Monday, January 31, 2011

Gardening

It is for Cousin Lyn I assembled these photographs as a reminder that things are alive and growing somewhere on the planet outside Chicago. It has been raining a fair bit lately and a flower pot base was sitting around with some rainwater from the night before. Cheyenne does not allow anything to go to waste.I think it must be exceedingly tiresome hanging around all the time watching me and waiting on my every mood but she seems entirely happy. Indeed Cheyenne is settling in so well that she takes it upon herself to bark and guard her home. I wonder if she remembers much of what went on before she was dumped at the pound.But enough about the dog, Cousin Lyn wants to know what's growing. An avocado tree, that's what. The flowers in the pots were selected and planted by Therese who came for a visit recently from her home in Paris. She works in Holland and has no garden so she made up for it here ("Anything grows down here!" was her mantra) and planted flowers that will attract butterflies.We keep the avocado, mango, custard apple, fig and pomegranate downstairs under the mature coconuts. The vegetables and herbs we grow on the deck alongside the house. The deck is actually our rainwater cistern. The mangroves in the background mask the canal alongside our house.
I have found these egg plant (aubergine) bushes do amazingly well in the Earthboxes, and this year's crop looks like it will be as good as last years. The egg plants themselves are rather smaller than the regular sized ones but I just slice them into quarters and fry them in a little olive oil and garlic and they make a sweet side dish with no effort at all.
The egg plants are more like fat fingers than small footballs.Plus they make lovely purple flowers.
I reported previously that I made up my own anti-iguana spray as explained to me by Lisa and it has worked beautifully this year. I'd like to think Cheyenne's enjoyment of sunbathing on the deck might also help. But as one can see from this next picture a iguana tasted this tomato and gave up:The tomato crop is looking good overall. We buy our plants from the lady at the Big Pine Flea Market as she has heat resistant plants suited to the Florida climate. We find them more reliable than Home Depot's plants.After we cut off the broccoli floret last week and ate it, these started to appear:
Therese bought these pots and plants and I do know the one in the corner is jasmine and it's starting to climb up the netting on the porch. Next to the jasmine you can see the down pipe from the roof gutter which guides the rainwater into the cistern. The plant on the right is a Mamey though it does not produce fruit by that name.
The jasmine is doing it's climbing thing.Therese said these plants will attract butterflies and indeed I saw one the other day hovering in the area.The frangipani Tim gave us is starting to sprout leaves once again in the winter sunlight.Downstairs we have the tangerine tree... ...the mango......an avocado...
...and another frangipani. Therese sited this one here after I let it languish in excessive sun. Kathy gave us this cutting off her impressive Big Pine tree. Therese filled the pot with annual flowers.
Overhead the coconut trees are starting to produce. I get hundreds of nuts over the summer and I try to drink as many as I can but we have a dozen mature trees surrounding our little house.
The West Indian Almond is almost bare. In summer it will be covered in thick shiny green leaves and provide shade and privacy. The nuts are supposedly edible but I have yet to try one- they are an unappetizing shade of black.I anxiously await fresh pineapples. None so far.
Coconuts produce huge quantities of fronds which are a chore to clean up:The essential colors of the Florida Keys: green white and blue.
My property line is a couple of feet south of the coconut line. The lots on either side of my house are empty for the moment.
This is the view to the west of my house looking across the salt ponds. The Niles Channel Bridge which rises forty fee tin the air is visible in the distance. At night when I sit out here I can see the red and white lights of vehicles rising up into the sky over the bridge.Sitting in the living room of our 770 square foot (70sq meter) house we can see Therese's butterfly plants outside the porch.Behind my armchair, where I like to read when indoors, the side deck is where we are growing our upstairs plants.And we end like we started...
...with Cheyenne watching my every move.