Tag Archives: Gardenia

Lava Homestead Update

 

I’ve thought of the succulents and snapdragons that are all over this acre as really nothing more than weeds. Why? Because I didn’t plant them, they sprout up unbidden, then grow without anyone’s help, and they aren’t something I can eat. But I realized just how much they add to my landscape when I caught this shot of them. I think you’ll agree they are beautiful.

As we move into the last month of the year, I thought I would catch you up on what’s happening in my lava garden. It’s been about two months since my last update.

One of the most exciting changes lately has been my coffee berries – they are turning red! I may only get enough out of this first crop to make a small pot of coffee, of course. But I’m sure it will be the tastiest cup of coffee I’ve ever had.

 

I picked the ones that were ripe enough. Now I need to get the pulp off the beans, dry them, roast them, grind them, and drink!

 

The red mustards I planted several weeks ago are beginning to look like something edible.

 

I’ve had trouble keeping my cat (Kaimana) out of my raised beds, so there are large patches where nothing is coming up. He likes to scratch around and make himself comfortable.

Is that pot big enough to sleep in?Is that pot big enough to sleep in?

 

At the same time that I planted the red mustard seeds, I also put in another batch of beets. They will give me several good meals this winter.

 

With the help of one of my students, I planted some ginger cuttings she had brought. It took them a long time to root, but now they are showing good growth and soon I will transplant them to a permanent location.

 

It’s been almost a year since I planted this red scarlet chard, and it’s still going strong. I eat off of it occasionally, stir-frying it in olive oil with lots of garlic. When the leaves are still young and small, I sometimes cut it up and put it into a salad without cooking it.

 

Like the chard, my arugula plants just keep producing. I love fresh arugula salads. A friend said, “A little arugula goes a long way,” but I like the spicy bitterness more than most folks do.

 

I’m not sure if these papaya plants are going to do much at this elevation, but I keep nursing them along. They were also a gift during this past summer.

 

My garden club has a plant gift exchange at Christmas. The gift I received last year was this pikake plant, now full of buds and blooms.

 

I had a lovely gardenia bush that suffered during the worst of the sulfur dioxide fumes from the volcano. Today, it is growing back and producing a few buds.

 

I put out a bunch of cuttings of a purple-flowered bush (don’t know the name of it), and every one of them is showing great signs of growth. When it finally blooms, I’ll find out what it is and post more pictures. At this point, it’s great fun to see something grow from a bare stem stuck in the soil.

 

I have what I call a smoky bush (don’t know the real name of that, either) that is showing leaves from another piece of twig put in the ground. These two plants (red and purple) seem to take off right away with a little soil and water.

 

Still another plant that seems to root and grow profusely without much care is this magenta geranium. I’d put in just a couple of small cuttings from a friend, and now they are filling in the blank spots, giving color to an otherwise gray landscape.

 

The lilikoi plants that grow against my shed were eaten back by fuzzy black caterpillars. Now they are showing new growth. Unless someone gives me a bunch of lilikoi, I won’t be making more lilikoi butter this year!

 

The brugmansia were in need of some drastic cutting back. Once I did that, they started sprouting all sorts of new leaves and they are looking twice as healthy.

 

The poinsettias take over the island at this time of year. Soon I’ll have a chance to get more pictures of those. When they are mingled in with other colors, and especially the white flowering shrubs, they are a breathtaking sight. Some of the “Snow on the Mountain” are blooming on my property.

This plant is sometimes called Snow-on-the-Mountain, and is closely related to poinsettia, crotons, and the other members of the Euphorbia plant family. It is a native to the Pacific Islands. See the full article here.

 

We’ve had little bits of rain here and there, not enough to overflow the tank, but to keep it at a decent level. That’s a critical element in the grand scheme of life here on my little homestead. If it keeps up like that over the winter months, I’ll be in good shape. At least we are not worried about snow storms here!

A hui hou!

Happy Father’s Day!

AL JONES WITH UKELELE
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AL JONES WITH UKELELE

 

Today, this post is to honor the memory of my own father who would have been 100 years old this July, and he died 40 years ago this fall at the young age of 60, an early recipient of open heart surgery.

He was an artist – see one of his pen and ink drawings at the end of my brother’s post on London. I have many more of his that are done in the same style.

He was a musician – he accompanied my mother on piano while she played violin. Besides that, he was an accomplished pianist and had a beautiful Welsh voice. He gave up much of his own piano playing time in order to let me practice. The above picture shows him in his teens, playing ukulele. I still have that very same uke.

He was a pastor – a United Methodist minister and still in active ministry when he died. I don’t think that’s the reason I went into the ministry, but it certainly was in my “blood.” His father before him was also a pastor, in true “circuit rider” tradition, shown here with his horse and saddlebags heading out to preach.

M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER
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M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER

 

And he was a jokester. One of the many practical jokes he played on some of the old ladies in the church was with a woman who was always picking lint off the shoulder of his suit. One Sunday, he put a spool of thread in his pocket and fixed one end of the thread on his sleeve. Sure enough, she started to pull the thread off, and it kept coming and coming and coming. I’m not sure it cured her, but we had a laugh over that.

I called him “Daddy,” a truly Southern term of endearment, and since he was from the Deep South (Mississippi), it was an appropriate title for him.

Here are a few of my gardening projects that he would appreciate. So many of the foods and flowers I grow are ones that are reminiscent of Mississippi –Pole Beans, for example, and so much more.

I would say that at the top of the list I’d find peanuts! I remember these from the home of my Grandpa Jones (above). He always grew the best peanuts right in his front yard. Here are mine just starting to sprout.

PEANUTS SPROUTING
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PEANUTS SPROUTING

 

In the South, we ate peanuts roasted or boiled or raw, but my favorite way was raw from his stash of peanuts that were hanging up to dry, like these few I harvested here.

DRYING PEANUTS
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DRYING PEANUTS

 

I grew up eating mustards and collards. I still grow as many as I can, and eat them often. So delicious!

MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS
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MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS

 

Then of course, there are the figs! The ones in the South were so sweet and juicy. The two I harvested from this little tree last year were just like I remembered. Looks like I’ll get more than two this year.

WHITE FIGS
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WHITE FIGS

 

I can’t forget the gardenias that are synonymous with the South. In my early marriage (1950s) there was a gardenia bush as tall as the roof by my kitchen door in Jackson, Mississippi. Daddy loved gardenias, too, and sometimes wore one in the lapel of his suit on Sunday morning. So far, I haven’t had much luck in growing them here, but I’ve had a couple blooms show up.

GARDENIA
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GARDENIA

 

With all his talent and humor, not to mention the white hair, I think it’s fairly obvious that this man was the father of my brother and me!

AL JONES-1964
AL JONES-1964

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! To quote an old cliché, “If it wasn’t for you, the rest of us wouldn’t be here.”

A hui hou!

New Life!


As I came out of the house this morning, my eye caught this growth. A branch of ohia that touches the ground, and looks totally dead, is shooting up a lehua blossom. Even if our temperature doesn’t vary more than a few degrees year round, there still is a definite feel of spring this time of year.

Perhaps the struggle for growth in a field of lava creates a shift in perspective. The tiniest bit of green that pokes its head through the black stone is cause for praise and excitement.

While I watered my plants this morning, I took pictures of a few precious keiki (Hawai`ian for babies – and a term we use for new and/or young plants).

One that I am especially excited about is the beautiful Barbados lily I was given by my daughters. http://www.tropilab.com/orangelily.html I’m still trying to find out more about this beautiful plant. What I’ve read so far indicates that it is actually a Hippeastrum Striatum, a variation of the amaryllis. The nurseryman told us that when it dies, a new plant will pop up wherever the flower falls. This seems to be coming true. If you look closely, you’ll see it sprouting up new growth. How many can you count?

In one of my small raised beds mentioned last week, I have a kabocha vine starting to grow and bloom. http://holybasil.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/you-like-kabocha-dontcha/ I really love the flavor of this vegetable. If you check out this website, you’ll see the many ways it can be prepared. I haven’t tried them all yet, but intend to. It’s called “Japanese pumpkin” here by my local friends.

My pink plumeria is starting to bloom. The yellow ones started about a month earlier.

This gardenia is in a container in my patio area, rather than in the ground. But it’s still exciting to see it start to do something. If you look closely (maybe with a magnifying glass?) you can see a tiny bud starting to develop.

The same thing is true of this pepper plant. Somehow the label got lost on this plant after I bought it, but I think I remember that it’s supposed to be hot. I guess the only way I’ll find out is to taste it! (laughing)

I planted peanuts in a little pocket of soil my daughters created for me. They used ohia leaf litter, mixed with compost and some of my “pig dirt” (see last week’s post). You can see the ohia leaves still dropping off. But the peanuts are looking healthy. I remember eating fresh raw peanuts out of my Grandpa Jones’ front yard in Mississippi. Yummy!

There is new growth on my coconut palm. Some of the older leaves have burned edges from the sulfur dioxide in the air (from our volcano), and you can see some spots from the acid rain.

My red banana had a few burned leaves, but it looks like it just might make it.

New growth is very rewarding! Watching my plants sprout and grow is like giving birth to my children again!

Aloha!