We're in the midst of a heat wave while we wait for July, when we can hope for that rare 'Cold Day in July' that comes along every few years.
Pride of Barbados and Esperanza are blooming.
Older blooms quickly fry to a crisp in the sun.
Not a tropical, just a Rudbeckia that
something chewed the petals.
Gingers: Variegated Alpinia and Curcuma.
I trimmed low hanging branches this morning to reveal them.
Every year I intend to buy another Bird of Paradise.
There's never time for my Bird to bloom when it finally sprouts from roots.I love the leaves and will crowd one into the greenhouse if I find a suitable one.
Up close to see the odd arrangement of stamens and pistil.
Aucuba with ferns and sassafras
Hedychium coronarium with Shrimp Plant and Salvia leucantha.
Everything except the Shrimp blooms at summer's end.
A different Shrimp Plant: Justicia betonica
This shrimp plant doesn't seem to mind the heat.
Crocosmia is taking over in the upper garden. It flops over
its neighbors like Persian Shield which droops in heat.
Crocomsia is just beginning to put on buds.
You can't get more tropical than Okra.
Mine was wilted so I watered it this morning.
If I turn these dribblers over, they become sprinklers.
Right here I am going to answer Peter's question about how I prepare Okra. I like boiled okra, which is not the way to introduce someone to okra. I place the smallest pods on top of steamed or boiled peas or lima beans just before the peas are done. If okra is boiled for a long time it will be slimy. Steamed just tender, there is no slime. I fry the larger pods and throw away the toughest.
Most of the time we fry our Okra and I've found a fool-proof way to cook it unless you forget about it. I use a timer.
Wash and cut okra into little rounds across the grain. Add 1/4 cup of cornmeal or cornmeal mix, whichever you have and stir to coat the okra. I use cornmeal mix, so add no salt. I like black pepper added to the meal.
Put the breaded okra into an oven proof skillet to which 2 tablespoons of cooking oil placed before the okra is added. I use a well seasoned black iron skillet. Drizzle a little oil over the top, not to coat, just a dribble or two.
Place in a 400º oven and bake for 25 minutes. Stir at least once during cooking. The okra will be done but may not be well browned at the end of 25 minutes. Ovens vary. I add to the cooking time until it is as brown as desired. It's good barely browned. It's good baked really brown. Okra is just plain good.
Fried Okra goes well with mashed potatoes.
Just so you know I'm not just a kook, there are other people in the world who fry okra in the oven. Fried Okra Recipe This lady's recipe would feed a family. I use about a pound or less and it's fine for two people.
Back to the garden, Cannas are starting to bloom. They're on of the most tropical looks for the least care in my climate, you can leave them in the ground.
Pretoria, or Bengal Tiger. Orange blooms are an extra with
the beautiful striped leaves.
Tithonia is just starting to bloom with Cannas.
We've had this old Canna for decades. I am starting to
use it more in the garden. The blooms are not attractive.
I just nip them off when one does decide to bloom.
I know that summer is just now here, calendar wise, but some of our tropicals seem late. Porterweed isn't blooming, periwinkles are just coming up in places, Agapanthus hasn't shown a bud yet. Brugmansias in the Upper Garden are not blooming yet, hardly even a bud.
Angel Trumpets in a more protected area, my oldest plants,
are napping in the daytime heat, incredibly fragrant at night.