Figs - The Food of the Gods

Our precious Fig tree was ravished by the hard freeze a couple months ago. I had such great hopes, but ended up with shriveled up rotten fruits. How did that happen? Come to find out that figs soaked in rain water, frozen and exposed to heavy freezing winds are just dammed to die. 

If it doesn't come back we must start again with a hardier variety. 
A few months ago I received a couple of bags of fig fruits from my sister in law Catherine. They were super ripe and because I had no way of using them right away, they went in the freezer.
In fact, Figs freeze super well and will, this year, be used to make a fine jam, maybe even a fig/pear jam. After long research I've obtained a recipe that looked simple enough and sounded absolutely delicious. Simplicity and quality in home made foods is essential to me. 4 ingredients or less are preferred, but hey, I will get "helpers" too if it's more than 6 pounds

Here is the recipe: 
6 qt. boiling water
6 qt. fresh figs
1/2 cup sugar for each cup of crushed figs
1 qt. water
8 slices lemon
Pour boiling water over figs; let stand 15 minutes. Drain and thoroughly rinse in cold water. Pat dry; remove stems Crush and measure figs, place in a large Dutch oven. Add 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of crushed figs. Add 1 quart water. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 3 hours or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Ladle jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Add a slice of lemon to each jar. Cover at once with metal lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Yields 8 1/2 pints.

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A Blue Brugmansia?

I found this rare flower at my favorite seed shop. Looks like a Brugmansia Angel Trumpet and found it research worthy. It's actually a relative of the Brugmansia. This beauty comes from from South America:

Description: Small shrub, generally to 3-6ft, sometimes to 10ft. Flowers are borne in clusters of up to 6-12 and sometimes more. Flowers grow to about 2-3", are cobalt blue in color and can remain on the branches for a while. Flowering may occur for much of the warmer months. There is a white type as well.

Hardiness: Hardy to 20-22F. Growing Environment: Grows best in filtered sun to full sun. Water moderately.
Propagation: By seeds.

Uses: Still a rare plant, it is cultivated as an ornamental and can be found in a few botanical gardens. Native Range: Native to Argentina.

What shocked me were the prices these seeds are being sold for. I've seen them for as much as $15-$30 per 10 seeds???? !eek, that nuts. I also found that the seeds have a good shelf live and are not highly perishable. So $7 for 20 seeds seems a good deal considering the rarity of this specimen. Found here.

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What is this?

Anyone? I can't locate any usable info at all on this plant! It was called "Beard Dianthus" and had no botanical name - that doesn't seem to fit. Please post if you know. Thanks much!!

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Beautiful Spoon Daisy

What an unusual species and, of course, nowhere to be found for purchase. It appears that this plant is patented and very much restricted to whole sale nurseries only.

The African Daisy, Osteospermum ecklonis Nasinga, or also called Scape Daisy, is a wonderful early spring and fall plant. This low maintenance variety is perfect for hanging baskets, combination's, window boxes and landscapes.

Plant Facts:
Mature Height: 8 - 14 inches
Mature Spread: 12 - 14 inches
Soil Type: Widely Adaptable
Moisture: Moderate
Mature Form: Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Sun Exposure: Full Sun - Partial Sun
Flower Color: Lavender, Blue
Zones: 10-11

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Cool Cactus Blooms!!

Our cactus that we have had for only one year bloomed last fall, but just for one day, actually just a few hours. The cactus stands 5 ft tall when 3 bloom buds appeared out of nowhere. When it opened the bloom stem was about 6” long and the bloom 6” across. I had get up at 5 AM to take pictures. The bloom closed by 9:00am that morning never to open again. We never dreamed that the bloom for as large as it is would only be open for a few hours.

San Pedro Cactus, Trichocereus pachanoi, is native to several places in South America. San Pedro Cactus is found in Southern Ecuador at the Chanchan valley ranging from 6,600-9,000 feet. In Peru, in the Huancabamba valley and in Quebrada Santa Cruz at 10,800 ft. San Pedro Cactus grows naturally in these locales, San Pedro Cactus is cultivated all over Peru and in other places in South America.

San Pedro Cactus cuttings are fast growing (12-18" per year) if grown in warm, moist and rain-rich areas. If San Pedro Cactus cuttings are grown indoors they should be kept in a warm area of your house, direct sunlight is important for San Pedro Cactus cuttings to flourish in-doors. Watering San Pedro Cactus cuttings should be done daily, doing so you can almost watch your San Pedro Cactus cutting growing. San Pedro Cactus is a very hardy cactus, it grows quickly when watered daily but will survive long periods without water. San Pedro Cactus cuttings can survive for months or even years and can develop lateral shoots even without food or water.

The almost spineless columnar San Pedro Cactus can grow as tall as 19 ft. San Pedro Cactus has several ribs, usually six but often seven or eight, sometimes as many as twelve. San Pedro Cactus has beautiful white flowers which only appear at night and very delicious red fruits which develop very rarely.

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The Dramatic Angel Trumpet

There are few more dramatic flowers in Texas than the angel’s trumpet, which is blooming Summer to Fall. I have 4 varieties, pink, yellow, white and tropical sunset, the pink however is by far the most vigorous grower.

The Latin name is Brugmansia, and the flowers can be nine to 12 inches long. A really mature shrub can sport 200 such dangling trumpets at the same time.

The flower is very fragrant, but unlike the tree-born bloom, you probably should not mix these gigantic flowers into your scrambled eggs. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Nevertheless, these are popular garden specimens in Texas because of their enormous flowers. Plus they also can endure sun and shade. They usually are found as shrubs, but a mature plant can be 20 feet tall.

Some debate exists on where the plants originated. Some say Chile or Peru. But some Brazilian Indians have worked the plant into their culture. They smoke the leaves for a narcotic high and possible relief of some respiratory illnesses. This is not recommended for mere mortals nor should gardeners fail to wash up after casual contact.

There are three basic types of propagation in use by the hobbiest. They are seed, cuttings and air layering. Several other methods,such as tissue culture, are in use commercially but these are beyond the scope of the home gardener.

Brug seed are enclosed in a corky covering. Inside the cork is a small "bean". This is the true seed. The covering may be removed or it may be left on. The only difference is that the peeled seed may sprout a bit sooner. Many of the flowers from seed will be white as this is the dominant color in many species. But, that said, we do also get all of our colorful new hybrids from seed.
Use fine potting soil or you may use a mixture of sand and peat as a starting mix. Plant the seed about one half inch deep and firm the soil over it. Water well and then do not water again until the soil becomes dry. Too much water for too long a time will rot the seed. Expect germination in from two weeks to six months. Fresh seed do germinate faster. When the seedling has grown its second set of leaves move it to a larger pot. Generally speaking, the larger the pot the faster the seedling will grow. Do remember to keep the soil warm in colder weather. Expect blooms when the seedling has reached three to five feet and formed a "Y" on the main stalk.

Plants grown from cuttings are exact clones of the parent plant. For instance, if you have a Dr.Seuss it has been produced from a cutting of a cutting of a cutting etc. of the original plant and is a part of that plant. It will not cross and produce seed with another Dr.Seuss. Select cuttings from older wood.The cutting should be about six inches long and one half inch in diameter or larger. The cuttings may be started in water or in good potting soil. If you start in water,change the water daily and move the cutting to soil as soon as the roots begin to form. If starting in soil place the cutting about two inches into the potting medium, firm the soil and water thoroughly. After this water only sparingly until the plant is well started. Too much water will cause the cutting to rot. Most cutting failures are due to too much water instead of not enough.

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Texas Mountain Laurel Mescal Bean

Texas Mountain Laurel - Sophora secundiflora
Drooping clusters of purple blossoms, very fragrant
Native to Texas and Mexico

Texas mountain laurel grows in limestone soils in Central and Southwest Texas and to 5000 feet in the Chisos and Davis Mountains.

 The pinnate leaves with their lustrous, leathery upper surface provide year long beauty, enhanced in mid-spring by the densely-flowered racemes of lavender or violet wisteria like flowers having the scent of grape Kool Aid. 

The gray to black, somewhat constricted seedpods contain red to red-orange seeds which are sometimes used in jewelry. 

In zones colder than Zone 8, flowering is not reliable because of late freezes which damage the buds. Texas mountain laurel is difficult to successfully transplant from the wild because they dislike root disturbance.

Seeds found available here:  Texas Mountain Laurel

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Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow.

How about a willow with flowers? Or one with Hummingbirds?

Desert Willow belongs to a genus of flowering plant, containing a single species, Chilopsis linearis. It is a small tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Despite the common name Desert Willow, given because of its willow-like leaves, it is actually a relative of the Bignonia. Gardeners love this plant because it evokes the shape of a true Willow, but produces a canopy of intensely colored flowers.

It is cultivated principally for its large showy flowers, but also for its tolerance of hot, dry climates. Although the natural growth produces a very irregular shape, it can be readily pruned into a conventional tree shape. A number of cultivars have been selected to produce flowers ranging in color from deep burgundy to flaming pink to white.

The plant will grow in full sun and partial shade. It needs very well drained soil. Although it grows best along streams and low places, it does not like moisture at its roots. It grows well in rocky and gravel soils and thrives in very hot and dry areas.

Native Americans used the flowers, leaves, and bark medicinally. They also used its wood for bows and baskets. The tree attracts hummingbirds as well, inviting these desirable guests into the garden.

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The amazing Snail Vine

Super cool Collector Vine Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla! Definitely a to "drool" over Plant. Very hard to find and accordingly priced.

There are two similar looking plants called Vigna caracalla.  Both produce pretty, spiral-form flowers in soft pastel shades. And the foliage of both is heart shaped, looking much like that of pole beans which makes sense because these are legumes and are therefore related to beans. In fact, both plants will produce slender, bean-like pods under good growing conditions.
The Snail Vine, Phaseolus caracalla, is fairly widely available. This is an aggressive, sometimes invasive plant that tends to root where the branches touch the ground and can be difficult to eradicate. The flowers of the Snail Vine lack the fragrance that represents a key reason gardeners choose to grow these plants. Snail vines are often erroneously sold and labeled as Vigna caracalla.
The true Corkscrew Vine (or Shell Vine), Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla, is difficult to find but worth the effort. This vigorous and well-mannered garden plant produces very cool spiral flowers with an incredible scent that's reminiscent of Chinese wisteria and noticeable from 15 feet away. The intricate, curly flowers are produced for several months during the summer. Originally from South America and grown by Thomas Jefferson at Montecello, these are memorable plants. If you've seen one in a private or public garden, locked on the amazing scent and fanciful flowers, and always wanted one of your own, now you can make that happen.

  True Snail/Corkscrew Vine Cochliasanthus Vignacaracalla - Seeds Found here


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Tacca chantrieri - Bat Flower

I don't have this one (yet) but I am working on it. The Bat Flower is an exotic tropical perennial from South-East Asia and Africa. Its highly prized deep purple-brown flowers look black at first glance. From these striking flowers droop long, delicate, whiskery tendrils. Its seed, freely available from established plants, should be sown in springtime in a pot of moist African Violet potting mix. Note: the seeds MUST be very fresh as seed propagation for this plant is very difficult. The plant can also be propagated by division of its rhizome in spring.

The plants will reach flowering size in about three years if you keep them warm and sheltered and give them a monthly liquid feed.
Always remember to keep them on the dry side in winter, at a temperature which does not drop below 13*C. Re-pot when growth commences in spring. The Bat Flower is an excellent indoor pot plant in temperate areas but in tropical or subtropical areas it can be grown outside in borders or as an understorey plant. Like many ferns, its lush, green, heavily veined foliage benefits from good, but not full sunshine.

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Stapelia gigantea

No one who sees the starfish flower, Stapelia gigantea, ever forgets it. Its 13- to 18-inch blossom is among the largest in the world--yellow, five-pointed, with petals marked with crimson lines. Its buds look like inflated balloons, opening slowly one petal at a time. Also unforgettable is its odor, giving rise to the common name "carrion flower,' which applies to several stapelias.

Few bees and hardly any butterflies are present as pollinators in the native region of these plants, but there are plenty of flies. Presumably it was nature's scheme to attract flies for pollination of flowers by the odor. The insect mistakes the flower for a piece of rotting animal carcass on which, habitually, it lays its eggs so that larvae hatching from them have something to feed on. In justice to the flowers, the carrion odor is not noticeable more than a few feet away, and it is of short duration.

Give stapelias sandy soil and good drainage. A suitable mix is four parts good potting soil to one part builder's sand. Keep new plants watered well while they are actively growing (spring to late summer), then allow to dry down one inch deep. In fall/winter keep them on the dry side, watering only when stems soften, signaling a need for water.

Although they grow in full sun in the wild, in captivity they seem to do best in a more subdued light. An eastern exposure with morning sun is good during their growth period; and when they are dormant a south window suits them. They summer well outdoors if kept out of hottest midday sun.

To propagate stapelia, merely twist off stems at joints and set them into a rooting medium. A good rooting mix is equal parts moist peat and perlite, with a half part of sand added to improve anchorage. Stand the cutting upright in the mix but don't cover it so deeply as to block air circulation. Keep the medium on the dry side and at 70 degrees or more. Anytime during the growing season is a good time to propagate.

When roots are a half-inch long, put cutting into a 3-inch pot containing the sand and soil mix. Keep it in the shade and fairly dry until established-- about two weeks. Expect blooms in about two years.

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Cannonball Tree

Another incredible rain forest tree. It wont grow in our climate, still, worth noting.

Couroupita guianensis, Cannonball Tree, Brazil Nut, Bertholletia excelsa, Boskalebas

Cannonball Tree is a large deciduous tropical tree 75' tall and indigenous to the Amazon rain forest. The leaves, up to 6" long, are simple with serrate margin.
It flowers in racemes which cauliflorus. The amazingly complex, yellow, reddish and pinks flower of the Cannonball Tree are heavenly scented - a cross between a fine expensive perfume and a wonderful flower scent. These are 3" to 5" waxy, pink and dark-red flowers growing directly on the bark of the trunk. The tree bears, directly on the trunk and main branches, large round woody fruits. They look like big rusty cannonballs hanging in clusters, like balls on a string. The fruit contains small seeds in a white, unpleasant smelling white jelly, which are exposed when the upper half of the fruit goes off like a cover. The long dangling fruity branches give the tree an unkempt appearance.

Fruits are edible and are occasionally eaten, but the smell of the white flesh discourages most people from trying them. The flowers of Cannonball Tree have a wonderful smell and can be used to scent perfumes and cosmetics. The hard shells of the fruit are sometimes used as containers.

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The Fly Ring

Somewhat nature related, I have decided to post that freaky thing right here. The Fly Ring.

Glitzy, kitsch greatness!

A plastic toy fly is adhered to a silver tone adjustable ring base

found here

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Clerodendrum trichotomum

Another intriguing flower.

Clerodendrum trichotomum Verbenaceae
Harlequin Glorybower, Peanut Butter Tree

Native to Japan, Harlequin glory bower is gorgeous deciduous shrub or small tree. It grows up to 10 ft tall. Leaves are usually entire, opposite, ovate-elliptic, triangular-ovate, or ovate, 5-16 2-13 cm, dark green, soft hairy. When bruised, they have the odor of peanut butter, hence the common name Peanut butter shrub. Flowers start as cream colored buds, then open as soft pink/white. Flowers are borne in clusters which branch into 3, hence the species name trichotomum. Flowers have a long, narrow tube, up to 1 inch long, which opens into 5 petals, about half an inch long. Stamens are 4, very long and prominently protruding out of the flowers, carrying large oblong anthers. The sepal cup is initially greenish, gradually swelling into a magenta. Fruit is 4-lobed, shining dark blue, round, surrounded by enlarged reddish-magenta sepals. Blooms are very fragrant and attract mobs of butterflies. Flowering: August-November.

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Chinese Dogwood

This a specimen of Cornus kousa var. chinensis

The dogwoods, Cornus, comprise a small genus of around 65 species of mostly deciduous shrubs and small trees from northern temperate grasslands, woodlands and swamps.

Cornus are extensively grown for a wide range of ornamental effects. Dogwoods such as Cornus alba and C. stolonifera are prized for their brilliant autumn foliage, handsome fruits and outstanding winter beauty provided by colourful stems which range in colour from yellow, crimson and almost black-purple.

The flowering dogwoods such as C. florida, C. kousa and C. nuttallii are also grown for their stunning autumn colour but it is their large white or pink bracts produced in early summer for which the group is most celebrated.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis
Introduced in 1907 from China, as the name suggests, Cornus kousa var. chinensis differs from typical C. kousa in its taller, more open habit, usually forming a small tree.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis reaches up to 7m (23ft) tall with a trunk of flaky bark and dark green leaves which turn a deep crimson-purple in autumn. In early summer green flowers are borne in inflorescences up to 1cm across. These are surrounded by four large tapered bracts, 5cm (2in) long, which open creamy white and then turn white before eventually fading to red-pink.

The flowers are followed by deep crimson, strawberry-like fruits.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis should be grown as a specimen tree in a fertile, humus-rich, neutral to acid soil in a location in full sun or partial shade. It is not recommended for poor, shallow, chalk soils.

Cornus kousa is best left to develop with a central-leader or as a branched-head standard with minimal intervention. Gradually clear a short trunk when young by pruning in the autumn or spring and then keep pruning to an absolute minimum. Dead wood should be removed after flowering but care must be taken not to damage the twiggy flowering growth. Cornus kousa does not tolerate hard pruning.

Cornus are rarely affected by pests and diseases, though some may suffer from Cornus anthracnose. This fungal infection is most prevalent in cool, damp weather, with infections showing as spots appearing on the leaves in late spring or early summer. As the infection develops patches of dieback may appear and in severe cases the plant may die. To stop the infection spreading the affected branches should be pruned out and burnt.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis propagates well by seed which should be cold stratified when ripe and sown the following spring.

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What a beauty!

Shaving brush tree

Native to Mexico, the Shaving Brush is a large deciduous tree to about 30 feet suitable down to 20 degrees

Desired for it's unique brush-like flowers in late winter, the leaves are an attraction as well. Leaves are first bright red turning into a lush green as they mature.

With minimal water requirements, this is a excellent shade tree as well as a show stopper bloomer. Flowers have silky pink stamens topped with yellow pollen. A delight for hummingbirds. This tree is suitable for bonsai treatment as well.

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We have Adenium Babies

I used my favorite mixed Thai seed assortment in hope for another batch of double Adenium.

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Make Your Own Liquid Herbal Extract

Peppermint, Rosemary, Green Tea, Stevia, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger…..or whatever else you have in mind.

This recipe is the simplest way to make your own liquid herbal extracts in your own home.

Start with a clean jar that has a tight fitting lid and the herbs of your choice. If you can use fresh herbs, then fabulous! Fresh material is always preferred but availability is determined by your local bio-region, climate, etc and many quality herbs may not be available.

If you cannot locate fresh materials, be sure to get good quality, organic herbs from a reputable supplier.

Note: Try not to use powdered herbs; they will be difficult to filter out in the end and the debris will settle in your final product.

  • If using fresh material: Chop the herbs finely. Then put in the glass jar. Next, pour a good, strong grain alcohol or Vodka over the herbs, completely covering the herbal material.
  • If you are using dried herbs: You will need to add more alcohol over the next day or two as the dried herbs absorb and expand. A good ratio for dried material is about 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol and with fresh material 1 part herb to 3 parts alcohol.
After you have done this, cover with tight fitting lid and be sure to place a plastic bag sandwiched between the lid and the jar. This will prevent rust contamination from spoiling your extract. Shake well and place the jar in a dark place & allow the herbs to soak or macerate for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake every few days. The alcohol will siphon and extract the active constituents from the herbs.
After 4 to 6 weeks strain the herbs. Use a large sieve, strainer, press or potato ricer lined with fine mesh cloth or cheesecloth. Then pour into another large bowl or container.
After you have done this grab the soggy herbal material and place in muslin, cheese or another fine cloth and tightly squeeze the material to extract every last drop from the cloth.
The herbal material left over that is saturated, is the strongest in terms of active medicinal constituents.
Now funnel the material from your larger container into smaller bottles, preferably amber bottles and store your tinctures in a cool dark place.

You have now made your own remarkable medicinal herbal extract for a fraction of the price you would have paid at the store. By now you have probably noticed that your pantry is stored with some 16-20 ounces of liquid herbal extract……this will last you for some time. (It will keep for 3-5 years)

Content written by Mountain Rose Herbs

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Jamaican Poinsettia

Botanical name: Euphorbia punicea
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Flame of Jamaica, Jamaican poinsettia
Habit: Evergreen shrub or small tree to 20’

Flower: On and off, throughout the year. Large bracts in shades of
red surrounding a complex yellow flower structure.
Fruit: Usually green tinged with red, pop open when ripe.
Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings, air layers

Euphorbia punicea, known as the flame of Jamaica, is an evergreen succulent shrub to small tree found only on the sunny island of Jamaica. Although first described in 1788, E. punicea has yet to find its way into many Southern gardens, even though it thrives on limestone, needs no irrigation and is a very light feeder. Its slow
growth, upright habit and branching structure make pruning irrelevant.
Flame of Jamaica has the potential to bloom almost year-round. What we see as a flower show is actually an odd inflorescence surrounded by showy bracts, or modified leaves. These bracts can range in color from orange to pink to scarlet to crimson red.

Plant Euphorbia punicea in welldrained soil, or even a rocky hole with full exposure to the sun. Be patient. Like a fine wine it gets better with age.

Its sap may irritate the skin.

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August Toons

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Clock Vine, Lady Slippers

My newest find and I have just the spot to plant this.

Thunbergia mysorensis, or Clock Vine, is a woody-stemmed, evergreen climbing flowering plant, native to India. The name, mysorensis is derived from the city of Mysore in the south of India. Is also sometimes called "Brick & Butter Vine" & "Dolls' Shoes".

The vine often reaches 20 feet (6 metres) and has narrow leaves. The flowers are shaped like pendants and are brownish red with a yellow center, and bloom from Spring to Autumn.

The plant is a popular tropical garden item because of its attractiveness to hummingbirds.

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Devils Hand Tree

This weekend we are growing Chiranthodendron pentadactylon from seeds. My favorite seed supplier got some in, we're plenty stocked up and off we go. Suppose to be really easy, but given the availability this has yet to be seen, but I am confident!!

The seed trays are ready and so is the green house. Will update as we go along.

Available here

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It's Tomato time!

I've always liked simple good and identifiable food with fresh herbs. Here is one of my favorite super light summer hors D'oeuvre or snack recipes.

4 Ingredient Bruschetta

  • French bread
  • Ripe Tomatos
  • Fresh Basil, cut into thin strips (never dried)
  • Fresh sliced Mozzarella cheese
Slice or dice fresh french bread into 1" slices
Slice fresh Tomatoes 1/4" and place on bread (1, 2 or 3 slices)
Top with 1 slice of Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450f, place bruschetta on cookie sheet into the oven and reduce heat to 275f
Bake for 10 minutes
Add a good amount of fresh shredded basil on top of the hot cheese (adding basil prior baking will make the herb gray looking and shriveled up). Voila'

My boy's literally "inhale" them like a vacuum, so I have to say 4 to 6 per person

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Dorstenia - The Star Trek Plant

A new find, the very rare caudex plant Dorstenia also known as star trek plant or alien plant. This one I'd like to grow from seeds completely. It will be a challenge to find them.

Dorstenia is a large genus occuring in the tropics around the world. There are succulent and non-succulent species. Most of the succulent species come from Africa. It belongs to the fig and mulberry family, and has also an unusual flower arrangement. The flowers are grouped in a structure called hypanthodium, and many in this genus have a common name of 'shield flowers'.

When the seeds are ripe, they are expelled at distances of several several feet.

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Tropical Rosary Pea

Weeeh. That picture is enough to scare anyone. Unusual tropical seeds.

Rosary Pea, Crab's Eye, Abrus precatorius

The plant is a slender twiner with alternately placed compound leaves. Each leaf has about 20 pairs of narrow, oblong leaflets, looking like a delicate feather. The rose to purple flowers are crowded at the end of a stalk. Fruits are short, inflated pods, splitting open when mature to reveal the round, hard and shiny seeds which are scarlet but black at the base. The plant is native to the tropics. It grows by the seashore among the undergrowth and in hedges. Seeds when broken or chewed or when the external coat is removed are highly toxic. The highly attractive seeds are sought after by children for beads. They are sometimes made into necklaces and rosaries.
Seeds are extremely poisonous if cracked; a single one, if swallowed can be fatal.

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Lotus berthelotii, another Kaka Beak

Call that hot stuff ground cover or pot companion.

Lotus berthelotii is a perennial plant native to the Canary Islands. In the wild it is extinct or almost so as it was pollinated by birds that are also now extinct in the Canaries. Flowers are pea-like and come in shades of red, yellow, and orange. It has needle like foliage covered with fine silvery hairs. It is a creeping ground cover spreading to 3 feet in full sun.

Credit for this image: Haplochromis

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Brighamia Insignis

Ancestors of the Hawaiian Palm probably arrived on the Hawaiian Islands millions of years ago. Because of the isolated location of these islands in the Pacific Ocean, plants and animals were able to evolve mostly undisturbed and form unique and remarkable relationships. It is thought that the long, tube-shaped flowers of the Hawaiian Palm evolved in parallel with a moth species, believed to be the only one capable of pollinating the plant’s flowers.

The delicate natural balance of the Hawaiian Islands was dramatically disturbed over time with the arrival of people on the islands. Through clearance and the introduction of non-native plants and animals, the moth’s natural habitat disappeared. It is thought that the moth itself has also disappeared. Without these moths the plant cannot easily pollinate and reproduce. As a result, no more than seven of these plants are known to exist in the wild on the island of Kaua’i, making the Hawaiian Palm one of the world’s rarest plants. According to the IUCN Red List, Brighamia insignis is listed as Critically Endangered.

Propagation by Seeds

The fruit of Brighamia insignis is a green capsule about 1/2 inch long which ripens six to eight weeks after pollination. When mature, the capsule splits open releasing many small, smooth seeds. Capsules may still be green when the open or they may have turned pale yellow or light cream in color. Some seeds may remain stuck to the sides of the capsule. The capsules can be harvested just as they start to crack open. Place the capsules in a paper bag or envelope until the seeds fall out of the open capsule.

Most sources state that Brighamia seeds require light to germinate and to sprinkle the seeds on the surface of moist, fine textured medium that drains well such as fine perlite or commercial peat/perlite potting mix. Seeds should be kept in partial shade. Seeds will begin germinating in a couple of weeks and that most seeds will sprout at the same time.

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Indian Blanket

A stunning native of Texas that loves sun, sea and salt water.
Scientific Name:
Gaillardia pulchella
Common Name: Firewheel, Indian Blanket, Blanket Flower
Flower Color: Red rays with yellow tips
Plant Type: Herb, Annual, Biennial, Perennial
Height: To 2 feet (61 cm) tall

The up to 3 inch (7.6 cm) wide flowers have 8 to 14 three-cleft rays. The leaves are linear,
spatulate, or oblong and may be toothed or lobed. This wildflower is usually an annual and often blooms earlier than the similar perennials G. aristata and G. × grandiflora.

Great cut flower

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