Six on Saturday – Blue Blazes

It’s time for Six on Saturday, a post about six items of interest in the garden, anything at all, shared with gardeners around the world.

To view the collection visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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One of my father’s favorite summertime sayings “It is hot as blue blazes”. I have no idea where that came from. Maybe New England where he was from. I can confirm it is hot as blue blazes in South Florida in July, though there is a nice breeze coming off the ocean currently.

Above is one of my favorite summer flowers, the Parrotflower (Heliconia psittacorum)

Another Heliconia is flowering in my garden, the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata)

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I have been harvesting fruit. My first pineapple, cute and ripening on the counter along with Purple Possum Passionfruit. Say that 10 times fast..

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The Bromeliads are doing their thing, some just looking great in summer colors and some flowers. This is an unknown Neoregelia.

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The Blanchetiana Aechmea Bromeliads are shooting up buds, these are about five feet tall now and will get a little bigger and fully open in November. The flowers usually last until May.

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Another Aechmea Bromeliad, the Miniata. These are very reliable July bloomers, many Bromeliads have a mind of their own when deciding to flower – the Blanchetiana above took about six years to decide to bloom…the Miniata start out red and then get cobalt blue tips. Interesting to watch and they last a long time as cut flowers. The foliage is a bit scorched from two weeks without rain and some wind.

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That is my six. Happy Gardening and stay cool…

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.

In a Vase on Monday – Jurassic Parts

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While perusing my garden for vase materials this morning I was seeing a lot of the same old thing and decided I needed to do something different. I wanted to use the dried Bromeliad leaves one more time and the Tillandsia covered branch seemed to go with the idea. The result seems a bit prehistoric to me and in some ways it is containing ferns, palms and bromeliads, all monocots and found in fossils. Here is a closer view:

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The dried brown stems are from the seedhead of an Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii); the white flowers are from Lotusleaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia); fern is a Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata); the dried Bromeliad (Aechmea blanchitiana) leaves wrapped around the vase and holding the Begonia stems together were originally on my Christmas wreath, reused a couple of weeks ago  to wrap a whole vase and this is the final appearance. The hanging Bromeliad and branch were found while walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, these are Tillandsia recurvata, Ball Moss.

The vase is a pasta container I use as a vase since the top was lost some years ago. My husband refers to the gardeners inevitable stockpile of unplanted pots of plants as my ‘Spare Parts’. I am rarely without spare parts, currently holding at six ‘Java White’ Copperleaf.

If only I had a tiny dinosaur to go with this one.

Here it is in black and white, maybe even a bit more Jurassic.

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For more vases from around the world follow this link to Cathy’s blog MORE VASES

 

In a Vase on Monday – Not Summer Blues

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January in South Florida is not summer, it just seems like it today. The air conditioning is running; despite the fact this is the dry season, rain showers are making above 80 degrees (F) weather steamy and not conducive to gardening. My reward is flowers and vegetables in the garden. I have ripe tomatoes and Papayas; my second planting of green beans and first lettuces and spinach have come up. Some interesting flowers are also gracing the garden.

The Blue Willow teapot is a favorite of mine, bought with my mother on a long ago antiquing adventure (she referred to this as ‘Going to the junk store’).

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Zinnias grown from seed continue to boggle my mind – not sure what they are at all. These are much bigger than those in the smaller vase and have longer stems. I’ve added pink and green Dombeya (Dombeya wallachii) flowers. The green are the buds, the Dombeya itself is huge and I don’t mind cutting some buds, though I feel the bees would disagree. The flowers have an amazing honey fragrance and I have never seen as many bees on a plant. A closer view:

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The white flowers are Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata ‘Alba’), another subtly fragrant flower and the spikes are seedheads from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)

This vase, another ‘junk store’ find has Dombeyas and Zinnias, just the shorter-stemmed version. The green seed heads are from the Sweet Begonia. I like the seeds as well as the flowers.

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I have both vases in my foyer; the Dombeyas tend to be ephemeral in vases, not lasting more than a day. The fragrance from the combination of Dombeyas and Sweet Begonias is ethereal, I can imagine angels in flight leaving this scent. Worth every moment and curing the Not Summer Blues. Back outside tomorrow.

In a Vase on Monday – Dombeyas End the Decade

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Dombeyas fill the last vase of the decade. Ten years ago, I did not blog; I did not live in Florida and I did not know what a Dombeya was. What a difference a decade makes.

We have spent the past few weeks cooking and going to holiday parties. My husband and I enjoy cooking but we are taking a break and fortunately have leftovers. He is a great pie baker – this year making an apple, a pumpkin and a Rangpur Lime pie with fruit from my neighbor’s tree. I need to get back to the garden to work all the calories off.

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Here is a closer view:

The  pink flowers are the Dombeyas (Dombeya wallichii); the burgundy and silver striped leaves are Transcandentia zebrina, sometimes called Wandering  Jew; the silvery succulent is  the flower of a Flapjack Kalanchoe and the ferns are Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata).

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Dombeyas are sometimes called Tropical Hydrangeas though they are not related to Hydrangeas but belong to the Mallow family. Hydrangeas have their own family (Hydrangeaceae). Here is the Dombeya flower in situ. The shrub is about 9 feet tall and wide and the leaves are at least a foot wide and fuzzy. The bees love the flowers and I brought one in with the flowers. I think of them as reverse Hydrangeas since the flowers hang under the foliage.

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade, hopefully the twenties will roar again. But, nicely and with many flowers.

A heartfelt Thank You to Cathy for hosting this wonderful weekly meme. More vases may be seen in the comments of her blog http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com.

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 Sunday – Flowers by Dorian

IMG_20190901_105215 Who is Dorian, you may ask? Dorian is the hurricane currently lashing the Bahamas that may or may not be lashing my house on Monday. This hurricane has been lurking around for at least a week and we are still wondering where Dorian will land.

We have had so much time to prepare I did not really have anything left to do and decided to make this wildly funky vase with flowers that would likely be destroyed by  high winds. I had to take the vase outside to photograph it – the windows of our house are covered with the steel shutters seen behind the vase and it is dark and sepulchral inside. Too dark to photograph the nearly 4 foot tall arrangement, the vase is resting on my bath mat.

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190901105508924_COVERHere is a closer view. The orchids are Cattleyas, gifted to me by my neighbor. I may have saved them from an uncertain demise, they were being consumed by tiny ants, Not to mention potential hurricane winds. The orange and red flowers are the bud stalks from Blanchetiana Bromeliads (Aechmea blanchetiana) these will usually survive a hurricane and continue flowering but are bent over. The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) not sure if the berries will survive the wind. Time will tell. The foliage is a big leaf of Heliconia and two variegated Pandanus leaves.

Happy Gardening…Hope we meet next Monday. The winds are howling already.

In A Vase on Monday- Spa Day

 

20190331_110422From time to time I make an arrangement that generates comments like ‘it belongs in the lobby of a spa’. I think there is a relaxation vibe from some of the more tropical plants in my garden. I have been gardening madly to get my pollinator/fruit garden finished before the rainy season starts, so I could use a Spa Day myself.

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Here is a close up, there is a lot of foliage in this vase. The flowers are; in red, Guzmania Bromeliad, in white, Lotus Leaf Begonia (Begonia nelumbifolia) – a recent addition to the garden, this Begonia gets 5 feet tall and wide. It has just started to flower and is really shooting up in size. The burgundy and green leaves are from Neoregelia Bromeliads, I am not quite sure of the variety. The thinner leaves are from a Varigated Minature Pineapple (currently bearing tiny pink pineapples). Bigger leaf behind is from the Ornamental Banana (Musa ensente). Ferns are from my driveway edge volunteer Boston Ferns (Nephrolepsis exaltata) and the volunteer Asparagus Fern. Vase is wrapped with a Pandanus leaf.20190331_124536-1

Here is my volunteer Boston Fern garden, I have a crushed shell driveway, the shells are held in place by wood timbers and there is an inches wide space between the driveway and my neighbor’s fence where the ferns thrive. I have really enjoyed this gift.

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Happy Monday.

In A Vase on Monday – Lion’s Tail and Firesticks

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The odd title reflects what is in my vase this Monday. The orange flowers in the front of the arrangement are from Leonitis nepetifolia (I think) Lion’s Ear or Tail, depending on who you ask and also called Dagga, the perennial version(L. leonurus) is smoked in South Africa like Marijuana. A blog friend sent me some seeds when Hurricane Matthew destroyed the one in my garden. I am now wondering if these are annual, biennial or just experiencing Florida’s seasonal weirdness. I am leaving them to go to seed in the garden, hoping for a straighter set of plants – these were knocked over by Hurricane Irma the following year and never straightened up. Florida’s seasonal weirdness at it’s inexplicable best.

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Here is a close up, the Firesticks in the arrangement are from a Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia ‘Firesticks’), they are the yellow tubular plants in the arrangement. These grow 12 feet tall and wide and I have a few around the garden, you can just stick a bit in the ground and have a whole new plant in a few years. No irrigation needed or wanted. Below is a Firesticks used as foundation planting for my house, the coloration reddens as the weather heats up.20190217_171624-1 (1)

As for the rest of the arrangement, here is another photo.

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The red flowers in the arrangement are from Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), a stalwart in my garden; multicolored foliage – I don’t think varigated adequately describes the foliage, Mammey Croton (Codieum “Mammey”); the ferns in the back are Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata, of houseplant fame). The Boston Fern, another unlikely volunteer in my garden.

The vase, dark grey, was picked up at a Department Store sale as was the red stool (with patina). I have enjoyed both of these items for IAVOM posts.

Happy Monday! Stay away from the Dagga.

In A Vase on Monday- Fire and Rain

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I have seen rain this week, every day, off and on, all day long. My husband is grumpy, the dogs are grumpy and I am getting gardening stir crazy. But, the Firebush is very happy and flowering magnificently.

If anyone remembers James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain here’s a link, before you click on the link realize there is always advertising and I had nothing to do with it: James Taylor. 

I decided a vintage copper teapot filled with warm colored flowers was necessary to lift my dreary spirits. After trimming some fiery flowers, I donned my red plastic raincoat and headed into the garden to see what I could find to join the Firebush. My greyhounds declined the offer to join me and sulked in their (sort of) dry beds.

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My neighbor’s Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) long ago left its bounds and was hanging down over a hedge that grows between us. Beaten down from all the rain (myself, my husband,my dogs and the Mexican Flame Vine) I cut a few stems to drape over the side of the teapot. Then I discovered some Tropical Red Sage flowers (Salvia coccinea) for the back of the arrangement; added some Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis); and found a few Parrotflowers (Heliconia psittacorum). I have been missing the Parrotflowers. Hurricane Irma followed by a mid thirties temperature in January nearly did them in. The few I found are about half the size they were last year. The flowers and foliage from the flourishing Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) filled the framework of the flower arrangement. Say that 10 times fast.

Here is a close up of the flowers:

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It is raining again. The good news is the Frangipani loves it and I have my first blooms this year.

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Happy Gardening!