Re: [gardeners] Our beautiful October garden

Ron Hay (
Fri, 12 Oct 2001 07:41:15 -0700

Good morning, Penny,

What a delightful adventure in Gino's garden, and what a flight of

It must have been an amazing sight to have seen some of his tropical
goodies thriving in St. Louis. I wonder what the "c" plant could have
been. Maybe cassava? It is poisonous and the root has to be soaked to
leach the acids out of the tuber. Dunno.

I do know that one does not pick passion fruit, as the seed pulp will be
incompletely formed and inedible. We wait until ours fall of the vine,
take them indoors to turn a wonderfully wrinkled purple, and then enjoy
them in many modes.

I should qualify that statement: the Panamanian variety turns orange and
puckered on the plant; the Brazilian one is the variety ours is, a
cultivar called passiflora edulis Fredrick, which is largely green when
ripe, but later turns that gorgeous purple, when allowed to ripen off
the vine.

Your mention of the strangled tree(s) hit home: we were so busy
cultivating our vegetable garden, that the passion fruit vine nearly
choked our mandarin orange, with the result that we have many fewer
fruit, some of which is considerably undersized; but we are hopeful that
it will regain its vigor during the rainy season...if we have one. At
the rate the weather is going, it may snow instead!

If it does grow cold this winter, we will really have a chore on our
hands, especially with our cinnamon tree (cinnamomum cassia), tea tree
(melaleuca alternifolia)...which is now taller than I am, in one year's
time....; and our luxuriant curry leaf tree (murraya koenigii), which
has quadrupled its height this year to about 3 feet, with numbers of new
branches just within the last few weeks (!)
None of these creatures takes temps below 27 degrees, and at that
temperature, the macadamia will also likely be unhappy, not to mention
the citrus and passion fruit!

One ploy we will try is to use outdoor Christmas lights, draped around
the most sensitive plants, to keep them warm on unusually cold nights. I
have it on good authority that that is a very effective way to prevent

At any rate, it's wonderful to have you back online. Now it's time for
you and Jim to rest up after your vacation :)