In a Vase on Monday – China Hat Debut

The red flower in the vase, China Hat (Holmskioldia sanguinea) is a recent addition to my garden. This is a tropical shrub native to lowlands of the Himalaya. It is thriving in my garden, enjoying the parched sand, seemingly a tropical desert shrub. These flower in winter here and I decided to cut a few to see how they hold up in a vase. Here is a closer view of the flower:

The other flowers in the vase are Zinnias grown from a Cactus seed Mix. I like the color but hesitate to name it..kind of a bronzy cafe au lait. The misty grasses are from the few remaining flowers on the Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris). I inherited the vase from my mother, I believe she bought it the Desert Southwestern United States in the 1980s, it is marked as made by the Ute tribe.

Happy New Garden Year to all. Time to plot our plots! I am thinking more Zinnias and maybe another China Hat, they are available in several colors.

Thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this meme. I always have fresh flowers in the house thanks to Cathy. Follow the link to see more vases.

In a Vase on Monday – Sharing Sunshine

The Winter Solstice passed last week, days are slowly getting longer and more sunshine is on the way. I thought I should share some Florida sunshine with a brightly colored mix from my garden. I have noticed the wildflowers in my garden germinate late in the year – which should have given me a clue years ago about when to grow cut flowers. I am guilty of reading and following directions on seed packages….again. South Florida reigns peculiar over American horticulture.

It is difficult to find a sunnier group of flowers. All were grown from seed started in September (some named and some in a cutting garden mix) and currently flourishing (with the exception of Nigella, not sure about that) in containers. I am wondering how long the Zinnias will last. Here is a photo of a seedling from the cutting mix I cannot identify.

Any thoughts? It is not a Hollyhock. That was not included in the mix.

Some closer views:

Yellow Sunflowers are ‘Dwarf Sunspot’. Green Zinnias are ‘Green Envy’; purple tubes are from Mona Lavendar Plectranthus. Pink Zinnia is from an Etsy purchase ‘Cactus Mix’. Here is a close up of the Zinnia, I love the stamens (I think?)

The other side:

Pink Zinnia and the very different green one are from the ‘Cactus Mix’. The African Marigolds are from the cutting seed mix with the mystery seedling. The big leaf forming the wave hugging the flowers is a big ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana). The leaf is 6 inches long and across. It rolled over naturally.

As always, thank you to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting In a Vase on Monday. To see more posts, follow the link.

Happy Monday!

In a Vase on Monday – Sunspots

This is Helianthus annuus uno. My first sunflower ever. I fell in love with sunflowers after seeing fields of them during a summer spent in Italy when I was in college. For some reason, I have never grown any. Probably did not want to stake them. This one is ‘Sunspot Dwarf’, a two foot tall plant advertised to have 10″ wide flowers, the flower is not quite that big nor is the plant that tall. However, I am growing them in December in South Florida, so who really knows. I am, nonetheless, thrilled to have and cut them.

I bought seed this fall from Sow True Seed https://sowtrueseed.com/ in Asheville, North Carolina. Their packages read that they are committed to supporting a sovereign seed system. I had to look that one up. I am in favor of non GMO anything. Here is the definition:

The farmer’s right to breed and exchange diverse open source seeds which can be saved and which are not patented, genetically modified, owned or controlled by emerging seed giants.

Further instructions are on the seed packages as to how to save the seed. Fascinating, though, I will probably cut all these sunflowers. I cut this one and left it in the grow bag to see if side shoots will produce more flowers. Gardening, the constant experiment.

A closer view:

Along with the sunflower are zinnias from the bag garden. I have a Cactus Mix and Pink Cactus. I am not sure where the pink one came from. The green ones are from ‘Green Envy’ Zinnias I have growing in a hot color bed in my front garden.

The foliage view:

Green foliage is Asian Sword Fern. The red varigated leaves are from an unnamed Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa). There are a zillion varieties of these floating around South Florida. My favorite name is Twisted Sister, I picked this one up at a Master Gardeners sale for a few dollars. My favorite kind of plant.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. To see more vases, follow the link to her blog.

Happy Gardening.

A Week in Flowers – Day One

I have been inivted to share flowers from my garden daily for a week by Cathy at Words and Herbs on WordPress. The idea is to brighten winter days and add some color to our cyberworld. Follow this link to see more flowers from around the world. https://wp.me/p1RJ1n-5Ya

I have chosen winter tropicals from my South Florida garden for today. Above is Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) a favorite of mine that can flower three times a year if in the mood.

This is a winter flowering Bromeliad, Quesnelia testudo. I think of these as tulips for the tropical garden. They flower in February and March and are reliable for returning and increasing in mass over time. The downside? One very sharp thorn on the end of every leaf.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting. Happy Gardening or flower watching this week.

In a Vase on Monday – Gloom Buster

Gloomy is not usually a term I associate with the “dry season” in South Florida. It has been raining and overcast since the middle of last week. We Floridians are addicted to sunshine. The garden is clearly enjoying the rain and hopefully the good plants will absorb more than the weeds. Though I can see the cool season weeds germinating wantonly as I dodge the raindrops walking my greyhounds.

Our moods, needing improvement with some floral friends made me search high and low from the safety of my covered porches to spy some colorful and hopefully a little bit tropical flowers to grace my vase this Monday. All of the components of this vase were cut within a mad dash from our doors.

Another view:

Some closer views:

Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – planted by the porch to deter mosquitoes. I think it works. Though I have no comparison. Pink cloverish flowers, some free Globe Amaranth I grew from seed I got from Etsy. Fun, but, yeah looks like clover and is a wimpy color. Not a big fan of pale pink. Darker pink wooly worms, Dwarf Chenille Plant (Acalphya pendula), just tropical fun and a great cut flower. Orange flowers, Firebush (Hamelia patens) grows near front and back doors and a perennial (ha) favorite.

White flowers are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica). These are slowing down though some consider them evergreen, I do not. Enjoying the slightly fragrant flowers til the bitter end (winter 2022?). Purple foliage is Alternanthera “not sure which one”

The weather seems to be clearing and I hope to be back in the garden soon.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening to you all. Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting – please follow the link to see more vases..

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!!

In a Vase on Monday – Hound Inspired

My greyhound, Zepp had an accident last week. While engaged in horse (er, greyhound) play with Fiona in the backyard he tore his dew claw. This resulted in a broken nail that had to be trimmed (while sedated) and a chartreuse green wrap. I finally let him out to sit in the dirt (it was dry enough). He did not enjoy having his paw wrapped in Press n Seal plastic wrap while the ground was wet.

Zepp had his nail wrapped for three days and bounced back miraculously without a misstep. He lost his wrap and I found a salsa jar on the counter and decided to wrap a vase in chartreuse.

The vase:

This is a glass salsa jar (extra large from Aldi) wrapped with a new Lemon Blanchetiana Bromeliad leaf and a dried leaf of the same plant from an earlier vase. The dried leaf looks a bit like bamboo flooring.

The ingredients:

The purple berries are Beautyberries (Calliocarpa americana). If I can find a recipe for a small amount of Beautyberry Jam I may try it, there are a lot of berries. The orange tubular flowers are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens); bigger orange flowers are Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum); white flowers are Miss Alice Bougainvillea.

Zepp is back to full racing speed and hopefully stays out of trouble for a while. Inspiration comes from the oddest places.

As always, thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting IAVOM. Follow the link to find more vases.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll.

Six on Saturday – New Friends

I’m joining the Six on Saturday gang again with some new friends and growth in the garden. I select plants that butterflies and I enjoy. Above is a Gulf Fritillary that probably started out life as an egg on my large Passionfruit vine and has hung around the garden to sip nectar from the Tropical Red Salvia and Sapphire Showers Duranta.

A black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. This guy started life as an egg on a parsley plant in a pot on my front porch. He ate all the parsley and I had to import some from another pot to feed him until he made the transition.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar starting to form a chrysalis.

The transition complete, the butterfly will take 10 to 20 days to form. The chrysalis hangs from the basil plant in the same pot.

I finally caught the scent and flowers of the Moonvine. These are pollinated by night flying moths, I haven’t seen the moths.

A Red Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) well known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. I rarely see a hummingbird here, they usually go down the west coast of Florida.

That’s it from me this Saturday. Hoping to see more butterflies shortly. To see more SOS posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy Gardening.

In A Vase on Monday- Fire and Rain

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I have seen rain this week, every day, off and on, all day long. My husband is grumpy, the dogs are grumpy and I am getting gardening stir crazy. But, the Firebush is very happy and flowering magnificently.

If anyone remembers James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain here’s a link, before you click on the link realize there is always advertising and I had nothing to do with it: James Taylor. 

I decided a vintage copper teapot filled with warm colored flowers was necessary to lift my dreary spirits. After trimming some fiery flowers, I donned my red plastic raincoat and headed into the garden to see what I could find to join the Firebush. My greyhounds declined the offer to join me and sulked in their (sort of) dry beds.

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My neighbor’s Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) long ago left its bounds and was hanging down over a hedge that grows between us. Beaten down from all the rain (myself, my husband,my dogs and the Mexican Flame Vine) I cut a few stems to drape over the side of the teapot. Then I discovered some Tropical Red Sage flowers (Salvia coccinea) for the back of the arrangement; added some Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); and found a few Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum). I have been missing the Parrotflowers. Hurricane Irma followed by a mid thirties temperature in January nearly did them in. The few I found are about half the size they were last year. The flowers and foliage from the flourishing Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) filled the framework of the flower arrangement. Say that 10 times fast.

Here is a close up of the flowers:

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It is raining again. The good news is the Frangipani loves it and I have my first blooms this year.

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Happy Gardening!

In A Vase on Monday – Surinam Shrimp

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I am aware ‘Surinam Shrimp’ sounds like a dish at a Vietnamese restaurant, however the two main components of this vase are Surinam Cherries and Shrimp Plants. The Surinam Cherries are the fruit in the lower part of the arrangement.

I have a large hedge of these shrubs and was pleased to have a fruit producing hedge, thinking (silly me) the fruit could be eaten. I kept thinking the fruit wasn’t ripe or something as it tasted so bad. Finally my neighbor, a Florida veteran, picked one for me – properly ripe. Still tasted bad. I have seen the taste described as resinously bitter, and the description fits the fruit. Given the taste of the fruit and the colors in various stages of ripeness an arrangement seemed like a better use of the fruit. The rest will be left for our wildlife friends.

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Here is another view with the nearly ripe Surinam Cherry beside the vase. As for the other members of the plant crew, we have: in dark red, flowers of the Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana); the foliage of Boston Fern and the upright sticks are from a ‘Firesticks’ Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’); in orange and chartreuse, the fruits of the Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uniflora).

The vase was a long ago Christmas gift to my husband from his ex-wife’s cousin! We have absolutely no idea what it is, so if anyone has a clue please send a comment. We have been wondering for years what this is. The top of the vase is much thinner than the base and has a hole in it. It reads “Gd Cafe des Viticulteurs”

As for the ‘Firesticks’ Pencil Cactus’ here is a picture of the plant. Euphorbias still blow my mind, hello, Poinsettias? so weird- I have a few of these around the garden as they easily root from cuttings:

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Now I am craving some Shrimp Pasta for dinner. Without the Euphorbias, of course.