Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Mounts Botanical Garden Tropical Fruit Festival

I know this is a late post but better late than never right!?!
The Mounts Botanical Garden tropical fruit festival was June 28th and yes, you got that right...
it was a super uber hot day!!!   

I do have to say, Mounts Botanical Gardens made some changes this year which I think made it flow better.  Like the tropical fruit tasting was right when you walked in.    Luckily I was able to do some sampling this year and they moved people through fairly quickly.  Plus they grouped the vendors, food trucks and the live music together under the shade of large tree canopies.  

The food was amazing especially the guys BBQing.  I had their conch ceviche which is my fav!    Not sure why but it seemed like there were only a handful of vendors this year.   I do hope they did well.    Also it didn't seem as crowed this year, maybe the heat kept people inside?   Not sure the reason but for those of you who didn't get a chance to make it this year, here are some pictures from my adventure at this years Mounts Botanical Gardens Tropical Fruit Festival.

The front parking lot of Mounts Botanical Gardens: the left
picture is facing the gardens & the right picture looks at WPB airport.

Different views of the main lake

Container gardening

Fruits: (from left to right) dwarf pomegranate, sugar apple, dragon fruit & bananas

Butterfly gardens: from top left- stinky marigold, not sure what kind of
white flowering vine, purple salvia with pink allamanda vine & scarlet salvia with pink pentas.

Banana patch

Educational center

Plant, food & craft vendors while listening to great live music.

Lots of color & texture

A serene setting to cool down & contemplate.

The beautiful formal rose garden

Part of the plant collection in the formal rose garden.

Sweeping vistas reflecting a multitude of layers

Sarracenia pitcher plants hanging at the gardens' entrance
Hope you all are enjoying your summer!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Latest & Greatest & Some New News!!!

Hope you all are doing well my friends!
It's been awhile since y'all have been by to visit the garden.
Boy do I have lots to show you & something important to tell you!

After much debate of whether to stay or start something new, I decided that after 13 years here at this wonderful little home, I decided to put it on the market.  If it sells then I will be very happy to know someone else can enjoy it too!   Now, I have to decide which plants come with me, lol.

I'm not sure how many more times I may get to blog about my little plot of paradise so let's have some fun while we can.   Since the thundershowers are coming and going on a daily basis and
it remains uber hot and humid outside...
it's a great time to take a virtual walk through the garden!

This is a view from the south walkway that links
the front & back yards.  You can see our new dog
Django under the huge Jamaican caper tree!

The picture on the left is dendrobium miyakei (I think)
Yes, the picture on the right is the same orchid flower!  The top picture is a week
after the blooms opened up & the bottom picture is what it looks like a week after the top picture.

Our front yard full of peanut flowers &
the Ellen Bosanquet crinum lilies in bloom

The above pictures show my spindle palm in it's place of eight years.
It grew so fast along with the adjacent trees that it had to be relocated.
Our contractor friend found a good home for this beauty on one of his projects.

Swallowtail butterfly chrysalis on our rue plant

My new favorite is this cutie beauty
michelia figo (aka. banana shrub).  You can smell this
from a distance as the super sweet juicy smell wafts
into your nostrils & your brain says "OMG what
is that delicious smell!?!"  To me it smells like
a banana now-and-later ;)

A fun artistic expression I made from an orchid picture.

My fiddlewood & American beautyberry
all full of berries the birds love to eat.

A view of part of our backyard pathway.

My longest lobster claw helicona ever!Très cool!

Beehive or Thai shampoo ginger

This is the back patio corner.
Thank you so much for coming by & walking through the garden with me!
Keep cool, stay hydrated, wear sunblock and enjoy some summer fun!
Happy Gardening & Best Wishes,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mango Season in South Florida

Cutting them up to store in the freezer
Mangoes are here!!!   Our South Florida mango season usually runs from June to part of August.   It depends on the variety of mango but some of them can have another productive fruit season during our fall months like the Thai variety 'choc-anon'.  How awesome is that!?!

We are very blessed to have wonderful friends that have bountiful harvests on their mango trees this year and have graciously shared their wealth.   Just a word of advice for those of you without trees, if your neighbor has a tree it is always advisable to ask the homeowner for a few mangoes before you take them.   Mangoes can make people do crazy things lol!!!   Our freezer is full of chopped mangoes ready to be made into one of my famous mango smoothie's or one of Kendra's infamous Mangorita's (OMG Good!) or my healthy mango salsa or my grandmother's mango bread or even mango popcicles (add rum or bourbon for the adults)....whew, the delicious list goes on!   I thought it would be a great idea to add a few recipes for you all to try.   So go out and get you some mangoes!!!

Mango Breeze recipe from my beautiful 2009 Bahamian Calendar.
These are beautiful works of art you can purchase every year for a great price!
Mango-Tamarind BBQ Sauce from my gorgeous 2010 Bahamian Calender
Thai-Style Mango Salsa
2 cups cubed mango (about 2 medium sized mangoes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 1 1/2 Tbs. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 Tbs. low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar or to taste
salt & pepper to taste
2 recipes of baked wonton crisps
In a food processor with a knife blade, pulse the mango until finely chopped but slightly chunky.  Transfer to a small bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except wonton crisps, stirring well to combine.  Let stand about 10 minutes at room temperature for flavors to blend; stir before serving with crisps.
Baked wonton crisps

12 wonton wrappers
2 tsp Chinese hot oil, peanut oil, or plain sesame oil
garlic salt or table salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400F - Arrange wonton wrapper on large ungreased baking sheet & brush the tops with oil.   Turn over & brush with remaining oil. With a sharp knife cut wrappers diagonally in half.  Sprinkle with salt.    Bake at center rack for about 5 minute until golden, keep an eye on them so they don't burn.  Cool slightly & serve with mango salsa.
Our friend's mango trees at their family run marina in Deerfield Beach, Pennell's Marine
The mangoes in the picture at the top of the page are from these trees.

My mango salsa has black beans (I use canned black beans & rinse them), corn (either cut off the cob/frozen/canned; up to you), diced fresh tomatoes, finely chopped red onion or shallots, finely chopped jalapeno pepper (without seeds), diced avocado, diced mango, chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice and salt & pepper.  All of the ingredients are to taste so feel free to add more of one than another.

My Grandmother's (Gisele Vermeire) Mango Bread Recipe (circa 1972)
½ c butter
¾ c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ c sour milk, I’m guessing this could be buttermilk?
¾ c golden raisins (I usually leave them out & add ¼ c more nuts & mango)
½ tsp grated lemon peel
2/3 c mashed ripe mangoes, which should be 1-2 mangoes
2 c flour
½ c chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar, then add egg, butter milk; mix well then add sifted dry ingredients.  Fold in the lemon rind, mangoes, raisins and nuts until evenly mixed through Bake in greased loaf pan at 350F for 50-60 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.
Hope you are enjoying your summer as well as your mangoes!
Happy Gardening and Many Best Wishes,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mounts Botanical Gardens - Tropical Fruit Festival 2014

Well my friends, it's that time of year again...what!?!     Mango season you say???  

It's only on Saturday, June 28th from 10 am to 3 pm so be sure to put it on your calender!

Last year it was super hot, very humid & lots of sun!   So like with any outdoor event here in South Florida always come prepared.   Be sure to bring hat(s), sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, snacks, water & umbrella(s).    I also brought a hand fan & boy was I glad since their wasn't much of a breeze that day.  Also wear comfortable clothes that can breathe like shorts, t-shirts and 
walking shoes as there is lots to see! 

Their press release jargon goes a little something like this...
"Join us on a culinary journey around the world as we explore delicious tropical fruit.   Exciting activities in the Garden include cooking demonstrations, guided tours, tropical fruit display featuring over 100 tropical fruits, tropical fruit samples, plus fruit and fruit trees will be available for purchase.    Palm Beach County Extension Master Gardener Booth, Family and Consumer Sciences food displays, 
food trucks and live music by DYMiN."

Mounts Botanical Garden is located on the west side of the Palm Beach International Airport.

Let me know who is going so we can organize a "meet-up"!

Wishing everyone a great summer!
Happy Gardening & Best Wishes,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flowering Trees in South Florida

Ahhhh May, how we love this time of year...signaling spring has sprung here in So'Fla!  The weather is absolutely incredible today at 70 degrees F.  A very nice break from the mid 80's we have been experiencing.  Today is a perfect day for the beach or a picnic at your local park!  

Now is the time when many of So'Fla's plants are starting to get their grow'on while others are getting their flowerin'on.  Also, this is the time of year in many parts of the world flowering trees are bringing people from across the globe to see their beauty.  Atlanta just had their 78th Annual Dogwood Festival.  Beijing, China has their cherry blossom festivals throughout April into May, which are sure to impress any visitor.  As well as many of our northern neighboring states, like our nation's capital, Washington DC which celebrates the blooming of it's 3,000 cherry trees planted in 1912 as a gift of friendship from Japan.   

Here in So'Flo we don't have the cherry trees though we do have some pretty spectacular flowering trees that will be sure to stop you in your tracks!

So let's take a tour to see what's showing your their very best this time of year.  
Yellow tabebuia picture from Richard Lyons Nursery

Pink & yellow tabebuia picture from www.floridata.com

Yellow & orange poinciana picture from www.FloridaGardener.com

Apple blossom cassia picture from Terra Mirabilis blog
Rainbow cassia picture from Tree World
Rainbow cassia's actually change their colors as the flowers age.
I think this is a cassia marginata, Butterfly World has them in their parking lot.
A close up of the Butterfly World cassia's, cassia marginata?
Desert Cassia
Desert cassia picture from Plant Creations Nursery
Desert Cassia picture from Plant Creations

Jacaranda picture from UF/IFAS Okeechobee extension
Jacaranda picture from All Things Ruffnerian blog

African tulip tree picture from www.mgonline.com
African tulip tree picture from www.mgonline.com

Bulnesia picture from Plant Creations in Homestead, FL.
This gorgeous yet huge Bulnesia aka Verawood is in Deerfield Beach

Golden Shower Cassia picture from The Wild Papaya Nursery

Queen's Crepe Myrtle or Lagerstroemia speciosa
This incredible Queen's crepe myrtle is in Deerfield Beach.
Close up of the huge Queen's crepe myrtle flower, about 4-5 inches!
If you are considering planting a flowering tree in your landscape here are a few things to consider.   Flowering trees are usually considered a medium to large canopy tree, able to grow from 25-50 ft.

Flowering trees as beautiful as they are in bloom, the blooms have to go some where...yes, they drop to the ground, as you can see in some of the above pictures.  Plus most flowering trees are either deciduous or semi-deciduous, meaning they also drop their leaves 1-2 times a year.   So make sure where ever you plant the tree that you don't end up with flowers & leaves in your pool, on your cars and/or all over your patio.    Because we all have waaaay better things to do than pick up leaves & flowers on the weekend! ;)   

Lastly, you can figure that the root system of any tree is 2/3rd's larger than the width of the canopy.  So make sure where you plant the tree isn't going to pose any problems either with it's canopy and/or root system once it gets larger.

And with that my friends, get out there & enjoy your weekend...go on, get off the computer and get some sun on your face!
Happy Gardening & Many Best Wishes,