Six on Saturday – In the Bag

My Bag Garden is coming along. I have two kinds of tomatoes ripening and small green beans on the bush beans. This group has tomatoes, green beans, radishes, dill and zinnias. The seeds were planted in September and I used some different soil mixes to see what works best. Of course, the most expensive mix was doing best at first. So, I amended the cheaper, heavier soil mix with compost and Osmocote. Now the cheaper mix is catching up. The first radish planting was a bust as the cheap soil was too heavy for radishes.

When I tied the tomatoes to the cages I pruned the suckers off the plants and put them in a vase to root for a later season set of tomatoes. The suckers are flowering in their vase on the counter behind my kitchen sink.

I am not sure what to think or do about the flowers – cut them off? There is very little natural light in this area, although there is LED lighting above the sink.

The other bags are in a more protected location where I potted everything up. They seemed to be doing well so I left them in their spot.

I have a couple of different kinds of zinnias, sunflowers and mystery seedlings from a cutting flower mix. Nigella surprised me by germinating, not supposed to grow here, so hopefully I get some flowers. This week, with cooler weather, I planted another big pot with snow peas, spinach and cilantro. The sticks in the pot are rabbit and squirrel abatement. I had a great deal of trouble with squirrels when I planted the sunflower seeds. My snowbird neighbors amuse themselves by growing a highly toxic, poison green lawn and feeding the squirrels peanuts – the squirrels in turn tear up my potted plants. The sticks are 24″ reeds from reed fencing and are working well.

This is not quite in the bag. It is in the bromeliad, specifically a frog I spied while looking for a flower. The bromeliad is a Aechmea ‘fasciata’, sometimes called Silver Vase. I think these bloom in winter, but only frogs so far.

There! my six for this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, follow the link: http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Harvest. Present and Future

Time for SOS again. Follow the link to see more fun from gardens around the world http://www,thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

My garden is enjoying the weather cool down and making flowers and fruit for fall. I have begun harvesting the Roselles (Hibicus sabdariffa) and here is the first batch:

I pluck these by hand as the green seeds start to appear in the middle of the flower. Rinse them throughly and remove the calyces.

These are the remnants of the flower. The calyces have been removed. I had to look up calyx, in botany speak it is the whole of the sepals that surround the bud of the flower. Calyces is plural of calyx. If the green seeds are allowed to ripen they turn brown and may be ground for a coffee substitute.

Calyx harvested by pulling sepals off or cutting whole. Jam makers like the use the whole ones for aesthetics. I think. I am freezing these bit by bit and looking for recipes.

Fruits of the Christmas Palm (Adonidia veitchii). These are reportedly edible but unpalatable. I leave them for the wildlife. Most people cut them off, though I like to use them for arrangements and enjoy the color.

Tomatoes started from seed in September are setting fruit. I planted Yellow Pear and Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes, not sure which one this is, but am looking forward to eating it.

One of my favorite butterfly nectar plants, the Firebush (Hamelia patens) flowers and produces fruit in the fall. More food for wildlife (and maybe thought, while contemplating the butterflies.)

That is six from my garden this Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Patience Rewarded

I am joining the International SOS crowd this Saturday featuring a selection of of six plants, flowers and buds I have been looking forward to. Follow the link http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see more Six on Saturday posts from other gardens.

The Roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa) are finally flowering! The flowers don’t last very long, the duration is morning. And that is it. I was trying to get pictures and it has to be done before lunch or they’ve closed. When the flowers began to make seed it will be time to harvest the calyxes. I planted the seed in April, the plants are now six feet and over and getting floppy.

Buds on the Medinillia cummingi. This is an orchid like plant that grows in trees in Tropical Asia. A friend gave me a rooted cutting this spring and said it would take two years to flower, so I am excited to see the buds. I think the flowers will look like pink grapes.

The succulents are finally filling the strawberry pot. A view in elevation:

The dark green plant in the top is Haworthia, the greys are an Echeveria, the charteuse one I can’t recall, though it has white flowers. The big leafed plant on the side is Flapjack Kalanchoe. The grey fine leaved plant is a native Tillandsia Bromeliad and the bigger leafed one is a Graptosedum. I keep this pot out of the rain.

First flower on a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) I grew from a cutting.

Another pot of succulents on the porch. Purple Queen (Transcandentia pallida) in purple. Gold Moss (Sedum ‘some Florida Friendly BS’) – I find it virtually impossible to grow this Florida Friendly Sedum in the ground. Which annoys me. The big leafed plant is Flapjack Kalanchoe – it grows anywhere with well drained, sunny spot. It took ages for the Sedum to fill that little corner.

That is my Six for this Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Tea for Two

A couple of weeks ago I posted an image of the first flower on my Blue Pea Vine and mentioned making tea from it. I have also posted my Roselles, the flowers may also be used for tea. I tried both yesterday. I should preface this review by saying I am not a huge fan of herbal teas and prefer Earl Grey or black tea.

Roselle tea tastes like Hibiscus flower tea, which is no surprise considering it is a Hibiscus. The Blue Pea Vine tea tastes like dirt to me. I asked my husband to try and he agreed. I have seen the tea served that is cobalt blue in color, perhaps more steeping is needed or more flowers, the question becomes does it taste like more dirt?

The Roselles were in my freezer from last year. I froze them and promptly forgot all about them. When I harvest the flowers this year I will try making some jam to serve with champagne, which seems like a good holiday project.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternata).

Roselles in their current state. These are about a month out from harvest and are buds. They will flower and form seed heads; the calyx from the seed heads are what is used for tea.

Fall has arrived when the Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) starts to flower. The temperatures were in the low 70s this morning. My greyhounds had a long run in the dog yard and I enjoyed a walk around the garden.

Native Senna (Senna ligustrina), another fall flower in bloom. This is a host plant for Sulphur butterflies. If the caterpillars eat the foliage they are green; if they eat the flowers they are yellow. The butterflies are all yellow.

The bag garden is coming along. Currently bagged: bush beans, tomatoes, radishes, criollo peppers, dill, and flowers for cutting – zinnias, sunflowers, nigella and some mixed seeds that will be a surprise. The sticks are to keep rabbits out, the squirrels are only slightly deterred by them. I had a first time experience with a Gopher tortise eating a globe amaranth.

That is my Six for this Saturday. Jon the Propagator hosts this meme at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to visit other gardens.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Reds and Purples

Another Saturday morning tour of my garden featuring six items of interest to join the SOS crowd at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more posts.

I have a lot of hot colors in my garden and fall is no exception. The red and purple flowers and foliage are out in force.

The Aechmea blanchetiana Bromeliads are in full bloom. These are almost five feet tall and last for months. A neighbor gave me a start of these and said “the flowers last so long you get tired of them.” I enjoy them!

The Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana). This is a very happy plant and flowers a lot. One of my favorite old reliables and a gift from a neighbor.

The Roselles (Hibiscus sabdaiffa) have reached five and a half feet in height and are setting flower buds. Eventually I will pick the red calyx of the flower to make tea or holiday cocktails. I planted the seed in April. Most of the plant is edible.

Purple Queen or Setcresea appears randomly in the garden. I prefer to call it Purple Queen, Setcresea sounds like a skin disease.

A new container I put together this week. The Bromeliads are cuttings from existing plants in my garden. In red, Fireball Neoregelia, varigated, Bossa Nova Neoregelia. Draped over the side is a Fish Hook Senecio and the plant in back is a Cardboard Palm (Zamia furfuracea). The Bromeliads should spill over the sides eventually.

The Milkweed devoured by Monarch butterfly caterpillars is making a remarkable comeback. I was amazed at the amount of foliage they ate – all of it and about one third of the stem.

That is my Six for this Saturday.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – October repeats

This is a familiar sight in my garden, the Nodding Hibiscus (Hibiscus malvaviscus). These flower during the cool season here, so I am happy to see them again. The shrub is gangly and virtually impossible to prune into a nice shape – but I love the flowers and keep them around. Another plus, they grow happily with little water or care.

Another cool season beauty is the Yellow Elder or Tecoma stans. I planted this last year as an 18 inch shrub – it is now at least eight feet tall. I am planning to tree form it. They don’t grow much more than ten feet and make a nice multi stem shrub. I am already getting seed pods.

I love these little reminders of pumpkins. They are the fruit of the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uviflora). I won’t eat these (the taste reminds me of the scent of turpentine) – so they are left for wildlife.

New to the garden this year, a Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea). This has finally flowered after suffering a double bout of rabbit ravages – the vine was eaten to the ground twice and has bounced back. I think this is a double flower. I gave my neighbor seeds, hers has been flowering all summer and she has been making blue tea from the flowers.

I am in the process of baking a Keitt Mango and Blackberry pie. This is not from my garden, but grown in South Florida. A jumbo green skinned mango, this one is quite ripe and next to a cherry tomato. I am making a mini pie with vegan crust and used about half of the mango. They are very tasty and have a short season, I will be on the lookout for Keitt Mangos next year.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Check out http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for more posts from other gardens.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!!

Six on Saturday – Fun Stuff

It was a chilling 85 degrees Fahrenheit in my garden this morning, so I worked outside gearing up for the fall gardening season. Taking note of some of the fun stuff that survived summer in South Florida.

The Monarch butterflies finally found the Milkweed in my garden. Here are two caterpillars munching away. Aphids are eating the other plant.

Another vegetable and flower garden experiment is at hand. These are cheap grow bags that breathe. I am certain these would be a disaster in summer so I am trying them in winter – using heavy garden soil (not made from peat!) lightened with 30 % of my oak compost. Planted tomatoes and radishes this morning. Herbs and bush beans are on the agenda next followed by cooler season peas and broccoli in a couple of weeks. I was surprised to read Nigella can be grown here in winter as well as Zinnias. Those seeds are also being planted shortly.

Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) flowering. This is considered a novelty plant in Florida, it is pretty funky.

Pot o’ Bromeliads in the front garden. Grey varigated foliage is Aechmea fasciata, these have pink flowers like Dahlias. The burgundy with chartreuse spots are Luca Neoregelia, red foliage is Fireball Neoregelia.

Another pot in the front garden with Miniature Pineapples, Flapjack Kalanchoe and a Graptosedum hanging over the side. The pineapple plants flower and bear tiny pineapples. I use them in flower arrangements, I have heard they can be juiced but a field would be necessary to get a full glass.

Another flower to anticipate this winter. The hard cane orchid I mounted in the Gumbo Limbo tree has produced a bud. This should be very interesting.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening…

Six on Saturday – September openings

The Hurricane or Torch Bromeliad opened this week. This is a Billbergia pyramidalis and very easy to grow, they form colonies in shade. I think there are three in my garden and I gave a friend a pup. A colony may form if I quit sharing them.

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The Milkweed finally opened. I believe this is Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) – can’t find the seed packet, This one is controversial among the Monarch butterfly faithful. Some believe it spreads OE, a parasite by never dying back in the winter in frost free areas. Other believe it is fine to plant. Others recommend cutting it back to the ground in late fall. I am on the fence about this as I haven’t seen any Monarchs on it.

The Firebush (Hamelia patens) in full flower. Butterflies of all sorts love this plant for nectar. It is one of my favorites and so easy to grow it gets out of hand quickly.

Guess what this is?? I thought it was a weird eggplant when my neighbor handed it to me. It is a Avocado – probably a Brogden or Oro Negro variety. We were excited to try it for lunch, they have a reportedly lush and buttery flavor. It was very creamy but mainly tasteless. My husband said “either we both have Covid or this tastes like nothing”. Since we could taste the rest of our lunch we concluded it was a Blahvacado.

The Desert Roses (Adenium obesum) are starting to flower. Such a weird succulent, native to deserts in Africa and the Arabian Penisula. This is the rare plant that thrives in the summer heat in South Florida. Here are the buds on a red one.

The Desert Rose has had a lot of work done on it by breeders and now is available in an amazing array of colors, the latest, a deep purple.

That is my Six for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – The Last Mango, Embarrassed

Time once again for Six on Saturday, six items of interest from your garden shared to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link to see more.

Above is my last mango, perhaps a prune mango. Seasons are changing and South Floridians are gearing up for gardening. I picked my last two Nam Doc Mai mangoes this week – they looked a lot better than this one. It seems the squirrels managed to split the fruit open to eat the seed and ruined my mango.

Tomato seedlings just popping up. These are my favorite cherry tomatoes, Yellow Pear and Sweet 100.

Yesterday was the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, so it is downhill from here. Right on time are the Hurricane Bromeliads budding – Billbergia pyramidalis.

The Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata) tree is finally getting established. We had a dry spell midsummer and I was not certain it was going to make it, all the foliage turned brown and the branches dried up, so I cut them back to the trunk and it is coming back. Fingers crossed for wafts of Chanel No. 5 scented flowers in the future.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternatea) finally made it back after being consumed by rabbits twice. I resorted to bamboo tiger sticks around the vine as rabbit abatement. It has buds and I am awaiting my first flower.

Another summer survivor. I have been trying for years to grow Butterfly Weed for Monarch butterfly larval hosting. Finally, I have buds. I think these buds have been taunting me for two weeks. Bloom already! I saw a few Monarchs hovering around yesterday, so these may be gone soon. It is funny how things called weeds can be so difficult to grow.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Frogs and Fun

Another Saturday is upon us. I am sharing six fun items from my garden this week. Here is the frog:

This is a Cuban Tree Frog, native to Cuba *duh. These are considered invasive in Florida as they can out reproduce our native tree frogs. I was surprised by how small this frog is – they are very loud.

A Dancing Lady Ginger gifted to me by a friend. This is potted in canal mud and compost. I wish I had some canal mud to plant it in. Where to plant it is a bit of a dilemma.

A Medenillia underplanted with Dwarf Chenille Plant. The Medenillia is an orchid that grows in trees in Java, another gift from a friend. Hoping for flowers, they look like pink grapes.

This Cattleya Orchid lives in a pot in the garden – its blooms the first week of September every year.

Another favorite of mine. I love the stems for the flowers and the color. This is a non native Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacianensis, I think) Indestructible and reliable.

So happy to be using my house made compost. It took a couple of years for this to break down into compost, I started with a shredded oak tree and added to it…This week it is time to plant tomato seed for winter vegetables.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.