Six on Saturday – Lime in the Coconut

I am joining Jon the Propagator for Six on Saturday, featuring six items of interest from my garden. This Saturday it is my Rangpur Lime tree and Coconut Palms. To see other posts, follow this link – www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

These are Rangpur Limes, from my neighbor last year. They are not ripe yet in the garden. These are actually a member of the mandarin family, a cross between lemons and mandarin orange, therefore a sour orange. We like to make Mojo marinades for chicken and pies with these.

My neighbor gave me a tree a couple of years ago she grew from seed. It takes about 5 years from seed to fruit, so I should have fruit next year, fingers crossed. As I was pruning the tree it occured to me I had never really seen citrus prior to moving to Florida and having one in the garden, so I took some pictures.

The branches, very thorny! Leather gloves are a must when pruning.

The foliage, shiny green and lime scented. I have read these can be used to infuse flavor like kaffir lime leaves, but have not tried it. Also a host for Giant Swallowtail butterfly larva, citrus farmers hate these butterflies.

The trunk, smooth with striated bark.

And what would limes be without the coconut?

Baby coconuts forming, and mature coconuts on tree below. I don’t like walking past this one in a high wind. Most people remove the seeds when they are smaller to prevent being beaned on the head by a wayward coconut.

That is my Six for this Saturday..

Happy Gardening!!

A Week of Flowers – Monday

I am joining Cathy at Words and Herbs for the second issue of a week in flowers. This is a Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia rostrata). One of my favorite tropicals, the flowers alway surprise me. They are set off by a Wild Coffee shrub, not advisable to drink it, but a nice Florida native.

See more flowery photos at http://www.wordsandherbs.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – November Arrivals

I am joining The Propagator for his meme featuring six items of interest from my garden. To see more posts from other gardeners visit his blog at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

November brings some interesting characters into my garden. Birds become more numerous during the winter in South Florida. I was interested to learn that Hawks migrate, they have recently appeared in flocks, soaring over the Indian River in search of food.

These are White Ibis, they are here year round but more numerous in the winter. The brown ones are juvenile and become pure white as they mature. They are eating grubs in the lawn.

Another bird appeared this week, the Sandhill Crane, these are about 3 feet tall and look like Pterodactyls flying by. They summer in Nebraska.

Winter provides interesting colors in plants as well. The aptly named Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrilli) is producing fruit – looking a lot like Christmas ornaments.

Bromeliads have a tendency to do their own thing. Eventually I will figure out how to have year round flowers. These Guzmanias, left to their own devices, filled this wok planter and bloom every winter for a few months.

Another reliable winter flower is the Nodding Hibiscus (Malvaviscus pendulifloris). These appear randomly in my garden and are very difficult to get rid of – I have embraced them and trained them to my neighbor’s fence.

The Zinnias I started from seed in August have started flowering, as usual, they don’t look like the seed packet. These are Zinderella and supposed to be double..and peach colored, the other one is single and gold..

That is my six for this Saturday… hopefully it stops raining soon.

Happy Gardening and thanks to Jon the Propagator for hosting.

Six on Saturday – Fruit, Veg and Flower.

My garden is responding to the change in weather by flowering, growing root vegetables and ripening fruit. I am joining The Propagator’s SOS meme this Saturday. To see more SOS from all over the gardening world, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Papayas are showing the first hints of yellow, which is ripe. I had Papayas December through February last year. Hopefully the same will happen this year. I can only eat so many Papayas at once!

Red radish shoulders peeking out, I am looking forward to eating these guys.

Bush beans budding. I think these are Blue Lake.

Roselles, nearly ready to pick. These are the flowers of an edible Hibiscus, I have been harvesting and freezing them.

San Marzano tomatoes coming along.

Heliconia psittacorum – Parrotflower, one of my favorite cut flowers, I am wondering if they like shorter day lengths to bloom.

Happy Saturday and Happy Gardening….

Six on Saturday – Roselles and Nematodes

My Roselles started flowering in earnest this week. These are edible Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and grow in tropical areas. I planted the seedlings in April and they flower in late October. These are grown for their cranberry flavored calyx, but the rest of the plant can be eaten.

This one has just finished flowering. The directions I have found dictate waiting two to three weeks after the flower falls off to harvest the calyx. I picked one to try, having no idea when the flower fell off.

Watched a video about Roselles and found out I was going to eat the sepals – when you are supposed to eat the calyx. I had Botany about 40 years ago, I will forgive myself. Here it is cut if half.

These are usually dried but can be eaten raw. I am not sure if it was ripe as it was very sour with the barest hint of cranberry flavor.

I posted about nematodes and worms to help combat them a couple of weeks ago. One of the Roselle plants was killed by root knot nematodes. Here is the body, I bagged the roots to prevent spreading the bugs. Root knot nematodes destroy the xylem and phloem leaving the plant unable to feed itself. This Roselle was 4 feet tall.

Here are the roots.

Ugh, I watered the area with food grade diatomaceous earth in hopes of getting rid of the nematodes. Though I will probably start another worm bed as they are pretty close to a Mango and Lime tree.

That’s my six for this Saturday. To see more posts visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Gardening…

Six on Saturday – Fall Flowers

It’s Saturday again and time to join The Propagator in his weekly meme about six items of interest in your garden. SOS. To see more of SOS, visit http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The weather is finally turning lovely, I have almost finished planting my vegetable garden and fall flowers are showing their colors.

First up, the mad tropical Candy Portea Bromeliad is about half open. My neighbor says these look like sea creatures.

Second, the flowers of the Roselle, an edible Hibiscus. The cranberry colored calyx of the flowers is eaten and tastes like cranberries, these are not ripe yet.

Third, the flowers of the native Senna (Senna ligustrina). These are larval host plants for Sulphur Butterflies. If the caterpillar eats the flower, they are yellow, it they eat the foliage they turn green. The butterflies are always yellow.

Fourth, Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpeta jamaicaensis). Another good butterfly plant for nectar. I think the abundant rainfall has made them extra beautiful this fall.

Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a true sign of fall, likely my favorite fall flower.

Finally, the mystery plant. This came up in a pot with some other seedlings. I think it is an Agastache or maybe Holy Basil. I did not plant either. The foliage has a light anise scent. Does anyone know?

Happy Gardening!

Six on Saturday – Veg and Vermiculture

The humidity in finally diminishing and I had my first celebratory glass of Chardonnay in the garden yesterday afternoon. Celebrating the solarization, addition of a vermiculture bed and rabbit fence installation in the vegetable garden.

We have bad nematodes in South Florida – I have root knot nematodes in the vegetable garden. These are microscopic worms that feed on the roots of tomatoes and other vegetables eventually killing the plants. They are common in sandy soils and I was interested to learn recently adding compost and worms to the soil deters the nematodes. Solarization also helps. I solarized the bed during August and September, covering the bed with clear plastic held down with all kinds of junk.

This week I took the plastic off and figured out how to add a worm bed – digging a trench in the middle of the bed, then adding chopped paper, raiding my refrigerator for rotting vegetables (there are always a few) and sending my husband to the bait store for red wigglers.

The red wigglers come in containers and are kept refrigerated. I let them warm up and then put them in the garden to devour the yummy rotting vegetables. They dug right in.

The red wigglers enjoying old Romaine lettuce.

The next thing to do is add seeds and plants and water in with food grade diatomaceous (4 tablespoons to the gallon). The DE also deters nematodes. There is some conflicting info on how it affects the good worms so time will tell. The rabbit fence is made of reeds and is 24″ high. The rabbits ate what the nematodes didn’t get last year.

Cheers to the veg and red wigglers!

Happy Gardening.

To see more Six on Saturday posts, visit Jon at http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Six on Saturday – Orchids in the Gumbo Limbo

I am joining The Propagator today for his meme. Six on Saturday. Posting six items of interest from your garden, any six things. This week I am all about things I am finding in the foliage. To see more posts, go to http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

You may wonder what is that and why is it wearing old pantyhose? This is a Hard Cane Dendrobium Orchid, a gift from a neighbor. The stem is about the size of a leek, a big leek at that. These are native to the South Pacific and grow in trees. There are over 2,000 varieties – I have no clue what type this might be. It could be a Dendrobium – Phaleonopsis that produces flower sprays about 10 feet long.

And it requires sun. I found this out after installing it in the wrong tree – the Strangler Fig in full shade. Oops, the Orchid spent one night in the Fig. The next morning I moved it to the Gumbo Limbo in my much sunnier front garden.

On to the Gumbo Limbo. I added some orchid bark mix and peat moss in the control top of the pantyhose and placed the roots in the mix. This will give the roots some nutrition while they grow into the trunk of the tree. Here is the Orchid in its new home.

It is mounted into the crotch of the Gumbo Limbo tree about six feet above the ground. It has a bud and I am hoping to see some flowers, though it seems these are summer bloomers for the most part. Fingers crossed.

Eventually the Orchid should put roots into the tree trunk and the pantyhose will go away. But, they do almost match the color of the trunk. I found a couple of other items of interest in the foliage this week.

This is a Stick Bug in the Beautyberry. Eating the foliage on the Beautyberry. I left him or her there to continue dining.

This is a Treefrog – this guy did not want to leave the Firebush I was pruning and finally jumped off on my bare foot. Feeling very reptilian to the touch. There are numerous types of Treefrogs that live in South Florida and I can’t tell them apart.

Happy Saturday from South Florida and Happy Gardening.

Six on Saturday – Summer Whites

It’s Saturday again and summer is still in full force in South Florida. Hot and humid. Heat index over 100 Fahrenheit this afternoon. I am joining The Propagator for his weekly meme, follow the link for more fun.

As summer is seemingly haunting me, I decided to feature ghostly summer whites. First up, the flowers on Cattleya Orchids that were buds in last week’s post.

A little fragrance for my short trips into the garden. This is a Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) – I have been pruning it slowly, so many bees buzzing around the flowers they get angry and I have to stop.

Another fragrant flower, the Tropical Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata). These are not a fragrant as Gardenia jasminoides, releasing a subtle fragrance at night.

This is (to me) a bit of an obscure plant. A Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus chayamansa) considered a superfood – supposed to cure varicose veins! Also toxic unless cooked 20 minutes and creates intestinal distress if cooked in aluminum pans…I have not eaten any. I planted it because it is a butterfly nectar flower, supposedly supplying protein to butterflies. A friend gave this to me about six months ago as a cutting and it is 3 feet tall now.

Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) is a stalwart in my garden. Oddly, it occurs in several other colors. The white version…

Salvia coccinea again, the pink and white version.

Hoping for some cooler temperatures next week. No more haunting from summer, only fall fun in the garden…

In a Vase on Monday – Cattleyas on the Rocks

My garden had a stormy weekend. Hurricane Sally passed within about 100 miles, hurling bands of drenching rain and wind in her wake. The air is so saturated with moisture it is difficult to describe; imagine air having a presence. I think of it as feeling the evil, hot breath of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. My slightly curly hair is literally standing on end, bigger by the moment. Given the humidity and knowledge that another hurricane is headed towards the Gulf coast, I will most likely look like I stuck my finger in the electrical socket on Monday.

The White Cattleya orchid opened on Sunday morning and was being buffeted by the winds, so I decided to cut if for a vase. The rocks are in the base of the glass vase holding the orchids in place. The title sounds a bit like a cocktail; I am trying to dream up something that tastes like an orchid, this one has a sweet fragrance and always blooms in pairs. Limoncello, Coconut Rum and something? Tonic water? Club soda? Hmmm.

Here is the bud from Saturday. I am surprised it opened so quickly and with little sunshine.

A closer view of the Cattleya, I have no idea of the variety, my neighbor gave me the orchid and I am trying not to kill it. Orchids usually meet an untimely end in my garden. Anything that needs fertilizer every two weeks is destined for demise. This one has been around for at least two years – though it is turning brown..sigh.

Happy Monday and Happy Gardening. Thinking positive thoughts for those in the path of Hurricane Sally.

Thanks to Cathy at http://www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com for hosting this addictive meme. Follow the link to see vases from gardens around the world.