Gardening 101

Ange left a comment yesterday about my gardening efforts so I thought I would expand a bit.

It’s actually something that Chris and I both enjoy doing and I knew he was serious about this whole marriage thing when I didn’t have to ask where I could plant things anymore :) He loves trees, fruit trees especially, and I’m more of a flower girl. I think I get that from my mom who has a beautiful garden back in Canada that keeps evolving. Gardening is creative and something that teaches and reminds me that I only have so much control over things. You have to care for things, but you can only do so much before you have to leave plants to just do their thing, and their thing is affected by weather and soil and bugs and…you get the idea.

I did a wander around our yard this morning to take some pictures.

These are some of the orchids that I planted yesterday. The one on the left is in a basket that I made from large screening, and the other is just stuck into the side of our big date palm. I was told that orchids really like just being plunked in something and then left to grow. I tried to put them in places where I know they’ll get sprinkled by the sprinkler when we water the lawn. Rainy season will be no problem. This is really the most experimental growing project so far because orchids are totally new to me, and they can be hard to grow by the sea. In Port a new orchid plant costs about $200 Haitian, which would be about $25 US. If I can get some of my cuttings growing well then maybe I’ll save up and splurge on a plant down the road to get some more variety.

This is the hibiscus rooting that I was talking about in a previous post. It looks a bit ridiculous, but apparently works really well. It should take about 4-6 weeks to get a root ball, then I’ll cut the branch off and plant it in a pot until it’s big enough to go out into the big world on it’s own.

This is an air plant, and we have them growing all over the place in our trees. I don’t know how they start, but they do, and they just live off the air. They’re kind of cool and add a bit of interest to things.

On the left is one of my favorite trees in the yard. It’s a big, old, gnarly neem tree. Growing up it is one of our favorite plants because it’s grown so quickly and the leaves are so BIG. On the right is the same kind of plant that’s starting to grow up the house, just like the ones in the broken filters (we use them for planters). We would love to have the house covered in green climbers. We’ve got a good start and in a couple of years I think that’s just what we’ll have. One thing that still amazes me when I see a really good garden, is how many plants or trees here are common tropical house plants back in Canada or the US. The sad thing is that most people will never know that their house plants have the ability to become huge trees or bushes or ground cover or climbers. We saw a GIANT rubber tree at our friends house. It must have been about 20 feet around, and again, is a plant that usually never sees anything bigger than a 10 gallon pot in North America.

Ange, you asked about banana plants (called fig here, and plantains are called banan – yeah, I don’t get it either). You may have to go to a nursery to find a banana plant. Chris and his brother went hunting around in L.A. and managed to find some abandoned ones so they cut down a couple of suckers and planted those in Ben’s yard. Ben emailed in late November to tell Chris that his plants were huge and that he had a bunch (regime) of bananas that had come in. One of the keys to getting the bananas to come in is to hack away any suckers around the plant. They’ll just “suck” away the stuff that the plant needs to give fruit. Once a regime fully comes in – it sometimes takes a couple of weeks for all the fruit to show up – cut off the big flower/pod thing at the bottom. It’ll probably be at least another month or so before the bananas can/should be cut off the plant. You want to cut them when they’re green, then hang them somewhere to ripen which should take anywhere from a couple of days to a week or so. Once you cut the bananas off the plant you have to hack down the plant because it won’t give any more fruit. That’s where planting more suckers comes in.

This is a grenadia flower. Grenadia is really passionfruit. The flowers are beautiful and unlike anything I’ve seen. They only last a short time, then fall off and make way for the fruit. Grenadias grow on vines that love to grow up other trees. We often have to send someone up our trees to go find the fruit because they love the sun so much. We’ve planted these vines to grow over our back work area so that they get some shade. We planted them last spring and now they’re growing like crazy. They make great juice.

Judy just stopped by and we walked around the yard so she could give us some ideas about what will grow well where. I also now have about 30 hibiscus cuttings in water and ready to root!

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

3 thoughts on “Gardening 101

  1. Hey Mum!
    You’re welcome :)
    The funny thing is that this layout is almost the same as the original blog, but now they’ve made is so you can change colors and add more pictures etc so it looks much better.

  2. Thanks for all of the info. The weather is in the 70s here now and we are starting to think of gardening again. We have the air plants too, they look a lot like birds nests when they get bigger. I will let you know how our figs turn out

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