Six on Saturday – Winter Treats

December is a great time to be outdoors in South Florida. The weather is simply wonderful and fruits and flowers start showing up to enjoy time in the garden. I am joining Six on Saturday at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to share six items of interest from my garden.

The very seasonal scourge of South Florida, Brazilian Peppers. These outrageously fast growing small trees have taken over hundreds of thousands of acres of land. However beautiful the berries are, I try to get rid of as many as possible. The birds love them and I believe every last on of them germinates and is 10 feet tall in a few years.

The Surinam Cherry, more bird food. These are pretty, but taste a bit resinous. I am told by locals to soak them in water to get the worms out…

Seedpod on Roselle, edible Hibscus flowers, another weird tropical fruit. I harvested a lot of these and they are in my freezer. Just don’t quite know what to do with them.

Radishes, almost ready to eat.

Pineapples producing pups after I harvested the pineapple. It took 3 years from pineapple top to harvest. The theory is once the pups start the harvest increases with the number of plants and the fruit overwhelms the gardener. Time will tell.

My winter favorite, Dombeya – Tropical Hydrangea – buds are starting to show color. This one is about nine feet tall and covered in buds. It should be a sight to behold in a couple of weeks.

Happy Holidays to everyone and thank you to Jon for hosting Six on Saturday.

In a Vase on Monday – Muhly Candy

Not Summer arrived in South Florida on the first of November, I am only too happy to bid farewall to October and Summer. Not Summer brings lower temperatures, less humidity and Muhly Grass flowers, my garden is filled with flowing pink grasses. The candy is the purple Bromeliad flower – it is a Portea Bromeliad, the variety is Candy.

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I think there is too much Muhly Grass in the garden (with Bottle Palm in top of image) but I am really enjoying them this Fall/Not Summer.

A close up:

The purple flowers with a pink stem (how often do you get to say that?) is Portea ‘Candy’ Bromeliad, the off white spikes are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) in the back; a purple and silver striped sprig of Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina); and the Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris) in the background.

I have missed a couple of weeks caring for my husband, who is on the mend. Thanks to Cathy for hosting.

Visit Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com to see vases from around the world.

Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Seeds of Change

I am joining the Six on Saturday crew today featuring seeds. I started planting tomato seeds this week for my fall garden and noticed many plants producing seed in the garden. As usual, the tropical plants behave differently and the seeds start early, perhaps to catch the end of the rainy season and get a better chance at life?

This is Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – a shrub native to the Southeastern US. The berries are more spectacular in Florida, I think and locals make (I am told) tasteless jam from the fruit.

Flowers on a Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebellini). These palms will produce dates. but are dioecious. I am not sure if this is the male or female flower.

Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simarouba) berries, I suppose. These remind me of Crabapples, the birds love them. The Gumbo Limbo is sometimes called the Tourist Tree because of its flaky, red “sunburned” bark.

Firebush (Hamelia patens), this one flowers and fruits simultaneously; birds enjoy the fruit, bees and butterflies the flowers. I can hear the shrub buzzing first thing in the morning.

Seeds forming on Sabal Palm (Palmetto sabal). These seeds eventually turn black and fall to the ground. Native Americans ground the husks into flour.

My neighbor grew these Roselles from seed. This is a tropical vegetable, a relative of Hibiscus and Okra. The foliage is edible; new leaves are reminscent of Arugula and the older leaves can be cooked as greens. The calyx of the flower is what these are usually grown for – they are burgundy colored and are used as a substitute for cranberries in the tropics. These were planted as seedlings in May and are now 4′ tall. Waiting for flowers and ‘cranberries’ – hoping for Roselle relish for Thanksgiving.

That is my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Fruit Harvest

We enjoyed out first Mangoes this week. We had one Pickering and one Nam Doc Mai Mango. Both were divine and worth the wait. The Pickering had a coconut taste and the Nam Doc Mai was sweet as well, without the piney taste I sometimes associate with Mangoes. This is the flower of the Nam Doc Mai.00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200509094313878_cover

Here is the fruit ripening.

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Finally, I had to pick one because the fruit was starting to split from the 20 inch rain deluge. Here it is ripe on the counter.

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There are still a few Pickering Mangoes ripening on the tree. I picked one and it shriveled a bit on the counter but was still very tasty.

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Also waiting on my first pineapple.

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Here is where the Nam Doc Mai ended up. As a side of Mango Salsa with Parmesan Crusted Salmon and Green Bean Salad. The Pickering Mango met a similar fate. I admit to having a considerable sampling of the two Mangoes while my husband wasn’t looking.

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Happy Saturday and Happy Gardening. To see more Six on Saturday posts, go and visit The Propagator http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – Unreal

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Given what is going on in the world; there are many things that seem unreal. Sitting on my sofa waiting for a delivery of a multi pack box of cereal is one. Yet, here I am.

This vase is another. I took the pictures earlier today and sat down to write my post and  thought “that could be Hydrangeas, Mums and Red Maple leaves in fall color.” But it is not. I don’t think I could have forecast being unable to buy liquid hand soap and toilet paper, ever. I have learned how to make homemade liquid hand soap! Unreal. Also found directions on making toilet paper, but really don’t want to try it unless the situation becomes dire. Then, I found directions for converting your toilet to a bidet. Good grief! I found out later the TP factories are running 24/7 in Florida and all should be well soon in that respect. It is our first and hopefully last pandemic.

A closer view:

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The ‘fall foliage’ is Lousiana Red Copperleaf (Acalphya  wilkesiana ‘ Louisiana Red’) This is a coarse textured red shrub that will probably end up about five feet tall. It serves as a backdrop for the Tree Spinach I just planted (deep green with white flowers)

The ‘Orange Mums” are Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). These tend to be a upright, going on gangly shrub I have used  to screen my neighbor’s fence. These few flowers provided a nice reshaping for the shrub and a vase for me.

The ‘Hydrangea’ is a going to seed Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia), the green stem that looks like a straw is the stem I cut off and left in there. Couldn’t decide which way I liked the arrangement.

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I like the fat, green stem as it seems to balance the vase to me – five tall elements, 3 ferns and one faux Hydrangea. Design school brainwashing creeping in, once again.

Stay safe in your gardening space!

Six on Saturday – Coming Along Nicely

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Despite what is going on in the world my garden is coming along nicely. I  have spent a lot of time outside in the past weeks as the weather is pretty close to perfect, temperatures in the 70s with a breeze. Gardening or having a glass of wine  to enjoy the results are equally enjoyable.

Above is a  container on my screen porch I planted this winter, the plants are growing together and I look forward things spilling over the sides shortly. There are 3 kinds of Bromeliads in the container (found at Good Will). The Bromeliads were collected from my garden and friends. The burgundy is Neoregelia ‘Luca’, the green is  Neoregelia ‘Super Fireball’ and the smaller grey ones (getting a pup!) are Tillandsia ionantha. The smaller green plant in the middle near the edge is a Haworthia succulent.

The tropical fruit is making strides as well, the Pineapple and Mangoes keep getting bigger.

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A few of my hot weather favorites are starting to flower. This is a White Geiger tree (Cordia boissieri)

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The Firebush (Hamelia patens) is starting to flower, I have seen a few tiny hummingbirds enjoying the flowers. A rarity on the east coast of Florida. I realized when looking at the pictures the reason I  like Leonitis so much is I like this as well..

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The Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa stringulosa) is filling back in and flowering a bit. This is a native groundcover that is recommended as a turf replacement. I think that is not such a great idea as my lawn maintenance guy nearly always tries to get rid of it, thinking it is a weed, but the flowers are cute.

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See what gardeners around the world are doing with time on their hands and more Six on Saturday posts at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

In a Vase on Monday – House Arrest

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I am feeling like I am under house arrest. This week I have been to the grocery store twice and to the vet for a rabies shot – the dog got the rabies shot. I might need one later. The garden has been my solace. I spent today finishing my pollinator and fruit border. My neighbor brought some Roselle plants (edible Hibiscus) and I replanted the Dragonfruit and am working on training it to the fence. As these things go, I discovered some terrifying large ants in the bark mulch followed by the realization I have to add irrigation if I want to actually eat a Roselle. I was cutting the Bidens (white daisies) off – they reseed to the point of never wanting to see another one of those damned things; then realized I should make a vase with them. Viola!

This vase looks a bit like Fall to me and in a way it is. The Basil, Gallardia, Celosia, Leonitis and Bidens are all producing seeds ahead of the rainy and hot weather. Here is a closer view:

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The bigger orange flower is Leonitis nepetifolia. Next year I will grow more of these – I have enjoyed them in the garden this year. The white daisies are the dreaded Bidens alba, a native wildflower and great for bees and butterflies. The pink flowers are Texas Vintage Rose Celosia; chartruese seedheads are Genovese Basil; red and yellow daisies and the round seedhead are from our native Gallardia (Gallardia pulchella); tubular orange flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens). There is a bit of Asparagus Fern in the back and some Salvia coccinea seedheads.

I wish everyone a safe and pleasant respite in their gardens. Even the beaches are closed in Florida. A friend said this gets more surreal every day. I think she is right.

Dirty Little Secrets in the Garden

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Since I live in the former ‘Pineapple Capital of the World’ I feel compelled to eat a lot of the fruit; and then attempt to grow more. The dirty secret? I cut the tops off and throw them into the front foundation planting in my garden. If they take root, yay! Then they get moved to the pineapple patch in my pollinator garden.

These two are coming along nicely and will join their friends in the backyard. Eventually, I will have homegrown pineapple.

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Here is their destination:

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Here is a link to more information about pineapples.

https://theshrubqueen.com/2016/05/19/pineapples-and-their-cousins/

Happy New Year, I think I need some pineapple in a festive cocktail later….

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Six on Saturday – Fruits and Flowers

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It has been a rainy and windy week in South Florida, Christmas is over and I am looking forward to a new decade in my tropical paradise. Winter brings changes to the flora and is the most enjoyable time of the year to be outdoors. We live on our screen porch, my next task is to plant some containers for the porch.

Above is a Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), I cut these  frequently in the winter; they have a light, gingery scent and are very reliable in the garden. Other Gingers suffer in silence in my garden.

Below is a Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia purpurea) These are common parking lot trees and produce a lot of seeds and seedlings.

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The Dombeya (Dombeya wallichii) finally opened  on Christmas Day, a wonderful gift. It is so windy it makes pictures difficult to take as the flowers swing in the wind.

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Zinnia of unknown origin. In December.

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I have three types of Mango trees in my garden, all are flowering, it is a bit early.  Here is the flower of the Glenn Mango. These are panicle flowers, if pollinated produce numerous small Mangoes.

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And  finally, my first homegrown Papaya breakfast – with honey vanilla yogurt and granola. A very satisfying end to my gardening year.

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Six on Saturday is a gardening meme hosted by The Propagator. For more posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year!!

Amelia

In a Vase on Monday – della Robbia Memories

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It is a holiday week in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. I  live in South Florida, but in my mind, there should be a celebration with a vase of red and orange leaves and nuts and cones. These things are scarce in South Florida. I always think of my mother, a great gardener and Southern Lady this time of year.  She always had the perfect seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table. So I  went in search of a little bit of not so tropical flowers for this vase.

The vase in the picture is a sugar bowl from my formal wedding china, nestled in a della  Robbia candle ring I made from nuts and cones collected near the townhouse my husband and I lived in when we first married, almost thirty years ago. My mother had a similar ring made by my father’s mother, though I can’t recall what became of it, the ring is one of the holiday touchstones of my youth, usually sporting a  red or green pillar candle during the holidays.

I wonder if others call these della Robbia’s? I  think that term applies to garland decorated terracotta pots. I was working towards a fall arrangement with tropical plants that did not look tropical!  Hope it worked.

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The leaves are from Copperleaf (Acalphya wilkesiana); red flower spikes, Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea); the linen towel from a very dear friend lost to cancer seven years ago this October.

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Orange spikes are from Blanchetiana Bromeliad flowers; off white spikes from Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); and grass flowers from Muhly Grass  ( Muhlbergia capillaris). There is a stem of foliage with new red growth from Surinam Cherry (Eugenia uviflora)

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Tropically, not tropical ?

Happy  Thanksgiving, whenever celebrated and I am thankful for my garden blog friends.