Dog days of summer

I wanted to break the blog monotony of fishing and craft brews……….at least for a little while………..and get back to my roots (pun intended).

There’s a task we do every week while getting ready for the work week…………walk the yard gathering cut flowers.  I pull together whatever I can find blooming, throw them in a glass jar and voila – I have flowers for my desk.  Some weeks are better than others, while during various times of the year, it gets tough – and summer is one of those times.

Whaaatt?  We live in Florida, everything grows here, what do you mean?  Sometimes it’s just too dang hot for flowers to flourish, especially when we have daily rains and plant rot takes over.  More things have gotten thrown away these last 4 weeks, due to rot, than in the previous 4 months.  Such is the life of a plant in Central Florida’s summer.

Regardless, here’s what blooming in the Darden Garden in August.

Pink vitex – small bush, attractive to local bees, this is our second blooming after a hard cut early summer.


After blooming the flower spikes have these berries which can also be used.


Blue porterweed – butterfly attractor, small bush, lots of flower spikes.  Truth be told…………while this started out as a single plant 5+ years ago, this growth sprouted up about 3 feet from the original planting


Hard to get this bumble bee to hold still for my photos.

Orange bauhinia – tall bush, summer bloomer, long weeping branches give it a layering look.


Close up of the flower is below while the seed pods are easier to see above.  These pods ‘explode’ once mature and seeds travel 10+feet to disperse.  That’s their mechanism for plant survival.

True story……….working outside a couple years ago on my plants, I heard some faint  popping noises.  Saw a seed hit the side of our house, more than once.  Yep, the seeds were dispersing.

White fragipani – sensitive to cold temps, easy to propogate, received a cutting from our neighbor and I’ve kept them alive and grown more cuttings to give to others.


Purple passionflower vine – attracts gulf fritillary butterflies, they’re so hungry the larve usually eat all of the leaves on a vine, practically destroying the plant.  Yep, you can see below, we have not been visited by a fritillary butterfly since we have all of the leaves.

If the flower is pollinated, this passion fruit develops.


Clematis vine – given to us by one of Eric’s leaders a number of years ago, now is the season for the white fragrant blooms, the plant was cut back severely last winter after the loss of water caused a good portion of the plant to die.


It does much better when left alone to climb amongst neighboring plants than on the trellis above..


Firebush – great to use in bouquets, tends to become a pesky weed.  We had another bush in a different corner of the yard and 5+ years later, it’s still sprouting up no matter what I do to kill it.


The flowers are great, as are the berries found afterward.


Purple vitex – also attracts native insects, second blooming after being cut this summer.



We have two different insect boxes that invite native insects to live and lay eggs.  Eric made the one on the right and it was at least a year before bees started using it.  I guesss it just had to ‘weather’.

We have a few other pieces of  ‘whimsy’ around our flower beds.  This guy has been bleached white by the sun.


I’m closing this out by ending with this week’s bouquet I took to work.


By the end of the week, the flowers still look good, so I started leaving them in the nearby ladies (cast) restroom backstage and OMG……………..I have gotten multiple post-it notes left on my door, thanking me.  Such a simple thing and it has totally made a major impact – who could have guessed.




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