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.

In a Vase on Monday – Fringe Benefits

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While searching for vase materials this morning it dawned on me, I would not have most of these flowers without making a vase every Monday. I cut flowers from everything except the palm frond and Beautyberries in the past month or for other vases. Hand pruning for a vase inspires the plants to produce more flowers. Fringe benefits from In a Vase on Monday.

Here’s a  close up:

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20191117130923032_COVERThe red and white shrimp-like flowers are  Red Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana), a nearly indestructible perennial. White flowers with yellow centers are  Sweet Begonia (Begonia odorata), another great indestructible. Yellow and red daisies are native Gallardias (Gallardia pulchella) they change their colors with the pollinator – or maybe via the pollinator.

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The palm frond in the back of the arrangement is a seedling from a Sabal or Cabbage Palm (Palmetto sabal) that popped up in the garden. The purple berries are still going strong on the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – I have had berries on one since August, the birds have eaten most of the fruit from the one further out in the garden. The green pods are from a native Senna (Senna ligustrina) I planted for hosting Sulphur Butterflies. Off white spikes are from the native Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

Here is the caterpillar from the Senna, one of my favorites:

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Happy Gardening and Thanks to Cathy for hosting IAVOM and the fringe benefits, more flowers! Here is a link to more vases: IAVOM more

In A Vase on Monday – Jar of Weeds

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This is my final Jar of the August garden, featuring the weeds- an inevitable feature this time of year. It has rained just shy of 11 inches in my garden since the first of August. The weeds are thriving and having a joyous outbreak of reproduction. ACK.

Recently, the mailman (a native of the Florida Keys) informed me that his mother would have pulled out all of the Beach Sunflowers in my front yard, pronouncing them weeds.  He thinks I am a gardening radical. These are the yellow daisies in the vase. I cultivate them in masses in my garden, they grow with or without irrigation in plain sugar sand and form a mat that reduces the less desirable weed population. I trim them with electric hedge clippers to maintain a low mass. 20190107_102831-1I suppose beauty is in the eye of the weed holder. Beach Sunflowers surround a Blanchetiana Bromeliad.

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A closer view of my weeds: the white daisies are Bidens alba, a native Bidens prolific (producing an average of 1200 seeds per plant) to the point of making it difficult to like the flowers as well as the bees do. The pinkish-white, small, lily shaped flowers are from Florida Snow (Richardia grandiflora) – a Brazilian native that reportedly blew in with the hurricanes from the early 2000s. A low growing perennial weed that infests lawn creeping through the blades of grass then flowering until it looks like snow on the lawn. I have pulled a zillion of these, they also reseed and will grow from cuttings (lawn mower cuttings)

Tropical plants also get loose in Florida gardens, purple foliage is from Oyster Plants or Moses in a Cradle (Transcandentia spathacea). I happen to like this plant, but it reseeds with vigor and is considered invasive. Purple striped foliage is another Transcandentia I like, T. zebrina also appears unbidden in shady areas. Ferns are Asian Sword Ferns, spread by birds and tending to take over our native Boston Fern. The red tipped leafy foliage is from Surinam Cherries (Eugenia uniflora) also called Pitanga. Pitanga is a small red cherry-like fruit with an (in my opinion) not so tasty tang of turpentine spread everywhere by grateful wildlife. The wispy flowers at the top are from a plant I am not recalling the name of, have a carrot like taproot and produce hitchhiker seeds that stick to my pant legs and greyhound noses. These have different colored flowers and can be pretty – but, are always asked to leave the garden if the soil is moist enough to pull the taproot out.

Here are the three jars of August – appearing in the same repurposed pasta jar – The first, flowers:

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The second, tropical flowers:

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And this week, the weeds.

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You may notice the weeds appear in more than one jar.

Maybe I am a gardening radical.