This post is called Grace because of the funky purple bowl I used as a container.
The bowl belonged to my mother’s Aunt Grace, who was a charming old school southern lady. Grace was my grandmother’s sister and a schoolteacher long retired by the time I came along – she would sit with me and we would draw cats from a series of circles. I have always liked to draw and perhaps she got me started with those cats.
I have been plotting the flower arrangement for a while waiting for the Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica) to need pruning again. The bowl is good sized and it took 10 or so clusters of Frangipani to fill it, I added some buds and foliage of Heliconia (H. psittacorum) then some Asian Sword Fern for green texture.
The purple bowl of Plumeria is now gracing my foyer, I think of my Great Aunt when I pass it.
I feel I have been graced with new friends and some interesting new projects over the past couple of weeks, I wish the same to all who read this post. Happy Monday and thanks to our hostess, Cathy .
Crisp fall mornings and brightly colored Autumnal leaves are not something I associate with South Florida. There are 3 Red Maples that change color in a nearby swamp and that is about the extent of our fall color. As far as crisp mornings go, it is usually 80 degrees going on sweltering by late morning.
However, there are berries in the fall on some of our native shrubs. The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana), actually recycled from last week’s arrangement. The tubular orange flowers/ berries are from a huge Firebush (Hamelia patens) in my backyard. I cut it back to about 4 feet during the winter and it is now over 7 feet tall – and this one is called Dwarf. Currently covered in orange tubular flowers turning to berries (they look a bit like Pieris berries) this shrub is also a magnet for butterflies and I can’t bring myself to cut it back, yet. I have considered tree forming it!
The berries of the Firebush, a bit further along than the ones in the arrangement:
Filling out the arrangement are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), a mystery weed and a few Asian Sword Ferns. The mystery weed popped up a few years ago and has nice cream colored spikes in the Fall, I may find out what it is someday.
The cobalt blue vase was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister in law many years ago.
I have planted my IAVOM inspired seeds and am pleased to report the White Italian Sunflowers, Cactus Zinnias and Asters are coming along. Hopefully soon to appear in a vase.
My husband and I packed up our dogs and took them to Greyhound camp, then headed west to visit our favorite place, Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. I always enjoy seeing the tropical plants and the volcanic landscape. Maui was formed by two dormant volcanoes millennia ago, the last eruption was Haleakala in the late 1700s. Volcanic rock is still evident from this eruption and fields of black lava rock are visible on most of the beaches.
The landscape of this island is nothing short of magnificent and always seems a bit biblical in scale, the vistas are long, the colors intense and the rainbows incredible. I would like to find a pot of gold at the end of this one.
Here is a slideshow of the landscapes around the beaches of Maui:
Here is a slideshow of some of the plants I encountered:
And for IAVOM fans, this arrangement is always in front of the short order cooks at my husband’s favorite restaurant, The Paia Fish Market – kind of a surfer seafood place. It is Orange and Red Heliconias, Pinecone or Shampoo Gingers and Monstera (Swiss Cheese Plant) leaves.
On Sunday, I arrived home from a two week sojourn to Maui, Hawaii and my hometown, Atlanta, Georgia and found a beautiful vase by my front door. South Florida may seem seasonless but Fall is evident here. My trip to Maui provided tropical beauty not available in Florida and the pass through Atlanta added a touch of Autumn, just settling in the Southeastern US providing a tiny bit of fall color in the leaves of Tulip Poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) and Sourwoods (Oxydendron arboreum). In South Florida, the Beautyberry is setting fruit as well as the Papayas.
Two weeks ago I left a posy for my neighbor for feeding my fluffy white cat.
Much to my surprise, she left a lovely posy for me that I discovered this afternoon when I arrived home. Here is a close up:
The Coral flowers in the arrangement are Dwarf Poncianias (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), Coral is an unusual color in these trees and plays nicely against the purples and pinks in the arrangement. Purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) – these berries materialized while I was on vacation. The Pink flowers are Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus), White flowers are Plumerias, the foliage is Hawaiian Snowbush (Breynia nivosa)
The fruit sitting in front of the vase is a Papaya, grown by another neighbor, who was outside when I walked by with my dogs this evening. We have been discussing Papaya Date Nut Bread for weeks – waiting for these Papayas to ripen.
The Papayas are chopped and I am searching for a recipe, Bread should be ready to stand by A Vase later on Monday.
Sunday afternoon I found myself in a wine tasting room near the top of Haleakala, a brooding dormant volcano on the Island of Maui in Hawaii. The time change is a bit significant between Hawaii and the UK, but I think it probably is already Monday in the UK so I decided to borrow these vases for my post.
These are Queen Emma Crinum Lilies cut from the grounds of Maui Wine, located in Ulupalakua in the Upcountry of Maui. Another vase on the bar held Anthuriums, also from the grounds. The bar itself is 20 feet long and made from slices of an old Mango tree. Probably my favorite bar ever and the wines are pretty good. I bought 3 bottles. Call me girly, I like the Pineapple Wine.
The winery grows grapes and produces wine from grapes and pineapples. It is situated below a cloud forest of (among other things) Eucalyptus, Norfolk Pines and purple flowering Jacaranda trees. The tasting room is set in a lovely garden, Jade Vines cascade from a pergola, Agapanthus line the walkways, and tropical perennial beds surround a ring of wood sculptures emulating hula dancers. A misty rain was falling as we made our way up the mountain into the clouds. When the clouds part, the views of the coast sprawling below are spectacular.
Soon we will be packing up to head back to our slightly less tropical paradise in South Florida. I have seen some wildly tropical plants here and will be posting more pictures later this week.
The steamy tropics are what these Parrot Flower Heliconias thrive in and they are blooming like mad in my garden. The tropical Atlantic is doing it best to keep South Florida provided with maximum heat and humidity and plenty of hurricane track spaghetti for everyone to fret about. So far, so good. Fingers crossed.
This arrangement is a thank you gift for my neighbor. It is Parrot Flower ( Heliconia psittacorum), Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica) and the Native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) and the ubiquitous Asian Sword Ferns, long version.
Happy Monday from my garden and Thank You to Cathy for hosting.
People of a certain age may remember what my title is referring to – a Neil Diamond album popular in the 1970’s.
Here is the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_August_Night
Hot August Night was a favorite of one of my brothers, who played the record a lot. Cherry, Cherry is one of the songs I associate with the album. Sweet Caroline would be the other.
What does this have to do with gardening? Well, the nights are really hot here in South Florida in August – the low temperature last night was 78 (25.5 Celsius), the high this afternoon is 95 (35 Celsius) with heat index 104 (40 Celsius). I have been installing Microspray irrigation in the perennial beds during cooler hours as the irrigation system that came with the house won’t support anything but widely spaced tufts of torpedo grass. Hand watering while having irrigation is a bit tiresome and I have been planning a more detailed perennial garden.
So, on these hot August nights when I am toiling at twilight I can smell the wonderful Tropical Gardenias (in bud in the arrangement) Tabernaemontana divaricata, the Tropical Red Salvias (Salvia coccinea) are the perennials in need of more water and the big Red Hibiscus – Cherry, Cherry. The Hibiscus is from an ancient old fashioned shrub and I wish I knew the cultivar, it is one of the great indestructibles. The Asian Ferns in the arrangement are probably going to be too happy after they get more reliable rain from the Microspray irrigation. The crystal Rose Bowl was inherited from my mother and I have not had a rose in it, so far.
The more detailed perennial garden I am working on this fall is going to include some alumni from this Summer’s vases – from all the Cathys, the Italian White Sunflower, Asters from Cathy, and the Cactus Zinnias from Susie and Cathy. I have the seeds and will start potting in a few weeks for planting later in October. A grand experiment is in the works.
As far as Neil Diamond goes, I am still humming Sweet Caroline..