Monday, July 15, 2013

Blooms, fruit and black pepper.

This dry season started out with lots of cloudy days.  Combine that with the fact that my neighbor has a high hedge that has grown on one side of my veggie patch and my veggie garden has been starved for sunshine.  This meant things like tomatoes were not doing too well. Lately we have had a little bit more sunshine and suddenly the tomatoes in  the wicking beds are looking a bit healthier. We may still get some tomatoes this season :)
 A while back I moved my fig in a  pot out into the front, on the side of the carport.  Normally there is no car there, but at the moment we have our old car parked there, so the fig tree has been pretty much hidden and  ignored.   I have been going back and forth about what to do - do I leave it in the pot?  Do I espalier it?  Will I ever get figs from it?  Well - look what I found - two little figs :)  I am thinking I will keep it here in the pot but not sure about the espalier trellis - it looks as though it really does like this spot.  The main thing is to not let them get waterlogged in the wet season, so keeping it in the pot seems like the best option.  If it ever needed re-potting and I had espaliered it to the fence that would not be possible, so maybe the espalier idea will have to be abandoned.  The idea of rows and rows of figs is just so appealing.  Maybe I am getting a bit ahead of myself, but two figs have set my mind a buzzing.
 At the markets I found a plant I have been looking for for ages.  Black pepper!  It grows on a trellis and needs airflow through the branches, and the peppercorns grow like little bunches of grapes. The different colours of pepper come from the same plant, depending on which stage of ripeness they are picked.  I will have to dig out my chicken in green peppercorns recipe - I am not sure that any peppercorns are going to make it to the black stage.  Pink and green are my favourites.  There was a plant there that already had some little peppercorns, but I chose this one as it was slightly bigger.  It is just behind the asparagus in the perrenial bed.  I will keep the blue trellis permanently there as it contains the turmeric and galangal into their own section of the bed.  This bed is getting a bit shadier as the pawpaw tree is reaching over  and its branches are filling with plump luscious fruit.  Most tropical fruit does not mind a bit of shade I find.
 Out in the front, the bougavilla has started flowering again after its severe pruning.  I read that it only flowers from new shoots, and now it is full of color on short branches closer to the fence.  In a small garden I cant afford for any plant to become rampant, so I am glad it likes to be pruned.
The colourful part is the bract, and the flowers are these tiny white flowers nestled in among that riotous colour.  Don't you just love how nature hides little secrets that you have to peer closer to discover?

25 comments:

  1. YEAH!!!! Figs for you to enjoy soon.
    I had never seen a black pepper plant before....very interesting. Somehow I never gave it much thought where the black pepper came from....silly me.

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    1. Virginia,
      Oh I do hope so, it is rather exciting. I first saw it on a television show, and a friend started growing a plant and I tasted a fresh green peppercorn and it was awesome so i was smitten.

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  2. loved seeing the black pepper plant; that's new to me and I use a lot of black pepper.

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    Replies
    1. thistle Cove,
      I do love to try unusual plants, always have....

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  3. Hooray for figs! I used to have a fig tree that I kept in a pot, but one year it didn't return after the winter. I should get another and put it in the ground. I'm suddenly intrigued by Bougainvillea, where I never used to be. Such fascinating flowers.

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    Replies
    1. Alison,
      wow you have a very wet climate too. Our winters are very mild. This is a tame one, I grew one of the wild ones and had to rip it out as it was taking over.

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  4. I hope your figs work out well. We have a plethora of figs here on an ancient tree that responded very well to all the rain. I never thought of growing black pepper. Neat.

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    Replies
    1. NellJean,
      well I know this will never get huge, but a couple of fresh figs a year will keep me very happy.

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  5. I am in love with your garden. Our garden is bare, naked and austere at the moment and it's wonderful to see your rich coloured beautiful garden. You are doing a wonderful service for we Southerners ;)I love that black pepper plant and am in awe at your galangal, turmeric and pawpaws. I just added Queensland to my bucket list ;)

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    Replies
    1. I suppose I do sometimes get a bit complacent about the over abundance of plants we have here. Weeds included. We do battle with "normal" vegetables though....

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  6. Oh how I love gardens. You have some very special plants and flowers. The fig shouldn't need a trellis at all. It will support itself just fine. Fig trees in my area are quite popular. A great post. Have a fantastic week.

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    Replies
    1. Lindalee,
      Yes maybe i should just let it grow into whatever shape it wants, I just imagined rows and rows of figs on my espaliers.

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  7. I love the peppercorn vine. Something tells me it won't grow this far south though.

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    Replies
    1. Laura, yes it is definitely tropical. I recently read though that it is also susceptible to the bacterial wilt we have in the soil here, so holding thumbs.

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  8. I'm so envious of the black pepper... you grow the coolest plants.

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    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      I am pretty excited about it, and hope it does grow well in my garden.

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  9. Coincidently I've bought a pepper vine about 2 weeks back. I was also thinking of stir-fried chicken with green pepper corns and hot chillies.

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    Replies
    1. Stiletto,
      Oh we will have to see who gets to cook with peppercorns first!

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    2. Okay, this is a challenge that I'm going to take up ;)

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  10. I've just read over the posts I've missed, gosh you've been busy. I love your new plants. I've never seen pepper vines before or figs. The walkway on your recent trip with the trees growing through the board walk was amazing and the thorns on that one plant, wow!

    Espalier gardens always intrigue me, but I know I wouldn't have the talent necessary to make it work. I love the look though.

    Always a pleasure to visit and I'm going to give your cleaning solution a try, too. Sounds wonderful!

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    Replies
    1. Karen,
      glad you had the time to catch up. I haven't been creating much different in the garden, so thought I would blog about other things as well as gardening and have enjoyed that. I think espalier in a pot might not be a good thing to do. That homemade gumption is great.

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  11. Thank you for introducing me to a black pepper plant! I never knew how pepper grows, so that is really interesting to me. And a fig tree? You lucky thing! Love figs straight from the tree. We've had crazy mixed up weather down here in the South this Summer too. Lots of rain and cooler temps and high, high humidity on the days where there is no rain.

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    Replies
    1. Summer in the South is just like our wet season - a time to be endured.... I don't miss the humidity at all during this time of year. You might be able to grow black pepper there as your climate is so similar to mine.

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  12. I have a fig planted against our garage wall,I trained it as an espalier, we had Winter temperatures of -20 C° !! in the past years and it is alive and happy and full of figs, they are really strong and easy to grow. They like their roots in a small space and a bit of chalk now and again and good drainage ofcourse.

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  13. It looks as if everyone above is as impressed by your pepper plant as I am. I've never considered it either and I love pepper. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to how your plant does. Hope it isn't touched by that problem you mentioned.

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