In A Vase on Monday – The Garden Comes Inside

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This vase is the result of a happy accident in the front garden. Anyone who reads my blog will recognize the Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum) as one of my favorite cut flowers. The Parrotflowers bloom nearly year round, are pretty indestructible and last a long time in a vase. The orange flowers in the front of the vase are from the Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) that popped up behind the Parrotflowers making a stunning plant combination in the garden and the vase.

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The vase (recently ‘found’) in the cabinet with the crystal, I thought it had been broken when we moved. This is a favorite of mine, a wedding gift from an old friend I worked with at the Architectural firm where I met my husband. We are still working on gardens together (his). Finding the vase again made me happy it didn’t have an accident! This vase takes a lot of tall flowers, so it is a dream container for big tropical flowers.

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Speaking of cut flowers, these are recycled from last week’s vase. The Miniata Bromeliad flower and only the buds of the tropical Gardenia seem to be lasting well into this week in their smaller blue digs.

Thank you all for your suggestions to contact the editor of our local paper about a cut flower article. I sent a proposal in for writing an article and imagine my surprise when one appeared in the Sunday paper – not written by me and suggesting an all blue cutting garden. Really peculiar, but disturbing, coincidence.

Here is the interesting item of the week and a gift from a friend. The Pineapple Lily.

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In A Vase on Monday – Semi Tropical

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I read something interesting in the local newspaper recently – the garden expert said “there really aren’t any good cutting flowers that grow in our area”. It made me question what I am doing every Sunday morning – deadheading flowers for fun? The very same paper ran an article about growing Red Valerian, in South Florida, unfortunately a laughable situation.

So, if you stand back and squint a bit, this vase looks like white roses, pink lilies and (use your imagination) apricot lilacs and we are in a cutting garden hundreds of miles north.

 

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The reality is while the vase appears semi tropical it is actually very tropical. None of these plants will grow much further north of my garden. The pink lilies are Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes), white flowers Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divaricata) and the apricot flowers are from Miniata Bromeliads (Aechmea miniata) I would swear the Miniatas were red last year. Asian Sword Ferns create a backdrop.

I cut some Rain Lilies as an experiment thinking they would close immediately, but they last a couple of days and are so pretty they make it worthwhile. No idea why they are blooming – it hasn’t rained here in weeks. The garden is parched. The good news is the weeds are also parched and have slowed down significantly.

Fun things in the garden this week. I enjoyed my first homegrown Mango, a Nam Doc Mai, Thai dessert mango. Divine.

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My neighbor’s Cattleya Orchids (she grows them in a tree trunk) started flowering. I have some as well, but mine are still thinking.

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In A Vase on Monday – Gingerly Simple

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I have been thoroughly enjoying the flowers from my Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) over the past couple of weeks. So much that most of them have ended up in vases in the house. These are interesting tropical accent plants that are fairly common in South Florida, but oddly enough a bit hard to find to buy. A couple of years ago I found one for my favorite price -five bucks at a garage sale. Sold!

Planted beside our garage to screen an ancient (and exceedingly ugly) pressure treated pine fence and doing an admirable job, reaching 6 feet high and wide in about two years. The flowers are icing on the cake. Starting as a chain of shiny pink flowers resembling sea shells (hence the name) a 6 inch long bud spills the pink shell like flowers out – then a yellow orchid like flower follows at the end.

 

The foliage is lush and tropical and is evergreen where I live, further north it dies back in the winter – even further north an annual. There is a variegated Shell Ginger with beautiful foliage, unfortunately it rarely flowers, but is still a great accent.

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20170312_105240-1So, why “Gingerly Simple”? Usually I like to stuff a variety of flowers into a vase, these I think stand alone and look better displayed in a simple vase with a few real seashells.

In A Vase on Monday – Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Milkweed?

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Happy New Year! My plans for a traditional vase container were foiled when a friend (a known connoisseur of Champagne) appeared with this lovely pink bottle. The contents were rapidly dispatched and the bottle on its way to recycling when I said “Stop, that would make a great vase for the first Monday of the new year”

And here it is filled with a favorite color combination of mine, pink and chartreuse. My neighbor brought the cut chartreuse seed heads as a Christmas gift, these are from the dubiously named Hairy Balls Milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa). Finding this common name a bit crass, I looked the plant up online to find the other common name ‘Family Jewels’ Milkweed. Oh, well. She tells me her Milkweed is ten feet tall, I think I need to go and see this!

 

Other members of the ensemble include at the base, ‘Alabama Sunset’ Coleus, a sprig of Copper Fennel on the right and flowers and seedheads of Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris). The green foliage is from the Milkweed. This is one of those oddly interesting arrangements I like. I think I will keep the pink bottle for future use.