20140719_160929

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?

20140719_160929

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!

20140719_120616-1

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!

20140719_131557-1

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…

:) :) :)

20140710_152042

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.

20140710_152025

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.

20140710_152000

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.

20140710_151954

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…

:) :) :)

20140707_142229

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:

20140707_142217-1

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.

20140707_142229

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)

20140705_103349-1

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!

4thjuly2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend from Vero Beach!

Until next time…

:) :) :)

20140630_164527

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! :) )

20140630_164534

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…

:) :) :)

Related articles

20140625_075417

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….

20140620_083155

Summer Solstice, 2014

Happy Solstice Day!

Ever wonder what Florida looks like on the longest day of the year?  Here are two pictures I took today:

From this perspective,  I’m the “crazy lady with too many plants.”

20140620_083009

Sunny in the morning…..

But from THIS perspective, I’m not: ;)

20140614_161158

Clouding over by late afternoon…

Last weekend a heavy storm destroyed the passiflora vines and original trellis here and I’m fairly certain lightening was to blame: the vines were sizzled and trellis shorn in two beneath them. I guess it grounded out when it shattered the base of the large ceramic pot (lower left in the frame.)  Big mess!

Although I hated cutting down passion flowers in full bloom, I like how neat and clean it looks now.  I hope the newly added Yucca gigantea, Amaryllis, and Lily bulbs do well here.

You all know I’ve been revamping my blog and I’m excited it’s finally done! I added the last piece this morning: an audio widget in the sidebar!

I listen to hours of music daily and often wish I could share it without writing entire posts no one cares to read.  So if you’re a music fan, keep an eye on that widget–right now my son’s song “Spiral” is uploaded, but I’ll be changing artists frequently.

A word about Spiral: T.C wrote it a few years ago, and it took my breath away even before he’d arranged and recorded what you’ll hear today. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Happy Summer to all of you, especially Timogarden whose Midsummer Party dance floor must be CRAZY right now!

Until next time….

:) :) :)

Related articles

Wordless Wednesday: 6/18/14, Seagrass Planters

Every Saturday, the Beachside Farmers’ Market offers fresh foods and horticultural products to the residents and tourists of Vero Beach.  One day I may actually break down and buy a few of these beautifully crafted containers at the Akamai Accents Booth.

seagrass2

seagrass1

For more on Wordless Wednesday, click the WW Blog/Linkup at The Jenny Evolution

Until next time…

:) :) :)

Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. Katherinae

Scadoxus multiflorus ssp. Katharinae (first bloom cycle)

I was a bit surprised when a Scadoxus pushed through the soil last week.  I remember planting it 2 yrs ago and digging it up when it looked mushy and rotted a year later: I must’ve left some healthy rhizome behind. :)

Like so many plants in my garden, Scadoxus hails from tropical Africa.  There are 9 species in this genus of the Amaryllis family,  mine being S. multiflorus subspecies Katharinae.  Katharinae’s leaf bases overlap and press together to form a sheaf-like pseudostem that is sometimes purple spotted:

Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. Katherinae emerging flower and pseudostem, 6/11/14

Although other Scadoxus species don’t show true leaves until their flowers open, Katharinae’s thin, wavy leaves emerge with the stalk.  As it continues growing, a total of 9 leaves form a hosta-style rosette along the soil line.

The Scadoxus flowerhead is comprised of 200 individual flowers in a spherical umbel above the foliage. The tiny “florets” are coral/red with bright yellow anthers on protruding stamens.  The photo on the left was taken Sunday (6/15) and the one on the right, this morning.

When the flowers are spent, berries appear on the pedicel tips in a process like that of Iris domestica.  These decorative berries change from green to scarlet, remaining on the plant ’til spring when they shrivel and dry out. At this point, any remaining pulp can be rubbed away to harvest the soft, fleshy seeds within.

S. multiflorus Katharinae should be planted in shade for optimal growth and appearance; too much sun can burn the thin leaves.  The entire genus is toxic to humans/small animals so plant with caution if your children are young.

20140617_091254

Until next time….

:) :) :)

20140615_111749

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra!

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share an image with a unique, unexpected element, and I just snapped a few that fit the criteria perfectly.

Take a look at this “little extra something” on an Aloe saponaria that recently bloomed in the Ranchero.  Note how the healthy, original flower spike (middle right in the frame) looks nothing like the new, extra-wierd one!

20140615_111918

A. saponaria (aka Soap Aloe) is native to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and well suited to Florida’s salt air and gravelly, sandy soil.   A single plant will expand considerably by producing offsets (pups) so over the years I’ve watched many enter the flowering stage. Newly emerging spikes typically look like this:

20140615_145551

So what is causing the strange growth in pic 1?  Eriophyes aloinis (aka Aloe Gall Mite) an extra-tiny “extra” I’d rather live without!

E. aloinis can attack any part of an aloe plant, but seems particularly drawn to flower spikes and the tops of rosettes. As they feed, the mites secrete a growth hormone regulator that induces a solid mass (gall) to form around them. Safe within the gall they eat and reproduce, wreaking havoc with their host’s normal tissue development and disfiguring the affected leaves and flowers.

20140615_112040

Can you spot another “extra” in this picture? Hint: it’s alive!

Although the mites seldom kill, their aesthetic damage is irreversible. To prevent spreading, surgically remove any tumorous plant parts and dispose far, far away from your garden!

#extraannoying !

For other interpretations of this week’s challenge, click on the Zemanta related links below.

Until next time….

:) :) :)