Friday, September 28, 2012

No theme today

I just tried to make some sense of the assortment of photos on my desktop waiting to be posted, and I can see no theme, so will just post them all and hope you enjoy them!
I have the flu and that could be why I just cant summon up any clever commentary.
This is called the African mask, and is slowly recovering from all the extra sunshine after the pruning.
 The details of a bromeliad flower stalk was intriguing.


 This little coleus is a great groundcover.
the garden has recovered, but lots of weeding is needed.
 Geisha girl is a wonderful attractor for butterflies and bees.
 Another bromeliad bloom - very short life though - no more than a week.
 I never tire of sunshine and cordelines.
 Inside the bouganvilla are teeny tiny flowers.
 This broad leaved cordeline has pretty colours.
Crotons are quite slow growing but add some wonderful colour to the garden.
 Cosmos make themselves at home all over my garden
 especially because they attract butterflies.
Have a great weekend........

Monday, September 24, 2012

Foliage follow up for September.

While I was watering the garden the back light behind these burgundy and red plants caught my eye - not sure that the beauty of the scene really shows up in the photo.  



The rex begonia are beautiful when they flower, but then the leaves themselves are a delight too - not sure if the back of the leaf is even prettier than the front. 

 I love the red stems on this pink and green variegated plant.  It was pretty much crushed when the tree was pruned but has come back better than ever.
 this is such a pretty little coleus - it keeps popping up every where and I don't mind one bit!
This caladiums leaves are the biggest I have ever seen, and I love the curly edges.
The sunshine on the reddish pink leaves of the cordeline were just waiting to be photographed.
I am in love with the red and pink foliage in our garden:
I thought since I eventually got around to taking some foliage photos I would link it to Pam at Digging  who hosts foliage follow up, although I am a bit late for the month.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Colorful little corner

A while back I decided to permanently close one of the big gates and create a new garden bed behind it.  That was one of the best ideas I ever had I reckon.... 


 I hung my orchids on that bamboo bar which has slowly sunk down on one end and looks a  bit tacky.  I think what I would like to do is get an arch to put into that corner.  I will hang the orchids from it and hopefully the stephanotis will trail over it. The stephanotis is a rather straggly vine, but the flowers are gorgeous.  Since the lychee tree was pruned and this area got more sunshine it has really flourished.  Great big bushes of  impatients, caladiums going wild, and this lovely little plant called balsam I got from the local markets.  It seems to be the same family as impatients, although the flowers are up the stem, rather than on top.
Interspersed among the flowers are lots of cherry tomatoes


the project for the weekend was to permanently cement in some bricks under the gate as that is an area where the bandicoots persist in trying to get in.  Not quite straight, but as long as it keeps the bandicoots out I am happy.  Hopefully it doesn't take too long for the grass to grow back.
 This bouganvilla that I grew from a slip took forever to get going, but this year has settled in nicely.  The flowers start off salmon and then change to this gentle pink.  It is not as aggressive as the last vine I had.
 At last I think I have found the perfect spot for my stripey chair.  Both the grand-kids took it in turn to sit there with a  book for a good amount of time over the weekend - now I think it is my turn....




Thursday, September 13, 2012

Harlequin carrots harvested!

I have been waiting for the Harlequin carrots from MrFothergills to raise their shoulders above the ground,  and then the other day I thought I would take a peek.... wow!  huge carrots, and so straight!   Funnily enough all the purple ones seem stunted and I seem to have lost the straight rows - even though the regular carrots were planted evenly with carrot tape.  This is a great time in the garden - cucumbers are struggling with downy mildew, but there are four different kinds of lettuces - plenty for a daily salad.

  I thought the white carrots looked a bit insipid but they have the nicest flavour.  I haven't cooked any -  they make great snacks to munch on - even hubby has been known to do that.  He commented the other day (after I cooked the pumpkin vines) that as long as it grows in the garden I will eat it.  I said "well honey I don't eat the grass", but then I thought about the fact that I had been thinking of growing barley grass.... :)  I guess it takes all types.
The parsley seeds that MrFothergills sent me in the little pot were enough to also plant out my lower section of the the herb spiral.  I love having ample amounts of flat leaf parsley in the garden.

Talking of eating everything, I do hate waste, and we have been having high wind, which yesterday knocked over one branch of my pawpaw tree - loaded with 10  pawpaws, all green. 

 I have not been that crazy about green papaya salad in the past, but figured I had to find a way to use them up.  Last night I grated up a papaya and looked up my recipe.  I didn't have bean sprouts - I really must start those ones MrFothergills sent me, they would have been perfect.  My fish sauce smelt off so that went into the bin, and I used soy sauce instead.  It turned out lovely so maybe I will use soy sauce in future. Here is the recipe. My problem might be with fish sauce as I saw it made in the islands and cant get that image out of my mind. I am "sure?" the commercial stuff is not made the same way... but still.  

The vegetable garden is looking a bit messy at the moment. 
 The vegetables have also spilled into the flower garden under the lychee tree.  Tomatoes are popping up everywhere, and I have let them wander wherever they want to, and hubby keeps kindly staking them so they don't fall into the path.
The lines in the garden between vegetable and flower beds are getting a little looser.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baby jap pumpkins and eating pumpkin vine tips

Continuing on from my last post I have been hankering for baby vegetables.  This weekend I decided to pull out the eggplant bush that seemed to develop some kind of wilt.  I am not sure it is bacterial wilt as another one is growing up right alongside it.  This one has produced nonstop for about 18 months but definitely suffered some sort of malady, and since there is another one on the way I ripped the entire bush out..  It was covered in tiny eggplant - yeah!   I also had to hack away some of the pumpkin vine which is trying to overtake my entire veggie patch rather than stay in its assigned spot.  I cut some of the tips and then went researching where I had read that they were edible (and tasty!)
I found the information I was looking for - I had read it in a marvelous book called Tropical Cuisine, by Claire Richards.  See details here.  I also threw in all the baby pumpkins I had cut off the meandering vines and stir fried it all together.  also a few leaves of kale that is doing surprisingly well this year in my garden.
Oh yummy - hubby had barbecued some South African boerewors that we have our local butcher make for us and it was the perfect match.  So I discovered that I already had two different types of baby vegetables growing in my own backyard.  At least half this meal was grown in my backyard - I like that!  Have you tried pumpkin vine tips?  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mini vegetables

One of the things I always enjoy so much when I visit South Africa is the mini vegetables.  I think growing them is a very well kept secret, and have come to the conclusion that  most of the time they are just picked early.  That might be very helpful in my climate - fraught with humidity and lots of bugs.  Searching on the internet has come up with two different options - hybrid seeds bred to produce smaller varieties or growing the plants very close together and harvesting early.
One thing the mini vegetables are used for is to cook in a potjie.  This is a cast iron three legged pot and it is cooked for a long time over a fire - or in reality just a few coals mounded around and some laid on the lid.  My brother cooked a marvelous chicken potjie, flavored with ginger, scallions, lemongrass and coconut milk.    Once the chicken was almost cooked a layer of mini vegetables were laid on top.  Yummy!


So just when I was thinking I wouldn't be planting any more seeds since the wet season is coming and I want to grow plants true to my climate...... another package arrives from MrFothergills


 Now do I plant these seeds while they are still fresh and take a chance on the wet season with its mildew, bugs and incessant rain arriving late?  One option is to assume that I might have to harvest early - before everything reaches full size - yup short season mini veg. None of these seeds in this package are suitable for this other than the chili peppers, so will keep the remaining seeds for spring planting, but I am looking through my seeds to find some other quick growing veggies I can plant now.  When I returned from my holiday and realized I am planting everything too far apart I also thought that growing and harvesting quickly, before everything gets to full size is a great idea in this climate.  Get them before the bugs can!  I am going to try zuchini again - the last lot melted into a rotting mess, but I think I am willing to give them another go. My gem squash plants are already looking good. I do have the lebanese eggplant, and they are great when picked small, although that bush seems to be undergoing some sort of stress at the moment - I am hoping I am not going to lose it.  Does anyone else grow mini vegetables?

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