Welcome to Spring, let's celebrate. It's official, Spring starts today. However the birds, the bees, the McNees and the plants have considered it Spring for the last few weeks, despite the occasional and very short, cold snap courtesy of southern climates meandering their way up North. Whilst overseas friends are bemoaning the end of their Summer, and I feel for you, we are embracing the ambience of Spring, not so much the heat of summer though, which is also just round the corner.You are very welcome to take a walk with me through our tropical garden to see what we can discover. First the ornamentals, then the edibles.
This is a Tillandsia or Air Plant in a hanging basket, surrounded by the light green Button orchid which erupts into small golden flowers which the butterflies love. Growing in the garden below are my Matchstick Bromeliads which need breaking up and relocating. Another job to do when they finish flowering. When they first bloom, these Broms are very pretty with purple tips resembling match heads. This is all hanging off the very tolerant Lychee tree, which isn't very interested in fruiting so it has become an excellent tree for hanging baskets.
It's been a busy few weeks including a lot of gardening, and a new gardening project which I will tell you about in the future. Seeds and seedlings are planted, now I have to be patient. I've been striking some more purple Salvia, some Cordylines, some rosemary (which for some reason didn't take so will try that again), and fertilising my orchids. Now is the time to prune Hibiscus if they are straggly.
|Purple salvia which has struck from cuttings
Of course I have been gradually Spring cleaning, enjoying some cooking which often involves using up fresh garden and seasonal surplus, as regular friends and readers of my blog will know. I also keep knitting a few dishcloths to keep my skills up.
I'll let the photos tell the story of our garden which is a constant source of enjoyment for Mr. HRK and me, and a good source of exercise as well, I am hoping so anyway.
|Red flowering bromeliad
And now for the EDIBLE Plants.I couldn't survive without a Rosemary bush, could you. I use it almost daily in my cooking. It thrives in full sun. This a fairly new plant so I am looking forward to the beautiful little purple flowers it produces.
Our lime tree is flourishing in a pot in the front garden, very Mediterranean..
My favourite Eggplant Antipasto recipe is this one, click on the recipe here.
These chillis are from a recent harvest and the bushes keep producing more and more. They are all from seeds that I have dried from previous crops and honestly the bushes seem to get better and stronger with each new generation of plants, and the chillis even sweeter, supporting the theory that they keep adapting to their environment.
I have been making lots of jars of Sweet Chilli Jam, and Thai Pickled chilli which are delicious and will boost our stockpile. I also finely slice them in scrambled egg, vegetable stir frys, soups and a lot of my dishes really. I am amazed at how expensive they are in the supermarket and they grow like weeds in this part of the world. Are you able to grow chillis where you live, I hope you can. They also provide a lot of beautiful red colour in the garden, as well as the culinary and health benefits.
My mint pot is doing well, and is delicious in so many recipes and drinks. Recipe for Mint, Ginger, Walnut and Cauliflower Rice
We are very excited that our Finger Lime is flowering for the first time, it is only a couple of years old. I couldn't capture a photo of the very small finger limes but we have a few about an inch long. It is growing in a large pot. As it is an Australian native rainforest tree, called Citrus Australasica, it is amongst other foliage and located under the Golden Penda tree so it is shaded during the heat of the day. Beware though, it is very thorny. I am so excited at the thought of harvesting some exotic Finger Limes to use in the kitchen over Summer.
Very hardy and pest resistant red Mignonette lettuces.
Watercress is doing well in a well mulched, covered raised garden. Delicious for sandwiches and salads. I'll try to do something really interesting with the watercress on one of my blog posts.
We have yellow nasturtiums in flower, and we have just planted some orange and red ones. (No photo unfortunately). Here is the recipe for a delicious cake which I made after our trip to Lord Howe Island last year and which is decorated with edible nasturtium flowers. I really recommend this cake.
Honey, Yoghurt and Chocolate cake recipe
Last but not least, the strawberries are finally starting to yield a good crop of fruit. This is Mr. HRK's garden, he loves his strawberries, and they have been on notice for the last 12 months to produce fruit this year or they will be pulled out. Lots of attention, fertilisers, a bed of straw, and this is the best crop in 3 years. I doubt there will be enough for jam this year as they are eaten as soon as they are picked but that is the fun of it, don't you think?