Six on Saturday – June Bouquet

June in South Florida brings thunderstorms, moisture and flowers. I am enjoying the flowers, but could do with a little less moisture, we have had some intense thunderstorms with more lightning that I can recall experiencing.

Above is the very appropriately named Rain Lily (Zephyranthes spp.) I am not sure which Rain Lily this is – it reseeds freely in the garden. I have several clumps of this along the pathways in the garden and enjoy it as it flowers off and on throughout the rainy season.

Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) flowers. A great garden plant for growing in sugar sand. It flowers at least four times a year.

Aechmea fasciata or Silver Urn Bromeliad in full bloom. Many brom flowers last a long time if not cut. I am leaving these to see how long they last.

Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli) flower buds. These open and make red fruit late in the year that gives them another common name, Christmas Palm, as the fruit looks like Christmas ornaments.

This is a Vitex trifolia purpurea, I think. I am not sure about the purpurea part, the backs of the leaves are purple, so maybe that is the right name. It is sometimes called Arabian Lilac. I bought it in place of Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) as I am really too far south to have success with those. It is finally establishing itself after a few years of suffering in the sugar sand. I hope the butterflies find it soon, it is a nectar plant for many.

The formerly native Thyrallis (Galpinia glauca). The tiresome native plant continuum changed their mind about this one. It is reportedly a very drought tolerant shrub, although I find it needs water during the dry season. Also advertised to bloom year round, doesn’t do that, either. Oh well, I still like it in summer and maybe it hasn’t been in the garden long enough. A gardener’s hope springs eternal.

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

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Not Alex

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. The rainy remnants of the first named hurricane of the Pacific season, Agatha, started to fall in my garden yesterday late afternoon and continue this morning. Agatha hit the west coast of Mexico, crossed that country, emerged in the Caribbean and is predicted to form a tropical storm after it passes over South Florida later today – it will be called Alex. The wind speed and rain is still literally up in the air.

All the tropical moisture has been a boon to the garden. I walked Fiona the Greyhound this morning, she meandered around then came in the garden with me and proceeded to dig a hole and do a greyhound speed run. Yes, she is covered in sand. And soggy like the rest of the garden.

One of my favorite natives, a Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata). This is a pretty palm, one of only 12 native to Florida, but very slow growing. I have had this one for at least 7 years, it might be 18 inches tall.

Summer rain brings out the tropicals, this is a Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata). These take a lot of water, I finally placed them under the edge of the gutterless roof and they are thriving at long last.

The unnamed Bromeliads are in full bloom.

The chandelier plant (Medinillia cummingii) started its second round of flowers this year. I am wondering if this plant will provide year round color. The flowers and fruit last a long time.

I have three mango trees. This one, a Glenn variety, has grown a foot this week. Amazing. Despite having three trees, I only had one mango and the squirrels got to it before I did. There is still hope, the Thai mango, Nam Doc Mai, has the potential to flower in the summer. The others, hopefully next year.

My neighbor’s mango, doing much better than mine. He cut this tree back hard last year and I suppose that is why it has fruit? The foliage looks a bit chlorotic to me. I bought a new bag of fertilizer in hopes of getting a little more color in the foliage on mine and more fruit in the future.

There! Six from South Florida. Not sunny. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Morning Finds

It’s time for another Saturday morning walk around my garden. The heat and moisture lovers are lifting thier heads and showing their colors.

This is a Silver Urn Bromeliad, most people call these Fasciata, as the botanical name is Aechmea fasciata. I associate these with the Atrium trend from the eighties when these were commonly used as a long lasting color plant in interiorscapes. This one flowers and produces pups every other year in my garden.

Another tropical that enjoys humidity, the Choconiana Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum). I am wondering what Choconiana is??

A little less tropical but another seasonal indicator, the flowers on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) signal the start of summer. On the flip side, the lurid purple berries, borne around Labor Day, mark the end of summer..

The architectural buds on a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). I think these were inspired by a few rounds of thundershowers this week. The foliage bases have greened up as well. It is possible I fertilized them and forgot about it…

Another architectural plant, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), started flowering this week and will most likely continue until November. This is a semi evergreen, columnar variety of Frangipani. I have a number of these as they are great accent plants around fences and narrow spaces. They are lightly fragrant at night.

A little foliage to end this Saturday’s walk. This is Goudaea ospinae, no idea of the common name. It used to be called Vriesea ospinae gruberi. It’s a varigated Bromeliad and adds a lot of color to deep shade. This supposedly will flower with yellow spikes. I was wondering how much shade it would take, so it has been sitting in its pot in the shade garden for at least two years, another incredibly hardy Bromeliad.

There, my Six on this Saturday. To see more SOS posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Updates

Last Saturday, I posted some mysterious bud photos from my garden. This week, I have flowers to share and some updates to my front garden. The weekly six:

The Aechmea Bromeliad is opening. How much more it will open is anyone’s guess. The flowers tend to last for months on these Broms. It reminds me of a Bird of Paradise….

Here are the flowers on the Haworthia from last week. The stem is too long to take a picture of. Below is the origin of the stem.

I have been working towards a perennial border look in my front garden. This is uncommon in Florida and I have grown most of the flowers from seed as they are not grown or sold here. The area behind the rocks was the site of a former driveway and hard as a rock. The coral flowering shrubs refused to grow in this area (I don’t blame them) so they were asked to leave and have been replaced with flowers.

A closer view:

Plants in this area are: coral flowered shrubs, Dwarf Red Ixora (Ixora taiwanensis); chartreuse foliage, Gold Mound Duranta (Duranta repens); blue flowers, Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable); gold flowers, Mountain Mint (Tagetes lemmoni). The succulents in the above photo are Soap Aloes (Aloe saponaria and produce deep coral flowers about 4 times a year. I think this area needs a touch of white flowers…

A nearby bed:

The fallen leaves from yesterday afternoon’s mega thunderstorm (with hail!) are visible. The gardener will pick those up later..bamboo sticks are to keep rabbits away. The Mountain Mint in the above photo has such a weird scent that deer won’t touch it. I am wondering if that is enough to keep the rabbits away.

Plants in this area: in apricot, Apricot Profusion Zinnias; in blue, Mystic Spires Salvia; in white, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); in chartruese, Gold Mound Sedum (Sedum acre). I have a feeling the Sedum is losing its battle with South Florida..

That is all the news from my garden this Saturday. To see garden updates from around the world visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!!

Six on Saturday – Fragrant Whites and Mysteries

It is Saturday again, time to check out what’s new in the garden. Six things! Rain has finally fallen on my garden, and with a bit of warmth some mysterious buds have shot up from some longtime residents that have never flowered.

These appeared this week. Buds on (I am guessing) an Aechmea Bromeliad. I bought it at a garage sale some years ago. At least five. Garage sale Bromeliads are about five bucks, named plants are easily ten times that at the nursery, so I have a lot of garage sale mysteries. Here’s the one that is opening.

Whatever it is, it will be an interesting flower. Stay tuned.

One of the Haworthias in my succulent collection sent up a flower. I did not realize they flowered. This should be another interesting flower.

The rain also brought out the fragrant white flowers; and hordes of mosquitoes. I am waiting for the dragonflies to save me.

This is a Frangipani (Plumeria spp) of unknown origin I bought at a Master Gardener’s sale. Finally gaining some height, it is about 7 feet tall. I love the clean graphics of these flowers and their fragrance.

The Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) started blooming in earnest this week. Their scent is most notable at night.

Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) spills its scent during the day near the back porch.

The garden is scentsational right now. I need a swarm of dragonflies to clean out the bad bugs. I’m expecting them anytime now….

My South Florida Six for this Saturday! To see more SOS, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com…

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Happy Returns

Saturday, once again. Today I am looking at six things I am happy to see returning to the garden. ‘Happy Returns’ is also the name of a very nice repeat blooming yellow daylily…I wish I had a few of those. On to the six…

Blanketflower (Gallardia pulchella) – a prolific, reseeding wildflower I enjoy in its many variations. I caught a bee on this one. I leave these to grow wherever they land.

Another batch of Envy Zinnias are in flower. My husband even likes these…he doesn’t notice much in the garden.

Another wildflower that I leave to wander the garden. I enjoy these blue Spiderwort flowers every spring. I am sure it is a Transcandentia, just don’t know which one.

Another native back in bloom, Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). This is the groundcover that ties my wildflower garden together, or I hope it will.

Pink Cactus Zinnias are also back in the garden…

Another one of my favorite Florida natives is back in bloom – Firebush (Hamelia patens) – a butterfly and bee magnet. The Zebra longwing butterflies are back as well, nectaring on these flowers and the Zinnias.

There, my Six for this Saturday. To see more posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Taste of Summer

Summer is the rainy season in South Florida. After a month of dry weather, we had a tremendous round of thunderstorms yesterday. It looked like a couple of inches of rain fell, based on what was left in a bucket on the back porch. One of those “I really don’t want to go to the grocery store” days. I did anyway.

The summer tropicals loved the moisture and are showing their colors in this installment of Six on Saturday. To see more SOS posts; visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

My first ever Sugar Baby watermelon. I thought it had died, but it seems the stem turns brown when the melon is ripe. This was delicious and the sweetest watermelon I have ever tasted. There is another one on the vine.

Gulf Fritillary butterflies are back. This is a caterpillar beginning to make a chrysalis on a Corkystem Passionflower vine. I leave the vine to ramble through the shrubs in the front garden and feed the butterflies. These look mean, but they don’t sting. The orange coloration is to keep predators away.

New to the garden, Apricot Profusion Zinnias, grown from seed. I like the color and wasn’t sure how pastel it was going to be.

First Frangipani (Plumeria) of the season. The flower is almost open, I will most likely enjoy the fragrance tonight. Fingers crossed.

First Dahlia in the garden is problematic. I ordered a cactus variety called Labyrinth. It should be pink, peach and fluffy – it is not.

Full size pineapple in the garden. I have a pineapple patch – rooted tops of all kinds of pineapples. I am told they might cross with each other and the results will be seedy fruit. This one looks a little seedy to me, though it is the only one that flowered unless it crossed with some other bromeliads. No clue. Time will tell. In a couple of months, the fruit should ripen.

That all for this lovely spring day.

Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Schomburgkia?

I am joining the SOS crowd again this week with photos of the orchid in my Gumbo Limbo tree – tentatively identified as a Schomburgkia. Of course, the botanical powers that be decided to change the name to Laelia. I am not sure what it is. About five feet of purple bamboo-like stem with flowers at the end. Here goes:

It has been windy here for the past few days, so it made for difficult picture taking. Hoping to get better photos when the wind dies down tomorrow. This is a sun loving orchid from Central America, known for hosting ants and the old dried out stems become hollow and can be used as horns! Who knew? I can attest to ants living in the roots, but haven’t had it long enough to get a horn.

When the weather starts to warm the more tropical flowers start to appear:

Miss Alice Bougainvillea. Bougs supposedly flower when day and nighttime hours are even as they are native to equatorial regions. I am not so sure about that and keep watching.

Lady Di Heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum). These are an oddly short lived perennial in my garden. They are beautiful for a couple of years, spread, then get shorter and shorter. This one is about half the size of the original plants.

Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) sometimes appears in white. This is a volunteer amongst the Mystic Spires Blue Salvia. These are known for their variable colors (red, orange, pink and white), this one has remained white in one area of my garden. It is separated by a fair distance from the colored Salvias, that may be why.

Last, but not least. It is difficult to get much more tropical than this. Miniature Ornamental Pineapple, fully grown. These can be juiced. I think they are too cute to squash and generally leave them on the plant until they dry. I keep meaning to spray some gold for Christmas decorations…

To see more Six on Saturday posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!!

Six on Saturday – Sky Blue

It is Saturday yet again and a beautiful, sunshiny late spring day in South Florida. The skies are blue and so are the flowers this week. I am joining the Six on Saturday crowd at Jon’s blog; http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Follow the link for more late spring garden views.

Another garden first, the Chinese Forget Me Not (Cynoglossum amiable) flowers! So pleased with these. These reportedly make good cut flowers, though the stems are not very long yet.

The Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternata) has started flowering again after a winter hiatus. These vines, after recovering from severe rabbit abuse are supposed to be perennial here, so I am hoping they will cover the fence.

Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamacaicensis) is starting to flower again.

I have two shades of blue flowering Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) – a nearly indestructible tropical shrub. Can you tell the difference? The darker blue is the more recent selection, the paler flower is the heirloom version.

Blue Daze Evolvulus can be used as a perennial groundcover here. I am not sure what inspires it to flower. It just does periodically?

There, my six. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday weekend and sunny blue skies.

Six on Saturday – New for Spring

I am joining the SOS gang yet again looking at Spring additions to my garden. To see more Spring (and maybe some Fall) fun from fellow SOSers – visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Fruit on the Malaysian Orchid (Medenillia cummingii). These eventually turn purple and collapse leaving a sticky substance with seeds. I have smashed the goopy stuff on trees around my garden, hoping for trees filled with Malaysian Orchids.

New pot of succulents from a visit to Pinder’s Nursery in Palm City, Florida. No clue what any of them are.

New crop of Zinnias for cutting and bedding. Apricot Profusion, Pink Cactus and Envy Zinnias to be planted out soon.

Never seen it before in my garden, Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynglossum amiable). Grown from seed and just about to flower.

Leonitis leonurus, Lion’s Tail. I have had L. nepetifolia, an annual for a few years. These plants are somewhat difficult to establish in beach sand, so I decided to try the perennial version and grew two very slowly from seed. Catalogs say these grow to about six feet and are very drought tolerant once established. We shall see. Looking forward to orange flowers.

Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) also grown very slowly from seed and I had to buy two batches of seeds and try a couple of different sowings to get the time of year right for germination. I managed to grow two plants! This is another reportedly very drought tolerant after establishment perennial, native to the mountains of Arizona. What it will do in South Florida is anyone’s guess. It does have a strange smell and it is not like lemons. A couple by the name of Lemmon discovered the plant.

That’s the Spring update. Hoping to see more flowers soon.

Happy Gardening!!!