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Posts Tagged ‘The Redlands’

The Firework Flower

The Incendiary Blooms of the Guiana Chestnut are hard to miss. Combining arches of vibrant yellow with electric red and white hairs…you could almost call this The Firework Flower.

[Welcome to guest blogger Alex Norelli, contributor to the Organic Gardening blog. Alex is a blogger, poet, and photographer. Here is his view of a month’s visit to Redland. – marian33031]

My first introduction to the Redland was through the Fruit and Spice Park, a great place to see the potentials of this land and climate. When I arrived in the Redlands I expected to see an intense iron-colored soil like the almost inhuman Mars-red fields in La Mancha I remember driving through while in Spain. But I didn’t see it in the soil as much as I found it in the air, in a host of blooms and fruit, some edible, others strictly for the eye.

Such Mainifold color, with red at the center.

Such manifold color and form…the red of the flower’s petals contrasting with the green of unripe bananas is an eye-catching combination. The size of this fruit has no equal where I come from, and perhaps only a rose, or cardinal flower, has a comparably red.

Coming from the north and spending nearly my entire life in zone 6, with short forays into other zones, I was in for a wealth of newness. For one thing, fruits and flowers in zone 6 are usually quite reserved, petite and constrained, nonetheless beautiful, but of a different scale. In the sub-tropics, without a winter to hold back growth, there is never a thought for conservation, or preserving energy to make it through a many-month winter. And so things just grow; wildly, gaudily, loudly, abundantly, fruiting multiples times a year. That simple fact allows for a startlingly different display of color than I am used to, and it’s been an eye-opening pleasure encountering it in the last two months.

This Red is otherworldly…This neon red is too bright for my camera to capture in detail, the luminosity of the color is so great it becomes a iridescent smudge of wild color.

Cranberry Hibiscus, An edible red…its leaves can be steeped to make a tart tea high in Vitamin C

A row of edible red/orange marigolds among an impressive selection from Paradise Farms

This purple star apple shows a bit of the red and blue that make up its color

The Strawberry Tree with its Cotton Candy flavored fruit

I am sure the examples of red are more numerous than I have experienced in only one season. I didn’t even hit on the tomatoes, of which the Cherokee has always caught my eye, not to mention they are one of the tastiest you’ll find. I’ve heard the nearly 150 varieties of mango are truly something to taste and see, and I have not spoke of the orchids. The one red I wish I captured was the rosy blush of a ripe mango, but I was too busy eating them to pause to take a photograph, and anyway, the interior is more delicious to the tongue than the exterior to the eye.

Alex Norelli spends his time between Pennsylvania and New York City where he works as a Roof-top gardener and writes poetry and paints. Recently he found himself in South Florida for a time and has set out to see its many wonders with his own brown eyes. You can see some of his works at www.AlexNorelliArt.com

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