In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Texture

Perhaps this is my funkiest vase ever, I concentrated on unusual color and texture this week. One of my favorite aspects of planting design is combining different textures of plant material. Working with colors and textures enhancing one another. Tropical flowers are fun to play with as the textures of the flowers can be quite different. This is an array of unusual colors and textures from my summer garden.

The papery texture of the white Miss Alice Bougainvillea enhances the white parts of the Red Shrimp (Justicia brandegeana). The reddish Petunia exserta adds some color and reflects the color in the chartreuse and burgundy coleus. A few springs of Asian Sword Fern are always necessary.

My neighbor gave me the Red Shrimp Plant years ago. I gave her some Petunia exserta after reading about it from UK garden bloggers (Chloris?) and she grew some this year and returned one to me. The circle of gardening life.

More funky texture, pink fuzzies are a tropical groundcover, Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalypha pendula). I grow this in containers as it tends to disappear in winter. This summer it is sharing a container with Medinilla cummingii, I am breathlessly awaiting flowers from both of them.

Happy Monday and Happy Summer Gardening. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link for more summer flowers..

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In a Vase on Monday – Posey Shots

I think I have finally made a posey. This particular posey is in a large shot glass; formerly used to hold tequila at my niece’s wedding. Were you thinking I was referring to the photograph as a shot. Nope! The glass. The alternate title was “Fresh as a Gallardia” – doesn’t quite have the same ring.

I was surprised to see the different meanings of posey. This one is simply flowers in a vase on Monday..

My garden is filled with Beach Daisies and Gallardia in July. Both flowers are very cheerful and seem to smile as I walk through the garden. They are also remarkably drought tolerant and reseed prolifically – the Beach Sunflowers have to be asked to leave the garden now and again. Though they are never truly gone.

Here are the fresh Gallardias:

A closer view of my tequila shooter:

The red and yellow daisies are Gallardia pulchella, the subject of one of those tiresome native plant dramas. The powers that be decided they are not native to Florida. Woe is me. The yellow daisies are still approved as native; and in latin, Helianthus debilis. If my husband gardened he would use a propane torch on these – they go wild with rain and humidity. I prune and pull. They are annoying. Our mailman, a native Floridian, once stopped to express his amazement I hadn’t gotten rid of the Beach Daisies as his mother thought they were weeds.

White spikes are Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata); sweetly fragrant and a great butterfly plant. Native to Argentina. Blue stems with flowers are Porterweed, another evil not quite native (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis). I guess it is native to Jamaica, but it thrives in my garden and is available in several colors. I wish for some coral…The other blue flower is a bit of Mona Lavendar Plectranthus, a cross from South Africa, if memory serves, and recommended by me. Background greenery is weed Asparagus Fern I keep at bay by cutting for arrangements.

Happy Gardening to everyone and thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. To see more vases follow the link.

In a Vase on Monday – Fireworks

This week’s vase began with clippings from pruning my Miss Alice Bougainvillea on Saturday. The white flowers looked so alone in the vase I added some fiery accents with Firebush and Firecracker flowers. Then my husband padded by and said it needed some blue (he rarely comments on vases). It was the Fourth of July, after all – red, white and blue are the colors of the day. I think he was right. Here is the vase with just fire and Miss Alice.

The blue definitely beefs up the flower power in this vase. Of course, I couldn’t stop with one blue flower..

A closer view from the left side. Miss Alice Bougainvillea in white; Firecracker flowers (Russelia equisetiformis) in red; Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) in red and white (think they should just call it Tropical Salvia as it comes in four colors?, I do.) Blue Salvia is Mystic Spires; lighter blue flowers are Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) a tropical shrub that is virtually indestructible here – look closely and you’ll see the leaf cutting bees have had a bite of the foliage.

Miss Alice in white again with the reds and oranges of Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) – one of my favorite shrubs. Blue Plumbago around the edges with Mystic Blue Salvia in the background..

There’s my vase for this Monday. For anyone wondering about Elsa, we are out of the warning cone – on the east coast of Florida across from the big hole in the middle of the state (Lake Okeechobee)

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting the worldwide vasers. To see more vases from gardeners in many different locales follow the link.

Happy Gardening…

Six on Saturday – Favorite Summer Combos

Once again, I am joining the SOS crowd posting six interesting things from my garden. This Saturday, just past the Solstice and with the first hurricane forming in the Atlantic I am saluting my favorite Summer combos.

Mystic Spires Salvia and Dwarf Red Ixora, I love the contrast of colors. This bed also has white Pentas, yellow Callibrachoa, Blue Daze and chartruese Duranta.

Soap Aloe is flowering nearby.

In the butterfly garden, Gallardia and Tropical Red Salvia are flowering.

White Heirloom Pentas and Tropical Red Salvia in the butterfly garden.

In the rainforest garden, shades of red, burgundy and green shimmer in sunny spots.

Foliage contrasts in the rainforest garden, chartruese Quesnelia Bromeliad and Zebrina Wandering Jew groundcover, still pretty without flowers. The Quesnelias have pink flowers in winter.

Last, but not least, my favorite snack. Smoked Fish Dip – I am in the midst of making a batch as I blog..wine and fish dip later.

That makes seven..oh, well. To see proper SOS garden posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – Tropical Gardenias

The past few nights the fragrance from my Tropical Gardenias tickled my senses and compelled me to focus on the flowers in this week’s vase. Then I looked them up and found online sources calling them a Crepe Jasmine tree? Most locals call them Tropical or Florida Gardenias. Botanically they are Tabernaemontana divaricata, belonging to the same family as the more common Gardenia jasminoides but much more tropical, growing in the warmest areas of South Florida. They are bigger than common Gardenias, with oversized, glossy foliage and easily reach heights of ten feet. Additionally, nearly bug free and don’t need any coddling. I found mine buried under some overgrown shrubbery in the back yard and cut it free. It is probably 12 feet tall. A little effort is expended to reach and cut the flowers.

A closer view:

The cut flowers were arranged with most of their foliage intact. I pruned a bit of the foliage to emphasize the flowers and then added some cuttings of flowers from my Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli) The vase, a thrift store find, is my favorite squatty vase.

I adore the flowers on palm trees, having never seen any before moving to Florida. They seem like an architectural element.

The palm flower.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this weekly gardening meme. I enjoy seeing vases of flowers from gardeners all over the world. Follow the link to see more vases.

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Tropical Treats

It is Saturday again and I am joining the SOS crowd sharing six items of interest from my garden. To see more posts from fellow SOS gardening bloggers, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

The weather in South Florida has turned tropical and the more tropical plants in my garden are responding. Fruits and flowers doing their thing enjoying the humidity and rain.

My Passiflora vine dropped the first fruit of the season this week. I am surprised I got the fruit before my fruit loving greyhound or the raccoons. The dog chased me into the kitchen once he got a whiff of ripe passionfruit.

I baked a blueberry passionfruit pie – a new flavor for us and we enjoyed it. I will bake with passionfruit again, though I could use some ideas?!

I couldn’t resist trying it before I took the pictures. Please note I am a rustic style baker and use vegan butter…

This is a Miniata Aechmea Bromeliad flower, they gain blue coloration as they age. Here is the bud:

Here is the bud of a Dean’s Pink Aechmea Bromeliad. The flower stalk seems to be growing and is about 2 feet tall. I have not seen this one flower. Peeking into the center the flower looks like a corn cob. The flower should be interesting. The bud is inside the middle where the foliage looks cut.

Finally, the Tropical Hydrangea (Dombeya wallachii). I am working to prune this into a tree form and contemplating how far to cut it back. I have another month to prune – after that pruning will cut the flowers off. This grew seven feet last year after I pruned it. It flowers in December and January with pink ball shaped flowers.

That’s my six for this Saturday. Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – The Cure

The song “Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues” entered my consciousness (my guess) in the late 1970s. The number of artists who recorded this song surprised me. I listened to several versions, sometimes being a country music fan, maybe Alan Jackson’s version is playing in my mind. Nope..then I listened to Eddie Cochran.The song’s author and realized his original version is the one that sticks in my mind. Sadly, I find Eddie Cochran was killed in a taxicab accident at the age of 21.

Oh, back to gardening and my vase. This vase is composed of blues and cured me, for a short period of time, of the Summertime Blues. In South Florida, Summertime Gardening Blues can include heat, humidity, bugs, fungus, being horribly sweaty and having hot flashes in the garden, running out of cold water and or, Gatorade, Oh, I forgot weeds! ACK. The vase must be blue and lovely. Here it is.

My cure for the Summertime Blues. First, an antique Blue Willow teapot from the UK as a vase. The blue flowers are; in powder blue (what is that powder, anyway?) Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) a stalwart shrub in my garden. In deeper blue on the left side, Mystic Blue Salvia, wrenched back from near death by my (shocking) overwatering. The purple flowers on the right are my new summer favorite, Mona Lavendar Plectranthus. White flowers are Miss Alice Bougainvillea and the yellow flowers are from Galphinia glauca, Thyrallis. There is a bit of chartreuse Coleus foliage behind the blue salvia and some varigated Bromeliad foliage in the back of the teapot.

A closer view:

Ah, relief from the Summertime Blues.

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting and Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Fork Failure

I have to report the fork experiment was a failure. I placed these plastic forks a couple of weeks ago after a rabbit ate my Blue Pea Vine; they got it again last night. I may move to tomato cages or a tall pot. This is far enough out in the garden I don’t want to have to water a pot..a dilemma.

On to more positive things. My back up Papaya trees have set a bud and are almost four feet tall. I am waiting, breathlessly to see if the flowers are male, female or both.

I found a Thai Dessert Mango (Nam Doc Mai) lurking in the interior of the tree. This mango flowered a couple of months ago and dropped (I thought) all of the flowers. Except this one! And I looked up and noted it is flowering again, so hopefully I will get more Thai Mangos in a couple of months.

Thai Dessert Mango

The flower of a Barometer Bush (Luecophyllum frutescens) This shrub is noted for flowering before it rains. And it is doing its job well. It flowered profusely before we had about four inches of rain this week.

Flowers on the native Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana). The Florida version of this shrub never fails to amaze me. It thrives in full sun during the hot summer and total shade in winter, rarely gets watered and produces a bumper crop of berries at the end of the summer – also attracts numerous types of butterflies with its nectar. I had these in my garden much further north and they were a shadow of this one.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more posts with six items of interest from gardens around the world, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening…

In a Vase on Monday – White Hot

It’s not white hot in South Florida. Yet. The fragrant white flowers are in bloom and some soothing fragrance for the house seems necessary (read, for me!). I decided to add some hot colors for spice and put them in a crystal rose bowl from my mother. I am not sure it has ever held roses during my tenure, certainly not while in South Florida. Roses can be grown here, but it is a lot of trouble and I would rather have the tropical flowers. Honestly, I would never do the amount of tending roses would need here. Here is an easier and much more forgiving fragrant flower, the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani. Shove a few cuttings in the ground and they reward you with six foot semi evergreen foliage and fragrant flowers for months.

Bridal Bouquet Frangipani is a favorite of mine, and oh, so easy to grow. It joins some other fragrant friends in my vase this Monday.

The Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) is on the right side. The fragrant friends, in white, are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata) hanging over the side and Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) spikes in the background. The hot colors, in red, front and center, the Red Guzmania Bromeliad; the red bells are Russelia equisetiformis, sometimes called the Firecracker Plant. Purple flowers are from Mona Lavender Plectranthus, and the purple foliage is Little Ruby Alternanthera. The ferns, much as I enjoy them in vases are the weed, Asian Sword Fern.

Thanks every week to Cathy, who hosts In a Vase on Monday at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegaarden.wordpress.com. Follow the link to find more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – Jarred Summer

While collecting flowers for my vase on Sunday, a thought passed through my mind. This is like a jar of summer from my garden. Most of these plants flower all summer and are hot colors. I added the cut flowers to an old pasta container – viola, jarred summer.

Summer can be a bit jarring to those not used to the tropical heat South Florida produces. I have heard it described as a hot, wet blanket that surrounds and then stuns you on the way out of the airport. This is accurate.

I am from the Deep South and thought I knew hot weather. South Florida is a different kind of hot. The first time my husband and I came down (inadvertently) it was the peak of hurricane season and the heat. All I could think was that my hair is hot. Blessed with thick hair, it is still hot – though, I am ready for it and fortunately; it is lighter in color – grey!

In this climate, lighter is better. I started life as a brunette; the grey is cooler, my real color now, though the flower is fake. I learned from this it is difficult to take a picture of your own hair. An old friend from college (a guy) and I have been sending hair pics back and forth. His is longer…

I digress, here is a closer view of the vase:

I love all the high colors, especially in the harsh light of summer in South Florida. Pink just doesn’t stand up to the tropical rays. The yellow daisies at the base are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); yellow spikes are Thyrallis (Galphimia glauca) a new and long lasting favorite cut flower. Purple flowers are another new favorite, Mona Lavender Plectranthus, though I question the wisdom of whoever named this plant. Beautiful foliage and flowers and thriving in icky heat – I think it needs a more attractive name. Orange tube flowers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens); lighter orange and sage green flowers are from Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria). Red spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea). Blurry white spikes in back are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) for fragrance. A few sprigs of varigated foliage (Dianella spp) set off the flowers.

To see more In a Vase on Monday posts, visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening.