Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mango trees in bloom everywhere

This has been a strange year.

First, the rain stopped begginning October, but the heat persisted well into almost early December, then the bottom dropped out and we had the earliest freeze on record here in Palm Beach county, on December 8th.

We also have a record-breaking drought situation. I first noticed mango trees blooming around mid December and thought, wow this must be some new variety that blooms in December, but then shortly afterwards, I noticed my own mango trees pushing out new growth and then not only new growth but flowering racemes.

Now, I have four mango trees in full bloom. Three of them are "dwarf" or "condo" mangos. The forth is a Valencia Pride. Here are some pics of the dwarf varieties.

Lancetilla mango

Fairchild mango, only 4.5 feet tall

Baby mallika mango, only 4 feet tall already blooming!
They normally only start blooming around March / April, some even later.

Aloe Thraskii not only recovers but blooms

First the Aloe thraskii succumbed to  crown rot which I suspect was caused by the venerable aloe mite. I pulled out the rotten crown and expected the plant to rot and die (one of my Aloe marlothi's had snout weevil maggots eat it from the inside and rotted and then died). A few weeks afterwards, once the dry season started and it dried out, it started pushing out new growth.

I had to baby this Aloe thraskii through two freezes by covering it with towels, but it was well worth it.

This is the first time I have seen a thraskii in bloom myself, to boot in my own garden ! And is it beautiful. I walk past it every day and admire it. The bees love it and are constantly buzzing around it. Wish a hummingbird would discover it and grace me with its presence. Not that I've ever seen hummingbirds here.

It is already forming seed pods. I will trade seeds with other exotic fruit/plant enthusiasts.

Akoe thraskii raceme

Aloe thraskii seedpods

Unidentified seed-grown aloe blooming for the first time

Slowly but surely recovering from the freezes

The first freeze in early December was bad enough, but the 2nd freeze sealed the fate of my bananas, pineapples, papayas.

The bananas were almost completely wiped out, I see a few are sprouting again. The sapodilla tree termianted the forming fruits, the papaya directly in the path of the cold wind lost all its leaves. Even our native cocoplum and seagrapes were severely burnt and I will have to do a deep prune to remove the dead wood. Even a grumichama directly in the path was also burnt - and they are quite cold-hardy. The carissa has lots of dead growing tips, but is sprouting new growth.

Burnt cocoplum and seagrape
For a while I thought that I would not see one coffee bean from my catura coffee plants, but this week some of the burnt brown berries seem to be changing color to pink, some almost red, so I might still be able to harvest enough to make a small batch of my own coffee - how cool is that !

Its amazing how the weather can fluctuate here, this week we're having 80+ F temperatures again, with humidity and all.

Some of the cold loving veggies are not loving the warmer weather.

Frozen bananas