In A Vase on New Year’s Day- Unreal


Some of the more tropical plants in my garden produce flowers that strike me as unreal. New Year’s Eve found me in the garden tending vegetables under a cerulean blue sky, wearing a sweatshirt and enjoying a bit of cool weather. December in South Florida can seem a bit dreamy. Beautiful beach weather for the most part, sometimes a bit foggy. Around town people can be seen surfing on the blue water… while pelicans dive into the river seeking a mullet for dinner.

It also seems unreal to me that tomorrow ushers in 2018! Where did the time go?

I can assure you that the flowers are quite real and from my garden. The orange, yellow and red flowers resembling Lobster Claws are from a Blanchetiana Bromeliad. The Bromeliad itself is probably 5 feet tall and 6 feet across, the flowers are panicle like affairs that are about 4 tall and maybe 18 inches wide. I had cut the whole flower, then realized there were ants living in the stem. Quick work was made of cutting the ant hill off and leaving it in the garden. The balance of the flower was placed in my big crystal vase, forming a swirling base for some other flowers.


The orange firecrackers are from Firebush (Hamelia patens), big leaves are from a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), the off white flowers from the mysterious Wireweed, the gift from Mother Nature that keeps on giving. Here is a close up:


The crystal vase, a wedding gift from a dear friend. The bells, to ring in the New Year, a favorite family heirloom of mine – my father brought them home from India, where he served during World War II. I have no clue what they really are, but my mother always used them on her wreath at Christmas.

Since it is New Year’s Eve, my husband and I are preparing a special dinner. He is baking an Apple Pie, I am working on homemade Pasta for Smoked Fish in Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce. The fish is Snapper caught and smoked by my husband, the sauce a decadent creamy vegetable sauce. For this we needed another flower arrangement.


The centerpiece, in my mother’s Rose Bowl features Salvia: the peach Salvia is a seedling of the Tropical Red Salvia (S. coccinea) – there are named cultivars like this, however, this one is mine! The purple Salvia is Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha). I had this plant as an annual further north and bought one late fall. It seemed annoyed, then started to flower. Orange flowers are from our Firebush (Hamelia patens). White flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata), Dark red flowers are Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana) and some Asian Sword Fern, there are also some Gallardia floating around in there.

New Year’s Eve dinner:




Happy New Year!!




Moses in A Cradle

Flowers of Oyster Plant

Flowers of Oyster Plant

I have always wondered why this plant was called Moses in A Cradle until I found this growing in the roots of my Banyan Tree this morning. The flowers do look like a cradle, I am not so sure about Moses or why he is involved. This is also called Boat Lily, which makes a bit more sense.  Yet another common name is Oyster Plant, Hmmm, maybe it looks like a purple oyster? Then there is the botanical name dilemma, I learned this as Rhoeo, now they seem to have decided it is a Transcandentia. Whatever. Plant taxonomy is not my forte.

The state of Florida lists this as a Category II Invasive. Which sounds scary, but if you do some research it seems this plant has the potential to do damage in certain environments but it hasn’t quite done it yet. The environment this flourishes in is a Tropical Hammock. I live on top of a gigantic Sand Dune, so I think I am safe from the Oyster Plant. As I am somewhat overrun with some invasive plants (the evil Brazilian Pepper and Mother in Law’s Tongues) I am leery of this one, but I think I will just keep an eye on it.