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.

In a Vase on Monday – Go Big or Go Home

My husband went through a spell of getting tattoos, no idea what precipitated it, but he is known as “The Illustrated Man” and people tend to remember his artwork before they remember him. Anyway, the slogan from his favorite tattoo shop on Maui is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Here is his back, a tribute to the Disney movie, Fantasia.

I have taken the slogan to heart in the design of my tropical Rainforest Garden; big, coarse textured plants contrasted with ferns and smaller groundcovers, the colors almost reflect the rainbow. Yellow is missing. I plucked this vase there.

The big pink flowers are from the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii) – everything about this plant is big. The leaves average 9 by 9 inches, the plant itself is 12 by 12 feet after 3 years in the garden. The leaf in the middle is from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbiifolia) this anchors a corner in the garden. Everyone who walks through gasps and says, “what is that?” At least 4 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide, it adds a Jurassic feel to the garden. The Ferns are Boston Ferns (yes, the famous porch fern) that grow huge in their native habitat and are easily three feet tall. I am pulling them out and throwing them away as they are out of hand.

The other side of the arrangement has “Java White” Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Java White’). Another prolific grower, this turns green in shade, and is a bit of a trick to site properly…it may be moved further into the sun.

The container, a large crystal vase, a long ago wedding gift from a dear friend I treasure. The vase and the friend.

As always, thank you to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting this addictive meme. I am sorry I missed last week’s tribute to Dorris. I will miss her posts and images from her garden.

In a Vase on Monday – Healing Energy

The events of the past week have left me non-plussed. A vocabulary word provided by an old friend’s ninety year old father. Non-plussed from the dictionary “surprised and confused so much they are unsure how to react.” My husband and I sat in our living room, open mouthed, watching events unfold in the United States of America I would have never dreamed possible. I decided a vase reflecting the colors of another crystal with healing energy from my father’s collection was in order. The vase is a Fostoria crystal container that belonged to my mother in law. My husband refers to them as butterscotch pudding bowls. I have no idea what they are really for, but they make a good vase.

My father, the geology professor, has been gone since 2003. I have family rocks. I think this is a Flourite crystal. They are known for their multi colored hues. This one is purple and coke bottle green with some greys and whites. They are know for their healing energy, I think that energy should be tapped wherever we can find it. Energymuse.com says this about Flourite – “The perfect prescription for a case of existential burnout, the purple color in the Fluorite crystal help you discover your divine purpose in life. It opens and stimulates the third eye chakra, clearing the way for spiritual expansion and a deeper sense of inner peace.” Existential burnout! Yep, you’re looking at it. The instructions go on to say carry the crystal with you.

The flowers in this vase are – in purple, Lantana of unknown origin; in white, Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); green and pink flowers are buds of Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii); solid purple foliage is Purple Queen (Setcreasea pallida); varigated purple foliage is Transcandentia zebrina; green background foliage is Asparagus Fern.

Just for fun, I did another vase. I call this one the Pea shooter. The vase is a shot glass for tequila from my favorite niece’s wedding. The peas are the Bromeliad in the vase – this is an Aechmea Bromeliad, very weird flower that looked like canned peas to me. The curl is dried Blanchetiana Bromeliad foliage and the greenery is the other Asparagus fern that pops up in my garden.

Anybody else need a shot of tequila?

Thanks always to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more vases (likely without tequila) visit the link….

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday – Spring into 2021

I dressed my vase in winter whites this Monday, adding a catapult of red dried Bromeliad foliage ribbon to sling purifying white crystal energy into this new year. The crystals are White Quartz; certainly collected in the field by my father, the geology professor. It seems White Quartz has the properties to purify negative energy and is recommended for spiritual healing. I am thinking of where to place these crystals for maximum effect. We have never needed the White Quartz more.

A closer view:

The white flowers and foliage are from Sweet Begonias, (Begonia odorata ‘alba’) a bulletproof perennial in my garden. These grow in sugar sand and near total shade, they are irrigated and flower off and on year round while lending coarse green texture to the garden. The Sweet Begonias amaze me, I would have wilted if left where they thrive. The red catapult is a remnant of my Christmas wreath. I wrapped the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and was left with some long dried curls – I thought they were kind of cool and saved them. The decorations would have lasted longer. Not wishing to tempt fate, I took everything down..is it only the American Deep South that thinks all decorations must be down before January 1st or bad luck will haunt you in the new year?? I am hoping for double good luck with the crystals!

Another view:

More winter whites from my garden. The spikes on the right hand side of the image are buds for the flower stalk of Snake Plant, Mother In Laws Tongue..etc. Sansevieria, if you want the Latin. The Snake Plant infests my garden, and it literally takes a bulldozer to get rid of it. The off white spikes are from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) a Florida native that just appeared one day. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, another lovely interloper.

Maybe I should put the White Quartz in the garden?

Happy Gardening and Happy New Year to all and Thank You to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.com for hosting another year of In A Vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at the above link.

A Wreath on Monday – Pups

My vase this Monday morphed into a holiday wreath for my front door. I have wanted to try making a wreath from Bromeliad pups for a while and this year there were enough in my garden to give it a try. Of course, I had no clue how to actually make a wreath from Bromeliad pups and the dilemma haunted me for a while. The Bromeliad pups are from my collection of garage sale finds. The red ones at each end are Fireball Neoregelia, the bigger ones in the middle are Super Fireball Neoregelia, darker green and red varigated Angel Face Neoregelia and I have never managed to figure out the name of the spotted ones.

I started the wreath with a piece of irrigation tubing made into a ring with irrigation connectors. A perfect blank black circle. Then, tried to add the Bromeliad pups. Pups are a bit fat and uneven to be wired to irrigation tubing. Floral wire doesn’t work and tape doesn’t either. Undeterred by my pup attachment failure, I got my trusty gardening serrate kitchen knife with the wooden handle (it goes through the dishwasher) and bored some oddly unsymmetric holes in the irrigation tubing – it worked perfectly to hold the pups in place with the added benefit of holding water at the bottom of the wreath.

After installing 10 or 12 pups, I realized the wreath would be too big for the door if I covered the entire ring with pups..oops. So, as these things go, Plan B appeared. Wrap the rest of the wreath with Bromeliad foliage and add some Spanish Moss accents. I love Spanish Moss and it appears rarely in my garden, too windy here, I think. No Spanish Moss to be found in the garden – decided to wrap and make do with dried moss on hand from God knows where.

About this time, my husband appeared, needing a hand with one of his projects… I gave a hand with his work and then hit him up for some double stick tape for the wrapped part of the wreath. As luck would have it – his double stick tape worked great til it ran out – not quite covering the irrigation tubing. Trusty serrate kitchen knife reappeared, a few more holes bored – voila, a wreath. Almost covered and needing a bit of oddly sourced Spanish Moss.

My first Bromeliad pup wreath makes its holiday debut. I am dreading finding a huge sproing in the morning.

Monday morning update – no huge sproing, but I did step on a bit of Spanish Moss when walking outside.

Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays to all. Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more (usually) vases..