I am sitting at my computer tonight and there is a cool, December breeze coming down the St Ann's valley. A true Christmas breeze. Our temperature never dips substantially enough to have an impact on the garden. But it certainly puts me in the mood for some sorrel, ponchecrema (our rum-laced egg nog), a nice tasty pastelle (cornmeal patties wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a colander) and a big slice of ham with some cloves studded in for that extra special Christmas flavour). But that's a whole different post.
Tonight I am celebrating Green Thumb Sunday and sending out lots of planting energy to fellow bloggers the world over.
This wild plant was brought to me by my gardener and has done very well in the shade of my saman tree. It is a wild pachystachys (pachystachys spicata, syn. P. coccinea) and looks quite similar to its cousin the yellow shrimp plant or yellow pachystchys (Pachystachys lutea) . This plant acts slightly differently in that it spreads via running, rooting stems. So if it miraculously multiplies, this is the reason. The overlapping bracts from which the inflorescences emerge are fascinating in their symmetrical order.
I've sneaked in a vase of zinnias that I have next to my computer. I love the chunky, painted sunflowers on the glass almost as much as the zinnias. The light in this room in the afternoon is really special and almost everything I shoot in here has this soft, warm colouring.
Crotons make up an extraordinarily large family and are categorized by leaf shape and size. They tend to do best in filtered light. Mixed light encourages the best colour variation. It is not unusual to have several shades of contrasting colour on one leaf. They root easily, making them very easy to propagate and satisfying to grow. A cutting will last for several weeks indoors in a vase, often rooting in the water.
I am rooting two new ones at the moment. I picked them up while visiting a friend in San Fernando. One of Trinidad's well known horticulturalists, Mrs. Rita Barrow, once said that the secret to successful landscaping in the tropics lay in crotons.
They can always be counted on to provide colour, shape and texture and most will hedge as happily as they will shrub.
The very talented team of mother and daughter, Margaret and Vanessa Dalla Costa do really lovely work. This Taj is an example of their imaginative mosaics. This piece was calling to be in my garden. So here it is in its new place of glory; in with the bromeliads, under the sexy orange heliconias and next to my large copper.