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Fruit and Flowers Journal at TopTropicals

Here you can see what is currently blooming or fruiting in our garden, we'll share some interesting facts or notes: fun and fascinating... simply what's new today!
- By Krolik (Tatiana)

You may add you comments at: TopTropicals.Blogspot.com

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August 25

Carissa macrocarpa fruit is really tasty.. It's somewhat sticky though due to the milky sap. The shrubs are loaded.

August 25

Gustavia gracillima not only has a beautiful lotus-like flower, it has a curious fruit. I was cleaning seeds, and the piulp smells like dry-salted (smoked) fish. Not a bad smell at all especially who tried Russian Vobla. Our cat Gosha got all excited about the fruit and said he can eat the whole thing just because of the smell is fantastic! Ants love the pulp, too (which taste like cardboard) and I got bitten all over while collecting fruit from the ground.

August 24

Calonyction aculeatum, Ipomoea alba, or Moonflower. It's in full bloom now, the flowers are huge and pleasantly fragrant.

August 3

Cassia marginata is definitelly one of the most showy cassias. Color is gorgeous.

August 2

I haven't seen Grewia lasiocarpa flower and was curious until now. It was worth waiting! The plant has huge 3-4" velvel leaves and 2" wide flowers! Highly recommended for creating tropical look.

July 24

Akee - Blighia sapida is blooming. The flowers attract bees as much as citrus flowers. The plant is promised to be hardy to tolerate light frost. We'll see.

July 23

Here we go, the Red Desmos flower is large, red, mature and VERY fragrant! (Continued from July 8). Perfume is absolutely intoxicating!


My favorite fruit is Strawberry Tree, or Cotton Candy (Muntingia calabura). I harvest it twice a day - this is how fast the fruit ripen. It's covered with strawberry-like flowers for many months, and fruit ripen in no time. Once they turn from green to yellow, they are already sweet (sometimes I can't wait for another few hours and pick them before they turn red). Mmmm... yammy!


Bauhinia tomentosa leaves have a funny smell of burnt rubber. Flowers are very corious: normally light yellow, they sometimes turn out mauve. I don't know why it happens, there doesn't seem to be any special variety. Some plants produce only yellow flowers, others have some mauve flowers as well. Two colors on the same plant! Strange!
Above all, the trees are gorgeous. They stay evergreen ulike most bauhinias, and the plant doesn't require much care, preferring to stay on a dry side.

July 10

Lemon Bay Rum is full of fruit! It is a very rare plant. It is a stable "sport" - they say, out of 1000 seedlings 1 happens to be lemon-scented. The asexual propagation (cuttings) is extremely difficult. These seeds will be planted and we'll see how many will be lemon scent.

July 08

Everybody has been waiting for a picture of Red Desmos - does it exist at all? Here it is! The flowers is not fully open, more pictures will be posted soon.

June 28

Petraeovitex bambusetorum, a beautiful Nong-Nooch Vine, is in full bloom. Hanging clusters of beautiful ryellow flowers. Everybody wants this plant!

June 27

Mondia whytei is in bloom. This is a legendary medicinal plant from Africa that is said to be a natural Viagra (root tubers). Uused as an aphrodisiac in Malawi.

June 13

Gardenia nitida is in full bloom: breathtaking view, and fragrance is overwhelming. These plants bloom sporadically year round, flowers stay for only 2-3 days, but it's worth to see and smell.

June 5

Nutmeg started to bloom. The plant is in 15 gal pot. Flowersbuds about to open.

May 23

Yes, it opened! Flower smells like fruity perfume, so good - you wanna eat it. Rauwenhoffia siamensis. On the 2d picture - the smelly stuff inside... Like peaches in syrup.

May 22

Rauwenhoffia siamensis - an alien from South Asia blooms. The flower is not fully open yet. Hopefully won't miss it...

May 22

...and Saraca again!.. (see starting opening May 14)

May 21

Amorphophallus final opening with a STINK! The first night it was real bad - not just like a dead rat (we are well-trained by our cats), it was a dead horse... The whole 100 ft long shadehouse smelled like a dumpster. The flower is open for more than one day, but the smell is the strongest only the first 10-20 hours. Our dog was tempted to "play" with it... but was explained he better wouldn't...

May 21 Loblolly Bay - Gordonia. I didn't know the flowers are fragrant. Thay are - slightly, honey-like. Lovebugs bathing in them.
May 14 Saraca indica finally bloomed for me - in a pot (7 gal size). It's really so wonderfully fragrant!
May 13 Wrightia tomentosa was sent to us from Thailand as "Wrightina Gueen". Having a swallen bonsai-like short stem, it really looks important. All winter it was dormant and I thought I lost it. It finally sprouted nice new foliage and opened the first flower - now I am positive what it it. The scent of the flower is... different. Not sweet. Somewhat fresh.
May 6 New adenium (Desert Rose) hybrid finally bloomed! It's a double variety. Not really as full as a marigold but you can see a little "skirt" inside! We are waiting for fragrant adeniums...
May 6 Plinia glomerata (Cabelluda, Yellow Jaboticaba) surprised with a few ripe fruits survived the winter. The fruit is 1" in diameter, juicy (somewhat like grape inside) and pleasanly sweet almost no acid, with a mild musk/gin taste. Unusual flavor.
May 4 Sea Green Ixora from Thailand blooming like crazy. Fragrant flowers of light green color, very cold sentitive - ultra tropical. Many of these plants didn't survive winter even in a greenhouse (min temp 45F), but half a dozen most established made it, and now all in bloom. Fragrance is very strong, somewhat jasmine-lemony.
May 3

Strophanthus bovinii (Wood shaving flower) - one of my favorites. In winter it looks just dead, no signs of life, no leaves - only bare sticks. Finally it woke up and the whole bush is covered with orange "wood chips" - no leaves yet! One of the most curious and showy flowers.

May 2 Mitrephora wangii bloomed - I almost missed it. Noticed just in time. Flower is a real work of art.


oncoba spinosa May 1

Oncoba spinosa - Fried egg tree - has been blooming for a few weeks. The fragrance of the flowers is very sweet and fresh - somewhat like honey. Very nice little tree. Funny looking fried aggs!

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April 25 Magnolia virginiana finally opened. A truly virgin perfection! This little 3 ft tall tree was planted a month ago. Fragrance is virginally sweet, too. Fresh!
April 24 Grumichama in full bloom: it woke up all the sudden, I didn't notice any buds lately, and yesterday it turned all white. It's finally summer weather here. Nights 60's, daytime HOT - up to 100F. Can't wait to eat the fruit.
April 23 We have planted Mango Garden - 50 varieties. Plus over 150 more fruit trees. Little mangoes growing on little branches. We'll see how big the crop we will harvest this year... Mulberries, macadamias, guavas, avocadoes - they all have fruit on them...

I have been taking photos in our new garden since we started it in August 2006, but with our construction and development didn't have a chance to upload them. Below is an archive that I still decided to post here, so you can see what was out there for all these months! (just a few...)

April 24 Blueberry planted under a fig tree finally turned blue. What a nice surprise. Tastes good actually, better than the one from the grocery store! It really doesn't mind our afternoon heat. Plants look healthy.
April 23 Thunbergia mysorensis opened a flower - the whole bunch is coming.
April 21 Now I can see why Gustavias are called Heaven Lotus. A potted tree opened a few beautiful flowers. They last one day, but are worth to see.
April 20 Magnolia 'Porcelain Dove' opened several flowers. The 3 ft tall tree was planted 3 weeks ago. Flowers really do look porcelain. And like a dove, too! Fragrance is outstanding and different from other magnolias...
April 18 We visited Harry Leu Gardens in Orlando. Amazing microclimate they have. In winter over 10 degrees difference with the rest of the area, giving them 36F minimum while around is low 20's. Canopies of large trees keep warm air all night long. They have real tropical gardens there in zone 9a. Everything grows in the ground, including Desmos, Tacca and even Cerbera (this one with leaves damage). Photo gallery of pictures taken will follow later. Left: Michelia crassipes, left - Iris (unusual color).
April 17 Mitrephora maingayi bloomed! And I missed the flower - almost. It started to fade... And yet the night are still around low 50's...
March 30 Magnolia brooklynensis 'Black Beauty' - the bud is almost black. The flower opens kind of purplish. The 4 ft tall tree is still in a pot and will be planted soon.
March 27 Ripening seeds (fruit) of Tabernaemontana holstii look pretty cool!
March 22 Just got 9 new rare magnolias for collection. One has an open flower - Magnolia Ruby. The trees don't have leaves yet, are potted now, will be planted in the ground once established. Will try to experiment with colder-climate magnolias (for zones 7-8) in out subtropical area.
March 19 Clusia orthoneura is in full bloom. Flowers look porcelain and stay on the plant for a few days. Spectacular vew!
Feb 27 Talauma blooms almost all winter long. Although it's in the greenhouse, it's hard to believe it's so cold sensitive. Night low temps 45-47F. Plants in 1 gal containers, with only 2-3-4 leaves, and bloom non stop one after another.
Feb 15 Rothmannia winittii came from Thailand under name of Gardenia sp. (in Thailand they often call everything fragrant - gardenia). Flowers are small 1/2 inch, but pleasantly fragrant. A few plants bloomed profusely , in 3 gal containers. Seems to be easy to grow. Likes lots of water and is not sensitive to overwatering (drinks a lot anyway).
Feb 10 It doesn't have to be exotic Asian Melodorum or Mitrephora - Florida native Asimina reticulata from Annona family has fragrance and beauty of the Thai relatives, and yet is very hardy. Blooms all over our property... Hate to kill it when clear the land, hope to get seeds, because they don't transplant at all!
Feb 03 Osmanthus flowers smell like apricots. Very soft and pleasant fragrance. We made some osmanthus tea and created a Featured plant. All these plants are in bloom now...
Jan 31 Hong Kong Orchid tree - Bauhinia blakeana is covered with flowers. It's 5 ft tall, in the ground for 2 weeks. The flowers truly ARE fragrant!
Jan 20 Wrightia dubia plants arrived from Thailand - with flowers on them! It will take a few months for the plants to established. We use run heaters at night inb the mist-house. Although it seems like it's easier for plants to establish when it's not too hot.
Jan 13 Native Beautyberry is all over our property. Berries look good though. Very showy plant when in fruit. Cold hardy and tough too.
Jan 01 We planted Calliandra alley, and they all started to bloom the next day as if they waited to be transplanted from the pots into the ground. Calliandra tweedii on the picture. Covered with flowers.


Dec 15 Magnolia rajaniana cream Champee Si Nuan: we discovered it can have huge 4-5" flowers! Several of these plants bloomed this winter in pots.