In a Vase on Monday – Mixed Media

What is mixed media? In my garden it is tropical plants vs. more conventional plants. For some reason, I don’t really like to mix the two – though I am slowly getting past that. Possibly latent brain washing from design school. Tropical plant material was not on the menu where I went to college.

Who knows? There is not really a color scheme here, either. Totally mixed media. I started cutting the weird red Dahlias (a mistake from the bulb supplier) and just kept going. Added some white for fragrance and then decided more color was needed….snip, snip, snip.

Voila, it had to go in a clear glass vase. An old florist vase from a long ago gift of flowers.

What’s the media?

Tropicals, in red and yellow, ‘Lady Di’ Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); in white, Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata). Conventionals, in chartreuse, Envy Zinnias; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) – there is a dilemma, it is called Tropical, but really is not?

White spikes in back are fragrant Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); blue flowers are Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable); white daisies, Bidens alba; Red Dahlias of unknown name. Oops from the bulb supplier, these have oddly short stems – I think? These are my first Dahlias, so please share any Dahlia insights with me. The corrected Dahlias (Labyrinth) have arrived and should be cactus type. I have planted them and am breathlessly waiting for big, fluffy cut flowers. I hope they haven’t been overwatered.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link for some potentially less mixed vases.

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!!

In a Vase on Monday – Bossa Nova Wrap

I am still cutting Forget Me Nots and Nigella, and enjoying both plants and flowers. May tends to be hot and dry in South Florida, so I will continue to have blue vases as long as possible. This vase reminds me of one I would see from the UK in summer – the one ingredient that would be missing, the Bossa Nova Bromeliad leaf wrap.

Here is the Bossa Nova, a Neoregelia Bromeliad. These are grown primarily for foliage and this one lives in an unirrigated container by my mailbox with a few Bromeliad friends.

The rest of the vase.

Chartreuse and pink flowers are Zinnias, Envy and Pink Cactus. These are my second batch of seedlings, these are 6 or 8 weeks old. Blue and white Nigella were grown as winter annuals and for cutting. I have found they don’t last very long in a vase. The foliage and seedheads alone are worthwhile in a vase, flowers a short lived bonus.

There are a few stems of white Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); some Asian Sword Ferns and the background is Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable) – these do last a long time in a vase.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting..follow the link to see vases from the UK and check out the differences! No Bossa Nova for sure.

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!!

In a Vase on Monday – Seasonal Shift

According to some Floridians, the bitter end of Snowbird season is Mother’s Day. (Snowbirds are people from cold climates who spend the winter in Florida). Mother’s Day is May 8. I suppose that is a cultural and seasonal shift. As a year round resident, I welcome the departure of the crowds. I also welcome the shift to the classic warm season scents in my garden.

This week, the Frangipani and Gardenia started flowering. They are about 20 feet apart and to stand between the two fragrances and inhale…ahhh, and then realize the traffic is dying down, too.

Life is good.

The combination of the two scents is lemony and so reminiscent of my childhood in Atlanta, it left me looking around for a flowering Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) – there aren’t any in my garden. Southern Magnolias will grow here, at the far end of their range, usually looking puny, thin and in search of a large martini to cope with all the Snowbirds. Too much heat and stress for the iconic evergreen Southern Belles to remain fresh and beautiful.

I am not sure what inspired the fragrant flowers in my garden, though I can imagine the arrival of some long overdue rain helped things along, unless the plants are glad to see the Snowbirds leave, too…

Closer views:

The clear yellow flower in the back is Frangipani (Plumeria spp), this is a passalong from a friend, I would love to know the name; blue flowers are Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable); white flowers are Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana diviricata), not a true Gardenia, but close enough for me; chartreuse flowers are my next generation Envy Zinnias; yellow flower in foreground is Goldmoss Sedum (Sedum acre)

The other side:

There are a couple of white Nigella lurking behind the Gardenias…

Happy May to everyone.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to visit other gardens via vase…

In a Vase on Monday – Forget Me Nots

I am loving the blue Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amiable) I planted for cutting in January. I started cutting them last week and they last almost a week in a vase. This variety is recommended by Floret Flower Farm, a seed and advice supplier in the northwestern US. Floret claims long stemmed flowers may be harvested for six weeks and advise planting two crops one month apart to extend the season. I will know if this holds true in South Florida in another week or two. They may burn up in our May heat.

Plants and flowers in the garden. I used bamboo stakes to keep the rabbits away.

The rest of the vase:

The bright blue flowers – the Chinese Forget Me Nots. Another addition to cutting flowers this year – White Nigella (N. damascena) and seedheads. I have some pale blue striped versions of the Nigella as well, so happy; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); orange tubes are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens).

Another view:

White spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) wearing wedding attire; varigated foliage is Varigated Flax Lily (Dianella)

The vase is a mason jar with a bit of raffia.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting. Follow the link to see more vases.

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!!

In a Vase on Monday – Eggcentric Blues

It was a lovely, sunny holiday weekend punctuated by a much needed soaking rain. The garden and I are both feeling relieved and celebrating Easter Monday with an egg dyed by my neighbor and blue flowers from the garden.

The egg gets a close up:

The egg was dyed with flowers from the Blue Pea Vine (Clitoria ternata). It almost looks like a robin’s egg. The flower:

The vase contents:

The smaller bright blue flowers are Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum amabile), grown for cutting, the stems have just gotten long enough to use. Darker blue spikes are Mystic Blue Salvia; peach spikes are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); white flowers at base are Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Another view:

Chartreuse flowers are Envy Zinnias, the latest batch. The white spike flowers are Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata); ferny foliage and wild green stems are from Wild Asparagus Fern, which is probably invasive, I keep it at bay using it in flower arrangements. It is oddly sharp for a fern and difficult to pull out.

The vase is actually taupe and pottery, though it doesn’t look like that in the images. I found this at a thrift store a few years ago and have enjoyed it immensely.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening to all.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting, follow the link to see more Monday vase and maybe an egg or two.

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!!!