January 10, 2017

Winter garden surprises . . . and other stuff

I ate my lunch in the garden this afternoon ~ quickly ~ so that I could get up and tinker.  And it's usually when I'm "tinkering" that I discover something.  Today it was a few somethings . . . unexpected somethings . . .  πŸ˜Š ~ like these first blooms on my giant milkweed transplants I started last spring.  Love this plant!

I also really like my clerodendrum wallichii (photo of blooms can be found here) and although most clerodendrums seed (and spread) easily, I was actually surprised to find one (and only one) seed on my plant today.  This particular clerodendrum has long stems of cascading white flowers - stunning when in bloom ~ and was sold as a plant that attracts butterflies.  I never saw any pollinators near my blooms, but it's still a keeper.  I might try and start a few plants via this seed ~ only because I love planting seeds.  I guess I should do a little research first to see if it's even possible.

Here's my biggest lunch hour surprise!  Nothing says a warm fall season (and so far a frost free winter) like a bloom spike on my Clivia miniata.  I forgot to cover this plant earlier in the week when we had temps dip into the 30's for a couple of days.  Today I was checking for damage, but instead found blooms.  How cool. πŸ’ž  You can bet I'll bring it in before the next cold snap!

Now this isn't a surprise as I have native Everglades tomatoes popping up EVERYWHERE (the birds love them).  But I wanted to share how early these start producing.  This is a tiny plant that's randomly growing in the gated garden.  The entire plant is not much bigger than my hand and yet it already has two sets of blossoms forming.

And not far from that tiny plant is a larger bush growing among the banana trees.  This plant has over a hundred little tomatoes forming ~ some just beginning to ripen.  It takes a major frost to hurt these guys ~ such a great, carefree choice for cherry tomatoes.

Other volunteers that have appreciated our warm weather are the Mexican tithonias.  These are as giving as the tomatoes as they sprout up all over the place too.   I let them go to seed because I read that the birds will visit the seed pods/flower heads . . . I've yet to see that happen, but I sure do get a lot of volunteers ~ and that's a good thing . . .

~ since we still have some winged visitors.

Moving on . . . 

This past weekend I went to visit Philip in his workshop with a special "asap" request . . . I needed a letter holder.

The next day he gave me this - made out of scrap cedar and oak wood.  I just LOVE it!  πŸ’“  

Prior to my "asap" order, I requested a table for the family room.  What I love most about Philip's creations, besides the fact that they are made from local trees, is that they are perfectly imperfect.  I think it adds character and charm.  This photo doesn't do it justice . . . it really is a beauty.

Well, that's all I've got.  Not really . . . I always have something I want to write about.  I could write forever . . . but I'll refrain only because I don't want to completely bore you.  I will mention I'm going to be making some organic beeswax candles soon.  Oh - and those 100% beeswax candles I ordered from Holy Nativity Convent (which can be found here) were amazing.  So much so that I placed another order.  So why am I making my own?  Because I have two pounds of beeswax I need to use up.  Making beeswax candles isn't the easiest thing to do because they want to crack . . . but I'm going to give it one more whirl.  They can still be used with cracks, they just aren't as pretty.

Happy Tuesday!



  1. Wow, those tomatoes are amazing! I sure wish I had discovered them when I was still living there. I can't believe they are fruiting with the recent cold snap y'all had.
    The tithonia is something I plan to seed here, even though we're renting. I can just see a mass of them growing in front of this house. The pollinators love 'em!
    Your hubby is very talented. Imagine a custom order done in a flash!

    I've done the beeswax candles myself. Love having something homemade and it's a great wintertime activity. They smell wonderful!

  2. Hi Eli, luv your new table. You are so lucky (and I know that you know that) to have such a handy and creative hubby. I like the way the bridal veil clerodendrum displays its seeds. Just as pretty as the bloom itself. My mom said her Clivia is putting out a bloom. Guess I better go check mine, too.

  3. I was just looking at your pkts of tithonia and Everglade tomato seeds this morning, so that I can plant them and enjoy them. I have a little baby rooted cutting of that giant milkweed. I look forward to it growing and blooming. Great for butterflies.

    Love your letter holder and the table that Philip made for you. I sure do miss my sweet creative handyman, especially when I see things like this that Philip has made for you. Enjoy him and his gifts. :-)

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady