Friday, 6 April 2012

Getting exotic on Clear Mountain

This weekend is the weekend of introducing exotics to the garden. (It takes my mind off chocolate)

So, for a little variety and challenge, I recently purchased a vanilla plant. It went in the ground last weekend and we have set it up on a trellis.

Vanilla is actually an orchid and a vine and likes to grow (so I've been told) about 25 feet (this one is about 2 feet long) before it will flower - which it does within only a few days. Then you have to manually pollinate the flowers with a cotton bud in order to assist Mother Nature in growing vanilla pods. This also doesn't happen for the first few years. So, this is why vanilla is so damn expensive.

Anyway, my friend David and I are having a little challenge to see who gets the first pods. He is thinking about planting his on/near a frangipani tree. I bought the two plants on ebay from FNQ if anyone is interested in having a crack themselves.

David also got me a miniature banana tree a few months ago. As you can see, it has gone nuts and is now about nearly 2 metres tall. It will produce normal bananas (not sure if it is Cavendish or Lady Finger) but the tree itself will only get this tall. 

So, am expecting flowers and baby bananas any day now.

And the latest addition to the mountain is a coffee tree (thanks Josie). I have high expectations for this little sapling. We use a shitload of fresh coffee!

We also plant a lot of things that are generally considered waste like pineapple tops (yes, they do grow eventually). We currently have three in the ground waiting for a burst of development.

I have also successfully grown an avocado tree from a seed. It got to about a metre high before I accidentally sprayed it with Roundup. [Key learnings: #1 don't go so close to small trees with the spray and #2 I can always grow another one]. They do grow really large so don't plant it too close to anything.

Local word is that Camfin Valley, that we overlook, was used during WWII for the American soldiers and their horses. As folklaw goes there was an old Chinese market gardener who would provide fresh produce to them, although no one really knew where he had his gardens. Rumour is that his old gardens were on our land. In one of the 3 gullys there is an amazing 3 metre high rock waterfall that looks like it is   man made, it is so perfect. It is really hard to get to but worth the walk down there if it is flowing. It only flows when there is signifiant rain (often). To the south of it is where our orchard and an untamed area lies. The soil here is amazing... makes you wonder, huh.