In a Vase on Monday – Solstice Solace

I decided not to do a vase after a rough weekend, emergency room visit at 2 am, etc. We had rain showers overnight, this Monday morning the sky is clear blue, sunshiny and warm. Some December mornings I really love South Florida.

I took a cup of coffee into my garden, met a lovely friendly cat (I put her outside the greyhound fence, though the dogs were fascinated) then noticed I should cut the Zinnias or they would stop flowering. A stroll through the tropical garden revealed the Tropical Hydrangeas had just started to flower.. a vase was calling and I answered.

Here is a closer view:

The pink flowers and green bud are Tropical Hydrangeas (Dombeya wallachii); Zinnias are Zinderella, grown from seed started in August; white flowers are Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘alba’); a few bits of Asian Sword Fern in back. The vase is a well loved thrift store find.

I wrote an article about Tropical Hydrangeas for The American Gardener, published in November. Here is a link if you would like to read more about Dombeyas. People like to call them Pink Ball Trees, I prefer Dombeyas! https://lscpagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/display_article.php?id=3813727&view=683131

Thanks to Cathy, at http://www.ramblinginthgarden.com for hosting and Happy Holidays!! To see more vases visit Cathy’s blog..

Six on Saturday – Florida Holiday Cheer

Another SOS post this holiday Saturday. South Florida during the holidays is still a bit weird to me, despite having been here for nine years. Flamingoes pulling a sleigh are a common sight.

A friend, a longtime Florida resident, gave me this a few years ago – and had tell me what it is:

A nautical Christmas tree, it stays out year round….

Florida, being Florida has its own native Poinsettia – Poinsettia cyathophora. The Wild Poinsettia are larval host plants for the White Peacock butterfly, a favorite of mine and now I know where they live.

In keeping with the season, I decided to find red and green foliage..here is a Piecrust Croton.

And a Jill Neoregelia Bromeliad.

And Martin Neoregelia Bromeliad.

Wonder if Martin and Jill are getting together for Christmas! Seems they are related. Maybe sharing a pie with the Croton family…no masks required.

Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays from the palm infested sands of South Florida. Here is my greyhound, Fiona – looking out to see what the heck I am doing out in the rain taking pictures.

Thank you to Jon the Propagator for hosting – to see more SOS posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Senza fiori

Today is the seventh anniversary of In a Vase on Monday. Cathy, the hostess of IAVOM issued a challenge to celebrate – creating a vase without flowers, hence the title – without flowers, sounding much sportier in Italian.

Here is a closer view:

This vase is mostly composed of edible plants that I haven’t eaten. The dark green leaves in the back are from Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), an odd tropical vegetable that is very poisonous unless cooked correctly – I have not learned the method and haven’t eaten any. Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), Floridians make beautiful jewel tone jam from these – reviews always mention it tastes just like sugar! The grey foliage is the top of a pineapple, I admit to growing and eating it. Burgundy fruits on left side are Roselles (Hibiscus sabdariffa), an edible Hibiscus. I have been freezing these for a later, undetermined use. Ferny bits are from Asparagus Ferns and the grey succulents are Graptosedums of some sort, I am wondering if they will root or rot in the vase? The leaves creating the vase by covering a pickle jar are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchetiana)

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this addictive (yes, very) meme on WordPress. Seven years is outstanding and I am looking forward to many more..

Happy Blogaversary and Happy Gardening….

In a Vase on Monday – Cattleyas on the Rocks

My garden had a stormy weekend. Hurricane Sally passed within about 100 miles, hurling bands of drenching rain and wind in her wake. The air is so saturated with moisture it is difficult to describe; imagine air having a presence. I think of it as feeling the evil, hot breath of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. My slightly curly hair is literally standing on end, bigger by the moment. Given the humidity and knowledge that another hurricane is headed towards the Gulf coast, I will most likely look like I stuck my finger in the electrical socket on Monday.

The White Cattleya orchid opened on Sunday morning and was being buffeted by the winds, so I decided to cut if for a vase. The rocks are in the base of the glass vase holding the orchids in place. The title sounds a bit like a cocktail; I am trying to dream up something that tastes like an orchid, this one has a sweet fragrance and always blooms in pairs. Limoncello, Coconut Rum and something? Tonic water? Club soda? Hmmm.

Here is the bud from Saturday. I am surprised it opened so quickly and with little sunshine.

A closer view of the Cattleya, I have no idea of the variety, my neighbor gave me the orchid and I am trying not to kill it. Orchids usually meet an untimely end in my garden. Anything that needs fertilizer every two weeks is destined for demise. This one has been around for at least two years – though it is turning brown..sigh.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. Thinking positive thoughts for those in the path of Hurricane Sally.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this addictive meme. Follow the link to see vases from gardens around the world.

In a Vase on Monday – Labor Day

Today is a holiday celebrating the American worker. Labor Day was created as a national holiday by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. The creation of Labor Day ended an ugly chapter in American history. Striking workers demanding better pay and working conditions burned trains and disrupted travel; eventually the government sent troops to restore order. There were casualties on both sides. Follow link for more history https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1#:~:text=Labor%20Day%20pays%20tribute%20to,a%20federal%20holiday%20in%201894.

Beware a rant, I am not given to writing political posts. Skip to the next image if you don’t want to hear about it.

This sounds a bit familiar. The players and reasons are different, but the situation, eerily similar. I was unable to read our local newspaper on Sunday morning, just did not want to read anymore about what is going on in America. Our local congressman was just outed for making sexual jokes about 15 year old girls. This is not the America I grew up in, not the American that helped our Allies win the World Wars, who are these people? What are their values?

These people go all the way to the top of our government. People we elected on both sides of the aisle. Some of the behavior I have witnessed from our leaders over the past few years, appalling and pervasive. So pervasive that politics has trickled down to my garden blog. Which is sad. Before anyone makes America great again, they are going to have to make America whole again.

Enough with my political rant.

We had a lovely rain shower on Sunday morning that cooled my garden down to a tolerable temperature and I was able to enjoy selecting flowers for a red, white and blue palette for my vase.

Here is a closer view:

Red flowers, from the left – bell shaped flowers are Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis), at edge of vase Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida); blue and red panicle, Miniata Bromeliad (Aechmea miniata). Fragrant white flowers on the left side, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) and hanging over the edge, Tropical Gardenias (Tabernamontana diviricata). The blue flowers – at the top, Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata); the darker blue stemmy flowers are from Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis).

Happy Fall, Ya’ll.

I forgot to thank Cathy, at ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday, and my late mother in law, Joan, for crocheting the flag.

In a Vase on Monday – Rain Delay

Early this morning I was greeted with brilliant blue skies and informed by my phone of very little chance of rain. So, I hand watered some of the garden as our irrigation system had a valve get stuck open and couldn’t be turned off (we had to turn off the water supply to get one zone of sprinklers to stop) Strange going ons in the garden.

Then, an enormous thunderstorm blew in and it rained off and on until late afternoon. Relief for my parched garden; I was in and out between rain showers cutting flowers for this vase.

The vase is a Rose` bottle, I like the bottle better than the wine. I have wrapped the bottle with Bromeliad foliage to add some color. The burgundy leaf at the top is Luca Neoregelia, the yellow leaf is Lemon Blanchetiana Aechmea.

Below is a closer view, I was searching for contrasts in color and texture of the plant material. The lurid purple berries are from Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange flowers are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) and the ferns winding their way through are Wild Asparagus Fern that pops up in the garden.

To see more vases from gardeners around the world visit Cathy at www. ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening, hopefully I will get the valve unstuck on my irrigation this week. Hand watering is not fun in the South Florida summer.

Six on Saturday – Like a Lion

March is coming in like a lion in South Florida. There is a steady 20 mph northeasterly wind blowing today. The wind is coming from the Atlantic Ocean, making it a bit chilly despite clear blue skies. I think Alan the Greyhound has the best idea about what to do this Saturday morning.

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The fruit and flowers are coming along in the garden. The pineapple seems a little bigger every day.

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The Pickering Mango – a condo Mango, known for small size and high yield is doing a magnificent job at both. About four feet tall; setting fruit and putting out more flowers. Last year the squirrels got 2/3 of the fruit.

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My neighbor grew some Petunia exserta from seed I gave her and gifted some seedlings to my garden. The first flowers:

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This grouping is next to the Petunias, it is turning into a hot colors butterfly garden. Gallardia, a little Tropical Red Salvia and Penta lanceolata. I would like some more of the Pentas, does anyone know how to propagate these? While I like this picture, the Pentas are not terribly clear, the blurry reds in the background.

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Last, but not least. The obligatory Bromeliad from my garden. This is a Neoregelia with a really odd name that completely escapes me. Another one I bought somewhere for 5 bucks; its sole purpose – to catch the sunlight in the afternoon. The rest of the bed is a bit dark.

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There are my Six this Saturday, to see more posts follow THE LINK to Propagator Blog.

I will be joining Alan the Greyhound in a nap shortly.

Happy Gardening.

In A Vase on Monday – Winter Wonderland

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Winter Wonderland usually brings images to mind of snow and fir trees kissed with white frost. The Wonderland of Winter has a whole different meaning in South Florida. It caused me to  have the oddest thought yesterday, after looking at the 10 day weather forecast, I thought “I wish February would last forever” Suffice it to say we have clear blue skies and the temperatures are nearly perfect for spending time outdoors.

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The Hong Kong Orchid (Bauhinia purpurea) tree is in full bloom in my front yard, so I liberated a few purple blossoms. The white flowers are from a Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata), a few Asian Sword Ferns for foliage and the purple green leaves in back are from a Moses in the Cradle (Rhoeo discolor, I think somebody changed the botanical name- generally people call them Oyster Plants) also blooming and I can see the reason for the name.

Moses?

Purple Oyster Plant

On Sunday I celebrated by going to a plant sale at a local botanical garden. My karma was so good (may need to save more Greyhounds!) the first plant I set my eyes on was exactly what I was searching for – a Pickering Mango, a dwarf mango tree that fruits reliably and after only a couple of years in the ground.

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While this was a great find, the deal of the day could have been this Bromeliad. Another unnamed Neoregelia – for $5.

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I am not sure the photo does it justice, the Bromeliad is probably two feet wide, chartruese and hot pink and budding.

Winter Wonderland, indeed.

In A Vase on Monday – Holiday Shrimp

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This holiday shrimp is not for dinner or appetizers, it is for the vase and from the garden, not the sea. I love shrimp from the sea, my husband has unfortunately been somewhat shrimphobic when it comes to eating the shellfish. I cope with this by having garlic laden Shrimp Scampi when we dine out, sometimes to his chagrin.

I was looking for holiday reds and greens this week and the Red Shrimp Plants caught my eye.  A burst of flowers appeared just in time to fill the cranberry glass vase, a thrift shop find from earlier this year

The red flowers on the menu are the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); off white spikes, the mystery plant that appeared last year; white flowers are from Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata), burgundy and green foliage is Solar Sunrise Coleus. A simple but tasty holiday concoction.

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The Red Shrimp Plant is a passalong from my neighbor as is the Solar Sunrise Coleus. Below is the Shrimp Plant in the garden, thriving in full shade and sugar sand. It flowers off and on year round, I don’t think I have ever fertilized it or sprayed it for any reason. My kind of plant. Happy go lucky with benign neglect.

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We are having a cool spell here in Florida, temperatures were in the mid 40’s this morning. The clear, sunny day was made for gardening – I finished planting seeds in what is becoming my tropical potager, if there is such a thing.

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The green beans and tomatoes are already bearing fruit. Work is ongoing in this kitchen garden. I have included flowers for cutting in blocks with the vegetables, most are seedlings about an inch tall. A total experiment as I usually don’t start with seeds. So far, so good.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day -Succulents

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I have a number of succulents in my garden. I like them for their interesting foliage and textures. Some I planted and some just appeared. The plant above tends to materialize in sand seemingly out of nowhere. And can’t be moved or disturbed, the one charmingly located itself on the front edge of a bed and got to stay. The common name for these Kiss Me Quick is also charming, a native Portulaca (Portulaca pilosa).

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This is another favorite with a mad texture, a Pencil Cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’. I have a few of these in the garden as propagating them is as easy as breaking a piece off and sticking it in the ground. Instant plant and difficult to kill. The Pencil Cactus is underplanted with a Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) both thrive in my unirrigated Rain Garden baking in a bed between the house and driveway. Here is the Soap Aloe:

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The Soap Aloe blooms quarterly with orange and green candelabras.

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This is a Graptosedum a friend gifted to me. I have no idea what variety it is, but again this thrives in an unirrigated bed beside the mailbox. In the same bed is the Blue Agave below, happily growing with only rainwater and the occasional trim to remove the spiny tips. This is the type of Agave tequila is made from, again grown by a friend.

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The Agaves have an Architectural character to them that I love.  Here is a Green Agave, I found growing behind my garbage cans and rescued.

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Last but not least, another really easy to grow plant, the FlapJack Kalanchoe. These are popular as summer annuals but live year round in my garden.

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