Living on an acre of lava that offers many shades of black and gray, I might quote the Muppets and say, “It’s not easy being green.” I forget what it means to be green.
Friends from the mainland came to visit and were amazed at my catchment system, and for the first time, I had an inkling of just how “green” we live here in Ocean View. I know my friends in California think they are being “green” when they put in a 100 gallon rain barrel. It’s no wonder they are in awe of my 15,000 gallon tank! Still, our planet appreciates every 100 gallons saved.
So much of what we grow and eat here goes through its green stage, like these bananas before they turn yellow . . .
. . . or the coffee berries before they turn cherry red.
Herbs in all shades of green stand close to my kitchen door.
Fresh corn and other veggies offer more shades of green.
Then we have fruits – the enormous jackfruit. . .
. . . and wonderful limes.
I love cooking up a mess of fresh greens from my garden . . .
. . . or a pan of this brilliant green chard.
There are so many places where shades of green forms a spectacular frame, like this scene from Kauai.
Mostly green forms a background to other colors of Hawaii. . .
. . . or for our sensational orchids, and other flowers.
St. James Park in London provides another backdrop for early spring flowers.
Our Hawai`ian fauna also comes in shades of green. There is the florescent green of the Jackson. . .
. . .and the dark almost black green of the sea turtles.
The stately ti plants are considered good luck when planted around your home.
The green lotus leaves create a sense of serenity and peace.
The many pictures of green in my albums would fill a few coffee table books, each one another category of my life. This is only a small sampling of my green pictures. Beyond the visual green, there is a lot of symbolism to be found in the color green. I think I’d better reserve that for a future post!
Mahalo to those of you who have sent condolences about my drought-ridden garden! I have a tendency to get discouraged, and wonder if we will ever get rain. It looks like I’ll need to order my fifth load of water for the catchment tank this next week, unless we get a heavy rain in the meantime (which doesn’t look likely).
Mostly it’s been my vegetable garden that has suffered. I can’t seem to get enough water on them, no matter how hard I try. My attempt to conserve water for personal use (like bathing, flushing, and cooking) means I can’t water as often or as deep as I’d like. What my veggies need is a nice overhead soaking from the skies. Anyone know how to teach me to do a rain dance out there??
All is not lost, however. Like the new sprout at the bottom of my red ti plant above, there is still life. For some strange reason, my flowers are doing well. There is just enough of a mist occasionally to keep my brilliant nasturtiums blooming and spreading.
The geraniums don’t seem to need as much water as other plants. In fact, these magenta ivy geraniums are going crazy. I need to do a “dead head” job on them, but they are a gorgeous spot of color from my kitchen window.
The pikake blooms are sweet smelling and provide a nice contrast to the magenta behind them.
I’ve tried to pick my figs regularly, even though I only get one or two a week. They are a little morsel of flavor. Perhaps someday I’ll get enough to actually make some fig jam! I was about a day too late to pick these two. The birds got there first.
One plant that doesn’t need much watering and seems to keep growing during this drought is the tillandsia cyanea (Pink Quill), part of the Bromeliad family. Mine are all full of the pink brachts with tiny purple flowers. Locally, many call this “Kamehameha’s Paddles.”
Most everything that is in a pot seems to have fared much better, but even then they need a constant watching. I have two of these cardoon (also called artichoke thistle). It is a relative of the Globe Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) and is grown for its stem, which I assume is cooked up for eating. I’ve never grown this before so it will be an interesting experiment. Does anyone know if the thistle can be eaten like a regular artichoke?
These four basils grown in pots are doing well. They are purple basil, lime basil, cinnamon basil, and sweet basil. They are right outside my kitchen door for handy use. The basil I planted in the ground was eaten by birds before I even had a chance to cover them with netting. Fast and hungry critters, they are!
This broad-leaf sage is doing quite well in a pot. I transplanted it from the ground in order to keep it going. It was starting to die in the ground, but has made an amazing come-back.
This little society garlic is in a pot for now. I may move it to the ground somewhere once the rains come.
Plants like hibiscus and geraniums don’t have much trouble surviving.
The lime tree was taken out of a large pot and put into the ground a couple months ago, and it’s doing well. There are already new blossoms on it. I tripled the number of drips going to it since the palms and bromeliads (on the same drip system) didn’t need as much.
I planted several stems of this purple flower and those have taken root quite well. They are now providing me with lovely blooms. Many friends say they have this plant, but don’t know the name of it. If anyone can tell me, please write!
This was another twig given to me. There was a bunch of this growing in Monty’s and Bob’s garden that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Bob called it “Jessup” but I haven’t been able to find anything about it on Google. I keep getting sent to people and places, but not to a plant. Another one that I don’t know. Any suggestions?
Of course, I find it impossible to kill my red chard. It tastes so good in a quick stir-fry with garlic and olive oil. For every leaf I pick, two more come up! A small patch of this keeps me in good greens.
This poha (Cape Gooseberry) is growing quite well, too. I’ve been saving up some of the berries to plant so I can get more bushes. I just had a bowl of poha ice cream in downtown Kona this past week. Absolutely wonderful!
The leaves on this petite orchid don’t look healthy, but the delightful blooms (less than an inch across) are poking out to be admired.
This tri-color stromanthe is managing to survive. I love the three colors of this striking plant.
At last, these three donkey tails found a home in hanging planters right outside my dining room window. They sat on my front steps for over a year, so some of them are not hanging down as straight as they would ordinarily. They have not needed much water to keep growing. Maybe as they get longer and heavier, they will straighten out.
Out of all the seeds I planted of this Thai hot pepper, only two survived. I gave one to a friend as a gift, and this one I’ll keep. Last year, I got dozens of peppers from one plant and since only one or two of these tiny peppers are more than enough for a good hot flavor, one plant is probably enough. I’ll put this in a larger pot next week.
I have about six or seven of these seeds for a Sago Palm (Cycad) that were harvested by a friend on Maui. They had to be soaked, then stripped, and planted on their sides, half-way submerged in soil. They are starting to split and this one is even showing a bit of green. They are very slow growing, so maybe my grandchildren will see a plant from these seeds.
This is an autograph tree given to me by a colleague. It has been growing nicely, but you can see that something bigger than a bug (probably the mouflin sheep) has been taking huge bites out of the leaves. Animals are looking for anything they can find that might provide them with a little moisture.
One triumphant story is the cauliflower. Just a few weeks ago, I went out to find the leaves stripped down to the center vein. Most people have agreed that it is more than likely the caliche pheasants. I continued to water them, wondering if they would revive. Voila! They have huge leaves again and just might make it. I’ll try to put something over them so the caliche won’t get them again.
So that’s the latest from the lava field. My posts have slowed down a bit lately, but each fall semester, I teach five college courses. That takes up most of my spare writing time. Once I’m back into a good rhythm of school, I’ll do better.
Several weeks ago, I showed Inga’s garden, promising a review of her latest project – a roof to provide shade for her patio. I just received the pictures for your enjoyment. As you can see, her father and brother-in-law pitched in to help. Inga and her sister kept everyone supplied in nourishment and beverage.
There’s something wrong with this picture! While we struggle to get through a drought here in Paradise, my daughter’s Boise patio looks more tropical than our own tropics! Of course, a mister system helps.
I am impressed with her ability to make such a small space hold so much and still look spacious. I can’t seem to get that effect on an entire acre.
Even the necessary utilitarian area is beautiful.
So many beautiful things growing!
I keep trying to get a few tomatillos to grow. She has no problem.
Her fruit trees keep her well supplied.
With so many things growing . . .
. . . it’s a wonder she has a chance to sit here and relax!
As always, I get lots of ideas for my own patio and garden.
Mahalo nui loa, Inga!
Last year on Palm Sunday weekend, I wrote a post about a variety of palms in honor of Palm Sunday.
One of those palms was the triangle palm (Neodypsis decaryi) that I’ve been planting on either side of my driveway. A friend on Maui has several triangles that have grown to be a decent size.
The triangle above recently started sending out some sort of growth. Would you call it a flower?
Here is another view. What would you call this?
Probably of more interest to people who do not live in Hawai`i is the banana palm (Musa SPP) and the process of growing bananas. Those delicious potassium-filled fruits you buy in the grocery store aren’t nearly as tasty as the ones right off the tree.
Like most fruits, it starts with the flower. As the flower unfolds, tiny little green bananas begin to form.
Gradually, fingerling bananas begin to grow and peep out from between the petals of the flower.
In late spring, they are beginning to look like real bananas, but still very green.
By November, this beautiful bunch is ready to be cut down. Need I tell you they can get incredibly heavy? Sometimes it takes several people to carry the bunch to a shed where they will slowly ripen. If left on the tree to ripen, the bugs get them before we do.
Yes, it looks like they are growing “upside down,” but that’s the way they grow on the tree. Think about this the next time you buy a nice “hand” of bananas.
After the bananas are harvested, the old tree is cut down, but several new ones have already started to grow. More bananas will be on the way shortly.
I did bring home seeds that will probably go into big containers, rather than into my lava yard! Please do read her post on this wonderful event. She covers it professionally and with good close-ups of some of the seeds and plants available.
I do want to comment on it, however, and show a few of the pictures I took while there. The Theme of “Ignite the Fire Within” was illustrated by two fire bowls.
The gathered fruit offerings brought by the community of gardeners.
So many of us lost plants to the sulfur dioxide. A friend brought blooms from her two protea that survived, saying that it was Pele’s way of weeding out and that the survivors were to be blessed.
Signs from a couple tables with seeds and plants for the taking
Care for a refreshing drink of coconut water?
Next year I plan to wear boots and carry a bigger bag for seeds and plants.