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El Dorado and home

October 22, 2016

It was a beautiful and cool morning, even in south Arkansas.  I picked up a newspaper to read as I was doing breakfast at the hotel and was surprised to see an ad for my new book. book-order-form-161 I have not seen a proof yet, nor did I know what the book looked like or was titled!  Surprise! Can’t wait to see it.

Today I was the speaker at the Union County EHC holiday foods event. My topic was holiday plants. el-dorado-holiday-plants-16-9They had a large crowd and a ton of door prizes. el-dorado-holiday-plants-16-4 el-dorado-holiday-plants-16-5Their decorations were outstanding, and this one was all fresh fruits and vegetables. el-dorado-holiday-plants-16-1

After all the presentations, everyone got to sample the holiday foods.  Then I went with some of the MG’s who were in attendance to go see the South Arkansas Arboretum.  It looks great with a ton of butterflies and blooming plants, along with loads of pumpkins. south-arkansas-arboretum-oct-16-2 south-arkansas-arboretum-oct-16-3 south-arkansas-arboretum-oct-16-4 south-arkansas-arboretum-oct-16-7 The bush morningglory and the porter weed were both in full bloom and doing great. bush-morningloy-16 porter-weed-161 Neither of these are reliablily winter hardy so they take cuttings before a frost.

Their Camellia sinensis put mine to shame, easily 5 times larger (but older as well). camellia-sinensis-el-dorado-16-4 camellia-sinensis-el-dorado-16-5

Then I went by Barbie’s house to see her garden.  The cassia in the front yard was spectacular. cassia-16-1 cassia-16-3 as was her bush lespedeza lespedeza-bush-16-2 and air potato vines. air-potato-16-11 air-potato-16-14

The rice paper plant (Tetrapanax papyrifer) has huge leaves, but beware because it can spread. rice-paper-plant-tetrapanax-papyrifer

One of the most unusual plants in her garden is an annual hibiscus commonly called Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa. hibiscus-sabdariffa-roselle-16-2 hibiscus-sabdariffa-roselle-16-3 The calyx of the spent flower  turns bright red and has seeds inside. This is edible and quite showy. Native from India to Malaysia seeds are said to have been brought to the New World by African slaves.  It is also called red sorrel, Jamaican sorrel, sour-sour and Florida cranberry. In the kitchen, this hibiscus is delicious when tossed into fruit salads, used to garnish ice cream, thrown into tart and pie fillings, and blended into jams and jellies. This nutritious plant even makes up a popular side dish when served with ground peanuts in regions of Africa. When steeped into an infusion, it’s transformed into a tart-tasting tea that is loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C.  I think I need some, but you must save seeds. I wonder if you couldn’t harvest some stems before a frost and root them like we can the confederate rose. Might need to try that!

Barbie’s garden has several rooms with seating areas barbie-luthers-yard-16-5and work areas. barbie-luthers-yard-16-2 barbie-luthers-yard-16-3

The latter two are screened from the rest of the garden, but what a potting bench!

I enjoyed my visit and loaded up and headed home. I was home by 4:15 and watered my garden, picked okra and peppers and did laundry.  Tonight should be good sleeping weather with the windows open. It is supposed to be a low of 48!



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