In a Vase on Monday – More Summer

It is still a bit too warm for my taste in my garden (mid 80’s F), though cooler weather is on the way. November 30 is the end of hurricane season, hooray!! More good gardening news, my tomatoes have set fruit and we have eaten beans and radishes from the garden.

The flowers are reflecting summer to me, with the exception of the Muhly Grass, Muhly means fall in South Florida. The Portmerion canister is a wedding gift from long ago, never used to store anything – it occasionally serves as a vase.

A friend issued a challenge to use all native plants in the vase (it may be in a magazine) So, all the flowers are, unlike me, Florida natives. Here is another view.

White daisies are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba), a bit of an overzealous seed producer, I am only too happy to decapitate for vases. The yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), cheerful year round but I asked most of them in the front to leave the garden, too much trouble, again a zillion seedlings. Yellow bell shaped flowers are Tecoma stans, a newcomer in my garden also called Esperanza, grace in Spanish. I think I am going to love this one and may add a few more. Pink, red and apricot spikes are all Tropical Red Salvia, colors vary with bees! Off white background flowers are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa) and the fall defining Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) serve as a backdrop.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. The horizon is looking so positive now, we just have to put our heads down and get through this.

Happy Gardening!!

Hurricanes and Tequila

It just dawned on me that Hurricanes are a cocktail, but they don’t contain Tequila. The Hurricane cocktail contains enough rum that if you drink one you won’t care about the Hurricane and the next morning you will feel like you were hit by one.

The first Atlantic Hurricane of the season may or may not be forming in the Tropical Atlantic. There must be a special language school for the weather forecasters that work on these storms. It’s making statements without really stating any facts. Danny is the name of the storm brewing – he has already been designated a Tropical Storm and might possibly turn into a Hurricane. However, the key however is there is a lot of dry Saharan sand and air floating around out there and we are in an El Nino weather pattern. I could ask my Greyhounds for their storm predictions, but they are clearly too busy. So, we wait. To spare myself drama, I only read the Weather Underground.

Canines occupied

Canines occupied, they’ve put their car magazines on the Ottoman so they can nap

Agave americana

Agave americana

On to the tequila, I have discovered I have an Agave americana shooting up a bloom spike. I thought this was interesting as some of these are called Century Plants because they bloom every hundred years and this one has been around my garden for three years or so. Research has informed me that the bloom spike could be 15 feet tall (!) and indeed tequila is made from this plant. I love the color and texture of the Agave, a glaucous blue green with chocolate brown spines. A friend of mine grew this Agave and gave it to me with a warning ‘some people are allergic to the spines so be sure and cut them off the tips of the leaves’. Well, I decided to move the thing having put it in the wrong place and thought I had cut off all the spines. Later I found myself in the doctor’s office drawing a picture of the plant for her (she couldn’t figure out what could cause such a horrible bruise and reaction) and getting a prescription for Steroids. Yes, I am one of the allergic.

Given my lack of fondness for steroids and the fact that after the Agave americana flowers it dies – I believe it will be asked to leave the garden and I will replace it with a similar sized Bromeliad or Crinum or something lacking chocolate brown spines.

Interesting native plants currently doing their thing in my garden:

Sea Grapes - Coccoloba uvifera

Sea Grapes – Coccoloba uvifera

These are Sea Grapes, native to the beach and a bit beyond. The natives like to eat them, the bottom two are nearly ripe but, I haven’t really developed a taste for them and the seed is big. Mine go to the raccoons and birds.

Hymenocallis latifolia

Hymenocallis latifolia

Natives of Florida call these Spider Lilies, I have seen other Hymenocallis called Peruvian Daffodils, clearly I am not in Peru. This is another Florida beachside native- these are easy to grow, but difficult to photograph. The anthers are very like Oriental Lilies, but hard to see. White flowers bloom in clusters, timing is staggered. These are interesting flowers and nearly indestructible.

My plan is to relax with the Greyhounds and await storm news, not eat any Sea Grapes or get stabbed by an Agave. A glass of Chardonnay, no Hurricanes or Tequila in my future, hopefully.