In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Search For The Red Pineapple

I don't remember my mom ever having house plants or doing any gardening outside. She thought plants were messy, always died and had no interest in them. My grandmother on the other hand,  always had houseplants and a small vegetable garden.  Every spring she'd plant sweet peas around her porch and let them climb the railings.   I can still close my eyes and see their pretty blooms and smell their sweet scent.  Funny how some childhood memories never leave you. My grandma and grandpa were my favorite people and I have so many wonderful memories of them. 

As a young adult I never thought about plants, was always busy with school, work and life in general. But I can tell you exactly when my passion for plants started... it was on my 30th birthday. It's the only birthday that has ever bothered me. My 40th, 50th, and even my 60th haven't bothered me like the big 3-0 did. Something about not being in my 20's anymore really depressed me. I hadn't accomplished any of the things I thought I would by the time I was 30, my life was in turmoil and I was in the process of making big changes in my life.  I had decided to ignore my birthday and was wallowing in self pity as I watched TV when a friend dropped by with a gift- a book about plants. Why she gave me a book about plants I hadn't a clue, and still don't-LOL At that time I had no plants, had never expressed an interest in plants, and the only thing I knew about plants were memories of my grandmother's. Later that night I remember looking through the book and ended up reading it cover to cover before putting it down. I still have that book.  And that is when my love of plants began. 

Over the years I've had many plants both inside and outside. When I was 40 I even spent a summer working at a greenhouse just for the opportunity to learn more about gardening and plants. Hardest work and worse pay I've ever experienced but of all the jobs I've had over the years, it was my favorite. I spent every cent I made there plus more every week and by the end of the summer our yard was a show stopper. 

When we moved to Florida I was delighted that there were so many amazing plants I couldn't grow in the Midwest but could grow here.  Unlike the short growing period we had in the Midwest, I could now garden outside year around. Of course I can no longer get down on my hands and knees to work on things planted in the ground so I've taken up container gardening. ROM does the in ground planting and stick with container plants. And to make it even easier for me, last year he ordered a potting bench for me.   I was so excited when it arrived in a box...
(I discovered if you right click a photo and then select "open link in new window" you can the see the photos full size.)

After he got it put together, I decided to add some lattice and planting boxes to it. I planted mandevilla  in each box and waited for it to grow.

And grow it did! Within a couple of months the trellises were covered with vines and bright red flowers.

I've put the potting bench to good use potting up new plants I've bought and repotting old friends I've had for some time. This Philodendron "Red Emerald" was a house plant I brought with me from IL. and it now lives on the lanai. Look at the size of that leaf! The plant is huge and has taken over an entire corner of the lanai.

These are baskets of mandevilla I recently potted and hung outside the lanai-

And of course I have lots of plants at the lanai front entrance-

You'd think I'd be satisfied with the plants I have, but of course I'm not. Especially after seeing my neighbor's red pineapple! OMG- I am so smitten with this plant and determined to get one. It's freaking gorgeous! We traipsed around  nurseries last weekend looking for a red pineapple plant and came home empty handed. Everyone knew what I was asking for and one nursery owner said she had one at home, but no one could tell me where I could get one.

I'm now stalking my neighbor trying to catch him home so I can ask him where he got his. Maybe I could even talk him into giving me one of the pups growing on his? 

Hopefully I'll soon have my own red pineapple plant to show you ;)


  1. what a green thumb you have! I'd love to see all your plants in person. The size of that one leaf is amazing. Can we see a photo of the entire plant? I recently moved into my first apt. and have no plants. Could you recommend some easy to grow plants I could start with? I hope you find a red pineapple since you have your heart set on it. It is a very pretty plant and so unusual looking.

    I love your blog. You're the kind of grandma I wish I had. I loved your duck story.

  2. I'd rather have your lovely potting bench than the red pineapple. So pretty how the vines have covered it with all the red flowers.

  3. What a gorgeous specimen it is. Have you come across your neighbor yet?

  4. You turned that plain potting bench into a real beauty. I hope you've found your red pineapple (or been able to sneak over in the dark and steal a baby, teehee).


Talk To Me!