After a long summer with heat and no water (summer weather didn't really end until November), the recent rain and cool weather has the succulents around the acre growing new leaves and flowering like crazy. This one is a Mariner's Kalenchoe (Kalanchoe marnieriana) blooming near the pond. Most of my Kalanchoes have orange to red blooms, but this one produces flowers that are salmon pink, so it gets a spot right up front where everyone can see it.
Another addition of 4 ounces or so of fresh peppers and a pinch of salt. Heavy rain last week knocked most of the remaining peppers off the plants, so we're coming to the end of fresh pepper additions for this year (yeah, I know, I write that every week -- but this time it's probably true). I'm going to let this ferment one more week then add oak and send the batch to age until March.
Here's a pro tip when you're doing landscape design with large tropicals like Monstera. To add drama to the scene, contrast the monstera with something small and compact, like a potted dachshund. This is a photo of Hank the Weenie demonstrating. (Also, bad dog, Hank. You're not supposed to be sitting in the flower pots.)
Second week of the winter plantings in the keyhole garden. Needed to water once, but otherwise everything is doing well.
Unlike its Mediterranean cousins, my Thai basil (Ocimum basillicum) seems to be getting along just fine in the cold and wet of November. I don't recall what the original source for this seed was, but the plants grow 12" - 18" tall and produce purple flowers with a sweet spice aroma that reminds me of clove or cinnamon. I grow two batches of this each year, the first I start in late winter / early spring, and the second I [keep reading...]
Not knowing much about how Brazilian Edelweiss (Sinningia leucotricha) grows, I kind of thought I had killed the poor thing because it dropped all its leaves a few weeks ago. Turns out that wasn't the case at all. Several days ago it started growing new leaves and to my surprise this morning I was greeted with two little salmon colored flowers! (They're supposed to be fragrant, but I don't smell anything.) Can't wait to see it all leafed out again. [keep reading...]
It's week seven of my hot sauce fermentation. I added another 4 ounces or so of fresh peppers, salt and more water and gave it a good stir. The fermentation is now giving off a tangy smell that's both spicy and funky. I figure I'll only have room for one more addition of fresh peppers before I add small amount of toasted oak and set it aside to age through the winter. The liquid is getting a little murky from [keep reading...]
Gourds are cool. Not only do the vines look nifty while they're growing, but they leave behind future bowls, birdhouses, planters and other craft projects. This year a bowl gourd plant showed up and decided to make its home on the north fence of the vegetable garden... and the orange trees... and the bottle brush trees. Now that the vines have died back there's about a dozen well-shaped gourds in various states of dryness handing on the fence, and one [keep reading...]
The term "like a duck to water" takes on new meaning when your ducks get a new water dish. When I put the empty dish down there wasn't a duck in sight. The moment water came out of the hose, boom, 19 ducks appeared, so I took a quick video of them. I think this is the duck equivalent of hanging around the water cooler.
Even half-serious plant collectors have an "Island of Misfits" -- plants that you don't really want or need, but for some reason you keep anyway. It starts with one stuck in some out of the way place, but after a while you keep adding other plants to it until you realize that the "island" is starting to get crowded. I don't have an island of misfits. It's more like an island chain that dots the acre. This particular ragtag bunch [keep reading...]