Thai Greater Galangal

Greater galangal: a tropical herbaceous plant of the ginger family reaching to about 2m (6 1/2ft). The blade-like leaves are long and wide, 50 x 9cm (18 x 31/2in); the flowers are greenish white with a dark-red veined tip. The fruits are red berries. The rhizomes are beige, orange to brown and ringed at intervals by the yellowish remnants of atrophied leaf bases.

What a nice spice. It resembles ginger in appearance. However, it tastes little like ginger; in its raw form, it has a soapy, earthy aroma and a pine-like flavor with a faint hint of citrus. Fantastic in seafood or fish dishes.

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We have a Papaya Fruit !

It's been a long time coming. My son Alex helped me nurse the seedlings 2 years ago from seeds and look what we discovered this fall. One large Papaya and several babies. All of the 4-6 ft trees are still blooming like crazy and it's almost December! This makes me very happy because all my tomato plants fried this summer and harvest was pitiful. We had to buy tomatoes for Salsa this year.

There will be papaya sauce!

Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce

  • 1 small papaya - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sea scallops

In a medium bowl, combine papaya, red pepper, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, cilantro. Set aside.
Combine flour, black pepper in a sealable bag. Add scallops, and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallops; cook and stir until golden. Serve scallops over papaya sauce.

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The Monarch

A picture from my favorite garden photographer. This pictures was taken at the Houston Zoo in Fall 2008.
We have tons of butterfly attracting plants in our garden too. Monarchs live there in abundance.

Monarch on a purple Butterfly bush.

Monarch Caterpillar

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Giant Spider Lily Queen Emma

'Queen Emma' (Crinum augustum). Queen Emma was the wife of Kamehameha IV.

Our last visit to the Houston Zoo showed a great deal of magnificent plants. Ronnie took some great pictures. One of them was a 6 foot tall spider lily.

So I went web surfing for several weeks with a just a picture on hand, not knowing what it was, I found one on ebay Wohoo. I am not quite convinced this is for real because rare plants are rare plants and they usually cost more than $10 unless they are a pest "there".

Cross fingers we got lucky :)

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Lion’s Ear

Lion's Ear Leonotis leonurus

We're told this plant was used in religious ceremonies by Zulu priests and that if you smoke the dried leaves it causes euphoria. We don’t know any Zulu priests so we couldn’t verify this information.

Lion’s ear can reach 6′ in height and 3′ across. It needs little water, so find a relatively dry location for it.

Hummingbirds and butterflies love this plant. They had already migrated through here before this plant bloomed so we’ll know better next year. I’ve also read it attracts many wild birds.

It will happily bloom in sun or shade, just less often in the shade. You will want to prune it back late winter to early spring to keep it looking nice, otherwise it will require little care. It will lose its leaves after a frost but should recuperate nicely.

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Exotic acquaintance - a stunning Reptile

Look what we found on our weekly trip to our favorite Garden Center.

Definitely not somebody local. Ronnie managed to get a real good shot with his new camera.

What is it?

We're guessing it's a Red Neck Lizard, no pun intended. We are in Texas after all..... This one looks different. We are not reptile experts. Surely a stunning specimen.
Please drop us a line if you know what it is.

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