Monday, 26 March 2012

Cacti and Agave;

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous

All cacti were grown from seed more then 30 years ago.

Garden as though you will live forever. 
William Kent 

A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. 
Luis Barragan 

Salut the sun, the stars and the moon;

Now seeds are just dimes to the man in the store
And the dimes are the things that he needs,
And I've been to buy them in seasons before
But have thought of them merely as seeds;
But it flashed through my mind as I took them this time,
"You purchased a miracle here for a dime."
-   Edgar A. Guest, A Package of Seeds

Fierce but beautiful, Golden Barrel

I better start to sing to my plants.

I have a garden, and I'm passionately interested in it.

A high grown style asks for respect


A beautiful monster;
Agave americana variegated

Agave angustifolia

Agave desmettiana;

Agave potatorum

Yucca filamentosa variegata;

This one has to be watched, it increases at a rapid pace, I do not dare taking it out of its pot.
It also has very sharp needles, keep it away from kids and animals.

This agave is a slow grower, received it from my daughter as big as a thumb; Now it is 2 years old, perhaps from now on it will grow faster. It is not invasive and its spines are not as sharp. Its flower is at least 2 m high and yellow.

Believe it or  not:Gardening: A leisure-time activity involving lots of time and little leisure;

Titania ©
Photos Titania

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Pomegranate; Punica granatum;

A washing line full of diamonds;

Shimmering intensity of the flowers;

The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pomum "apple" and granatum "seeded". 
The genus name Punica refers to the Phoenicians, who were active in broadening its cultivation, partly for religious reasons.
Garnet comes from Old French grenat by metathesis, from Medieval Latin granatum, here used in a a different meaning: "of a dark red color". This meaning perhaps originated from pomum granatum because of the color of pomegranate pulp.

The fruit;
The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.

How to prepare a Pomegranate; cut off the top and the bottom. Break apart; 
Look at these wonderfully, glistening seed casings.

After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is easier in a bowl of water, because the arils sink and the inedible pulp floats. this, in a bowl of water, you can then just scoop off the bitter pulp membranes.

The arils ready to be used, eaten, savored, don't they look absolutely brilliant, so good!

The Pomegranate;

Pick me now, 
flecked with ruby red gems
sitting row upon row, 
scented by a thousand suns
in plentitude and exuberance.  

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and polyphenols, such as tannins and falconoid.
Pomegranate’s fiber  is entirely contained in the edible seeds which also supply unsaturated oils. People who choose to discard the seeds forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seed fiber, oils and micronutrients.

The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid binds with a carbohydrate. Punicalagins are tannins with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments. Punicalagins are absorbed into the human body and  have dietary value as antioxidants.  During intestinal metabolism by bacteria, ellagitannins and punicalagins are converted to urolithins which have unknown biological activity in vivo. Other phytochemicals include polyphenolic catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins, such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin. The ORAC (antioxidant capacity) of pomegranate juice was measured at 2,860 units per 100 grams.

More facts about Punica granatum please click here

DREAM on, for dreams are sweet:
    Do not awaken!
Dream on, and at thy feet
    Pomegranates shall be shaken.

Who likeneth the youth
    Of life to morning?
'Tis like the night in truth,
    Rose-coloured dreams adorning.

The wind is soft above,
    The shadows umber.
(There is a dream called Love.)
    Take thou the fullest slumber!

In Lethe's soothing stream,
    Thy thirst thou slakest.
Sleep, sleep; 't is sweet to dream.
    Oh, weep when thou awakest!
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Believe it or not:
Distant hills look green.  


Monday, 5 March 2012

Monstera deliciosa;

The flower

Monstera deliciosa   is a creeping vine native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico south to Colombia.

Forming the fruit

This member of the Arum family is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm long by 25–75 cm broad. 
Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can find until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.

When fully grown, the fruit is up to  30 cm long and 7-8 cm diameter, looking like a green ear of maize covered with hexagonal scales.

The leaves look very attractive too.

Fruits of plants of the Araceae (Arum family) often contain Raphides and Trichosclereids – needle like structures of calcium oxalate.
The fruit may be ripened by cutting it when the first scales begin to lift up and it begins to exude a pungent odor. It is set aside until the scales begin popping off. The scales are then brushed off or fall away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh, which is similar to pineapple in texture, can be cut away from the core and eaten. It has a fruity taste similar to banana,  jackfruit and pineapple. The unripe green fruits can irritate the throat and the latex of the leaves and vines can create rashes in the skin, because both contain potassium oxalate: that's the reason why the fruits have to be consumed when the scales lift up.

 When the fruit of the plant is ready to eat, it smells heavenly and  it has a flavor evocative of fruit salad. A fruit having a taste mixture of pineapple and banana.The fruit is high in vitamin C and potassium. 

Believe it or not:

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship;
it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one
when he discovers that someone else believes in him
and is willing to trust him.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

© TS Photos