Monday, May 21, 2012

A Happy Accident or Two

Opuntia engelmannii
Opuntia cacti, or prickly pears, may be considered to be scrubby weeds in the southern US but they are a prized possession here in the Northwest - at least by the people weird enough to grow them.  I've heard the new growth is edible but I haven't been brave enough to try it yet (they seem to have micro-spikes on them).  I think I'll just hold out for the prickly pears.

Solanum aviculare
In addition to about 12,000 other phases, I'm currently in a "big annual" phase.  One of the best big annuals for our area is Solanum aviculare or Kangaroo Apple.  The many purple flowers give way to miniature eggplants in shades of green, orange, and then red.  Its dark burgundy stems contrast incredibly well with the lush green leaves.  It grows quickly - to 10' in a single season.  Just go online and order some seeds, then sprinkle them around in a sunny area that will get watered and stand back!  If the summer is warm enough, the fruit will drop to the ground in the fall and seedlings may sprout the following year.  I believe the seeds have to go through a fermentation process like tomatoes.

Dahlia imperialis
When I was potting up a tree Dahlia (Dahlia imperialis) a couple weeks ago, a section of one of the main stems broke off.  So I took a shot in the dark and stuck it in a bottle of water.  I was floored about a week later when I noticed some roots starting to form at the base.  Two for the price of one!

Finally....a few figs on a fig tree no bigger than a stick.

Ficus carica

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