Sunday, November 30, 2008

hiking in barbados

we started out at 6.00am

north coast Cove Bay St. Lucy

cliffs at cove Bay St. Lucy

We've finally reached the summit

East coast Consett Bay St. John

down in a gully

fantastic root forms

To see the real Barbados I recommend Hike Barbados. It was started by an expat Englishman Colin Hutson who sadly passed away a few years ago. He knew and loved Barbados more than most bajans (Barbadians). Groups of locals and visitors converge at given points around the island every Sunday morning. The group is divided into three, the 'stop and stare' for those who are new to hiking, the medium pace walkers and the more experienced walkers the fast group. The walks start at 6.00am and finish around 9.00am. The stop and stare is headed by a very informative leader who will give the history of the area and information on the plants. I enjoy hiking with this group whenever I go hiking.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blooming November at home

dat ain't no flower dere!

de enemy number one stealing my fish


deep pink mussaenda

Singapore plumeria smells like jasmine

yellow oxalis (oxalis spiralis) makes a great border

yellow oxalis (only found in the Caribbean and Hawaii)

red rose

champagne yellow roses

blue Iris

Desert Rose (adenium)

pink cane begonia (edible flower)

Martinique cuphea

bleeding heart (clerodendrum)

My house guest from the UK

Mike is a trained gardener/designer from the UK staying with me for three weeks. He is helping me around the garden in exchange for room and board. He is also a good cook as well. I am very grateful to have him here since I have been nursing very bad shoulder the past month or so (seems like three months). He has been a great help as well as a new garden helper I hired three weeks ago. Mike is a likable and funny guy and loves Barbados. This is his third visit and the first with a bajan family. He has given me some great advice as well as learning about tropicals. He plans to come back and he will be welcomed with open arms.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas

poinsettia beginning to bloom the actual flowers are the tiny flowers in the centre surrounded by red bracts.
star burst Clerodendrum (clerodendrum quadriloculare) that will be in bloom around mid to late December
snow on the mountain ( Euphorbia leucocephala ) not yet in bloom but will soon be in another four to six weeks

fruit of the Christmas palm

Christmas will soon be here and am looking forward to seeing my daughter who will be coming home from cold Illinois. I am looking forward to seeing my youngest sister Valerie, her husband Mark and my nephew Matthew. They will be coming in from Ontario Canada and haven't been back since they emigrated five or more years ago. My mother will be coming in from the USA where she has been for the past six months visiting her sons and grands. It is from her that I have inherited a love for gardening and plants. I am also looking forward to seeing my mother- in- law Barbara from Miami in January. She is also a very gifted gardener and we always have a great time when she comes. Christmas time in my garden is very special to me, there are many plants that only flower at this time of year. The garden takes on an ethereal feel, the poinsettia will be in bloom, the snow on the mountain will be in all her glory and the star burst Clerodendrum will be in her element. Since the nights will be cooler the plants take on a perkier attitude. I usually buy a real pine tree imported from North America I am not really sure if I will this year. I have always sworn off artificial trees but as the old saying goes I may have to eat my words.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

unfinished business

Back garden pergola

There was a large Sago palm planted in that brown patch you see and had died from a powdery fungus. I am trying to burn out the stump so that I can put a plant or planter there. I think some adirondack chairs would really look nice there.... lordy loh another job for the carpenter and more expense for me. I can't really afford it that means I have to sell more pickles and chutneys.

I would like some hanging solar lanterns but I have two boxes of stainless steel solar lights I haven't opened since last year. I will have to find spots for these eight new lights. I have the low voltage lighting in the back garden and every year I have to clean them up and repair the many broken connections. They have been neglected and am wondering if to repair them and use them or to get rid of them. You know what I think I will keep them and put the solar lights elsewhere.

This pergola is waiting for some more slats at the top and some braces. I have just bought the remainder of the wood and am now waiting for the carpenter to come and finish. I plan to put some shade cloth over the slats to create a shaded area to sit and dine amongst the water lilies. I am thinking of opening the garden for tea during the high season and am slowly working towards this. I really hope to have this finished by the end of this month (November).

I have a few unfinished projects around the garden to be completed before Christmas 2008. The back pergola has to be sanded and stained. I am contemplating a teak or blue stain. You see I have a large can of blue stain I picked up at a bargain a few years ago (hope it is still good ) and haven't found anything to stain in it and am looking to put it to good use. I also like the teak look for garden structures. Well I am going to try it out on pieces of the wood and let you know. By the way, last week I took a table at the British womens Club of Barbados at their fund raising sale. I sold many bottles of my jams, chutneys, pickles and salsas. It was only for two to three hours and I managed to sell just over $250.00 worth of stuff. (US $) I paid $5.00 for the table and then gave 20% of sales to the club. Not bad at all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

the bearded fig tree

Barbados was discovered by the Portuguese around 1605. They named the island Los Barbados after the bearded fig tree found on the island. The tree is really a banyan with large aerial roots that resembles a mans beard. In the portuguese language the beard is barbado or barbaudo. These gigantic trees cover a very large area. Their aerial roots hang down towards the ground from trunk like forms. Eventually they meet the ground and the trunk- like form develops as an extended part of the tree. Barbados was later claimed and settled by the British in 1625.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the wonderful world of crotons

In the Caribbean Crotons are a mainstay in our gardens. They are used as hedges, single plants in the garden and as potted shrubs in large planters. They are not my personal favorites however they do light up the corners in my garden. I can remember as a child, collecting cuttings from species that my mum did not have. My mum was very surprised and pleased. She had some very unusual Crotons some of which I don't see anymore. They are very easy to propagate, by air layering, placing cuttings in wet builders sand or peat moss or by standing in water.