November 19, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Retro Carnival

Calathea lutea and elephant earsThen: Calathea lutea (right) and 'elephant ears'

While reading my friend Andee's Gardener in Chacala, Mexico blog, I read mention of the Garden Blogger's Retro Carnival and checked it out. Before I go on to that, though, I want to recommend that anyone interested in tropical plants and flowers, whether you are living in Central America or elsewhere, check out Andee's blog. She has the most incredibly beautiful garden photos.

Sue at the Balcony Garden from Milan, Italy (who incidentally is on my feed reader − I'm just terribly behind in reading blogs) came up with the idea for a "Retro Carnival" in which bloggers could offer up to readers an older gardening article that they might want to take a look at.

Since my gardening related articles have been so few and far between lately, I've probably lost most of my gardening readers! I may be too late for the official Carnival, but if you are new to the blogicito and haven't seen this article before, you might want to take a look at Why do they have to get so big?, which was my first article to be published on Garden Voices.

As an update, through some miscommunication, the Calathea lutea mentioned in the article, was completely removed by one of our garden 'helpers.'

My idea was that it would be all dug out, the soil renovated with compost, and that the huge clumps would be replaced with one or two the plants to give us another year or so with less maintenance/pruning. The worker understood at first, but apparently got 'machete-happy' when he started chopping up the plants. When I asked where were the plants to be replanted, he said that he had chopped them all up and put them in the compost pile!

I managed to retrieve two mangled plants and replanted them. I found that I really missed those huge greyish-green displays and I'm glad to say that they are finally recovering.

Elephant ears, Costus, Clathea luteaNow: From left to right, 'elephant ears, Costus, Calathea lutea'

This photo was taken yesterday, showing a much smaller clump of the Calathea. I'm not sure if the worker planted the Costus by mistake or if it was a volunteer from the compost pile.

I learned more about Calathea lutea from Mary at Neotropical Savannah in Panama that the leaves can be used for wrapping tamales, which I'm hoping to learn to make this year. I'll let you know how that goes, too.
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