Persistent Plumeria

Tiny House’s garden needs quite a bit of attention.  We have not done much since we moved in, firstly because it’s a rental and secondly we won’t be here very long. We have a lovely frangipani (plumeria) in the middle of the garden perched on a rock.  When we moved in it was completely dry without any leaves and had dropped a few large branches which were lying on the ground.  As spring progressed it started producing leaves and lovely fragrant flowers.

It is one of my favorite trees in the garden.  Recently I noticed that one big branch that had fallen (or was broken) off and lying under the tree had also started to sprout leaves.  It is not in the soil at all and has not made any small roots into the ground.  It must just be running on reserves.

I have left it for over a month now and it still keeps on going.  I would like to try to help the poor branch seeing it is so persistent.  Do I put it in a bucket of water or should I just shove the end in the ground?

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Lowveld Botanical Gardens

One of the places I have been very keen to visit here in Mbombela is the Lowveld Botanical Garden.  I had heard that it was really worth going to see.  This last weekend B and I popped in to take a look.

There are two separate entrances and one can be a little confused as to which one to go to when you arrive.

Entrance 1 gives you quick access to the Nelspruit waterfall and cascades

and a really nice looking eatery called Kuzuri Restaurant. We popped in to take a look and the food smelled heavenly.  We plan to try it out soon.

One then walks over an amazing swing bridge and through the rain forest to get to the area serviced by entrance 2

Entrance 2 is closer to the formal gardens and the different types of walks as well as  the Red Leaf Fig Tea Garden where we stopped for scones and strawberry jam.  The food and service was very good.  This venue is often used for tea parties, birthdays and weddings.

Unfortunately when we arrived they were preparing for a party and the radio was loud with cars parked around the venue blocking out the stunning view and the beautiful bird sounds. I hope this was a once off. I will definitely be going back to see because other than that it was an enjoyable experience.

From this point there are various walks in different directions that one can choose from, all seem lovely from the few we did. The walks down to the river involve quite a few stairs but there are also walks throughout the garden that are wheelchair friendly.

We were lucky enough to catch the last of the clivias blooming

The huge variety of plants and flowers allow for all year round pleasure so we will be back many times I am sure.

How big is your baby?

Spring time is a time of rebirth and renewal and much focus is given to cute bouncing bundles of joy like this one

 

and in our area, babies like these…

(picture of a local postcard)

 

Yesterday I was out looking at other babies.  Subtropical fruit babies.

This is an avocado pear

 

and some baby mangoes

 a litchi

and some oranges (not on the farm we live on)

So here is what I am pondering…………

All of the above fruit trees blossom and start bearing fruit around the same time (spring)

We will be eating the mangoes and litchis by the end of this year  (3-4 months to mature ripe fruit depending on cultivar) yet the avocados and oranges will only be ripe and ready in 6-11 months time (winter fruit for us).

Why would some fruit be able to ripen and mature so fast and others take so long?

Pretty in pink

This beautiful lily pops up just next to one of my cottages every year in Nov or December.  For the rest of the year it looks like two or three shriveled leaves.  It’s commonly known as a veld lily or river lily and is one of the Crinum lilies.  I am still arguing with all my sources as to which one it is.  Depending on the book or source, my crinum changes names.

I think it may be a crinum stuhlmannii but one of my books disagrees.

Anyone have an opinion?

Veld flowers

So far this summer we have had quite a few cloudy days and lots of lovely rain.  Not our normal blistering heat – but warm balmy humid days.  The result is really thick green lush bush.

When you look at the picture above you really don’t see many colours, so it is quite surprising when you walk around and look closely at how many stunning spring flowers are blooming.  I snapped a few on my daily walk.

 

 

 

Quite spectacular really.

Heads up

Some of you may remember that I was rather stressed about my brassicas not performing in the vegetable bed.  They were growing very well but not making heads.  Around that time I made a new friend who is a veggie farmer who kept on urging me to just wait.  I read up about them and decided that I would have to pull them all up and start again.  I was again urged to just wait.

My new friend came to visit me recently, and walked into my veggie garden and yanked a complete broccoli plant out of the ground.  I nearly hit him over the head!

He showed me where I had J-rooted the plant but kindly (and probably because he saw my face) replanted the plant in the same spot.  I did not hold out much hope for it though.

Well today I can announce that my brassicas all have heads and I will be getting some cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbage.  Yay!

Some pictures from the beds

As you can see – I am loving my new camera.  So many new things in my life right now.  This is good. 🙂

 

Harvesting

Starting to eat more and more of my garden.  I have the brassica blues though.  I think they are all going to bolt without heads.  Any tips?

Choking on grey water

This is my version of grey water usage.  I have channeled all the water from my bathroom to water my bed of artichoke plants.  It is quite an experiment.  I hope it works.

How to grow artichokes

The artichoke, Cynara scolymus, can be grown almost everywhere except possibly  where the summer is too hot (which may be my downfall). The ideal growing conditions are cool and moist summers and mild winters.

If you live in a cold climate your best bet is to start new plants each year. If you have a mild winter and mulch well, the artichokes may survive as perennials. Remember, it’s the artichoke’s roots that need protection.

Using transplants, you can grow artichokes as annuals in cold-winter climates with 90 to 100 frost-free days. .

Gardeners who are lucky enough to have the best growing conditions may be able to harvest artichokes throughout the year. For these people, it would not be unusual to harvest 30 artichokes per year per plant.

amaDumbe

Recently, my friend Vanessa and her husband Gavin sent me some strange looking brown tubers in a parcel (full of other lovely goodies for me too).  They turned out to be amaDumbe, or more commonly known as Madumbi here in South Africa, or as Taro elsewhere.

amaDumbe
Scientific name: Colocasia esculenta

This ‘‘potato of the tropics’’, amaDumbe (Colocasia  esculenta) is found all over the world in subtropical regions and is cooked much like a yam. amaDumbe, originated in
Oceania and South East Asia. It was spread by human settlers eastward to
New Guinea and the Pacific over 2000 years ago, where
it became one of the most important food plants economically and culturally. It is believed that amaDumbe has been cultivated for over 6000 years.

The mature corms and young shoots of amaDumbe are mostly used as boiled vegetables, but the corms are also roasted, baked, or fried. Roasted or boiled corms can be eaten alone or with stew.  amaDumbe corms are very rich in starch and they are a good source of dietary fibre.

I got six tubers in my parcel and instead of popping them into the oven, I have planted them so that I can harvest many more in 8-10 months time.

The plant looks just like an elephant ear and the young shoots and leaves are also edible. I hope they grow.

 

 

Sunrise

Slowly I am getting into my routine of getting up before the sun to feed the chickens and water the vegetables before I head off to work at 6.30 am every morning.

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be doing this I would have laughed in your face. I was a corporate girl who hired people to do the dirty work and I stayed in bed till the last minute as it was one of my favorite places.

Now I find that I really enjoy this time as I watch the sun rise over my growing greens, listen to the birds sing and the water spraying gently.  Who would have known 🙂  I surprise myself daily.