Recent storms (Franklin and Idalia) may have battered us somewhat but our island flora is still blooming bright. And later in the month our growing season approaches so that once again we can think about what flowers, vegetables and herbs to plant.
The rubber vine (cryptostegia grandiflora) is now profuse with its five-petal, star-shaped purple flowers. They contrast well with the dark green glossy leaves. Native to Madagascar, the rubber vine grows well in Bermuda. Also profuse is sagebush (lantana camara). It’s so widespread, it’s tempting to think of it as being native but it was introduced to Bermuda from the Bahamas in the first half of the 18th century and in 1819 from Madeira. Flowers come in yellow, lavender, pink and red. If you run out of toothpaste you can follow the practice of our ancestors and use it for cleaning your teeth.
Nothing is more magical than the sudden blooming of our rain lilies (zephyranthes citrina), otherwise known as Bermuda crocuses although they originated from Mexico and Guatemala and while similar in appearance, are definitely not crocuses. These yellow flowers with grass-like leaves are well named since they burst into flower after a shower of rain. The flowers are best alone but you could try picking a few of their tiny seed pods to harvest and plant.
For many people, Christmas dinner would be unthinkable without brussel sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera), vegetables resembling small cabbage heads.
Plant seedlings 2 feet apart in loamy soil and in a sunny position. Add support stakes to prevent the plants from toppling over as the sprouts start to grow. Do not over water but keep the soil moist. Fertilise regularly, following the label instructions. Sprouts are ready to harvest in 80 to 100 days