The Shell Gingers (Alpinia zerumbet) are flowering again. This is such a dramatic plant, I think it should be displayed on its own. Of course, me being me, I had to do something with it. Feeling there was a bit too much foliage in the arrangement I cut a lot of it out, enjoying the gingery fragrance and wishing for a Thai food lunch. As I was in a state of ‘garden dress’, lunch out was out of the question; so I persevered with my arrangement. I rolled some leaves into loops and added a few red burgundy Blanchetiana Bromeliad leaves.
Shell Ginger needs a bit of shade to be at its best. Last year, my neighbor destroyed all the shade, removing trees on the other side of the fence. Oddly enough, the Ginger has responded with lighter foliage and a bounty of buds, the likes I have never seen before. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
News from the garden. I have been reporting/complaining about my Papaya experience. Well, the tree added some newly hermaphrodite flowers and now I am getting female and mixed (hermaphrodite) flowers – and more fruit. Four, so far. I can’t wait to see what the tree produces. Here is the first fruit from last week.
My Shell Ginger is still flowering, so I couldn’t resist cutting a few more to create a vase for Monday. The word zerumbet is the last part of the botanical name for Shell Ginger, Alpinia zerumbet. Zerumbet means a plant stem with a spicy aroma. This plant is nearly a pleasure to cut back as the stems have a gingery aroma and of course, if deadheaded properly the results are more flowers and a much better looking plant. A little pruning induces garden zen. Rarely I find myself happily inhaling the scent produced by my loppers. These tropical perennials tend to be large, about six feet wide and four feet tall and a bit of thinning improves the foliage and flowers.
The Shell Ginger was (I know, yet another) garage sale find. I spied the five dollar huge pot of Ginger, not knowing what it was exactly (Ginger something and I love Ginger anything) bought it, then decided it was so huge I divided it into three. Planted in three different places, which ended up being a really good idea. Siting Gingers in my garden seems to be a bit of a trick, out of the wind, sun but not too much sun and a nearby irrigation head seems to be a great thing. The wind thing really surprised me, after six years I am moving the rest of the gingers this spring.
This vase seems to be another of my spa lobby creations, there are black Mexican pebbles in the bottom to hold the stems in place as the stems are heavy and uncooperative. Feeling the calming ginger vibes helped solving another identity crisis.
The other mystery Amaryllis in my garden finally flowered.
This is the one from my father in law, and oddly enough it flowered during his birthday week. He would have been 93 years old. I have been carrying this Amaryllis around for going on 20 years. Maybe another cosmic reminder of gardening zen.
I think it is a Red Lion as that was commonly grown 30 years ago as a forced holiday bulb. I am letting it go to seed, hoping for more.
Last week several icy blog posts crossed my Reader, so I thought a blast of tropical flowers might warm things up. The tropical flowers are starting to flower again in my garden after a coolish winter. The coral Amaryllis I cut last week has been remarkably slow to open, in fact, it is still not open – despite my efforts to move it further and further into the sun. When I finally put it outside, in the sun, it dropped a bud in protest.
Research has finally identified this Amaryllis as a Barbados Lily (Amaryllis striatum) – definitely from my neighborhood and not a family bulb from my father in law. I see this Amaryllis everywhere in gardens around here, the ones nearby produce a huge amount of seed. I suspect this is another gift from my fine feathered friends. Thank you, birds. The bulb in my garden had two stalks, I cut one – the other is still in bud. Some Amaryllis like this in gardens closer to the water have already flowered and gone to seed.
The other flowers in the arrangement include, in purple, Hong Kong Orchids (Bauhinia purpurea, I think, not realizing how many types of these exist!) The pink flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). The pods are beans from the Hong Kong Orchid, my attempt to use something other that ferns for a green foliage accent.
The beans are in all the vases, this one displays them in a heart shape with Shell Ginger.
I love In A Vase on Monday, don’t you?
Thanks to Cathy at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this every Monday!
Spring is not quite in full force in South Florida and my garden is in tune with the season producing Spring Mix in the vegetable garden (lettuces) and a mixture of tropical and not so tropical flowers.
The lettuce is Baby Romaine, Arugula and Leaf Lettuce. The Cactus Zinnias have produced another round of tiny flowers, the foliage with the Zinnias is from the Hawaiian Snowbush (Breynia nivosa) a green, white and burgundy shrub that has white new growth like it snowed.
The Shell Ginger usually blooms in February or March and is a bit late this year. I am not sure if this is due to a chilly spell in January or the Hurricane last year. This is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) leaf and some Asian Sword Fern.
The mystery is the Amaryllis in bud I cut a few days ago, hoping for a long lasting cut flower. About 15 years ago, my father in law gave me some bulbs. his were red and despite my carrying them around all this time, they have never bloomed. There were also numerous bulbs in the garden that I think are our native Spider Lilies, but this is obviously Amaryllis- waiting to see it’s pedigree, inherited from family or a real estate transaction?
Happy early Spring and welcome back to the garden.
This vase is about as tropical as it gets. It holds the first Frangipani flowers of the year and the last two Shell Ginger blossoms (I think). I have another Shell Ginger that has always received less water and attention and it is flowering with much smaller, infrequent bursts. The fragrance of the arrangement is pure Polynesia, sweet Frangipani foiled by lightly spicy ginger. I should start making shampoo or suntan lotion from this combination. I have a small foyer and it is filled with the scent. We have finally gotten some rain here in the form of a 4 inches plus deluge over about 15 hours. The flowers are a great counter to Eau d’ Wet Greyhound.
The flowers in the vase are in pink, Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), in white, Frangipani (Plumeria ?) I was in Maui last fall and this is different from the White Plumeria there, the flowers are actually bigger and less waxy. I found there are many varieties of Frangipani but am not sure what this is – another garage sale find (as are the Shell Ginger) The orange flowers are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) I actually bought at a nursery and have never seen another. The foliage is cut from the Shell Ginger and some long fronds of Asian Sword Fern.
The latest visitors adding a tropical vibe to my garden.
A White Heron on my shell driveway and a Gopher Tortoise stopping by to eat the fruit of the Surinam Cherries.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the flowers from my Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) over the past couple of weeks. So much that most of them have ended up in vases in the house. These are interesting tropical accent plants that are fairly common in South Florida, but oddly enough a bit hard to find to buy. A couple of years ago I found one for my favorite price -five bucks at a garage sale. Sold!
Planted beside our garage to screen an ancient (and exceedingly ugly) pressure treated pine fence and doing an admirable job, reaching 6 feet high and wide in about two years. The flowers are icing on the cake. Starting as a chain of shiny pink flowers resembling sea shells (hence the name) a 6 inch long bud spills the pink shell like flowers out – then a yellow orchid like flower follows at the end.
The foliage is lush and tropical and is evergreen where I live, further north it dies back in the winter – even further north an annual. There is a variegated Shell Ginger with beautiful foliage, unfortunately it rarely flowers, but is still a great accent.
So, why “Gingerly Simple”? Usually I like to stuff a variety of flowers into a vase, these I think stand alone and look better displayed in a simple vase with a few real seashells.
The Rites of Spring may be a ballet, a music festival or a rock band depending on where you look on the Internet. Seasonal changes can be subtle in South Florida so my Rites of Spring are landscape events marking the passage of the seasons to spring.
In the perennial garden, spring is marked when the Dwarf Jamaican Heliconia (Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’) and Ground Orchid (Bletilla) flower.
Dwarf Jamaican Helicona
The Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ) , usually flower off and on, stop for a rest in mid winter have started back up. This year a surprise has been the Poinsettias I used in Christmas containers flowered again after being set out in the garden. The Bromeliads (Aechmeas – Blushing Bromeliads) are sporting their red markings (these tend to go back to green as the weather warms) The Shell Gingers (Alpinia zerumbet) are in full bloom, covering an extremely unattractive 6 foot fence, and have been outstanding thus far.
Vegetables and Herbs are at their zenith and starting to wane. A post for another day. Happy Friday.