Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The narcissistic 'Red Rump Swallow'......

Sadly, we havn't seen him for the past week or so....

We think he was born this Summer,  one of the brood of the pair of Red Rump Swallows who regularly nest in the potting shed in the Cortijo Azahar Garden, as he arrived very early suddenly one morning a few weeks ago up on our top terrace.

 Not having heard or if heard, then not having taken notice of the sounds that these birds make, I initially thought it was one of the green parrots that we see now and again up in the fig tree.
The noise continued and later I saw him perched on a hanging flower pot talking to his reflection in the mirror.

He spent the whole day perched on that flower pot chattering away only flying off for the briefest of times and was back soon after dawn the following morning which caused me to say to 'himself' the bird would surely fade away if he didn't eat properly.

It was love at first sight and back he came, day after day. 

After a while though, it seemed that the lack of response was beginning to dishearten him and his visits didn't last as long as they had been and then he began missing a day but still he came until his last visit a few days ago.......

We do hope that he makes it back safely from wherever he has flown and next summer finds a more responsive mate for himself......


Yesterday Evening just after 8 pm September 14th,  there he was,  perched on the hanging pot and singing away to himself again.    He stayed for at least 5 minutes before flying off to... who knows where.  
We havn't seen any adults flying around for a while now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Enjoying the Garden.....

 Just been for a swim in the pool.   Me and the ghosts of the recently departed family..... with Dobby acting as life-guard peering out at me disapprovingly through the fronds of the pampas grass on the edge of the pool but for all the world looking like a lion cub waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting sibling.    

 Dobby hates the water; after having twice fallen in during the winter he was very small,  he made sure it didn’t happen a third time.  I dare say he wouldn’t make a very good life-guard.

Both Layla and Dobby love the garden;  love rolling around on the grass and chasing each other around the flower beds although Layla gives up the chase more quickly these days.   
 We are making the most of the garden which is ours only for another fortnight until the next paying visitors arrive.

Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis.....Buddha's Hand

Growing in the Cortijo Azahar Garden

Buddha's hand citronbushukan in Japan or fingered citron, produces deep lemon yellow fruits that vary in shape and size. The fruit splits at the opposite end of the tree's stem forming segments that have a wild finger-like appearance, hence its given name. Its flesh is void of juice, pulp and seeds, rendering it inedible. The culinary virtues lie within its oily rind which is powerfully fragrant and aromatic and utilized for its zesting properties.

Buddha fingers are commonly used to flavour a dish. The fruit is popular for the use in desserts, salads and savoury dishes. Buddha fingers rind give citrus nuances to enhance sauces or dressings. The thick peel of the fingers have a strong aroma and can be eaten. Buddha fingers are a great substitute for ordinary lemons.
Cut of the fingers and wash them. From here, the skin may be peeled. Then the fingers can be sliced into pieces. Either add the Buddha fingers raw or cooked to a dish.

 Buddha fingers should overwhelm your senses with lemon when freshly cut or even lightly scratched with your fingernail. Avoid any fingers with soft or brown spots. Buddha fingers can best be kept refrigerated and consumed within a few days.
  • Buddha fingers have many names including: Buddha's hand, Buddha's hand citron, Fingered citron and Goblin fingers.
  • The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the "fingers" of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer.
  • The golden fruit is especially popular at New Year, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household.
  • In China and Japan, Buddha fingers are mainly used as an air freshener.  The fruit is also popular in fragrances and perfumes with a citrus base.

Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis, or Buddha's hand, is an unusual member of the citrus family. The varietal name sarcodactylis is from the Greek sarkos meaning "fleshy" and dactylos meaning "finger". These graceful, fleshy fingers appear to gesture and invite you in for a closer look at this curious fruit.

The finger citron, as it is also sometimes called, has fruit that can range from 10-25cm long. The fruit starts out green, then turns yellowish-orange when ripe. It is composed of 5-20 finger-like segments, and the arrangement of these segments can vary.  the "fingers" can be held in a closed position like the one pictured above, or the segments can be more widely spread apart.

Citrus species have been in cultivation for thousands of years which makes exact origins difficult to define. It is suggested they were initially understorey trees in the forests of southeast Asia and that Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis, in particular, may have originated in northwestern India.

Buddha's hand is also known as the Fingered Citron.   It has been respected for centuries in China and Japan, where it is used for perfuming rooms and clothing, and in religious ceremonies.  Although it smells powerfully of lemon, it has no juicy pulp hidden below its peel. Instead, the Buddha's Hand is grown commercially for its great taste. The fragrant rind is used flavour lemon liqueurs and specialty vodkas, and provides fragrance to lemon-scented cosmetics. Chinese and Japanese households suspend it in their homes as a natural air freshener, and it still has a place in some religious ceremonies. The fruit has a yellow rind when mature, and contains no flesh, juice or seeds. Although Buddha's Hand is popular for its decorative importance, the rind of the fruit is also eaten in some Asian countries. The tree has large fibrous leaves and has thorns. Trees are small and can be developed in a container. Citrons are sensitive to cold more sensitive than lemons, and will necessitate a tepid frost-free place.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hedychium gardnerianum................Kahili lily

Hedychium gardnerianum is simply gorgeous - the quintessential ginger lily. 

 The perfumed flowers form big flame-orange spikes with red stamens. 
Each inflorescence holds up to 50 exquisite little flowers - individually pretty as an orchid with a heady sweet scent - over luxuriantly exotic foliage.


From the family Zingiberaceae,  an aromatic plant,  originating in India, growing to  3 meters.
Plant in half shade.  
Minimum temperature -10°C.
In Europe it flowers in September. 

Bulbs are edible but don't eat this prize winning, flowering, ginger bulb.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Allamanda Chocolate cream...... the only name I can currently find for this extremely pretty plant.

There is no doubt that it is an Allamandar cultivar, and could be from the cathartica species and is definitely from the family Apocynaceae, but where it was bred, that I don't know.

It is a very lax shrub/climber which at present is being hosted, supported, by an English rose Elizabeth, who has been having a rest from the summer heat and will soon want to open its buds and show off again which won't at all suit the delicate Allamander, or me if it comes to that.

Still looking for a permanent home at Cortijo Azahar