Wordless Wednesday: 7/30/14 (Phlox Surprise)

I love when flowers appear unexpectedly!

This “volunteer” is a Phlox variety (I think) although the leaves seem a bit veiny?  I’ve included additional pics from different angles so let me know if you can I.D. it!

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Somehow it grew in a perfectly located forgotten container! Such a nice accent for the pink Fingerpaint brom (Neoregelia spectabilis.)

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…here’s another view with Gaillardia Torch Red Ember in the background.

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Seed germination in unexpected spots is not as easy as you might think! Recently, my blog friend–a felllow Treasure Coast resident–George Rogers wrote a VERY informative, entertaining post on the subject.

For more on Wordless Wednesday, click the WW blog/linkup at the Jenny Evolution.

Until next time….

:) :) :)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Nothing says Summer Lovin’ like a hot, steamy night with an electric storm on the horizon.

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Mcwilliams Boat Ramp, Vero Beach, 7/26/14

I snapped these pics at the McWilliams Park Boat Ramp while waiting for my friend Ivana to start her first ever road race…at age 70!

Shortly after her son died (unexpectedly) last December, Ivana began walking 3-4x per week to manage her sadness and stress levels.  Before too long, walking turned to jogging and the goal became training hard enough to compete in a marathon by 2015. Go Ivana! :)

Last night’s run was a family event to benefit the Vero Beach High School Cross Country team. Participants included kids as young as 6, and men well into their 80s, but Ivana was the sole entrant in the Women ages 70-75 category. :)

After a brief lightning delay, the starting gun and cheerleaders kicked things off:

32mins later, Ivana crossed the finish line with a time that marked her personal best. I wish I’d gotten clearer pictures, but dusk was rapidly falling.

The event finished with a traditional Summer lovin’ menu of Southern Pulled Pork, cole slaw and watermelon. Yum!20140726_200915

For other  Summer Lovin’ posts, click on the Zemanta related links below!

Until next time….

PS:  Did it irk anyone else that WP left the “g” off the end of loving?  Arrrggghhhh!  I cringed every time I had to type that hokey spelling!

:) :) :)

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Gloriosa Superba (Flame Lilies)

After hobbling along for 4 yrs, my Gloriosa superba vines are going the distance!  Finally, some healthy, sturdy growth.

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Flame lilies are herbaceous perennials in the Colchicaceae family, native to tropical Africa, Asia and India. They love hot sun and heavy rain so adapt well in Florida Zones 9-11.  Mine were germinated from seed but they can also grow from tubers, a wiser choice if you prefer flowers within the first or second season.

When ready to bloom, greenish capsules appear between the leaves and stem, so I was excited to see a bud among these upper leaves!

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G.superba are scandent vines, meaning their leaves taper to curling tendrils that cling to anything they encounter.  In the picture below, the tendrils are using  V.bonnariensis for extra support.

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Word of caution: all parts of G.superba are poisonous, especially the mature tubers that look A LOT like sweet potatoes!  If you choose to grow both, make sure you recognize the difference, or plant them on opposite ends of the yard to be extra safe. You’d hate to sit down to dinner and be dead by bedtime! :eek:

I’ll post about the Flame Lily’s extraordinary, unusual flower shape as soon as they open!

Until next time….

:) :) :)

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New plants :)

I recently placed an order with PlantDelights.com and I’m so impressed!  They packaged their stock with care and shipped it quickly: all three plants arrived in perfect shape and much larger than expected!  This is the Gaura I just popped in the ground. Isn’t it huge for 12.00?

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Gaura lindiheimeri “Pink Cloud.” 7/19/14

G. lindheimeri “Pink Cloud” (aka Bee Blossom) was created in 2001 when Loleta Powell, of  North Carolina crossed G. dauphine with G. siskiyou pink. The result was a solidly upright growth pattern with brilliant pink flowers from early spring to late fall.  If you like the informal look of long, wispy stems and spider-like flowers, this one’s for you!

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Gaura lindheimeri “Pink Cloud.” flowers, 7/19/14

I was equally impressed by the size of the ornamental pomegranate, although I believe it was mis-identified on the Plant Delights website.  If you go by their catalog descripition/photos, Punica granatum “Nochi Shibari” should instead be P. granatum “Mme Legrelle.”   Both shrubs look similar until huge double blooming flowers appear:  Legrelle’s are orange with white variegation, and Nochi Shibari’s a deep solid red.  So which did i buy?  I emailed Tony (Plant Delight’s owner) for clarification.

Right now the mystery plant is strictly stems and foliage, but look how strong and thick it looks. Mis-labeled or not, I LOVE this nursery’s quality stock!

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Punica granatum (unknown) 7/19/14

I also purchased a Gloxnia variety named Sinningia “Bananas Foster” but haven’t placed it yet. As soon as I do, I’ll post pics!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Wordless Wednesday: Tale of Two Beaches: 7/16/14

What I disliked most about Massachusetts was the greyness but lately I wondered if my memory was selectively negative..  Apparently not!   A long time friend took this pic (this morning) at Revere Beach (MA)

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Now check out the photo I took at Jaycee Beach/Seaside Grille within minutes of the one above:

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Granted it isn’t ALWAYS bleak in MA or bright and sunny here, but the contrast today is pretty damn amazing!

For more on Wordless Wednesday click the Zemanta related links below.

Until next time…

:) :) :)

Revere Beach photograph by Victor DeRubeis: Thank you!

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My First Passiflora Hybrid

Last September I read an article about hybridizing passifloras and decided to give it a shot.  I can’t believe my first (and only) attempt worked! Take a look at this incredible case of beginner’s luck and then scroll below for details.

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Crossing passifloras involves little more than tweezing off the pollen-laden anthers of one variety (the father) and rubbing them across the stigmas of a different variety (the mother.) If the process works, the mother plant shows a bulge in the ovary within a few days. Over the next 4-6mos–when conditions are right, and in Florida they typically are–the bulge matures into a fruit containing seeds for a new hybrid.

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Who’s your daddy??! :)

At the time of this experiment, all three of my passionvines had open flowers.  I chose P. incense as the mother because it was the most mature passiflora in the garden.  Being an excessive wierdo, I decided P. lady margaret and  P. alatocaerulea should be “co-fathers.”  :)

I’m no botanist, so I’m uncertain 3 varieties can combine in a single event…but looking at the new flower’s characteristics makes me think it’s possible.  In this hybrid I see the shape of Lady Margaret, the paleness of Alatocaerulea and the spotted reproductive structures of Incense.

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When labelling new crosses, maternal names precede paternal in a strict botanical format: Passiflora incense x alatocaerulea x lady margaret.   I’m usually a stickler for such things, but Maggie dubbed it Passiflora esta and I fell in love with the name.  Find out why by clicking  here. :)

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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In a Vase on Monday: 7/7/14

It’s been raining pretty hard, so this Monday’s vase was assembled quickly.  I used a little bit of everything and a strawberry pot from a long forgotten corner:

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I filled the pot with Euphorbia tirucalli (pencil cactus) and Sansevieria trifasciata (snake plant) before inserting a few stems of Iris domestica (blackberry lily,) Ruellia tweediana (Mexican petunia,) and Verbena bonariensis (purple top/vervain.)

For the side pockets, I chopped a few heads of Aloe ciliaris to help anchor the Passiflora incense flowers.  Just before taking pictures I remembered the “filler/spiller/thriller” rule and included a few mandevilla tendrils to “wing out” the sides.

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I was pleased with the outcome but Clarisse was unimpressed: she slept through all my efforts AND the drizzle. ;)

Kudos to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for creating this fun weekly challenge.  You can see other Monday Vases by clicking here

Until next time…

:) :) :)

H.undatus , July 2014

Key West Cereus

There are approximately 20 species of cereus cacti ranging from Central/South America through Mexico and the West Indies to the southernmost parts of Florida.  While in Key West last summer, I removed some cuttings of unknown cereus origin (from a parking lot) and blogged about them here.  Although I assumed my purloined plant was Selenicereus pteranthus, now that it’s bigger I think I snagged a dragonfruit (aka Hylocereus undatus)

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Hylocereus undatus is a vining, hemi-epiphytic, broader and fleshier relative of the Selenicereus varieties.  As this sprawling cactus gains height, aerial roots assist the upward climb and ensure the plant’s survival if the soil bound roots should fail. What an adaptation!

Flowers in this genus are extremely fragrant and large–up to 14″ long x 9″ wide–and typically appear after 3 years..but only at night.  As a side note, the H. undatus along my vinewall just entered it’s 3rd year: I’ll let you know if anything happens!

I hope my American readers are having a fun 4th of July weekend and that Hurricane Arthur hasn’t wrecked your plans along the East Coast!  Yesterday’s weather was still unsettled here (as you can tell from the sky below) but Maggie and I spent it beachside anyway!

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Happy 4th of July Weekend from Vero Beach!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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In a Vase on Monday: 6/30/14

Today I stumbled across a blog challenge called “In a Vase on Monday” which inspired me to trim some leggy perennials and bring a little sunshine indoors.  Because the flowers were all red and yellow, I paired them with the similarly toned 1960s ceramic rooster my mother bought for me when I was too cheap to ante up the 10 bucks at a local yard sale. (Thanks Ma! :) )

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Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, Mandevilla, and Cosmos: In a Vase on Monday

You’ve seen these GaillardiaCosmos and Mandevilla many times before, but this is the first year I’ve grown Black Eyed Susan (aka Rudbeckia hirta.)

Black-Eyed Susans are perennial daisies or coneflowers, members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The flower heads measure 2 to 3 inches in diameter with yellow rays circling a dark-brown, spherical center. Commonly found in fields and on roadsides, they bloom between May and August, reaching 2 to 3 feet in height. They are native to the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains but have naturalized throughout the entire country and into Canada.

Although quite boring common, everything in the vase blooms reliably in June/July despite the full-on sun of a Florida summer…and that’s good enough for me! ;)

For other Monday Vases, click on Rambling in the Garden and the Zemanta related links below.

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Yesterday I noticed two blooming plants with characteristics that worked for this week’s challenge.  First, a Phalaenopsis (unknown origin) protruding between the Peace lilies along my back fence.

Second, an Aechmea fasciata I shared when it began spiking.  Two weeks later, the pyramidal head has lengthened and small violet-to-red flowers sprout between  pink bracts.

For other interpretations of this week’s challenge click here and on the Zemanta links below

Until next time….