Six on Saturday – Cool Exotics

It’s another cool Saturday morning in South Florida. A bit windy and the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees F (4 C). I finally got the nerve to go out and check on my tomatoes and pepper plants, left uncovered overnight. They look shivery. A few of the less cold tolerant plants were invited indoors last night. I have found basil and zinnia seedlings do not enjoy being too cool. I am joining Jim and the SOS gang to share what cool exotics are currently in color in my garden. To see more SOS posts, visit http://www.gardenruminations.uk.co.

The flower of the Candy Portea Bromeliad. This is a medium sized Bromeliad with very sharp foliage that reliably flowers every winter in nearly full shade. I think it started showing color in late November.

Another Bromeliad – McWilliamsii Neoregelia, also called Blushing Bromeliad. These show red coloration during the winter and have green mottled foliage during warm weather. They are 2 – 3 feet wide and are quite showy. Below is the flower, reminiscent of a rosebud.

The China Hat (Holmskioldia sanguinea) continues to flower. I like the coloration going towards chartreuse as the flower ages.

Another winter stalwart, the Quesnelia testudo Bromeliad. I have heard native Floridians call these the tulips of South Florida. I think these are a bit burned from the holiday cold weather. They are usually more purple at the tips.

Number Six today is a flowering tree. This is a White Geiger flower. Cordia boissieri is a medium sized evergreen tree with an odd branching habit that I have been puzzling over how to prune for quite a while. Tropical trees have weird twisting habits and need to be sorted. This one remains an unsorted blob. Sigh.

Here’s to warmer days in the garden!

A Week in Flowers – Day One

I have been inivted to share flowers from my garden daily for a week by Cathy at Words and Herbs on WordPress. The idea is to brighten winter days and add some color to our cyberworld. Follow this link to see more flowers from around the world. https://wp.me/p1RJ1n-5Ya

I have chosen winter tropicals from my South Florida garden for today. Above is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) a favorite of mine that can flower three times a year if in the mood.

This is a winter flowering Bromeliad, Quesnelia testudo. I think of these as tulips for the tropical garden. They flower in February and March and are reliable for returning and increasing in mass over time. The downside? One very sharp thorn on the end of every leaf.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting. Happy Gardening or flower watching this week.

In A Vase on Monday – Tropical Blues

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It’s Sunday afternoon in South Florida and we are having a rare rainy day with temperatures in the 40s (F). It’s damp and dreary and my greyhounds are grumpy because they have been cooped up in the house all day. Alan (the greyhound, not my husband) went into the backyard, jumped into the air put both paws over his head and threw his collar off and onto the ground burying it in the sand in disgust.

We have the tropical blues. No sun and no blue skies today. Some Kissy Fish and a new Bromeliad in a blue vase will cheer things up.

I was pleased to find the small Pink Bromeliads (Quesnelia testudo) I planted last fall starting to flower this week. Another one of my mystery plants, bought nameless (3 for five bucks!) at a Botanical Garden sale, I thought these were something else entirely, but the Quesnelia have worked out quite well and flower in mid winter here. Someday I will have a drift of Pink Bromeliads under my Shell Gingers.

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Not wishing to venture out in the rain again, I cut the rest of this vase from containers on my front porch. Joining the Quesnelia are: in pink and chartreuse foliage, Alabama Sunset Coleus; chartreuse flowers from Culinary Dill, the darker fine textured foliage is Copper Fennel from the herb containers and a bit of grey Flapjack Kalanchoe flowers and Asian Sword Fern foliage. The blue glass footed vase is a family heirloom.

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The Kissy Fish are part of my husband’s collection of unusual ceramics. The artist is Steven Smeltzer of Maui.

Speaking of my husband – he has been in the kitchen this afternoon seeking to cure our case of the Tropical Blues. Baking a Blueberry Pie:

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I am sure to feel better after dessert.