In a Vase on Monday – Flowers for Willie

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I have spent more time in my garden sitting in the place I designed for specifically for sitting than ever before. And my husband joined me. We have enjoyed drinks, snacks, a bit of reading and the ocean breeze. This is an amazing result of a dreadful scourge that shall remain nameless. Willie Nelson’s son wrote a song about it. It is called Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) Here is a link: The Song

Willie Nelson is an American Icon; a longtime country singer with a haunting voice who writes lyrics that will make you cry. A longtime favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy the song.

This vase is for him.

Back to the vase. The vase is heavy crystal gifted to me by my late brother, coincedentally, a huge fan of Willie Nelson. I used the vase for its heft. The tropical flowers are heavy and have thick stems that will knock over a lighter vase.

Some close ups:

The flower of ‘Little Harv’ Bromeliad. Little Harv is an Aechmea Bromeliad and not so little, he packs a sharp bite if you run into him while wrestling a fibrous stemmed flower from him. I have some scratches on my leg where Harv bit me, though I think he will be OK with me enjoying the flower indoors.

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Two stems from the Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). A very pleasant, yet huge Ginger – nearly five tall and wider than that; these need to be  pruned into compliance and cutting the flowers helps.

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The  accents offsetting the coarser texture flowers. The white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) a  bit of wild Asparagus Fern from the garden and leaves from the Shell Ginger.

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I will continue working in my garden, writing and enjoying sitting in my happy place. My prunings will continue to delight me this week. I hope everyone is well – I will be in my garden listening to Willie Nelson.

To see more spring flowers (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) visit our hostess, Cathy at her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

Six on Saturday – Spring Flowers

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Our banishment continues, I was just trying to think of where Napoleon’s exile was…Elba. That sounds pretty good, except it is in Italy. Oh well, I  will just stay here and look at the spring flowers in my garden. I am guessing mine are different from most other Six on Saturday posts. To see other posts for spring flower comparisons, go visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Above, I started with a Florida classic, the Hibiscus. This is an old fashioned red that is decades old in my garden.

Below, a flower on the Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea). This is my neighbor’s tree – you can tell by the foliage how dry it has been here.

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This is a Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) a funky plant – about 18″ wide and 5 feet tall. I have it in a narrow space. The flowers do look like coral and the foliage looks like marijuana.

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Miss Alice Bougainvillea is just starting to flower. I waited a long  time to find a nearly thornless Bougainvillea and here she is. You still need gloves for pruning, just not rose gloves.

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There are several Justicia (Shrimp Plants) I grow as perennials. This is called Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), it is a shrub – about four feet tall currently.

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Last, but not least, the flower of the Adonidia Palm (Veitchia merrilli). On the left side of the trunk is the bud.

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Hopefully everyone is making the best of our global exile and working in the garden. I realized I should make a list – there are so many little details to work on. I am making broth and soup this afternoon. I bought a 22 lb turkey and cooked it this week for many future turkey sandwiches and soups. My husband smoked the thighs and I saved the carcass to make broth. In the kitchen for me this afternoon. I am proud that I was able to stop myself from posting large turkey pictures and making political comments. Well, not quite.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Bone Dry

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The hose has seen a lot of action this week. I  don’t recall the last time it rained, this is the last 6 weeks of our dry season. I have a irrigation system and detest hand watering – the exception, I will water containers. I am watering in the garden after the irrigation runs. I have also been enjoying sitting in the garden, away from the news.

The Roselle (Florida Cranberry Hibiscus) my neighbor grew is waiting for moister weather to be planted. Though, I think they might prefer to get their feet in the ground. This is a Hibiscus with edible leaves and flowers, most commonly used for tea. I haven’t grown it or eaten it, it is an annual here.

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I have seen birds and butterflies looking for water in my fountain, so I cleaned and filled it. Always a negotiation with the pump and leveling the container so it doesn’t pump itself dry.

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My so called lawn, you can see how far the irrigation goes.

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No, I don’t hand water this. This is the Greyhound zone and they don’t care.

A few things seem  to be enjoying the weather. The culinary Bay Leaf is putting on some new leaves; I am cooking with them as I write my post.

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This Lotusleaf Begonia is almost 5 feet tall and a mad tropical accent plant. I think the leaves will look better with some rain.

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That’s my Six this Saturday – go and visit The Propagator to see more..www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Hope everyone has enough to do in the garden and stays amongst the plants.

Six on Saturday – Primavera (no pasta)

Our windy conditions finally wound down the middle of the week leaving clear blue skies, a light breeze and perfect conditions to stay outdoors – by yourself, no interaction with the germy masses. I have been celebrating Primavera (spring in Italian) enjoying the new growth, fruits and flowers developing and a new butterfly in my garden.

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This is a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly sipping nectar from a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri) . I planted a Senna ligustrina, larval host plant for the Sulphur butterflies and they have graced my garden ever since.

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Buds inside the cup of the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae). The blushing is more exciting than the flowers.

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Flower of Little Harv Bromeliad (Aechmea ‘Little Harv’) . The  flower stalk is nearly 3 feet tall, I would like to see Big Harv.

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Foliage getting a bit glaucous on Traveller’s Palm (Ravenela madagascariensis) I planted these as much for the trunk as the foliage. I love both, the story behind the name is a thirsty traveler could cut a stem and get a glass of fresh water, These are just about five  feet tall and don’t quite produce a glass when cut.

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Dragonfruit (Hylocereus) just starting to climb a fence post. These are a night blooming cactus that produce a somewhat odd fruit, sometimes called Pitcaya.

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Surinam Cherries ripening, these are very deep red when ripe. Until they are very deep red they taste a bit like turpentine smells. A raw, piney taste. A friend makes jelly with the fruit and says it is very good. I leave them for the birds.

My Six for this Saturday. I have carrots and green beans in the garden. I might just make some Pasta Primavera for dinner. Cue Vivaldi..

Happy Spring!!

For more Six on Saturday posts, go to http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Vibrant Colors

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The flowers I started the arrangement with seemed especially vivid today. Maybe it’s the overcast skies or the first flowers of the season make them feel more vibrant; but the Nodding Hibiscus (at the bottom of the arrangement) looks really red (to me). I added the big green leaf (White Bird of Paradise) to calm things down; then realized it was getting a little Christmasssy – that is probably not a word.

Back to the garden, I love a little grey-green in anything and spotted spiky seedheads forming on the Leonitis. Cut the biggest ones and they are sharp like a pinecone. Red, green, yellow and black varigated foliage should be celebrated, so I added a cutting of Mammey Croton and for more red, a sprig of Firecracker Plant. Four plants produce a lot of punch in one little crystal vase.

Closer views: My oldest  brother, who passed on several years ago, gave me the heavy crystal vase for Christmas. I have enjoyed it and think of him with each use.

The spikey ball is the going to seed flower of the annual Leonitis (Leonitis nepetifolia). I am a bit confused about this plant. There is another one, considered perennial in Florida called Leonitis leonurus. One or the other or perhaps both seem to be smoked by people in Africa for fun. Something called Dagga. I am not smoking it, like Bill Clinton, I was not meant to inhale. (American joke, sorry – Bill swore he never inhaled Marijuana, despite admitting to smoking it)

The multicolored foliage is from Mammey Croton (Codiaeum varigateum ‘Mammey); fine textured grassy foliage with red bell shaped flowers is Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformus); red flowers are Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus penduliflorus) and the  big green leaf – White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai).

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Greens, reds, golds and textures in a vase on Monday. To see more vases visit Cathy at  MORE VASES

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Like a Lion

March is coming in like a lion in South Florida. There is a steady 20 mph northeasterly wind blowing today. The wind is coming from the Atlantic Ocean, making it a bit chilly despite clear blue skies. I think Alan the Greyhound has the best idea about what to do this Saturday morning.

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The fruit and flowers are coming along in the garden. The pineapple seems a little bigger every day.

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The Pickering Mango – a condo Mango, known for small size and high yield is doing a magnificent job at both. About four feet tall; setting fruit and putting out more flowers. Last year the squirrels got 2/3 of the fruit.

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My neighbor grew some Petunia exserta from seed I gave her and gifted some seedlings to my garden. The first flowers:

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This grouping is next to the Petunias, it is turning into a hot colors butterfly garden. Gallardia, a little Tropical Red Salvia and Penta lanceolata. I would like some more of the Pentas, does anyone know how to propagate these? While I like this picture, the Pentas are not terribly clear, the blurry reds in the background.

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Last, but not least. The obligatory Bromeliad from my garden. This is a Neoregelia with a really odd name that completely escapes me. Another one I bought somewhere for 5 bucks; its sole purpose – to catch the sunlight in the afternoon. The rest of the bed is a bit dark.

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There are my Six this Saturday, to see more posts follow THE LINK to Propagator Blog.

I will be joining Alan the Greyhound in a nap shortly.

Happy Gardening.

In a Vase on Monday – March Madness

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First of all, this has nothing to do with American college basketball. March Madness is a college basketball tournament, I  would rather read about invasive weeds than watch basketball. College football is a different story. That I will watch.

South Florida seemingly lacks seasons. Spring is subtle, but here. Almost everything takes a few months off, not growing. Just resting for the inevitable plunge into March Madness. The Oak trees, grasses and obscure weeds no one ever heard of are flowering and the pollen is dreadful – the native butterflies and insects are enjoying all of  this and literally making hay while the sun is shining. I am seeing butterflies and insects I have  never seen  before. My bush and pole bean leaves have been folded by butterflies to create chrysalis and while I still have beans, the butterflies emerging are just starting to  amaze me.

img_20200206_133605 This is a Longtail Skipper larvae from a couple of weeks ago, I saw the first butterfly today (it got away from me). I will  post a picture another day if I catch one.

Back to the vase. The actual vase is a old florist vase from the 80s I found by the side of the road. It holds up some heavy cut flowers. Heavy is what I have.

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The pink flowers are Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). They flower off and on year round; not reliably but at some point there they are. And  too pretty to ignore, like some teenage  girls from high school. The ferns are my old stand by, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and the white flowers, Dracaena reflexa. Yes, it grows in my garden and the flowers  have a wonderful scent. Close ups of the flowers:

Happy Spring!!

For more vases follow the link and visit our hostess, Cathy at MORE VASES