amaryllis (ranchero) 3/28/12

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Each Fall, I increase my Amaryllis collection with a new, specially researched bulb. Last year I purchased a Papilio hybrid and this year went even more exotic with Hippeastrum Cybister Evergreen.  Today I got the surprise of my life when i noticed a third flowerscape  in front of the strappy leaves at the container’s rim:  Yowzah ❗


Hippeastrum Cybisters are a species of tropical bulb from South America whose flowers are thin and spidery-looking. Unlike their more common Amaryllis cousins, cybisters keep their leaves year-round. This particular cultivar is evergreen in another way, too—when the buds open they’ll (hopefully!) look like this picture, (pasted from the catalogue at🙂 )

Hippeastrum Cybister Evergreen

If you’re even the slightest bit interested in growing Amaryllis or Cybisters , I highly recommend reading Trends in Modern Hippeastrum Hybridizing.

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate (2nd Submission)

Late Fall/early Winter is one of Indian River County’s best growing seasons. While doing my garden walkabout today, I noticed some very delicate blossoms on my Mystery Plant:

Mystery plant, Ranchero, 12/21/12

Although it’s shot up another foot and grown quite bushy (with lots of buds! 🙂 ), I’m still no closer to naming it.  The flowers hint at centaurea but the leaves are all wrong. 😎 If anything comes to mind, please let me know! (Clicking on the picture will enlarge it for a better look.)

This next delicate beauty is popping up all over the place: containers, flower beds, even the backyard grass…I’ve counted 17 so far;  strange, since last winter I saw only one and not ’til the holidays were long passed.

Soldier Orchid, Vero Beach, 12/21/12Soldier Orchid, Vero Beach, 12/21/12

Soldier’s Orchid (aka Zeuxine Strateumatica) originated in Southeast Asia.  In 1936, the species spread through Florida via seedbags of centipede grass imported from China. Because of their spontaneous, almost weed-like appearance in open fields (or yards like mine) scientists assume this delicate species is not dependent on insect pollinators. Most likely they self fertilize/create seeds internally by an apomictic reproduction process….and somehow 3 of those seeds jumped into this Caladium pot! 🙂

Zeuxine strateumatica growing in the Caladium pot, 12/21/12

Nature sure is surprising!

And with that, I leave you to the walking, smiley, present guys:


….while you’re waiting for Santa, check out other interpretations of delicate in the Zemanta links below!

Merry Christmas!!!

Nasturtium Dwarf Cherry Rose

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week’s photo challenge, WordPress asks that we share something delicate. Immediately, I thought of showing you one of my birthday gifts: Presents


Lancaster Glass Sunshine Pattern Platter

Since the millennium, I’ve amassed a nice collection of 100yr old glassware, with a special emphasis on pink.  Last week I was thrilled to receive this lovely, delicate  platter as a present from my mother; ( 🙂 yup! I’m a Sagittarius…what’s YOUR sign!?!)

This new-to-me Depression Glass plate was produced circa 1932 by Lancaster Glass Company in pink, soft-green, and topaz.  Originally it was sold under the Sunshine pattern, but was renamed “Lana” in 1974.  The bottom of every Sunshine piece is made from clear glass in a cane-like pattern.  The rest of the item can either be clear (like mine) or satinized like this one.

For further information on Depression Glass (and a peek at a GREAT collection) visit Kejaba’s Treasure Store.

Until next time……

🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change of Seasons

In my neck of the woods, Aloe flowerspikes scream Change of Season almost as much as cars with northern license plates! 😉  While puttering in my rear garden this morning, I noticed an Aloe Ciliaris  sporting a healthy looking inflorescense:

Aloe Ciliaris Flower Spike, 12/14/12

Like most aloes, A. Ciliaris hails from Africa (mine came from Target, though! ha! 😉 ) When planted from seed, this vining climber grows FAST, but often takes 2-3 years to bear bright orange/red flowers. In their fully opened state, the flowers are approximately an inch long and tubular shaped, hanging in loose clusters from cone shaped racemes.

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂

ps. You can visit other Change of Season interpretions via the Zemanta links below:

Neoregelia spp

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

After yesterday’s downpour, my plants were adorned with lingering raindrops. I liked how this Passiflora belotti leaf caught the reflection of barely emerging sunlight:

Passiflora Belotti foliage

The overflowing “tank” of my Neoregelia Spectabilis  mirrored the Bauhinia tree above it: note the reflection of branches on the tank’s righthand side:

Neoregelia Spectabilis, 12/06/12

Reflection is not just physics and lightwaves; it describes behavioural elements, too ➡ hover your mouse over the picture to see what I mean! HA!

Passiflora belotti flower bud, 12/07/12

😉 😉

Until next time…..

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

I’m surprised WordPress saved this topic ’til AFTER Thanksgiving day 😯 but no matter; the approach of year’s end always brings about reflection. What good things happened? What bad? What do I appreciate most…or least?  At the heart of these ruminations runs gratitude..I’m thankful I can awaken each day and experience whatever life has in store for me.  NA/AA refers to it as accepting (and dealing with) “life on life’s terms,” and I’m thankful I’m able to do it. 🙂

In early November I “made” this online poster combining one of my favorite American Indian quotations with a picture of my super cosmos . If you’ve already seen it on Facebook, I hope you don’t mind I’ve recycled it for this week’s challenge. 🙂


Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

For other interpretations of thankful, click on the links below.

Green transport, green leaves

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope the day surrounded you with family, friends and festivities! 🙂   Instead of cooking, we celebrated at Mulligan’s Beach House, where I kept an eye out for all things green, the topic of this week’s photo challenge. :mrgreen:

In the gallery that follows, you’ll see:

  • kitschy blue-green bench
  • green roof
  • green ocean
  • green tropical plants seen through my shadow
  • people who feel green from eating too much
  • green transportation to work off the “too much” :mrgreen:

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 🙂 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

I initially read this week’s challenge incorrectly: I thought the topic was URBAN renewal 🙄 which would have been a problem.  Regular (garden variety? ha!) renewal….not so much!  THAT I’ve got on “lockdown”–to coin a phase from today’s young ‘uns!!

Take a look. 🙂

In the case of this Crimson Rambler morning glory

….renewal happened overnight:

Next, a Madagascar Palm transplanted last winter

Madagascar Palm, 11/16/12

…has color changes showing renewal of at least 1/3 of its body.

And then there’s the Dracaena Deremensis Warneckii I accidentally damaged….

Dracaena Deremensis Warneckei, 11/11/12

I needn’t have worried; it practices self renewal, the same way an Aloe Ciliaris does:

Aloe Ciliaris 11/11/12

This last photo illustrates my all-time-favorite renewal process, common to all kalanchoes.

Kalanchoe Daigremontiana 11/15/12The Mother of Thousands plant ( aka Kalanchoe Daigremontiana) renews along the leaf margins, dropping hundreds of tiny clones to sow and grow beneath her!

So there you have it, renewal in spades!  Please forgive the garden puns, I just can’t resist! They make me 🙂 and break into dance…Happy Dance!

And THAT renews my soul!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂

Rectangular Shaped Stairs at Jaycee Beach..Geometry surrounds us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

This week’s challenge asks for photos that highlight “the shapes and rhythms that make up the geometry of our world.”  At first I thought it would be difficult, but on a trip to the beach last Sunday, I noticed geometry all around me: 🙂

Geometry abounds at Jaycee Beach

Cement cubes, triangular shadehouses, and hedges sculpted to look like arcs…..all examples of applied mathematics at work.

But geometry is not the province of man alone.

Nature reveals her own complex pattern of spirals and swirls. The Fibonacci Sequence (a common geometric curve structure) is seen in seashells and cresting waves:

Geometry in Seashells

And what of hyperbolic geometry in which the surface of an object curves away from itself along any given point?  Coincidentally, marine organisms with “ruffles”  grow in ways that perfectly illustrate the mathematical form of hyperbolic geometry, like this piece of coral washed ashore on Jaycee Beach:

Flower frog for a mernaid

For more information on Hyperbolic Geometry, check out this YouTube lecture:

To see how other bloggers interpreted this week’s challenge, click the Zemanta links below:

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂

Artocarpus heterophyllus aka Jackfruit tree

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

The plants in my Ranchero garden are an eclectic mix of native, non-native and downright foreign, like this Opuntia Microdasys Albispina (whose story I’ve previously shared.)

Opuntia Microdasys came from Naxos, Greece!

It was a big surprise when this cactus arrived in 2010 via international mail; a single, rootless pad severed from a plant on a Naxos, Greece balcony!  Since crossing the Atlantic, it’s grown quite a bit, spawning a new family tradition AND American offspring ➡ when Maggie recently left Vero for her college apartment, I sent a single, rootless pad along for the ride!  🙂

The next foreign plant has never appeared on the blog before…strange really, considering the backstory!

Jackfruit Tree Sapling, Oct 31, 2012 Vero Beach. FL

The sapling amidst the mexican donkey ears is a Jackfruit tree, grown from foreign seeds I received in a bizarre, roundabout way from my stepdad.

The story goes like this:

In August 2010, he went to metro Boston for his grandchild’s 1st birthday. During the visit, he met a next-door neighbor, a Filipino lady who purchased a jackfruit at the local Asian market.. Upon hearing he was returning to Florida she said, “take these seeds and grow them.”  (wierd story?!!)  He pocketted the seeds….actually, he packed them in his carry-on: there were 8 seeds in total, and they were HUGE!

Naturally, when he got back to Vero Beach, he gave them to me:  “Take these seeds and grow them.” 😉  ha!!!  It was more like, “maybe you can do something with these?”

And so, most were dug into the Ranchero and a few into pots: 6 germinated and did well until the historic, 3 week cold snap of December, 2010.  In a month when lizards and oranges fell dead from frostbitten trees, I never expected my tiny new seedlings would survive, yet one did!   A truly remarkable event since Jackfruit trees are rare (foreign, really) anywhere north of Miami!

For more facts and legends about these interesting trees, click here

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂