A Buddha of prosperity guards the entrance to our garden, in hopes of a peaceful life and bountiful harvest.
Miss Saigon Irises, the first two of the season, and they are gorgeous. We will be growing this one a lot more.
The garden as of 4/24/08. If you squint, you can see the sprouts of the moonflowers and morning glories in the little pots by the trellis legs.
Ichiban Eggplant flower. Besides the delicious fruit, the flowers are pleasant to look at. They seem to be mostly pollinated by flies around here, though I've seen the occasional bee in them as well.
Ichiban eggplant. Ready to eat! Don't let it fool you, it is the size of banana. 4/24/08
Harvesting the first Eggplant of the season! It was Delicious!
The First Royal Burgundy Beans of the season. Absolutely gorgeous, burgundy is a bit of a misnomer. These beans are a deep Imperial Purple. They turn green when you cook them though!
Early strawberries. These are small fruits that ripen rapidly. They are nice and sweet, but I wish they would grow larger before ripening.
Nice, big Bell Peppers growing prolifically. These are the success of the season so far, even outstripping the burgundy beans in productivity.
watermelon flower. You'll see these just before the vines set fruit; bumblebees love them.
How watermelons get born. Stars and Moon variety, about 2 days old. Cute!
baby watermelon. To get perfect melons, it's important to get them off the ground to prevent a yucky bottom.
baby watermelons look a bit like cucumbers at this age. Approx 1 week old.
Regular watermelon, or possibly a cross pollination between the two varieties we have planted. It certainly is larger than the others and strangely spherical as opposed to the blimp like normal fruits.
Garden 5/22/08 Look how much it has grown in a month! All the plants are producing now except for the cucumbers which were planted last month.
Mushroom cluster under the shade of the prolific tomato plants. Our soil is now deep and rich, providing enough fecundity for these lovely occasional visitors. 6/6/08
The watermelons continue to crop up at a rapid pace. We now have six melons, three of each type. Roughly the size of nerf footballs at the moment. 6/6/08
Sun on the young watermelons.
Watermelons play peek-a-boo in their dense vines. We discovered this one while hunting for weeds. 6/6/08
Moon and Stars melon. You can see the speckling that is beginning to form on the skin. This is natural and called "stars", eventually it will develop a large spot, the "moon" as well as the rind darkens to nearly purple. 6/6/08
Unknown caterpillars that were eating out tomatoes. They are very small, so I'm at the limit of what my camera can do here. Sorry for the grainy-ness.
Gladiolas out front. The first of the season so far, and such a lovely color. 6/11/08
New trellis. A huge sycamore fell in my parent's yard, so we re made the trellis sturdier and taller. it is now 7 ft high and easy to walk under. We planted the strawberries in the hanging planters. The morning glories have nearly reached the roof!
Summer is officially here in the garden! Today we harvested the first moon and Stars watermelon. It is a little under ripe, but was sweet and delicious nonetheless. We'll wait a bit longer for the others. 6/21/08
Roma tomatoes. We have been making homemade sauce from these and it is far superior to anything store bought. OUR tomatoes don't have salmonella either! :)
More Roma tomatoes. We are harvesting several pounds every other day or so.
Gladiolas. Pink this time, but we also have more salmon colored blooms and a deep purple just starting to emerge. Each plant has been a different color, and was well worth the cost of the bulbs. 6/21/08
Thai red-hot Chili peppers. These are ridiculously hot peppers from Thailand. We don't cook with them fresh, but dry them out and use a few to add several "alarms" to any fiery hot dishes we make. The birds, which can't taste "hot" love to eat them; luckily the plant is extremely prolific and there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. That unusual bowl is one of Adam's "test" pieces he carved to ensure the quality of the clay and glazes at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts where he teaches.
An unusual visitor to the garden! This is a female Stag Beetle, rarely seen here in Florida. The males have huge "antlers" which are really the "pinchers" or mandibles you see here on the female. They are harmless to the garden, but so uncommonly encountered I added this one to my insect collection.
Pickled banana peppers. Since we are trying to boycott imported produce due to gas prices and general stupidity, we are also preserving and freezing some of our excess produce to eat in the winter months when we cannot simply harvest. In hot, sunny Florida that's only a few months at worst. Look at your produce people! Florida produces much of the united states fruits and veggies, yet we are buying ours trucked in from California!
A failure to understand how to make labels on microsoft word ended up a pleasant few minutes of hand embellishing the labels for our pickles. Súrkrás Is the Icelandic word for pickles! According to Natasha's mother, it means something closer to "sours" but it is a valid term to describe pickles as well.
A usual harvest from the garden. Besides the red and green tomatoes, There are also Chocolate bell peppers, and the small cherry red-hots. 6/24/08
White mushrooms are popping up in fairy rings from the much needed rain. 7/13/08
Giant white mushrooms that have sprouted due to the welcome and desperately needed regular rain.
I'm sure they are a nuisance, but I think they are interesting. the small ones are about the size of a saucer, the largest nearly the diameter of a dinner plate!
Average sized examples of the species, about 8 inches across. Too bad for us that they are a poisonous variety, we'd be able to make a serious stuffed mushroom from these guys.
"Heavenly Blue" morning glories have begun blooming on the trellis this week. They have not covered the lattice-work roof yet, but have begun making inroads upon it. 7/13/08
These photos do not do the color justice. The blue is a deep, pure imperial that fades in every gradation to white. There is also a purple and white striped variety growing amongst the blues, but There were none of that type this morning. 7/13/08
Lubber Grasshopper. These huge insects are only found in the summer here in central Florida. I discovered this one already dead while out with friends and mounted him on the dried magnolia cone. So far, we have managed to keep these guys out of the garden, where they can be serious pests. 7/13/08
Ripening peppers in the morning. 7/13/08
Pretty, small mushrooms growing in the shade of the garden. They come and go so quickly that if you don't tour the garden every day you can easily miss out on little wonders like these. 7/13/08
Afternoon stormlight through the voodoo lilies. 7/13/08
Kwan-Yin in our southwestern garden corner. A goddess of mercy, I hope that she looks kindly upon our plants as we attempt to grow many varieties that I have no experience with.
Little Thai Dragon peppers are always bright and cheerful. 7/13/08
A summer eggplant pops up mysteriously like a drop of rain from our afternoon storms. 7/13/08
Infant purple basil growing under the shelter of the Roma tomatoes, which have now reached nearly seven feet in height. 7/13/08
A summer storm builds over the cattle pasture across the street. Occasionally we'll see lightning strike the big oak and golden rain trees across the field. 7/13/08
Native Muscadine grapes happily subsiding the fence. The cattle love to eat the leaves and fruit, but this resilient plant seems to be able to bounce back easily to continue to provide food for everyone.
The bottle palms are storing up water in their swollen trunks after the drought. This season has been a welcome to return to regular rain, and with the hurricane season ahead of us, hopefully we will recover from the past dry years. 7/13/08
The delicate flowers of the huge crinium lily.
Fertilized crinium seeds at the base of an old flower. Later these pods will burst, spraying seeds in all directions!
Spiny Date palms are bursting with seeds due to the rainy season finally arriving.
Hibiscus bloom. 7/13/08
The tomatoes have over topped the trellis, and are now in excess of seven feet in height.
Unexpectedly, the trellis supports have begun sprouting leaves! I'm not certain if this indicates actual rooting of the limbs, or merely a result of the last of the live cells reacting to the soggy ground. either way, pretty cool.
After the drenching that Tropical Storm Fay gave us, my rescued Phaleonopsis orchids have begun to bloom again. I dug these guys out of the bin after an art show moved off from a gallery where they were being used as filler. They bounced back nicely!
A beautifully ominous sky as the sun goes down on the tail end of tropical storm fay.
White eggplant. Still small at the moment, these will be the usual shape, but the fruits are white instead of purple.