Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fresh coconut milk

I'm taking this really cool class on culinary gardening at PBCC taught by Lloyd Singleton, the manager of the gardens at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. He took us on a tour of the culinary gardens where they grow many of the vegetables and herbs used in L’Escalier, their French restaurant.

After the tour we got a real treat - a drink of coconut milk from a fresh coconut. The interior of a coconut is hollow, but partially filled with a watery liquid called "coconut milk". The milk is found in unripe fruits, and is gradually absorbed as the fruit ripens.

The fruits are green or yellow at first, turning brown as they mature. The coconuts were picked for us, and the hard outer layer carved to a point so we could open them easily.

You make a small opening in the top using a machete.

Then you drink the coconut juice with a straw.

Inside the shell is a thin, white, fleshy layer, known as the "meat" or copra. The meat is soft and jelly-like when immature, but it becomes firm at maturity. You can spoon the meat out and eat it.

Palm Beach got its name from the coconut palm tree which grows along tropical, sandy shorelines. It can also be grown inland. One tree can produce between 50 to 200 coconuts a year. At the Breakers, these are all removed before Hurricane season starts in June.

Great Balls of Yarn

We were driving down the street when Judy spotted a yarn shop! Of course we had to stop. Great Balls of Yarn

The yarn was so pretty. There were also lots of sweaters, scarves, hats, and pocketbooks displayed for inspiration.

Judy bought a skein of yarn.

And made me this beautiful scarf modeled by 'Grizzo'.

How lucky I am to have such a talented, fun sister.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Creating Your South Florida Garden

I just finished teaching this 4 week course. It was so much fun!

The first week we learned all about seeds starting them, and saving them. We went into the nursery and planted flower and vegetable seeds. They were misted every eight minutes, and most sprouted in about 1 week.

The second week we learned how to select plants for the garden, and how to propogate plants from cuttings. We made 4-6 inch cuttings, removed all but a few leaves, dipped them in rooting hormone, then put them into oasis that looks like this. They also went under the mist.

The third week we learned about soils, fertilizers, and one of my favorite topics, composting. We tested our soil to determine the pH, and nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium requirements.

The last week we learned about maintaining the garden, watching out for nutrient difficiencies, pests, and diseases, and the basics of pruning. We pruned a large Panama Rose.

Everyone got to transplant their seedlings and cuttings that had rooted, and take them home to their garden. I can't wait to teach another class!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Here are some pictures of agave that are in the nursery at Palm Beach Community College on PGA Blvd.

Agave angustifolia 'Marginata' on the left. Mom has one of these in her yard that she got from a plant that Grandma grew back in the '70's.

Agave americana var. 'americana' 'marginata'

They come in lots of different colors.

Agaves are easily propagated by taking the offsets from the base of the stem. The students in my 'South Florida Gardening Course' each took home a baby of this plant.

Agave americana var. 'americana' with a Pink Desert Rose in Front

Agave americana is also called a century plant. They flower after a century (or so). When an agave flowers, it grows a tall stem from the center. After flowering the original plant dies.

Here's another one flowering.

Tequila is made from one species of agave in Mexico.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unbelievable Acres Botanic Gardens W. Palm Beach

Last week my class went to Gene Joyner's Unbelievable Acres. It is like going to a tropical rain forest. We saw all kinds of unusual trees, including many tropical fruits. The garden is open to the public the second Saturday of the month. Its open to private tours by appointment (561) 242-1686. 470 63rd Trail North, W. Palm Beach, FL. Call to schedule a visit.

Here's one of my classmates posing by the sausage tree. The sausages are up to 2 feet long.

Jakfruit - the world's largest fruit which can weigh over 70 lbs.
This is a pepper vine - where pepper (from salt & pepper) comes from.

The canonball tree.

A pomelo - tastes like a big grapefruit.

Jaboticaba - the fruit tastes like grapes and grows right on the trunk and limbs.


Carambola - the star fruit

Canastel - egg fruit

Black sapote - chocolate pudding plant

There's lots of banana trees.

An ornamental banana.

My container gardens

Here are pictures of my containers on my patio. In the top one there is a corn plant and bromeliads.

Here are two pots of bromeliads.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Close Your Eyes & I'll Kiss You...

I went to a Beatles Tribute concert by the band, 'Yesterday' last weekend. It was so much fun.

I always liked those hair styles.