"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Touch of China for My Indoor Garden

Before my husband went back to China to visit his parents recently, he asked me what I wanted him to bring from China.  Well, can you guess what I asked for?  No, not plants, not seeds, since it is illegal to bring those back to United States from foreign countries.  What else could be close to what a gardener wants?  Yes, some containers!

No, I was not asking him to carry those big heavy pots all the way across Pacific. I wanted something beautiful, reasonable sized, and of course in Chinese Style.

He brought me back five beautiful pots for indoor plants.  They are all hand made by pottery craftsmen.  Each one has those traditional Chinese pottery design elements, such as poems, or poetic Chinese phrases inscription, mountain/water drawing, bamboo, orchid, lotus flower, or Plum flower drawings.  To show you the detail of those elements, I made one collage for each pot. You also can click each picture to enlarge it.

My original intent was explaining to you what are those Chinese words mean by translation, but only found they just lost its poetic rhythm after translation.  So I only can point you out that those words have something to do with "Breeze", "Moon", "Fragrance", "Charm", and etc.  Now, use your imagination to make up some poetic words in your mind when you look the pictures :)

The plant in the first pot is Fern "Green Fantasy" (Nephrolepis exaltata), a gift from my friend.  I have been looking for this fern for quite a while because it is a very popular indoor plant in China.  Now it just looks perfect in this Chinese style pot, bringing me so many nostalgic feelings...

Update:  FlowerLady found the picture of Fern "Green Fantasy" does not match the plant.  I looked it up over the Internet, and I think the correct name for this fern is: Asparagus setaceus. The original tag that came with the plant was obviously mislabeled.   Thanks, FlowerLady!

The plant in the second pot is my newest purchase, Paphiopedilum orchid, or Lady's Slipper Orchid (yes, my orchid collection is growing!).

The following two pots had Phalaenopsis orchids.

This one not only has drainage holes at the bottom, but also on the sides.   Would be perfect for orchids growing.

This one has most unique shape, curved triangle.  I have not found a suitable plant to put in yet.  It looks beautiful enough even just by its own.

All pots except the third one (the lighter color) are all made of famous ZiSha (purple) clay, although the color is not really purple.   You probably also see the Chinese Tea pots made of the same material.

I am so thankful that DH brought all these beautiful pots for me.  You can imagine how hard to carry on and protect these fragile pots on a total 24 hour long journey.

Now finally I am having a touch of China for my indoor garden.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Lily from My Favorite Nursery!

In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I bought an unknown lily from a local nursery.  Floridagirl at http://gardeninpeace.blogspot.com/ helped me to identify that lily is one of Griffinia cordataGriffinia aracensis or G. liboniana.  I think the best match is Griffinia liboniana since my plant has spotted leaves.  Thank you, Floridagirl!  Its origin is Brazilian rainforest.  Even it is small, but what a cute beauty it is! 

Griffinia liboniana
Chinese Common name: 蓝晶花 (blue crystal flower)

I visited the same nursery again a couple of weeks ago, and discovered another lily like plant in blooming.  The flower is orange color with long yellow stamens.  The one that is flowering doesn't have leaves, but I can see leaves on other non-flowering plants.  The leaves are similar to the one that Griffinia liboniana has, without spots though.  I asked the owner Sherry what its name is, and she said:  "Orange lily, go find the name and bring back to me, and I will write down."  She is such a pleasant lady with a good sense of humor, and every time I visit her nursery, we always chat a little bit about plants.  

Eucrosia Bicolor

I used the google image to match this lily. After going through a couple of hundreds of pictures, I found the match!

It is called Peruvian Lily or the scientific name Eucrosia Bicolor, from Amaryllidaceae family. It is found in Ecuador and Peru. I am so glad to find another bulb will thrive in South Florida.

Now you know why Sherry's nursery becomes my favorite nursery.  Every time I go there, I feel like going treasure hunt.  With no disappointment, I almost always can find something new and worth bringing home.  This lily is another treasure I discovered!

For readers living in Broward County Florida, if you are interested in this nursery, you might not be able to find it from the Internet.  Its name is "Bah's Nursery", and it is located on the south side of Griffin Rd, East of I-75.  If you drive on Griffin Rd from West to East, you can find "Bah's Nursery" sign on the right side of the road after you pass I-75 not far away.  No, Sherry did not ask me to write this for her,and she even does not know I have a blog.  For a nursery like this, I am happy to use my little public space to promote this hidden treasure. Happy Hunting :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Pink Brugmansia or Angel's Trumpet

"Wordless Wednesday: Pink Brugmansia or Angel's Trumpet" is a copyrighted post, written by Ami @ http://sefloridagardenevolvement.blogspot.com/ on April 20th, 2011.

"Wordless Wednesday: Pink Brugmansia or Angel's Trumpet" is a copyrighted post, written by Ami @http://sefloridagardenevolvement.blogspot.com/ on April 20th, 2011.

This is my entry to "Wordless Wednesday" this week...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sago Palm, Orchids and Unknown Plants

This year, my Sago Palm is growing new fronds earlier than last year, thanks for the warmer weather.  I was a little concerned about the yellow spots on the old leaves.  I did some research over the Internet, and I think it might be caused by magnesium deficiency.  This weekend I applied some Rite Green Magnesium Sulphate Soil Enhancer to it, and then watered it thoroughly.  Hope it can correct the issue.

The ground cover under the sago palm is Acalypha reptans, also known as Dwarf Chenille or fire tail.  They look together beautifully, especially when the Sago leaves are all nice and green.

I love orchids, and found myself bringing more and more home.  My family also gifts me with orchids for my Birthday, Mother's Day, and other holidays.  I started with 4 orchids about two years ago, now I have 22 of them.

The first two are the new purchase.  Could not resist the colors and the pattern. I love orchids with speckle pattern.

This one was a Christmas gift of 2010.  It had two flower spikes when I bought it.  After it finished flowering in February, I thought I have to wait for a long time for its reblooming.  It surprised me with another flower spike a couple of weeks ago.  Love an orchid can bloom more than once a year.

Vanda Sawita 'blue'

Another orchid with speckle...

I placed three flowering orchids together in a plant stander at the front door patio.  Every time I enter the front door, I stop and enjoy their beauties.

Now I need some help with two unknown plants in the garden.

Since I discovered some local nurseries, I check them out quite often for any new plants.  A couple of months ago, I spotted one small container with a lily like plant hidden in a corner.  I asked the owner what it was, and she said it was something similar to rain lily.  There were no flowers, only leaves.  I love anything lily related, and I trust that nursery since they only carry the plants that can thrive in my area.  Also I like any bulb that grows well in this weather.  So I brought it home.

It did not grow any bigger except setting some new leaves.  The leaves are about 6 to 7 inch long, with  one inch width.  Recently it started flowering.  The color is beautiful lavender.  The shape of the flower also resemble some crinium lily, but smaller.  It doesn't look like rain lily though.

Anybody recognizes this plant?

Here is another plant that I need help with the ID.  I found it when I was weeding the flower bed this morning.  It is under my Tropical lilac tree, so it is in a  deep shade.

Two flower spikes are above the ground.  No leaves were found on the plant.  The flower is very small, maybe at most one inch across.

Next to the flower spike, I found a bulb like new growth.  Not sure if they belong together to the same plant though.

The flower reminds me of orchid, but I never saw it anywhere before.  This flower bed was opened last summer, so I know it is not something from the previous owner.  It also doesn't look like another wild orchid (Oeceoclades maculata) I found in my yard before.

I love mystery, now who wants to be the detective?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Busy Month and The Weather My Garden Loves

April started as a busy month for me. 

First, we were preparing for parents going back to China after a six month stay with us.  It was a long and exhausting trip coming here all the way from China for their ages, so once they were here, we wanted them to stay longer.  Some of my western friends think that is very unusual for parents to stay with their grow-up children for this long time, but it is not that uncommon for Chinese families in the past.  Although now more and more Chinese families are taking the same life style as here in States, i.e., keeping the family small.   I am a mother myself now, and I know how much we are willing to sacrifice for our kids  and how hard we have worked for our kids when they are little, and my parents did the exact same for me and my sister when we were little.  Now they are in the ages that need cares from their children, and I wish I can give them more than what I can give now.  Confucius said: "While your parents are alive, do not journey afar  (父母在,不远游)".   While this becomes more and more difficult in these modern days, I understand its meaning more than ever now with parents getting older and weaker.  Not only I have journeied afar, it is across-pacific-ocean far from them!  I am happy at least I got this half year to stay with them and took care of them like they did when I was a kid...

Second, my husband is also on a trip back to China to visit his parents.  I am here alone with two boys, and this week is the FCAT  (Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test) week!  For those Floridian parents who have kids taking the test, you know how schools make a big deal out of this.  I will be glad when this is over :)

To add on all of this, the Internet service that our community uses had some issues, so we are having on and off connections this week.  Kids need Internet to do their homework, so I had to drive them to the places that have Wi-Fi connections.  I wish we could have our choice for the Internet service provider, not stuck with the one that community has chosen for us.

With all of these going on, blogging and gardening have to take the back seats, although I have been squeezing some time to do some necessary gardening chores here and there.

The April weather in South Florida is gorgeous, the temperature has kept in middle to upper 80s for the high.  To be honest, it is a little bit too hot for me to work in the garden in the middle of the day already, but this is the weather my garden loves!

Here are some pictures I shoot recently.  Everyday there are new things occurring in the garden, and I really can not keep up with them. 

Pentas love the hot weather...

So are these Indian blanket flowers...

One early morning, I took out the long lens that I hardly use, and caught this view from my patio.  It is a merged view of the bromeliad corner and my container area at the patio.  There actually is a little gravel path between the corner and patio.  Do you see my effort of "Vertical" gardening with that bromliad wreath attached on the fence on the back?  The pink Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) on the back was the result of my stucking a branch trimmed off my other Angel's trumpet into the ground last year.  Now it has become a small tree!

Here is the view of the west backyard flower bed looking towards the bromeliad corner, you can see both white and pink Angel's trumpets blooming in this picture.  Loving the colors shown in this picture, so Spring!

Oh, want to show you a picture of this same area that I took one month ago.  Do you see that big rosemary in front of the Orange Marmalade Crossandra?  That was a small plant in six inch container that I started from seed about one year ago.  As you know me, I can not stand any bare spot in the garden, and love to squeeze plants here and there, so I decided to stuck that young plant in that location.  Now one year later, it becomes huge, and blocked the view of the three Orange Marmalade Crossandras that are major focal point of this flower bed.  I moved the rosemary somewhere else in the garden, now it looked better :)

Mealycup sage started blooming again once the weather warmed up.  It has my favorite color of blue/purle,   I expect it will become even more prolific in the next several months.

Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'
Common name: Mealycup Sage
I got this purple shooting stars from Lowes' clearance rack.  The label says full sun for it, but I found it wilted easily in the sunny location.  After I planted it in a partial shade area ( a couple of hour of sun), it has been growing quite well.  Not only I love its ability to bloom constantly,  I also love its deep green shinny leaves.
Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum
common name: Shooting Stars
I forgot to trim this Crape Jasmine bush until I saw all the fresh buds shooting out early March.  Since I prefer a more compact version of bush, I trimmed it anyway.  The result is that I had to wait for another one and half month for new buds developed, and now it finally openning the first set of flowers.  The bush is located in the center of the front garden.

Crape Jasmine
April is also the month that Desert Rose blooms its head off!

Even this hibiscus is still in a container, it blooms quite often for me.  I think it deserves a spot in my garden ground.
Hibiscus 'Jane Cowell'
This is my new Rose called "Josephine Land".  It was recommended by the nursery for its fragrance, and it is one of the varieties sold as Nelson's Florida Roses.  So I am hoping it will do well in South Florida weather as well.  So far, it looks very healthy, and has developed lots of buds recently.  Florida's hot hummid summer will be a real test for it. 

Needle flower has been growing quite big, and full of flower buds as well.  Very soon, I will be able to enjoy its 2 inch long delicate white flowers.  Hmmm, looks like I was not the only one who was enjoying its flower buds.
Augusta rivalis
Common name: Needle Flower
It gets hot outside, but this is the weather that my garden loves, so I am not complaining...

I am submitting this post to the GBBD at http://maydreamsgardens.blogspot.com/ and Fertilizer Friday at http://tootsietime.blogspot.com/.
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