Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Growing Tasty Tropicals in Any Home, Anywhere (pending publication by Storey publishing, fall 2010) has been in the works for a long time. Byron and I have been collecting exotic and tropical fruits for well over a decade and have finally taken the time over the past year to write all the interesting fun facts and cultural tips on how to be successful with potted fruit. The title page (pictured to the right) plus 160 other pages were sent to us this week for our review.
We recently had our illustrator, Beverly Duncan, visit us to get afirst hand account of the plants. Byron explains to Beverly the growth habit of our Black Olive (Olea europaea 'Arbequina'). Later she shows us her sketched olive tree.
Our category of citrus in the
book needed clarification. Here Beverly has the fruit of an Australian Finger Lime (the small
green fruit) and she is comparing the color of a Tahitian orange and the Myrtle Leaf orange. Both varieties
are miniature oranges but the colordistinction is subtle unless side by side. The lighter colored orange is the Myrtle Leaf Orange pictured here as a bonsai tree.
Another interesting fruit that we showed Beverly on her visit was our "Brown Sugar Fruit" (Manilkara
zapota Sapodilla 'Silas Woods'). This is a rare and tasty fruit that when mature will produce egg shaped fruit that can be cut in half and scooped out. The brown sugar taste and custard like texture is a delectable treat. Sapodilla plants are also known for their ability to produce chicle, a natural latex used in chewing gum.
Lastly, Beverly needed to see how Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus species) grew. It is shown here growing up a support and once the vines get a little bigger the red dragon fruit will appear.
Recently, I was in Florida collecting plants and I couldn't help but notice a local nursery that had neat rows of Dragon Fruit Trees cultured like standards. If you look closely the central stem is simply a pole that the vines have wrapped around. Impressive!