Friday, April 20, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beschorneria yuccoides.....Mexican Lily

The flower spike has grown to almost 6 feet now and is amazingly spectacular. 

Extravagant pink/green/red flower spikes in early summer makes this weird but truly wonderful plant from Mexico  a great addition to the garden. 
Both its flowers, reddish panicles covered in funnel shaped bright green-red flowers and yucca like foliage,  agave like soft blue-green leaves, certainly pack a punch and provide architectural interest! 

The Genus, Beschorneria,  of the Agavaceae family, was named in honour of Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Beschorner,  1806-73, a German amateur botanist.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kalanchoe pinnata......

An amazing succulent, native to Africa, Madagascar, India and Indian Ocean Islands.......

I cannot remember where I acquired this unusual looking plant but it wasn't much more than two years ago.  Now, it can be found in at least four different places in the garden and has been flowering all winter.
I like that the foliage stays low and the flowers reach to two or three feet and more and the colouring is very attractive. 

Kalanchoe pinnata from the family Crassulaceae has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Macaronesia, Mascarenes, Galapagos, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii.
In many of these, such as Hawaii, it is regarded as an invasive species.
It is also widely distributed in the Philippines and it is known as katakataka or kataka-taka which is also an adjective meaning astonishing or remarkable.

Kalanchoe pinnata
from the description as Bryophyllum calycinum of 1805 by Richard Anthony Salisbury.

In common with other Crassulaceae such as the genera Tylecodon, Cotyledon and Adromischus,   Kalanchoe pinnata has been found to contain bufadienolide cardiac glycosides These can cause cardiac poisoning, particularly in grazing animals.

 In traditional medicine, Kalanchoe species have been used to treat ailments such as infections, rheumatism and inflammation.
Kalanchoe pinnata has been recorded in Trinidad and Tobago as being used as a traditional treatment for hypertension and for the treatment of kidney stones in India where is goes by the name of Pather Chat or Paan-futti.

Bufadienolide compounds isolated from Kalanchoe pinnata include bryophillin A which showed strong anti-tumor promoting activity, and bersaldegenin-3-acetate and bryophillin C which were less active.   Bryophillin C also showed insecticidal properties.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wisteria sinensis........

Flowering through the Cherimoya tree at Cortijo Azahar.....

Wisterias are beautiful twining climbers of the family Fabaceae with beautifully scented flowers in shades of white, purple and pink. Wisteria is ideal for training into trees and covering walls, pergolas and other garden structures.

 Wisteria sinensis produces its flowers before the leaves appear and has stems that twine anticlockwise. Wisteria floribunda bears leaves and flowers at the same time and has stems that twine clockwise.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Orange Blossom Time............

Azahar....   is the anient Moorish word for Orange Blossom.

  Our first  impression of the cortijo was the oranges.    Orange trees dripping with oranges, and it was love at first sight.    Never mind that it was almost 5 pm on a November afternoon and the light was fading and we could barely see inside the single room of the cortijo.
 Never mind that the agent did not have a key to the outside wash room.
Never mind that the plot was a complete tip and there was an enormous water tank attached to the single room cortijo.

 It was the oranges and the anticipation of all the richness of that heavenly scent  that stopped us and set us down where now we are, in the middle of our seventh orange blossom time.

 If ever there was a place to dream, it has to be sitting  under an orange grove in full blossom.

Sit, stay awhile.  Listen to the birds in the tree tops.   Listen to the sleepy hum of the bees as they fly about pollinating the blossom  ensuring the trees bear lots of fruit.  Feel the warmth of the spring sunshine dappling through the leaves and let the oh so sweet perfume of the orange blossom seep into your dreams.