Friday

Scarce Gem - Extremely Rare Sorcerer's Tree



What have we here.

 The Sorcerer's Tree (Solanaceae family) is a showy woody shrub, to 12ft high, native to a small area in southern Chile.
It has slightly glossy, elliptic leaves on spiny stems and pendulous, beautiful bell-shaped, 2in long, magenta flowers followed by round, yellow-ish fruits.
Latua pubiflora is apparently nowhere abundant, and there are even very few specimens of it in the world.

Seeds found here...
 

The Sorcerer's Tree as it is known, is one of the rarest of all shamanic plants.
All parts are strongly poisonous due to hallucinogen alkaloids.

For any rich, moist, well drained soil in a shady spot throughout the year.
Hardy to Zone 9. The plant does not tolerate snow, but can tolerate occasional freezing spells of about 23F (the typical morning frost of central Chile). Prefers to grow in the part-shade to full shade.



Family: Solanaceae. Synonyms: Lycioplesium pubiflorum, Latua venenata, Latua venenosa, Baum der Zauberer, Palo de Bruja, Tree of Wizards.



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Wednesday

Mini Fruit Kiwi Berry Yum!!!

The self-pollinating Actinidia arguta is a heirloom perennial vine native to Japan, Korea, Northern China, and Russian Siberia. The fruit are referred to as Hardy kiwifruit, kiwi berry, arctic kiwi, baby kiwi, dessert kiwi, grape kiwi, northern kiwi, or cocktail kiwi and are edible. Berry or grape-sized fruit similar to kiwifruit in taste and appearance, but are green with smooth skin. Often sweeter than the kiwifruit, hardy kiwifruit can be eaten whole and need not be peeled.

The fast-growing, climbing vine is very hardy (hence the name hardy kiwi), and is capable of surviving slow temperature drops to -30°F, although young shoots can be vulnerable to frost in the spring. The vines need a frost-free growing season of about 150 days, but are not damaged by late freezes, provided that temperature changes are sufficiently gradual to allow plants to acclimate. Indeed, a period of winter chill is necessary for successful cultivation. However, rapid freezes will kill off buds and split vines. The vines can also be grown in low-chill areas. Seed available here.

The vines grow extremely quickly and require a strong trellis for support.

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Monday

Carnivorous Spoon Sundew

Species of the Drosera spatulata group are found from New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia.
Drosera tokaiensis is beautiful, small rosette-forming carnivorous plant species having spoon-like leaves up to 1 inch long. It is one of the easiest carnivorous plants to grow and care. As a natural hybrid between D. spatulata and D. rotundifolia it has the best genes for adaptation to new environments. It is a free-flowering and fascinating house plant that may bloom after short 8 months after sowing. The plant lives 3 years or more, producing seedlings during the way!
The leaves are densely covered with stalked tentacles that secrete sticky mucilage with enzymes to attract and catch inserts. The tentacles are very sensitive and mobile. Once an insect is trapped on a leaf, its movements contact triggers a curling reaction. The leaf wraps around the insect and produces more digestive glands in contact with its prey, eventually digesting and absorbing the victim's nutrients until only the external skeleton remains.
This is a subtropical species, suitable zone 10+ or as a houseplant. Seeds found....

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Thursday

Beautiful Chilean Potato Vine 'Glasnevin'

Lovely!

Solanum crispum is a species of flowering plant in the Solanaceae family, native to Chile and Peru. Common names include Chilean potato vine, Chilean nightshade, Chilean potato tree and potato vine. Growing to 20 ft tall, it is a semi-evergreen, woody-stemmed climbing plant. The small blue fragrant flowers, 1”  in diameter, with prominent yellow ovaries, appear in clusters in summer. They resemble those of the closely related potato.
S. crispum is fast growing with a long flowering period, typically from midsummer till autumn. It grows well in neutral or slightly alkaline soils that are moist and well drained. Requiring some protection from frost, planting it against a south- or west-facing fence or wall in full sun is recommended. Zone 8+



Seeds available here

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What a stinking Lily!! - Voodoo Lily

If you like the smell of death and decay in the garden, this one might be of interest to you. The little sister of the giant corpse flower.

The Voodoo lily is a member of the philodendron family that grows from a tuber. Each tuber produces a single tripartite leaf on a tall, mottled stem. Voodoo lily is a perennial generally grown as a curiosity for its interesting foliage.
But be aware; When in bloom it produces an odor like a dead animal, the smell intended to attract the carrion flies that are its natural pollinators. If this is objectionable the flower can be cut off or covered with a plastic bag to confine the smell. Pollinated flowers will be followed by a round berry.

As a tender plant, the leaf is very frost sensitive (although buried tubers are supposedly hardy to zone 6), and must be grown indoors as a house plant
(oh joy!) or as a seasonal outdoor plant. It is easy to plant the tubers outdoors once the soil has warmed and dig them again in the fall once the weather cools. Also known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku potato, devil's tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam.

This variety is grown for food. The corm has dietary and medicinal uses and provides several vitamins, but must be used only after careful research.


Definitely worth growing for it's unique display and 'fragrant' experience, a true conversation plant.

Bulbs available here

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Dr. Seuss Trees - Tree Echium


Probably the drama queen of the Echiums...


Echium pininana, also called Tree Echium and Giant Viper's bugloss, is a plant, native to La Palma in the Canary Islands. 

E. pininana is a biennial or triennial, showing little more than leaf in the first year, but subsequently produces a dense, 10-12 ft high (potentially) flower spike that carries a dense mass of leaves and small blue flowers. Attracts many Hummingbirds, Bees, Butterflies.


The tree echium is a showy plant, that will withstand negative temperatures down to 26°F - 25°F (-3°C to -4°C) - zone 8+


Inflorescence of the tree echium appears in the beginning of the second spring. Resembling a Palm tree, the stem quickly reaches up to 10-12 ft tall, and bears numerous tiny blue-violet flowers. 


Certainly the most sought-after of all Echium species that will bring crowds flocking to see it. Stunning!


Seeds...

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American Ginseng Panax quinquefolius

Panax quinquefolius roots have become a very popular herbal medicine, especially in China. As a result of its over-exploitation and the loss of its natural forest habitat, it is now rare in the wild, and material used commercially has to come from cultivated plants. It is now considered to be a threatened species in 16 states and endangered in a further 10 states. 

American ginseng (Xi Yang Shen),  Panax quinquefolius. The word "panax" comes from the Greek word "pan" meaning "all", and the Greek "akos" meaning "cure", or "cure all", which exemplifies the high regard for this herb. Ginseng plants have glossy green leaves and grow to about 2 feet tall and wide. 
They have a thin, single stem that emerges from the top of the root that shrinks each year as the plant grows. This causes wrinkles or rings at the top, or neck, of the root and is the most accurate way to date the age of a ginseng root after harvest. In most climates seedlings are best grown in a deep pot in a greenhouse or cold frame for the first winter, then can be planted in a permanent location in late summer. The plant is perennial and hardy to USDA zone 6. Prefers moist humus rich soil in semi shade to full shade.

Pre-chilled, already stratified Seeds

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Wednesday

The Dove Tree, also called Handkerchief Tree or Ghost Tree

Native to China, handkerchief tree is considered to be the Holy Grail of exotic flora, and seeds were first sent to England by the legendary botanist Ernest Wilson in 1901. The dove tree is a deciduous tree that typically grows 20-40’ tall with a broad pyramidal habit. Red-anthered flowers in rounded clusters bloom in April-May. However the showy parts of the bloom are the large showy white bracts (one 3-4 inches long and the other 6-7 inches long) which subtend each flower cluster. The bracts flutter in the slightest breeze, and, from a distance, purportedly look like white doves sitting in the tree, hence the common name. Flowers are followed by round, greenish-brown, golf ball-sized fruits on 2-3” stems. 
The bright green leaves (3-6” long) are heart-shaped at the base. Variable fall color ranges from undistinguished dull pastels to bright oranges and reds. Other common names, all in reference to the unique flowers, include handkerchief tree, laundry tree and ghost tree. Genus honors Abbe Armand David, a French missionary to China from 1862-1873, who first described and collected the tree. This Tree is hardy Zone 5-8

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Dark Purple Cauliflower..Yum!

Look what we have here...

This specialty market variety will certainly attract attention at your garden and kitchen.
This rare and stunning hybrid F1 cauliflower produces rich colored heads for cropping July-October. The unique purple curds can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed or stir-fried. The deep purple color along with its dark green leaves makes for a very striking combination. Works best for fall planting but can also be grown in spring. Tender texture and mild cauliflower flavor. Superior quality retain most of their vibrant color even after cooking - a beautiful presentation!
Purple cauliflowers contain anthocyanins a very powerful antioxidant, said to help prevent cancer and very beneficial for general health. 80 days from setting out transplants


Seeds: Graffiti Cauliflower 

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Friday

Heirloom Bean Yard Long Vigna Unguiculata Sesquipedalis

The coolest new bean in my assortment. 

It is doing extremely well in the Texas heat. Another great feature is the bend ability that lets you create wondrous eye appealing edible conversation material. 

Unique and delicious, yard long beans grow extra long with super slender pods that are a tasty addition to stir-fries and stews. This variety produces long, dark green, slender, round string-less pods that grow 16-18" (to 45 cm) long. This strong, easy to grow plant needs a warm climate to thrive and will reward you with high yields. They are very
crisp, tender and delicious. Try in recipes that use snap beans. Prepare by cutting into 2" sections. Shell mature pods and use as dried beans. 70 Days Also known as Chinese long bean, garter bean, snake bean, spaghetti bean, yard long bean, asparagus bean.

Yard Long Bean Seeds

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Thursday

Incredible Maniltoa



Latest stunning discovery.

The Australian Manitloa is a highly ornamental small tree with very spectacular, cascading pink new growth. As an added attraction to the spectacular new foliage growth it will produce fluffy white balls of flowers. It will grow into a medium size tree suitable for suburban back yards. 


They produce a brown pod containing one brown seed, probably one of the reasons why no one sells them.

 

Common names include: Silk Handkerchief Tree, Cascading Bean, Native Handkerchief Tree.


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Tuesday

Edible Ornamental Loroco Fernaldia pandurata

Loroco is native to Central America, and was called Quilite, which in the indigenous language means “Edible herb”. It is a perennial plant that produces flowers from May to October in El Salvador, but with irrigation can produce year-round. The Loroco plant is a tropical flowering woody vine with ornamental flowers. It grows wild in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and prefers a temperature range between 68 and 90 F.

The flowers are harvested and used in the cuisine of El Salvador and some other countries in Central America. It has a unique, pungent flavor that is used in 'pupusas', a corn-based food popular in El Loroco. Loroco tastes "green" with overtones of nuts. The closest taste perhaps to compare the "green" part to is chard, or a cross between mild broccoli and squash

Loroco is propagated principally by seed, but can also be propagated by cuttings. It takes about three to four months from seed to flowering.

The leaves can be 1 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches (4 to 22 cm) long and 1 1/2 to 5 inches (1 1/2 to 12 cm) wide. The vine produces flowers in clusters of 10 to 32, averaging 25 per cluster, that in turn, if unharvested, produce pods up to 13 inches (34 cm) long. Seeds are very hard to find. Scarce Seeds available here.


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Friday

Red Angels Trumpet Floripondio

Brugmansia sanguinea, the Red Angel's Trumpet is a small, 4 to 12 feet tall, perennial shrubby tree native to Peru and the Andes. Brugmansia is a fast grower. It is closely related to Datura, belonging to the same nightshade family, solanaceae. Brugmansia may be grown in containers or in the garden.

The plant is commonly grown as an ornamental for its flowers. The most spectacular flower display of the genus. The flowers are 8 to 10 inches long, trumpet shaped, pendulous, brilliant orange-red at the mouth with yellow veins, and fading to yellow at the base, not fragrant. It makes an extraordinary display in late Spring through Summer, but can bloom for most of the year. They are borne in abundance, up to 40 at a time. The stem is erect and branching. Plants require minimal pruning, simply removed old flower heads, although plants can be cut back to base during Spring to rejuvenate every few years. It requires cool Summer and cooler nights to bloom.

Leaves are 7 inch long, ovate, shining green on the upper side. The fruit is top-shaped, spineless, 3.5 inches long. All plant parts are highly poisonous and should never be injested.

Hardiness zones 9-11, (-5°C/25°F, 4°C/40°F) in Winter. Reputedly the hardiest of the Brugmansias, it will stand short frosts, but generally does best in areas where the temperature rarely drops below 32°F. Provide a minimum Winter temperature of 7°C and reduce watering over the Winter. In cold Winter areas plants can be brought indoors.
Seeds...
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Chilean Zabala Fruit Lardizabala funaria

For its foliage, for its flowers and for its fruit, this plant from Chile is just full of interest. A very handsome and vigorous, twining climber, it has very ornamental, dark green, glossy, leathery leaves (some folk grow it just for this) and bears very late in the year drooping clusters of very striking and fascinating, dark chocolate flowers.
The Flowers are followed by equally fascinating, dark purple, sausage-shaped fruits two or three inches long. The fruits are sweet, pulpy and edible and are sold in markets in Chile where they are much appreciated.
Although they will tolerate a temperature as low as 14°F (-10°C), give it the warmest, most sheltered spot in your garden. A cool unheated greenhouse will do just as fine. 

Seeds....

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How to Test older Seeds for Germination

Common Vegetable Seeds:
 

Nobody wants to plant dead seeds but just because it’s old doesn’t mean it won’t grow. Some seeds will germinate and grow for up to 5 years after the date they came from the field. And, at the price of quality food plot seed, it’s worth a second look.

It depends upon what kind of seed it is, how it was cared for, and how it was stored. Seed  should be kept cool, dry, and clean and protected from pests and insects in some sort of protective container. 

Food seeds can be broken into 2 categories: hard seeds and soft seeds. Hard seeds are hard to the touch and generally store quite well. Soft seeds are softer to the touch and typically do not have a hard coating to protect them. They don’t store particularly well even under ideal conditions

The best way to find out if the seed is still good is by testing germination. Testing seed is simple and you will know if you have good seed in a few days. Spread the seed in question on a moist paper towel. Use about a half dozen seeds (depending on size) per square inch.

Moisten and cover the seeds with another paper towel. Cover with saran wrap or place in a zip lock bag to help keep the medium moist. Be sure to establish and maintain contact between the seed and the testing medium you have placed the seeds on. Keep the whole thing moist, warm to the touch, and provide plenty of light. Basically, you are trying to simulate growing conditions and most seeds won’t germinate in soils below 60 degrees.

In a day or two most of the viable seeds will swell, crack open and start sending out roots and shoots. That’s the germination you are looking for. If nothing happens for a week, the seed you are testing is probably dead (unless you have allowed the seeds to dry out, or drown, and die).

This method may not always apply to exotic, tropical and rare type of seeds. Follow special instructions on those.

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Monday

How about them Apples...Berry Tomatoes

Tiny weeny miniature tomatoes. How cute! I am going to grow a bunch in small hanging baskets and then gift them, They will be hit with kids!

This vigorous rare tiny wild tomato Solanum pimpinellifolium is like no tomato you've ever seen before!
Perfect for baskets, window boxes or raised patio containers, the cascading plants live up to their name, producing literally thousands of sweet, juicy, bite-sized tomatoes in an inexhaustible supply throughout the summer!
They are the tiniest of the tomato family, measuring only about 10mm in diameter, sweet and crisp flesh, almost explore in your mouth, delightful and to die for! It is considered to be the wild form of many- perhaps even all- cultivated tomatoes. Great for use as a unique garnish,
much sought after by gourmet restaurants. 



Note that although these are a different species, they will readily cross with other tomatoes. If you are saving seed, isolate these plants.  Seeds found here....



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Friday

The Amamzing Kaka Beak Plant

Clianthus is an attractive semi-evergreen scrambling shrub with pinnate leaves and spectacular claw-like flowers in spring and summer.

This exotic shrub puts on a magnificent show. Now extinct in the wild, it produces dense masses of bright pink and red showy flowers-up to 15 in a bunch, suspended from arching branches.

A spreading, fast-growing shrub with fern like foliage tolerates a wide range of soils and withstands frost to 23F. Needs protection from heavy frost. The flowers are bird pollinated and the lobster claw-like flowers bloom from mid summer to autumn. 


Seeds....

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Starting Your Vegetable Seeds Early!


This time I’d like to plant a seed in your wallet. 

All green thumbs (and a few green fingers) know that sprouting seedlings instead of buying store-grown plants saves you nearly 90% on your gardening costs. But how do you sprout peas, squash, and tasty tomatoes when there’s still a chill outside?
The answer can be found on your breakfast table. Do I have you walking on eggshells? Eggscellent!!


7 Reasons to get cracking:

  • The entire eggshell starter pot is biodegradable.
  • Cost for the eggshell planter is $0.00 — they’re free if you eat eggs.
  • Eggshells contain soil-happy minerals, such as calcium and other earthy nutrients.
  • Eggshell seedling pots are pet safe and kid friendly.
  • Starting seeds inside (in any container) gives you a huge head-start on your garden, far before the last frost.
  • Sprouted seeds are heartier and stronger when planted.
  • Sprouting indoors lets you cull the weakest seedlings and remove the ones that failed to germinate.

3 Tips:

Before you plant the seeds, make sure you wash the eggshells and then boil them in a pot for three minutes to kill any bacteria.
Protect eggshells. Place each eggshell in a cardboard egg carton (or a small pot) for support.
When planting, give each eggshell a gentle (yet crushing) squeeze — you want the seedling roots to easily find the fresh soil.

I managed to grow peas, beans, basil, tomatoes and jalapenos successfully in egg shells. Happy growing!

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Asian Water Chestnut Eleocharis dulcis


Off we go, starting our own water chestnuts again. In case you ever had them in stir fry, the fresh bulbs are 100 times better than the canned. Delicious. Plus, I know in what water they are growing  (clean water) ;)
Eleocharis dulcis is tropical Asian aquatic sedge having an edible corm and cylindrical leaves. The succulent corm of this plant ist used in Asian cooking. This is NOT to be confused with the aquatic invasive Asian water chestnut (Trapa natans)
Chinese water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis) and European water chestnuts (Trapa natans) are two unrelated water plants that carry the same name. The Chinese water chestnut resembles a small  muddy tulip bulb and is sweet and crunchy; the European water chestnut  resembles a tiny horned bull’s head and is quite starchy. Americans are  most familiar with the Chinese water chestnut. Chinese  water chestnuts grow underwater in mud, have brown or black scale-like  leaves, and are round, though somewhat flattened. They are the roots of an aquatic plant that grows in freshwater ponds, marshes, lakes, and  slow-moving rivers and streams in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and  Australia. They are difficult to harvest, explaining their generally  high price. Chinese water chestnuts have mildly sweet, crisp, white  flesh and are excellent raw on skewers with dip/

The European water chestnut or water caltrop has seed capsules with  four spikes and is named after the caltrop, a vicious medieval weapon  with four iron points. This hard-shelled ebony black fruit has two  prominent, down curved horns resembling a bull’s head and a woody,  sculptured surface that looks like a face or a bat. It grows abundantly  in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, southern China, Japan, Italy, and tropical  America. Its Chinese name, ling ko, means “spiritual horn.”

Storage: Store water chestnuts, unwashed and unpeeled, in a loosely closed paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for up to 2 weeks. Keep water caltrops in a cool, dry place.

To Grow: Easy to grow in a tub filled with dirt about 4" high . Water to 2" above  soil level. Consider appropriate spacing as each corm produces quickly  about 8-10 new corms. The closer they sit the harder it is to separate  them.

To Buy: 
  1. Tricker Aquatics: Water Chestnuts 1 Bulb $6.50
  2. COTW Rare Seeds: Fresh Asian Water Chestnuts 5 Bulbs $7.50 

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Rare Bolivian Nasturtium


Tropaeolum tricolor is a winter growing plant found in Chile and Bolivia, with very delicate looking
shoots appearing usually around October. The shoots twine around any support and grow to a height of around 3 Ft.
As the leaves open they are a lovely fresh green and very fragile looking, unlike the common nasturtium.
It is however the flowers that are the main interest of the plant. As the specific name implies,
they have three colors being red and blackish violet with a yellow lip, a combination that sounds like a
miss-match but on these dainty flowers is very appealing.
The long-lasting flowers appear in generous profusion and always make me think of a school of tropical fish.

After flowering the plant then goes dormant for the summer. USDA Hardiness Zone 8.
The plant tolerates low temperatures 18F and can tolerate occasional snow cover for up to a couple of weeks per year. Excellent in a container. Germination is challenging.

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Chatter Flower Jovellana

What a cutie !!!!!

Jovellana does not have a common name. But it's been called Chatter Flower, Angels Goblet and Tea Cup Flower. It is a rare evergreen, perennial plant from Chile, that grows around 5 feet tall. Each flower spray has dozens of ½ inch blooms, which open at different times over a period of 1 to 2 months. The sprays would make an exotic addition to flower arrangements. Even without blooms this is an attractive plant, with woody stems and bright, mint-shaped foliage. The leaves have a great minty-spicy aroma when rubbed.

This is a cool-climate species that might not thrive in warm climates. The ideal temperature seems to be between 40 and 80 F. It is very rare in cultivation, and fresh seeds are rarely seen for sale. Great for Pot culture.


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