Monday, July 07, 2008

THE WINTER GARDEN AT DEVON

It was a crisp winter morning on the island, and I decided to take a stroll through the garden here at Devon, armed with my camera, so I could capture this special time of year.

Winter is definitely "citrus time" here on the island. Our old bush lemon is an enormous tree that bears prolifically, with its branches weighed right down to the ground.

This mandarin was given to me as a seedling many years ago. The fruit is small and VERY tart, more like a cumquat. But the fruits appear in their thousands, with two or three crops a year. I can only reach ther lower branches, but that provides me with plenty of fruit for juice, pies, marmalade and jellies. The rest are extremely decorative, and can be seen from a long distance!

This picture also shows a feral pumpkin vine trying to climb the feijoa to the left, and to the right a fig tree sprouting new leaves after a severe pruning.

Each year I tell myself I will photograph the old persimmon tree after it has finished fruiting and while it has its rich orange foliage . It is almost the only tree with autumn colouring here on the island. Each year I seem to be just a few days too late, and find the leaves have begun turning brown and falling to the ground.In a forgotten corner stands the old concrete laundry tubs. I once used these - with great success - to strike cuttings. A lavender survives to this day, accompanied by self-sown Custard Apple and Busy Lizzie. I must get the boys to move these tubs closer to the house so I can put them to use again. Just behind is the remnants of a clump of sugar cane - I was so pleased to see it was still there!The Jamaican passionfruit is nearly finished for the year. It has a long growing season, and the fruits, although a little tart, are very flavoursome and useful. Believe it or not, the original plants came up in my worm farm from tinned passionfruit!!

This colourful vine with its pink flowers used to grow beside the old laundry in the days when Dorothy and Geaorge lived here. It is only an annual soft climber, and a very pretty one at that. But over the years it has been seeding prolifically and gradually extending its territory. I suspect I will have to keep it in check so that it does not become a pest like the Morning Glory.Meanwhile the mauve Pentas bush grows all around the place. Bernie's Mum used to plant cuttings here and there. It is well over 20 years since Dorothy lived here, but new Pentas shrubs seem to appear from time to time in spots on the edge of the woodland where I have never seen them before. Possibly they have seeded, or grown from roots that have been dormant in the ground. But I like to think that Dorothy has been paying us a visit!This male pawpaw has beautiful flowers. The male fruits are green and skinny (you can see them right at the top of the picture)- but can be cooked as a vegetable.Between the garages, the cream Poinsettia hangs on to the last of its showy winter blooms. Beside it stands the red and green Rau-ti. Dorothy always had a branch or two sitting in a big jardiniere in the fireplace. Once they had developed roots, she would plant them round the garden or in the woodland. This is a tradition we have kept up.Basil the cat enjoys the winter sun from his hammock on top of the old shadehouse!

1 comment:

Karen said...

I love the photos of all the various plants in your garden, thanks for sharing.

Karen

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