Monday, October 18, 2010

The Serenity in the Garden....

Like this bunny perched upon the tree stump, I think that I continue to find my serenity in the garden. I continue to be amazed by the wonders of nature and it's ongoing display of magic. And, to think maybe I did have something to do with all this. So what's happening in the garden? With the cooler weather and nights here in Florida finally, some changes are obvious.
Here is a flower on my Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia. Strelitzia is a tropical plant with spectacular flowers reminiscent of an exotic bird. Plumage is another word used to describe Strelitzia as the flowers resemble a bird’s beak with spiked head plumage. The Bird of Paradise is an evergreen plant with leaves similar to the banana plant only much smaller.

As the evenings get cooler the "edibles" in the garden have become rejuvenated and are again producing. My Native Wild Florida Everglade Tomatoes the size of a marble are incredibly tasty. If you can locate the seeds for this teeny tiny tomato, these delectable tomatoes have now been grown in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico as well as several Caribbean islands. Plant them in your ground or plant them in pots or plant them to grow on your porch or patio, these tomatoes perform amazingly well with minimal care.

The Japanese eggplants, good producers during the hot Florida summer, continue to produce. They are smaller than American eggplants, and the skins are thinner. They can be grilled, steamed, simmered, fried, pickled, and so on. I like to prepare them sauteed with ginger and lots of garlic in a soy and sesame oil sauce and serve with brown rice.....healthy and yummy.

My red Salvia one of the slow to recover plants from the brutal cold of last winter is finally flowering. The butterflies and dragonflies love this plant.

My very interesting Giant Kalanchoe Gastonis Boanieri, or Donkey Ears, sometimes also known as the Life Plant is filling in and growing daily. This is one of a few babies that I was able to salvage from the "mother plant". I had photographed and followed the incredible journey of going to flower last season on another post, before the cold weather destroyed it. Note some babies forming on the tips of the leaves.

A water garden can add a striking new dimension to your home's landscape...mine is little, but my water plants are thriving. My Cyperus Papyrus, or paper plant, stands proudly surrounded by floating lettuce plants.

On either side of the bird bath in clay pots partly sunken in the ground are Variegatus or Red Bird Cacto Cardenal. With the weather cooling the leaves are beginning to turn red in color and they will become a beautiful fall display.

Look how big the Gossypium Barbadense, or cotton plant has gotten that I started from seeds not too long ago. It is over 5 1/2 ft. tall now and
just taller then the Shepard's hook that the bird house hangs from.

The following plant I started from a cutting that I got from a home participating in the Garden Walk that the Seminole County Master Gardeners put together. It produces a large spike like purple flower on a plant that can grow several feet tall. The homeowner stated that it is in the family of the Clerodendrun, or Shooting Star, but did not have a name. If anyone reading this recognizes the plant and can give me the name, I would appreciate it.

Another orphan plant with no name. I started this from a plant growing in the yard of a home that I sold several years ago to one of my Buyers. The home belonged to a lady named Leota, so I affectionately refer to it as Leota's bush. I know someone out there can help me do better then if you recognize it please fill me in.

For me, everyday in my garden brings a new gift. Are you looking for peace and serenity, look in nature......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I knew I would find a use for these.....

The seed starter everyone has in their home.... I always knew that there had to be something that could be done with the empty Toilet Tissue tubes...... I finally saw something in a book I was looking at and tested it....loved how it worked. It worked perfectly as a seed starter and satisfied my personal need to use them for something of value. I just took my personal mixed potting soil and filled the tubes. I stood them up-right in a container that I collected at the salad bars. Plant several seeds in each tube....mist daily and cover with the clear top, creating a "miniature hot house". Once the seed germinates, remove cover and continue to mist. Take the entire tube and plant in the ground. The following will show you how I am growing some Egyptian Cotton or Gossypium Barbadense seeds that I gathered from a mature tree at the Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens.
I just loved the look of the leaf, heart shaped and shiny.
I put my little cotton tree in the ground after it had about 3-4 leaves. This plant can be grown as a bush or tree. I preferred to shape it into a tree, so therefore I removed all the lower leaves.
Look how big it has gotten as of today. Proudly standing about 5 feet tall. The interesting part about this little story, is after I succeeded with propagating some seeds, and I contacted the museum to get the official name of my little plant, I was told that the original tree, much to their grief is no longer at the gardens. No one exactly knows why it was removed. And I was questioned about time involved to grow mine.

A Little History Lesson on this plant....who would have guessed? I just thought it was a pretty and different looking plant.

Peruvian Pima Cotton – Gossypium Barbadense
Native South American Luxury Textiles of Peru & Inca Civilization

Peruvian Pima Cotton – Cotton of the Incas - Public Domain
Peruvian Pima cotton, gossypium barbadense, is a luxury cotton native to South America. Here is an overview and history of Peruvian Pima cotton from the Incas to today.
Gossypium barbadense, commonly known as Pima cotton, is today cultivated in many of the major cotton growing regions of the world. This luxury cotton, highly valued on the global market, is still harvested in Northern Peru where its origins can be found.
A History of Peruvian Pima Cotton
Gossypium barbadense was given the name “Pima” cotton after the Pima Indians who first harvested the cotton in the United States. An experimental farm for the cultivation of this species of cotton was developed in the early 1900s by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Sacaton, Arizona.
While the common name of the plant originated in North America, its historical origins are distinctly South American. Cotton fragments have been found in Peru dating as far back as 3100 B.C. Archeologists discovered cotton samples of this era in the Huaca Prieta excavation, a site located in today’s cotton growing region of Peru.