The yellow and pink flowers and buds are Frangipani (Plumeria) A friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and I have no idea what the name of the variety is. This one is more fragrant at night and before sunrise (my greyhounds love this time of day, me, not so much – chasing rabbits and armadilloes are low on my life  priorities). The white flowers and most of the green foliage is from Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata – or something like that); these are not from Florida, India I believe is their real home and they are mostly deciduous here. The pink flower is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) – these flower off and on year round and it is nearly a pleasure to prune them for the fragrance.

 

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I am hopeful everyone has enough food and lav paper (I love the English term) – our supplies are still a bit weird. My husband, who has never joked about the quality of the paper – is doing so. And we are  both laughing as circumstances are so, well, absurd. I am hoping not to be attempting to grow Papyrus for personal use this fall.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening.

Amy or Amelia – I answer to both.

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.

In a Vase on Monday – Palmy Weather

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We have been having Palmy weather. Rain off and on and accompanying humidity have inspired the Adonidia Palm in my garden to flower.  I have been eyeing the flower to cut for a vase. It’s the white stemmed flower in the middle.

A palm flower is a bit of a process and interesting to watch. A bud shoots up from the base of fronds, and the flower slowly unfurls. Below is a bud and a flower. The green part is the sheath at the base of the frond. The sheath above was shed, and the buds revealed; the buds later move horizontally and flower. The palm flowers eventually form berries that look very similar to the flower and fall off. This takes until late fall; most people trim the flowers off.

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I have been watching other types of palms flowering as I walk my dogs in the morning. It is like a trip through the Cretaceous period, cycads and ferns included, no dinosaurs as of yet.

Another view of the vase:

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And  a closer view:

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The glass container is a heavy, old florist vase I found by the side of the road. Orange and chartruese fruit is from Surinam Cherries, sometimes called Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), My neighbor, a local, explained I should soak them in water to get the worms out before eating. I declined, though I did try them once, the flavor is a bit reminiscent of turpentine. Another fruit left for the birds, though a friend makes jam from them and says it is good. Red flowers are from the native Firebush, Hamelia patens.

I hope everyone is coping with the solitude and enjoying time in the garden. I seem to be moving a lot of plants around with the rain. And planning more gardens…

Thanks to Cathy, hostess of this garden meme, for carrying on with our Monday fun. See more vases at her blog, 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 – More Love

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It’s Valentine’s week so…another red vase for the month of love. I  am realizing another oddity of tropical gardening. It is February and I have several types of red foliage to choose from for this vase. Croton foliage is in the vase, but I have several red Bromeliads and Copperleaf foliage as well. Color rules the tropics.

There is also fruit in this vase, it is winter and the fruit has been forming since fall. Which is kind of normal? Or should I say typical? Here is a close up:

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The red vase is a thrift store find. The red flowers are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codieum variegatum); chartreuse winged fruit is from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’)  and the berries are from Firebush (Hamelia patens)

I have been collecting ingredients for a different Valentine’s treat, a tradition in our house.

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The recipe is called ‘A Very Good Chocolate Cake’ by Edna Lewis, my favorite Southern cookbook author. I have tweaked it a bit over the years, but usually make for my husband’s birthday and  Valentine’s Day. Suffice it to say I will get my cholesterol  bloodwork done before February 14th!

Happy Valentine’s Week!

For more vases on Monday – follow link to Cathy’s blog VASES

In a Vase on Monday – February Love

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This vase marks the first for February, the month of love. I challenged myself to create a  shades of red vase in honor of February.

The combination of plant material is unusual, to say the least, ordinarily (not sure why) I don’t like to combine tropical plants with non tropicals, but this is meant to be love struck pinks.

The construction of the vase is a bit unusual as well, the red container is from Christmas, too lightweight for the thick stemmed Shell Ginger. To conquer this issue, I placed a glass pickle jar inside the red container – it was too tall and I covered the jar with Bromeliad foliage. Here is a closer view:

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The  pink and white flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); these are just about to burst into full bloom, really buds. The center plant is a Zinnia of unknown heritage that looks a lot more pink in the garden. The beige and pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Mix Celosia grown from seed supplied by Floret. The green tracery in the background is the flower of Dracaena reflexa. The foliage around the base is from a Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae).

Another close up:

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Happy Month of  Love!

For more Vases on Monday filled with flowers from all over the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog In A Vase on Monday

In a Vase on Monday – Bromeliad Cachepot

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I decided to do something different this week. This is a pot of Bromeliad cuttings from my garden. The cuttings are in a 1 gallon nursery container double potted inside the cachepot. These Bromeliads are so bulletproof they are planted in old dried out potting soil and sand, a very well drained mix that will serve them well for months to come.

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Here is one of the cuttings, a Super Fireball Neoreglia, wonderful groundcover and hard to kill. One of my favorites. It grows almost on a runner (actually a stolon), the mother plant (on the left) dies and generally makes two or three pups like this one. The mother plant is cut off and  thrown away, I always feel bad about this. The roots are left intact and placed inside the nursery container.

Super Fireball Neoregelia in the garden, cold weather makes the red and peach coloration come out, these are closer to green in summer.

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Another  view:

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The cachepot is Portmerion, bought years ago on an antiqueing mission with my mother. The pot is a favorite of mine, but I rarely have houseplants as I have a strong tendency to kill them. The Bromeliads should last for months and root into the pot.

From above:

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These are all Neoregelia Bromeliads, grown primarily for foliage. The flowers are not very exciting. I know two of the four varieties – there are 3500 types of Bromeliads and I lost track of some or never knew the name ( i.e. bought at a garage sale for 5 bucks) The bigger chartruese plant with the red center (the center turns red with cooler weather) is a Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae). The Burgundy with green center and no spots is Super Fireball, the spotted ones I have not a clue the species. The grey plant in the foreground is a succulent – a Graptosedum of some kind that a friend gave to me, they enjoy the same soil conditions and I have a few in containers with Bromeliads on the porches at my house. Spanish moss is used for fill in the edges (and hide the black plastic nursery pot) is also a Bromeliad (Tillandsia usneoides)

Happy Gardening!

For more vases from around the world, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Bus Again

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Here’s my favorite holiday tin again. Several years ago a client of my husband brought this from the UK, filled with Scottish Biscuits (shortbread cookies in US speak). The cookies were divine (and didn’t last very long). I am a lover of tins and used it IAVOM twice before during the holidays. This year it is crammed full of red, green and white flowers and foliage, having some perspective on my garden and many others through blogging I realized how downright odd it is to have red and green foliage to cut for Christmas decorations. And I haven’t  done the wreath yet.

A closer view:

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The big white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), smaller white flowers and bigger foliage is from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata); white and red spikes are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the red spikes on the sides are Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), red berries are from Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebenthifolia) – a dreadful weed.

Below is a better image of the red and green foliage – at the right end a Martin Bromeliad (Neoregelia Martin) leaf, the middle has foliage from Mammey Croton (Codieum varigata ‘Mammey’)

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Here is the tin from 2016:20161211_102634-1

And  the original tin/ vase from 2015.

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Hmm,  which is your favorite.? 2016 has one of my favorite plants, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)  – I like the Flapjack Kalanchoes in 2015 (grey foliage). I may combine all the plants next year into a 2020 mash up.

For more vases on Monday, visit our hostess, Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Happy Holidays!