In a Vase on Monday – Heirloom Pentas

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Last week I attended a talk about Butterfly Gardening, so naturally I had to add to my collection of nectar plants for pollinators. I bought an Heirloom Penta (Pentas lanceolata), the deep red flower in the middle of the vase. This may be my new favorite flower, they are sometimes called Egyptian Star Flower and are perennials in my part of Florida. This one is supposed to grow to three or maybe, five feet tall! It is a rich, deep, red with dark green foliage, I really need a few more now that I have seen them in the garden. I also saw my first Monarch Butterfly today. Here it is in the garden:

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I wish I had taken the picture before I cut the flowers. Oh, well. A close up of the vase:

20190317_105435The white flowers at the bottom of the arrangement are from the White Geiger Tree (Cordia boissieri); yellow and red are native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Psuedogynoxys chenopodiodes); white daisies are Spanish Needles (Bidens alba); grey, fuzzy leaves are from the Licorice plant (Helichryseum petiiolaris); backdrop foliage is Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); striped leaves and blue flowers are from Blue Flax Lilies (Dianella caerulea) and a few Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea).

The first mangoes of the year have formed on my Pickering Mango, this is a dwarf ‘condo’ Mango known for quality fruit and bearing early. We shall soon see.

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In a Vase on Monday – South of the Border

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I called this ‘South of the Border’ as most of the plants are from Mexico and it has a festive vibe, just need some Enchiladas (have some in the freezer, chicken) and maybe a cold beer with a lime squeezed in. Voila! South of the Border Party. A Mariachi Band would be a great addition.

Here is a close up:

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The bigger orange flowers in the arrangement are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), reportedly a great hummingbird and butterfly plant. I have had this in the garden for a few years and noticed none of the above. The smaller orange flowers are from the Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides). No, I could not spell that one on a dare. The vine is an escapee of the confines of my neighbor’s garden and the butterflies do love this one. It climbs through the hedge of Surinam Cherries and I don’t mind a bit. Every now and again I give it a whack with the loppers. The grey foliage in the arrangement is from the Licorice Plant (Helicryseum petiolaris); when reading about this plant you will find mentions of ‘slight scent of Licorice’. For the record, this plant is native to South Africa and I have never detected any licorice odor, despite having them in my garden off and on for decades.

Given the images of indoor Amaryllis on IAVOM this winter, I thought you all might like to see the one that lives in my garden. The bulb originally belonged to my father in law, Glenn, who is long gone. I have had it for decades and planted it in my garden about six  years ago. Currently, it is about 3 feet tall, not staked, and has 4 flowers and 8 buds on three stalks. I was taking pictures in a high wind, so add some imagination. The ferns have overrun things a bit.

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Interestingly enough, Glenn’s birthday is March 20, the Amaryllis is usually flowering in celebration.

Happy Birthday, Glenn from my garden and Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Shell Loopy

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The Shell Gingers (Alpinia zerumbet) are flowering again. This is such a dramatic plant, I think it should be displayed on its own. Of course, me being me, I had to do something with it. Feeling there was a bit too much foliage in the arrangement I cut a lot of it out, enjoying the gingery fragrance and wishing for a Thai food lunch. As I was in a state of ‘garden dress’, lunch out was out of the question; so I persevered with my arrangement. I rolled some leaves into loops and added a few red burgundy Blanchetiana Bromeliad leaves.

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Shell Ginger needs a bit of shade to be at its best. Last year, my neighbor destroyed all the shade, removing trees on the other side of the fence. Oddly enough, the Ginger has responded with lighter foliage and a bounty of buds, the likes I have never seen before. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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News from the garden. I have been reporting/complaining about my Papaya experience. Well, the tree added some newly hermaphrodite flowers and now I am getting female and mixed (hermaphrodite) flowers – and more fruit. Four, so far. I can’t wait to see what the tree produces. Here is the first fruit from last week.

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In A Vase on Monday – Lion’s Tail and Firesticks

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The odd title reflects what is in my vase this Monday. The orange flowers in the front of the arrangement are from Leonitis nepetifolia (I think) Lion’s Ear or Tail, depending on who you ask and also called Dagga, the perennial version(L. leonurus) is smoked in South Africa like Marijuana. A blog friend sent me some seeds when Hurricane Matthew destroyed the one in my garden. I am now wondering if these are annual, biennial or just experiencing Florida’s seasonal weirdness. I am leaving them to go to seed in the garden, hoping for a straighter set of plants – these were knocked over by Hurricane Irma the following year and never straightened up. Florida’s seasonal weirdness at it’s inexplicable best.

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Here is a close up, the Firesticks in the arrangement are from a Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia ‘Firesticks’), they are the yellow tubular plants in the arrangement. These grow 12 feet tall and wide and I have a few around the garden, you can just stick a bit in the ground and have a whole new plant in a few years. No irrigation needed or wanted. Below is a Firesticks used as foundation planting for my house, the coloration reddens as the weather heats up.20190217_171624-1 (1)

As for the rest of the arrangement, here is another photo.

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The red flowers in the arrangement are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), a stalwart in my garden; multicolored foliage – I don’t think varigated adequately describes the foliage, Mammey Croton (Codieum “Mammey”); the ferns in the back are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata, of houseplant fame). The Boston Fern, another unlikely volunteer in my garden.

The vase, dark grey, was picked up at a Department Store sale as was the red stool (with patina). I have enjoyed both of these items for IAVOM posts.

Happy Monday! Stay away from the Dagga.

In A Vase on Monday-Bling, Vegetables and Weeds.

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Earlier this year, I decided to add some bling and kinetic energy to my tropical garden. Never being shy about moving things around, I found myself hard at work Sunday, doing just that when it dawned on me I should put my Monday vase together.

It seemed all that was flowering abundantly was weeds, volunteers and vegetables. I decided to cut all three. The weeds in the arrangement are; in white: Bidens alba, common name usually Indian Needles, this is one of those really cute, chronically reseeding plant that knows no bounds. The reason fell from the flowers, I counted thirty seeds stuck to my shirt and the kitchen counter.

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The volunteers (a constant source of wonder in my garden) are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back, the palm is a seedling from the Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal), the red flowers are from Turk’s Cap Hibiscus ( Malvaviscus penduliflorus), yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) another prolific reseeder.

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The vegetable in the vase is the Red Mustard, I plant it for burgundy winter color as I hate the taste.

Here’s the kinetic garden bling:

 

A copper spinner in a checkerboard of salt finish concrete tiles and tumbled turquoise glass bits…plantings are still under consideration. I did go to a plant sale over the weekend.

In A Vase on Monday – Fruitless Efforts

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I decided to use foliage from my ornamental fruit plants in anticipation of my Papaya actually setting some fruit. I planted some seeds from a Hawaiian Papaya I had particularly enjoyed, knowing they have a reputation for being an extremely easy fruit tree to grow here. I ended up with three seedlings and planted them in my vegetable garden. They are reputed to produce fruit as early as 9 months after planting. Anticipation set it.

Hurricane Irma came along and blew 2 of the trees away, I thought ‘OK, I still have one, how many Papayas can I eat anyway’. Summer rolled around and the tree started to flower, anticipation set in again. Nothing happened. So, I did a little research – Hawaiian Papayas can be male, female or hermaphrodite. The remaining Papaya, female. I planted a hermaphrodite tree to pollinate the existing female. The female tree started flowering again a couple of weeks ago. Not one bud on the pollinator tree – then, on Friday after several days of rain, the hermaphrodite tree started flowering…

Anticipation has really set in now.

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The crystal vase is a gift from my long gone brother. I think of him every time I use it. The foliage in the backdrop is from my Ornamental Pineapple (Ananas ‘no idea’) and an Ornamental Banana leaf (Musa ensete ‘Something’). Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns.

I grow pineapples in my garden and bananas are possible, but we don’t really like bananas enough to water them.

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The flowers in the arrangement are: in white, Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), in purple, Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis), in peach, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), the fruit in the middle is from the White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri)

Here is the, thus far, fruitless effort Hawaiian Papaya:

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Still waiting.