Archive | March 2011

Today’s Harvest (Calamansi, Anyone?)

I took  shots of the garden blooms and some of our vegetable plants early this morning and hubby suggested that I harvest our Calamansi. We have two grafted Calamansi trees which I planted many years ago and they haven’t stopped bearing fruit.  They are part of our garden landscape.

Here in our country it is simply known as Calamondin or just plain Kalamansi but it’s known elsewhere as Philippine lime.  The flowers  emit that sweet and tangy scent much like pomelos and oranges when they are in bloom. Kalamansi is one of the most basic necessities in Philippine kitchens. It is used  for marinating either fish or meat or  sea foods and anything that requires something sour. It is also used as dip, mixed with soy sauce or  as juice drinks, hot or cold. I wonder if  we could survive  in the kitchen without these small, juicy, tangy fruits which are very similar to lime. They are best used fresh.

The fruit also has several medicinal uses. It can be a good treatment to itchy scalp, to heal insect bites, remove freckles, clear up acne and pimples. It is also used as a deodorizer and  for stain-removal.  It is also a popular home remedy for cough. And if you want your skin to stay smooth and blemish free, you can gently rub it with kalamansi before taking a bath.

The Joys of Gardening

How I’ve missed the days when I could putter around and  uproot some stubborn weeds growing side by side with our garden plants.  This morning, I joined hubby in trimming our overgrown carabao grass and that means three weeks  is long enough for it to stay uncut.  Yesterday, my son cleaned our small pond. Sadly, we lost another Koi when he transferred them to a smaller drum while cleaning and replacing the greenish water of the pond.  It’s like fall here, our avocado tree is replacing  its leaves with flowers in almost all  tips and branches. We normally sweep them clean morning and afternoon. Such a daunting task at times but its okay, that’s another reason to stay in the garden a little longer.

The sun was hot on our backs at 7:30am so  we didn’t  stay long.  This afternoon, we finished the task of cutting the grass. I love the smell of newly cut grass. It gives me the feeling of being home and you can walk barefoot and nobody would mind except maybe our three dogs and our four-month old puppy. They think the garden is their territory and when they see you so relaxed reading or just cloud-watching, they would watch and wait for just one small gesture that they are welcome to join  you, romping like crazy. They are a joy to watch but disastrous for our small garden.  I took some shots of it before it gets dark  experimenting with the subdued light of sunset and dusk.

The peace and serenity just watching the curved path and the even length of the newly cut grass is a welcome blessing. One could find such happiness here.  You can never resist the temptation of pulling a weed or smelling a lovely bloom.  Such surprises you find  makes one stay in a garden worth all the aching back and soiled hands and fingers.

John Ruskin  has aptly described it when he said,”The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it”.

Truly, the  garden  is a place to feel the beauty of silence and solitude.

What’s In A Garden

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, “Garden Thoughts”

We had the garden refurbished today. The landscape gardener came to redo a part of our fence by changing the buho with Thai bamboo.  Last year, when we had it landscaped, a two-meter expanse of the rear wall was left with the original buho fence since the Thai bamboo that they brought was not enough to cover the long expanse of the wall.  Anyway, it now has a uniform look.  Hubby ordered several sacks of garden soil and some cut bamboo for his trellis.

I am glad that they brought with them several pots of white and light pink Ruellia and a few pots of Golden Duranta plants to highlight my recently bought Texas firecracker plant. 

Golden Duranta or golden dewdrop as it is commonly called has a bright lemon colored leaves. It should have at least a minimum of four hours of sunlight to retain its golden lemon color, otherwise, the leaves  will remain a soft shade of green. I am looking forward to see the Ruellia plants which they planted today. I only have the purple blooms and I can imagine the varied mix of white, pink and purple in a few days. Ruellia are quite similar to Petunia . They are heat-tolerant perennials that are used as ground covers.

Don Manuel is  also known as scarlet bush, hummingbird bush and Texas firecracker plant.  I don’t know how it got its name, guardian of the forest. It is a semi-woody plant that grows to a height of at least 3.5 meters. Flowers are a mass of tubular, reddish-orange.  The  plant could be shaped and is best planted in areas with enough sun to grow best.

I would have loved digging my hands at the rich soil, sadly though, I still have cough and severe cold so I just took shots of the garden. The landscape gardener taught us how to propagate Aglonaema. They are foliage plants and they have narrow oval leaves that are attractive  and eye-catching.  I didn’t know that the stem needs to be cut at a two-inch length and planted in several lines in a huge pot, facing down. The upper stem with the leaves could be planted in  separate pots. Our bromeliads are now repotted too, so instead of just three pots, we now have eight, just great. I was afraid to repot them this early because they might die but the landscape gardener also taught us how to do it.

And this surprised me, our orange Bougainvillea is now in bloom, wow!

And these  pink clusters are a feast for sore eyes!

What a lovely afternoon being with nature again. My heart sings every time I am in the garden.