Category: FLORA

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

Malunggay, photo by JMorton

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

There have been a lot of studies and testimonials regarding the health benefit of Malunggay or its scientific name of Moringa Oleifera.

Studies have found that malunggay (Filipino/Tagalog name) has a very high nutritional value.  This may be true as a young child in Marag, our diet often included marunggay (Ilocano name for the malunngay).  The tree grow almost everywhere in Marag, thus providing us a microbiotic diet which complements most soupy viands in an almost vegetarian existence.  I supposed as children, we did not get sick, except for malaria, brought about by mosquitoes, which is another story. 🙂

Malunggay is a superfood as well as super-herbal-medicine.

Lactating women are advised to make malunggay soup as part of their diet to produce more milk.

 

Verbena Bonariensis

img_1092 img_1093
Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is a perennial summer flowering plant.

It is a beautiful addition to boarder plants as they add elegant height of purple-violet clusters of unscented vibrant flowers.  They are very attractive to bees and butterflies. 🙂

It has a long blooming period, which can be between July to November.

Desert Rose Plant

IMG_1134

Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton

IMG_1135

Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton

Desert Rose Plant

I saw this plant in the Philippines and I’ve fallen in love with the flowers.  They were very eye-catching.

This plant is called Adenium Obesum or more commonly known as desert rose.  It is a tropical flowering plant.  It is a succulent, which requires copious amount of watering but it must not be allowed to stand on water, thus a free-draining soil is advised.

It likes hot climate or temperature, although with proper care, it can be grown anywhere.  It is a beautiful house plant in colder countries.  It should be placed by the window sill, where it can catch a daily dose of sunlight.

Pruning in the spring will prevent the plant from going too leggy.

Autumn Arrives in London

Tulip Tree Leaf, photo by PH Morton

photo by PH Morton

Liriodendron tulipifera Aureomarginatum, commonly known as Tulip Tree

Autumn Arrives in London

As our summer season ends and so autumn arrives in London and Great Britain.

The word autumn has ancient roots alluding to the passing of the year. In the USA and some parts of the world this season  is called ‘the fall’.

This year, we have had mixed weather, from a wet and cold winter through a sunny and wet spring rolling into a sunny and wet summer.

We had two of the hottest days in September for over 100 years, with temperature reaching nearly 32C (89F).

Yes the British weather can still excite conversation among Brits. 😉

It is still quite mild with rain and sunshine and I can still wear a T shirt, without feeling cold. 🙂

The most common sign that autumn is approaching is when the leaves on deciduous trees. change colour from their spring and summer colour of green, to browns,yellows, reds and orange.
The leaves then soon after start to fall from their twigs and branches.

In autumn, some of the trees produce spectacular colour combinations of the above.

Deciduous is a Latin term meaning “falling off at maturity”

Leaves that fall off their tree branches in autumn are from the broad leaf type, having large areas to soak up the sun.

Trees that have these types of leaves need maximum food and energy to grow and produce fruit, such as apples, pears and berries etc.

These leaves have reached maturity by the end of summer using up the green chlorophyll pigment they contain to produce energy and food via photosynthesis for the tree in spring & summer.

As the daylight grows shorter with the arrival of the colder days of autumn and winter, the leaf receives decreasing amounts of  warm sunlight.

The leaf can no longer produce enough food for it’s tree, therefore it will trigger a kind of self destruct sequence.

As the temperature lowers, the leaves try and remain above freezing to provide nourishment to the tree until the last possible moment.

As the green pigment fades in the leaf, other pigments appear, which were masked by the dominant chlorophyll.

One pigment is carotenoids, which produce rich yellow, orange and brown colours, such as in carrots, banana peel, pumpkins.

Another pigment produced is called anthocyanins which are mainly red and purple.

As autumn progresses, the leaves become weaker, insects feed and worsening  weather take effect.

Within the stem of a leaf which is attached to it’s branch is the abscission layer, which chokes of the leaf veins that transfer water and food to the tree via the branch.

This further decays and weakens the leaf and stem, so the leaf becomes detached from it’s branch and so falls to the ground, it’s important work done.

Evergreen trees retain their leaves through cold freezing winter weather, because their smaller area leaves, some are needle shapes have a coating of a wax that helps protect them from the extreme cold.

autmn-leaves-in-london

Photo by PH Morton

Enjoy these wonderful seasonal colours and think of the sacrifice the leaf made to produce them.

Our Home Harvest 2016

one-of-our-potted-tomato-plants

Our Home Harvest 2016

 

When we were both still gainfully employed,  😉 it was hard to maintain our fairly long back garden, where the lawn must be mowed, the bushes regularly trimmed, the pond life fed, the garden furniture repaired, etc., the list went on.  We, therefore,  paved over parts of it, but still kept some smaller flower& plant beds and a good size lawn.

A good idea in any size garden is to use plant pots or troughs to grow plants, flowers and vegetables.

Some of the larger pots are fitted with small wheels (like castors) on the base.

some-of-our-newly-picked-tomatoes
This means that we can easily move large plants, such as the tomato plants, to follow the sun as it moves, to maximise exposure to the light and heat.

This spring, and as in previous years, Jean & I decided to try and grow some tomato plants in three of our large pots.  Tomatoes are quite inexpensive and plentifully sold in shops and supermarket during the summer, but growing your own has its own reward.  You can be sure of the freshness and they seem to taste better 🙂

 

one-of-our-small-apple-trees

 

This year’s weather has been mixed in London & SE England.

A rarely frozen and wet winter was followed by rain alternating with hot sunny days in summer, extending well into September. This combination has resulted in a nice crop of tomatoes. some have ripened and hopefully the others will soon as well.

Our two potted small apple trees have produced their ripe fruit nearly a month early this year.

They are ‘Jonagold’ apples, which are sweet and a little bitter to taste but simply delicious.

We found that If you have two potted apple trees, keep them near each other in order to get at least one good crop, this helps cross fertilisation from the bees etc.

We find each year that one tree produces more apples than the other.

However, this year both tree have a lot of apples, thanks to the weather.

our-pear-treeWe have one potted Conference variety pear tree, near the end of the garden, and as with the apple trees we also need to get another one as this lonely tree only produces a pair of pears each year.

Our wild blackberry bush has also produce a bounty of berries this year too!

We wonder if this year’s winter will be cold and wet again. Snow has not fallen to settle on the ground here in nearly the last two years, much to our grandson’s disappointment who is wishing of building a snowman in the garden!

Dalanghita Vs Dalandan

Dalanghita, photo by PH Morton

Dalanghita, photo by PH Morton

Dalanghita Vs Dalandan

Dalanghita is a Filipino word adapted from the Spanish naranjita, which mean small orange.  The scientific name for this dalanghita is Citrus Nobilis.

Dalanghita is really juicy, perfect for the often hot weather in the Philippines.

There is another variety of this citrus fruit which is called dalandan, scientific name is Citrus Aurantium.  

Most Filipinos would probably find it hard to tell a dalanghita from a dalandan.  These fruits are so similar, they can be often interchanged.  I supposed you can tell one of the other by their size and sometimes, the texture of their peels.

Dalanghita is small with smooth outer skin while dalandan are definitely bigger and has a thicker and pimply or pronounced pores.

Whiles growing up in Marag, we had a dalandan tree which grew so big in our side yard (garden).  During fruiting season, the citrus tree was laden with fruits that the lower branches touched the ground.

It was a joy to eat the fruits straight from the tree.  When it is still young, it can be sour and that is when we have to eat it with a bit of salt.  But when it is ripe, it is so refreshingly sweet.

Our tree was much admired by the whole neighbourhood of Marag.

Dalandan tree, courtesy of http://seventeeneightyfour.blogspot.co.uk/

Dalandan tree, courtesy of http://seventeeneightyfour.blogspot.co.uk/