If I was Tinkerbell, or some other dainty little fairy flitting here and there in a forest, I’d like my dress to be made from this frilly white flower. We have no idea what this plant is called, Mohamed received the seeds from a good friend who owns a greenhouse operation nearby. He told me it makes a gourd that people like to eat the seeds from as a snack. It’s supposed to be a quick growing vine that will cover our grape arbor and give us shade and relief from the hot summer sun up on our rooftop garden.
We planted a seed in every barrel around the roof, and they are taking off like crazy, producing many vines and slowly climbing up the arbor. One or two have actually reached the top of the arbor already and I’m guiding them carefully in the right directions.
The pretty flowers are quite a bonus, in my opinion! Two nights ago we were up on the roof working and it was about time to stop. At sunset the mosquitoes come out, and I don’t like to be their dinner.
But this time, a little earlier than the mosquitoes, a really interesting insect came visiting these frilly white flowers. Too bad I didn’t have my camera up there at the time, it looked like the strangest cross between a small hummingbird and a large butterfly, with gorgeous orange colored spots on its wings. Just like a hummingbird, I couldn’t really see the wings, just the spots, as it was hovering over the flower and inserting it’s needle-like beak for a sip of something sweet, then it flitted off to the next flower!
Insha’Allah, God willing, I’ll have my camera ready next time!
This next shot is one of the barrels filled with the vines of this mystery gourd. The bougainvillea planted in a chicken feeder beside the barrel is also flowering nicely, adding some pretty color to the roof!
On the next roof is the vegetable garden, doing pretty nicely this year, thank God. Honestly, I’m very excited about our garden, after having almost given up after last year’s disappointing results. We had too much chicken manure in the mix and the soil was too hot for tender roots to survive in it.
This year we added peat moss and sawdust and river Nile silt into the mix, and everything is looking pretty good! Here are a few pictures of the pretty flowers that are responsible for producing all the delicious veggies we planted.
This first picture is a close up of a cucumber flower. I love the beautiful sunshiny yellow color, and the tiny little fine hairs on the underside of the petals, and on the surface of the stems and tendrils. This closeup makes me pretty sure it’s those fine little hairs though, that are responsible for making me itch whenever I’m working with the cucumbers, tying the vines to the trellises. I’ve always wondered why cucumber plants make me itch!
But the itch is just a minor aggravation, easy to ignore when you’re munching on your own home grown crispy little cucumber! This next photo is our first delicious little reward for our hard work and patience! Yum!
When the okra flower is just a bud, it’s wrapped up tightly like a pink colored cone and I never imagined the flower would be anything other than pink. It’s quite a surprise when the bud opens up and shows off this dreamy creamy yellow color with the alternating rich dark red and bright yellow center!
The next shot shows the same pale yellow flower on the okra bush. Another nice surprise about the okra plant is the great dark red color of the stalks, quite an appealing combination with the rich red color extending up the stems to the dark green leaves. You can see one nice little okra below the flower, just the right size for harvesting!
This beautiful dark yellow flower has become very popular in the last few years, showing up in farmer markets and specialty grocery stores all over the world. Zucchini squash flowers, and yellow squash flowers, too, are a great vegan alternative to tempura shrimp or chicken. Deep fried tempura squash blossoms are probably awesome, but I can’t bring myself to harvest the flower. I’m afraid the squash won’t grow if I remove the flower, so I never touch them.
I don’t really have any training in gardening, just a lot of love for watching things grow. And fried flowers are probably not something I can convince Mohamed to eat, anyway. He does love grilled zucchini slices, though, and we have definitely been enjoying a lot of that! We have been really happy to see how quickly the zucchini started producing in our little rooftop garden, and there’s been a steady supply for a nice meal just about every other day. This next photo shows the same flower on her plant, and a couple nice zucchinis waiting to be picked.
Our tomato plants have suffered a bit from a bacterial blight that blew in on the first hot wind. I was wondering what made the leaves look like they were splashed with black pepper… the plants started looking wilted, so I tried watering more, but it didn’t help much. Then some of the stalks started turning black, and I knew right away what the problem was. Bacterial blight was a common problem I saw on our farm in South Carolina, attacking our apple and pear trees after the first hot wind of Spring. It doesn’t affect the tree’s roots, or its fruit, if the branches with fruit on them survives, but the black branches have to be pruned out immediately and the tree sprayed with a very light amount of bleach added to the water. Bacterial blight has no cure and can’t be prevented, other than the light bleach treatment after cutting out the damage. So, I pruned out most of the foliage from my tomato plants and sprayed the bleach water and, Thank God, my tomatoes haven’t suffered. There are loads of tomatoes ripening beautifully, even though the plants themselves are not very photogenic at the moment!
Finally, after all that hard work in the hot sun on the rooftop garden, I’ll bring you back here to sit in the shade of the grape arbor. The chairs are comfy, the breeze is light and the view is wonderful!
Thanks for joining me, and come on back anytime for another visit. You are always welcome here in my oasis!
I’m linking up this post today with all the nice folks participating once again in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. Her topic this week is Flowers, and I’m excited to check out all the great posts – join us here!
Click here for the previous post on Rooftop Gardening: Our First Tomato!