In a Vase on Monday – Not Summer Blues

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January in South Florida is not summer, it just seems like it today. The air conditioning is running; despite the fact this is the dry season, rain showers are making above 80 degrees (F) weather steamy and not conducive to gardening. My reward is flowers and vegetables in the garden. I have ripe tomatoes and Papayas; my second planting of green beans and first lettuces and spinach have come up. Some interesting flowers are also gracing the garden.

The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, bought with my mother on a long ago antiquing adventure (she referred to this as ‘Going to the junk store’).

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Zinnias grown from seed continue to boggle my mind – not sure what they are at all. These are much bigger than those in the smaller vase and have longer stems. I’ve added pink and green Dombeya (Dombeya wallachii) flowers. The green are the buds, the Dombeya itself is huge and I don’t mind cutting some buds, though I feel the bees would disagree. The flowers have an amazing honey fragrance and I have never seen as many bees on a plant. A closer view:

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The white flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), another subtly fragrant flower and the spikes are seedheads from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)

This vase, another ‘junk store’ find has Dombeyas and Zinnias, just the shorter-stemmed version. The green seed heads are from the Sweet Begonia. I like the seeds as well as the flowers.

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I have both vases in my foyer; the Dombeyas tend to be ephemeral in vases, not lasting more than a day. The fragrance from the combination of Dombeyas and Sweet Begonias is ethereal, I can imagine angels in flight leaving this scent. Worth every moment and curing the Not Summer Blues. Back outside tomorrow.

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.

In a Vase on Monday – Holiday Infusion

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For me, it is always a bit strange being in South Florida during the holidays. I spent most of my life in a place that experiences winter. Yesterday I found myself in the grocery store dressed in shorts and a tank top, surrounded by gaping tourists and listening  to  Christmas carols play in the background. While driving home I noted my neighbors planting Poinsettias in their yard for holiday color. Odd. Clearly a holiday vase was in order.

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The big red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos); red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); red star shaped flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); white spikes are from the sweetly scented Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); white stems are from Adonidia Palm (Veitchii merrilli); white daisies are from Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) ferns are from the native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata).

The vase is another oddity found by the side of the road in my neighborhood, likely a historic florist vase from the 1980s. With all the red and green in my vase…my Christmas spirit is cranking up a bit. Maybe my holiday mood will improve once my neighbor puts the flamingoes out. Yes, there is a sled and Santa that goes with it.

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Didn’t I say it was a bit strange in South Florida during the holidays?

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At least the Nodding Hibiscus looks a bit like a Christmas ornament.

Happy Holidays!  To see more vases from around the world go to http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday/ Not Hotel California

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Mirrors reflect the foyer ceiling

Pink Champagne bottle in Grandmas ice bucket

And she said, ‘we are all prisoners here of my Bromeliad vice’

Here is the real lyric verse from the song ‘Hotel California’ by 70s American Rock Band, The Eagles. I hope someone else remembers it.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

I always thought Hotel California was a weird song, very evocative, but weird. This is another of my spa/hotel lobby arrangements.

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The pink flower is ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Little Harv’) Little Harv was developed in South Florida in the 1970s and is a popular and easy to grow perennial. Ironically, Little Harv is relatively tall reaching about 3 feet. The Dwarf Pineapple (Ananas spp) is another Bromeliad I used in a vase a few months ago, it dried in this downward curve. The background is a Tropical Gardenia leaf (Tabernaemontana divaricata) and some Wild Asparagus fern. The pink bottle is from Champagne a friend brought to share at a dinner party and the crystal ice bucket is Fostoria from my grandmother.

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Here is Little Harv in bud and full bloom. I cut this one today as it is in a bit too much shade and our lawn mowing crew is very likely to run it over.

 

 

In A Vase on Monday – Whispers of Fall

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Sunday in my neck of the woods began stormy and transitioned into a cool, overcast day (high of 80 degrees F) My husband and I sat on our screened porch for the first time in months. Fall is elusive in South Florida and sometimes the flowers speak for the season. Chapman’s Goldenrod is flowering in my garden, an indestructible and polite native wildflower that reminds me of much more Autumnal months spent further north. Our weather is not reliably cooler until mid October, so this first whisper of Fall was a welcome respite from the usual steamy late summer temperatures.

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The Chapman’s Goldenrod (Solidago odora ‘Chapmanii’.) is the yellow flower in the middle of the arrangement. Here is a link to More about Chapman’s Goldenrod . 

Clockwise from the Goldenrod, in red spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); a sprig of Blueberry Flax Lily (Dianella); The orange tubes are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens);white buds from a Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divericata); Daisy mixture is Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) and Gallardia pulchella. The far left side of the arrangement has a Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); the background plants are Wireweed (in white); and a bit of Dwarf Pineapple foliage (the spear).

For an arrangement in a vintage Dansk candleholder-  there is a lot stuffed in there. Initially, I decided to try a hand tied bouquet (which I do not know how to do) gave up on that,  kept adding flowers, changed vases three times and ended up here.

Listening for more whispers of Fall.

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In A Vase on Monday – A Day at the Beach.

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I usually conjure up my vases on Sunday morning as many things in South Florida can get wilted in the afternoon. This morning I was scratching my head as it didn’t seem to me much was going on in the garden.

As I was walking around the garden it occurred to me what a wonderful exercise  in seeing putting a vase together every week is. (This is also a flashback to design school -looking and really seeing) First, I noticed the berries on the Firebush (Hamelia patens)

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Then the fluffy seedheads on the mystery plant:

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Whatever this is popped up in my garden a few years ago  and I left it for the flowers or seedheads, please let me know it you recognize it. I thought it was some sort of Amaranth, but don’t really know.

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After finding the two base plants, I found the Red Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana) and Beach Sunflowers (in yellow, Helianthus debilis) are still flowering and the thus far, oddly small Cactus Zinnias were added. Then I went around to my herb pots and snipped some Copper Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare “Purpurea”) to complete my arrangement. The flowers were placed in an vintage amber glass candlestick holder from Dansk, a favorite of my husband, repurposed for a vase on Monday.

Then it dawned on me, this was so easy it was like a day on the beach. So, I decided to go see how things were on Jensen Beach. If you are in a cold place I hope this warms your heart.

 

In A Vase on Monday -Triple Bubbly

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This first Monday of November a challenge was issued to use threes in an arrangement. Given our now wonderful weather in Florida and the third anniversary of In A Vase on Monday I thought a celebratory arrangement was in order. Champagne is always a nice touch on a happy occasion.

Out came the flutes and the search was on for some bubbly flowers. I decided the flowers from the Firecracker Plant (Russelia) were red and bubbly enough and then added one Parrot Flower (Heliconia psittacorum) and a bit of Bromeliad foliage (Neoregelia spp) and a few sprigs of Asian Sword Fern complete the cocktail.

I found a relatively historic bottle of Cava in my refrigerator and added my mother’s relatively historic Fostoria ice bucket with matching tray to complete the vignette.

Here are the flutes without the wine. They are now perched on a table in my foyer.

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And here is a single flute:

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Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden blog for hosting this meme. Each Monday bloggers from around the world post arrangements from their gardens.

 

Cheers!