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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