In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

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 – Flowers by Karma

 

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Last week I made the bold statement “there is not very much pink in my garden”. As always, karma reigns supreme and two of my favorite plants are in this vase (also supplied by karma). Both are, well, pink.

Strangely enough, last week one of my favorite vases, a simple glass cylinder cracked. Nothing happened to it, the vase just cracked up and down about a third of the height of the vase. It occurred to me I would really like a slightly larger glass vase with a more interesting shape.

The following morning I was walking my greyhounds and spied this vase, left at the curb as trash. It was promptly removed, by me. The greyhounds did not care. They prefer hanging with a soft blankie or two.

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Later in the week, I renovated my front porch containers for summer (the new colors are shades of peach, apricot and burgundy with a touch of gray and chartreuse) I am hopeful the new variety of Zinnia will survive the onslaught of heat and humidity.

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During the course of my renovation I removed a long serving ‘Alabama Sunset’ Coleus, it had developed a nearly half inch stem and I knew its days were numbered, so I took some cuttings and put them in the vase to root. The pink vase was inevitable.

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Here is a close up, the ‘Alabama Sunset’ Coleus is at the base of the arrangement. The flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), a favorite tropical and the gingery fragrance adds to its appeal. The background greenery is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) a native and vase favorite slowly invading my driveway landscape.

Wishing good karma for all this week. And I hope everyone is in the pink.

In A Vase on Monday – Uber Tropical

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Frequently I receive comments about my vases being tropical or exotic. Much of this plant material is commonplace in Florida. The above vase, however, seems Uber Tropical to me.

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Here is a closer view. The arrangement is a stem of Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet); a sprig of Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) and a potential replacement for the umbrella in tropical drinks, a Miniature Pineapple. The Pineapple is a cutting from a friend and I have no idea what botanical name goes with it. I cut it because the varmints in my garden usually eat them at about this size. They are not edible, extremely fibrous I am told, but may be juiced.

Here is the pineapple in the garden:

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I am happy I beat the varmints to my little pineapple. They are currently eating the new shoots on all the Bromeliads.

Happy Monday!

In A Vase on Monday – Shell Loopy

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In A Vase on Monday – Zerumbet Zen

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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.

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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.

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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.

In A Vase on Monday – Tropical Bean Blast

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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.

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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.

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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!

In A Vase on Monday – Spring Mix Mystery

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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.20180311_142531-1.jpg

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.

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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.

In A Vase on Monday – Totally Tropical

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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.

Happy Monday!

In A Vase on Monday – Gingerly Simple

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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.

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20170312_105240-1So, 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.