In a Vase on Monday – One Man’s Trash..

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The saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. My treasures today include several plants that are considered weeds. Nut sedge, the chartreuse flowers at the top right, is a particularly reviled weed. Some call this sand spurs. I have pulled a great deal of it out of my garden and dog paws. I was pulling some yesterday and thought ‘this looks like a Papyrus’ well, for good reason. It is a Cyperus, while Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is a wetland sedge. This is a dryland sedge. But a treasure for today only.

The ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, a very pretty weed, great vase filler, and invasive nuisance in Florida. I have been pulling these out after rains all winter. They hang on for dear life when it’s dry and are very difficult to pull out.

The white daisy flower is a Bidens alba, these are a nuisance to me although a great nectaring plant for bees and butterflies. These reseed so prolifically I cut them to stop it. I am pretty certain I will never run out of Bidens. Its common name is Spanish Needles, the seeds are sharp and it is said the early settlers of Florida used them as needles.

A closer view:

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Most of these treasures are excellent nectar producers for pollinators. The hot pink flowers are Heirloom Pentas (Penta lanceolata); yellow and red daisies, Gallardia pulchella; red spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the white spikes are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). The Sweet Almond has perfumed my hallway with the scent of Marzipan.

Here is a Gulf Frittilary enjoying the nectar of the Heirloom Penta.

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Happy Gardening…to see more vases go visit http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Vibrant Colors

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The flowers I started the arrangement with seemed especially vivid today. Maybe it’s the overcast skies or the first flowers of the season make them feel more vibrant; but the Nodding Hibiscus (at the bottom of the arrangement) looks really red (to me). I added the big green leaf (White Bird of Paradise) to calm things down; then realized it was getting a little Christmasssy – that is probably not a word.

Back to the garden, I love a little grey-green in anything and spotted spiky seedheads forming on the Leonitis. Cut the biggest ones and they are sharp like a pinecone. Red, green, yellow and black varigated foliage should be celebrated, so I added a cutting of Mammey Croton and for more red, a sprig of Firecracker Plant. Four plants produce a lot of punch in one little crystal vase.

Closer views: My oldest  brother, who passed on several years ago, gave me the heavy crystal vase for Christmas. I have enjoyed it and think of him with each use.

The spikey ball is the going to seed flower of the annual Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia). I am a bit confused about this plant. There is another one, considered perennial in Florida called Leonitis leonurus. One or the other or perhaps both seem to be smoked by people in Africa for fun. Something called Dagga. I am not smoking it, like Bill Clinton, I was not meant to inhale. (American joke, sorry – Bill swore he never inhaled Marijuana, despite admitting to smoking it)

The multicolored foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codiaeum varigateum ‘Mammey); fine textured grassy foliage with red bell shaped flowers is Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformus); red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) and the  big green leaf – White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai).

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Greens, reds, golds and textures in a vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at  MORE VASES

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – March Madness

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First of all, this has nothing to do with American college basketball. March Madness is a college basketball tournament, I  would rather read about invasive weeds than watch basketball. College football is a different story. That I will watch.

South Florida seemingly lacks seasons. Spring is subtle, but here. Almost everything takes a few months off, not growing. Just resting for the inevitable plunge into March Madness. The Oak trees, grasses and obscure weeds no one ever heard of are flowering and the pollen is dreadful – the native butterflies and insects are enjoying all of  this and literally making hay while the sun is shining. I am seeing butterflies and insects I have  never seen  before. My bush and pole bean leaves have been folded by butterflies to create chrysalis and while I still have beans, the butterflies emerging are just starting to  amaze me.

img_20200206_133605 This is a Longtail Skipper larvae from a couple of weeks ago, I saw the first butterfly today (it got away from me). I will  post a picture another day if I catch one.

Back to the vase. The actual vase is a old florist vase from the 80s I found by the side of the road. It holds up some heavy cut flowers. Heavy is what I have.

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The pink flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). They flower off and on year round; not reliably but at some point there they are. And  too pretty to ignore, like some teenage  girls from high school. The ferns are my old stand by, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the white flowers, Dracaena reflexa. Yes, it grows in my garden and the flowers  have a wonderful scent. Close ups of the flowers:

Happy Spring!!

For more vases follow the link and visit our hostess, Cathy at MORE VASES

In a Vase on Monday – Jurassic Parts

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While perusing my garden for vase materials this morning I was seeing a lot of the same old thing and decided I needed to do something different. I wanted to use the dried Bromeliad leaves one more time and the Tillandsia covered branch seemed to go with the idea. The result seems a bit prehistoric to me and in some ways it is containing ferns, palms and bromeliads, all monocots and found in fossils. Here is a closer view:

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The dried brown stems are from the seedhead of an Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii); the white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); fern is a Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the dried Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchitiana) leaves wrapped around the vase and holding the Begonia stems together were originally on my Christmas wreath, reused a couple of weeks ago  to wrap a whole vase and this is the final appearance. The hanging Bromeliad and branch were found while walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, these are Tillandsia recurvata, Ball Moss.

The vase is a pasta container I use as a vase since the top was lost some years ago. My husband refers to the gardeners inevitable stockpile of unplanted pots of plants as my ‘Spare Parts’. I am rarely without spare parts, currently holding at six ‘Java White’ Copperleaf.

If only I had a tiny dinosaur to go with this one.

Here it is in black and white, maybe even a bit more Jurassic.

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For more vases from around the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog MORE VASES

 

In a Vase on Monday – Winter Cheer

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Our air conditioner has been running today, this always seems odd to me given the month is February. This explains why I have Summer flowers to provide Winter cheer. It’s warm in South Florida!

Despite the black vase, the colors of the flowers are so bright and happy and the foliage is Pineapple Sage – It’s like a bowl of summer radiating an herbal fruity scent of the tropics in my foyer. During the completion of the arrangement I had to relocate two whitish green garden spiders  (with the long front legs) outside and suffer a proper foliage selection dither (chartreuse or deep green?) Pineapple Sage won based on color and scent.  I was cheered by this vase once I finished it.

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The vase is a thrift store find I have enjoyed tremendously, I hope whoever made it feels the happiness it generates for me. I placed a glass flower frog inside the vase to support my Zinnias; they are oddly short stemmed (day length not long enough?) A majority of the flowers were grown from seed by me. This is a first for me as I usually buy plants and not seeds. The seeds were a bit of work – the results have been fun to witness.

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There are two colors from the Texas Vintage Rose Celosia mix hanging over the edge, the  jury is still out on this series of seed. The plants are just not that attractive, and in my heart, I think Celosia is weird. Trying to keep an open mind as is does thrive in my sugar sand. So far, anyway, I will be interested to see what summer brings.

The Zinnias are a mystery – I  planted several kinds of seeds and these don’t really look like any of the pictures on the seed packets. Yellow and red Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella) and a seedhead are stalwarts in my garden and provide nectar  for many butterflies – the Tropical Red Salvia  (Salvia coccinea) in the background (in peachy mode) does as well. The thick stems with blue flowers are Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis) another amazing nectar plant for butterflies. The backdrop of fragrant chartreuse foliage is from Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) there is a red Pineapple Sage flower in there as well.

I have been having trouble commenting on blogspot blogs  – if anyone knows how to fix this please let me know! Thanks.

Happy Gardening!

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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