The first tomato of summer 2015/16

My first harvest!

My first harvest!

One tomato does not a summer make* — but it’s a start! Okay, so my foray into blueberry self-sufficiency was not a success, but I’m on a roll with the tomatoes. I picked the first one today (on a fork, above; on the plant, below). It’s a variety called Honey Drop, a mini yellow Roma type. And if you’re wondering … yes, it was very tasty, albeit not very filling.

Here it is 'in situ'.

Here it is ‘in situ’.

And more are coming!

Tomatoes peeking coyly from behind the leaves.

Tomatoes peeking coyly from behind the leaves.

Still green, but coming along nicely.

Still green, but coming along nicely.

*Apologies for paraphrasing Aristotle!


Gardens: Summit Gardens, Vanuatu

Entry to the gardens

Who could resist this enticing entry to the gardens, with its peek at what’s inside?

A stroll among the flowers

The Summit Gardens in Vanuatu perch on a high 200 metres above sea level. With lush growth and brilliantly coloured flowers, it’s a great place for a leisurely wander. You’ll find urns, mosaic, statues and other items tucked amongst the greenery.

“The 11 named gardens, spread over 10 hectares, are all distinctly different, unfolding as a series of surprises as you follow the meandering pathways. The designs have been inspired by the great tropical gardens of Asia, Australia and America. What started off as a hobby to its owners back in 2000 became a driving ambition to create something beautiful that would showcase the beauty of Vanuatu and its people. The owners were assisted by a tropical landscape architect called Adam Ehlmann who was resident in Port Vila at the time. Adam departed Vanuatu in 2002 and the owners carried on themselves with the assistance of teams of very talented Ni-Vanuatu gardeners. The gardens were opened to the public on 1 November 2011.” (source)

Vibrant exotic flowers jump out of the myriad shades of green.

Clever pathways draw the walker into the gardens and pique curiosity about what’s around the corner or though the hedges or beyond the arch.


In one case, this is what’s around the corner:

Summit Garden "missionary position", Vanuatu

I did a double take. “Do they know what that refers to?” I wondered. It turned out to be a wonderfully witty interpretation on a “position” that no missionary (or anyone else) would want to be in!

Being so high, the garden offers some fantastic views.


The progression of paths leads you (of course!) to the cafe and shop. You can have a light meal while looking out at the gardens, and treat yourself to an array of skin lotions and potions made with many natural ingredients sourced on the islands of Vanuatu. Products are available online, too.

If you have enjoyed this stroll, check out where other bloggers have been walking with Jo’s Monday Walk.


Blueberry Chronicle: 2

Could these be blueberries??

Could these be blueberries??

My blueberry plant has certainly lost its good looks! Instead of pretty white flowers and green growth, it has dried bits and stumps of things. But … it also has what I think are the beginnings of actual blueberries!

Click here to view instalment 1 of the Blueberry Chronicle.


New plant growth

Chinese Lanterns plant

New growth pushing out the end of a seemingly dead stick. (Photo taken today)

By the end of summer, my Chinese Lantern plant doesn’t look great. It’s straggly and turning brown, its leaves nibbled by insects. There’s a good chance it’s also got an infestation of unwelcome visitors such as aphids or white fly. So although it seems cruel, I cut it back to seemingly dead sticks. My lovely Chinese Lantern plant looks like a collection of twigs. Only days later, though, nubbins of green appear, and tiny leaves unfurl. New plant growth, like any force of nature, is unstoppable.

Chinese Lanterns plant

New growth. (Photo taken today)

When it’s blooming, the flowers look a bit like hibiscus blossoms:

Chinese Lanterns plant

A flower close-up. (Photo taken Sept 2014)

And here’s the whole plant in bright morning sunshine:

Chinese Lantern plant

The full plant in exuberant flower, in spring. (Photo taken Sept 2014)

BTW, if you noticed the funky sort of blur happening in the feature photo, and wondered about it, wonder no more. I was trying to capture the small spurts of growth at the base of the plant, but my lens wouldn’t focus on them. So I used a magnifying glass and shot through that! DIY macro lens. 😉 Not entirely successful, but interesting.