In a Vase on Monday – Pastels

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It is Easter Sunday and I find myself making liquid hand soap after giving myself a haircut. Strange days, indeed. My haircut seemingly turned out better than the hand soap. Oddly, there is none in stores. Hand soap, or haircuts for that matter.

I decided pastels were necessary for Easter and cut flowers accordingly. The Bromeliad in the middle is from a couple of weeks ago and has faded to pale yellow. The glass pitcher is a wedding gift – possibly its second use after nearly thirty years. My 27th wedding anniversary is Friday and I can say with confidence we are not going out for dinner. The  good news is I found a rack of lamb online and my husband makes a great Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb!!

It is interesting to take the temperature (not literally)  of gardeners. There is a lethargy encompassing us all, I think. I wonder if it is intentional – in the cosmic sense. Having  spent many decades picking up the pieces after land development – is Mother Nature saying Pause and Reflect? I am feeling that and would  love to know what the rest of  the  world it thinking.

A close up:

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Shell Ginger (Zerumbet  alpinia) appears in pink. The aging Bromeliad is  Little Harv Aechmea. The chartreuse and white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia  (Begonia nelumbifolia). Foliage – the  ferns, Asian Sword Ferns, yard trash; varigated leaves  ‘Java White’ Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana “Java White”) the other green foliage is from Firecracker  Plant (Russelia spp.) no firecrackers  yet.

Spend some time in the sunshine, it will lift your spirits.

To see more vases visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Buds

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Weather is heating up in South Florida as summer approaches, we had a round of thunderstorms yesterday and expect more in the coming week. The Frangipani (Plumeria) has set buds promising a fragrant yellow flower with pink accents.

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Buds and one tiny flower on the Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae) .These will flower, put out some pups, and then stop blushing until next winter.

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More Bromeliad buds, these are Tillandsias and the flowers will tell the tale of which variety – they will be red or green. I am hoping for Cardinal Air Plants, red flowering Florida natives.

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This is a Roselle, an edible Hibiscus (H. sabdariffa) – Most of the plant is edible, the leaves can be cooked as greens or added to salads. Sometimes called Jamaican Sorrel, I am thinking is it sour, but haven’t tried it yet. The burgundy ‘fruit’ is the base of the flower, called a calyx – these are used as a substitute for cranberries. Thankgiving relish may  go tropical this year.

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This is not a bud, but a cone. It is the female cone of a Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) the only Cycad native to the U.S. Cycads are gymnosperms and have male and female cones.

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One of my garden buds and a frequent companion when I am in the garden. An Anole lizard, not sure which one. I have read there are 2,000 lizards per acre in Florida and I believe it.

I hope everyone is surviving lockdown. My husband and I are thinking this is causing brain fog. Probably best to keep thinking!

To see more Six on Saturday posts visit The Propagator at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

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.