Dwarf Ambarella, not cold hardy…but…

you can still grow it in the ground in areas that suffer frost. Here in 8b/9a Houston, we may have frost down to 20 degrees every decade that will kill just about any tropical fruit tree.  In other years, the freeze is just borderline but ambarella  will still be damaged at 35 F.

HOWEVER, dwarf ambarella, if killed to the ground, will re-emerge around May, and begin flowering, and fruiting in no time.

I suggest a mulch to keep the roots alive when cold weather arrives.

You can also grow it from seed and it will fruit the first year.

So that’s another group of tropicals that can be grown in cold weather, those that flower and fruit within a year. A few off the top of my head would be Papaya (grown from seed early in the season will fruit in 9 months), and some guavas will also fruit the first year from seed.

There are other methods to grow tropicals in frosty areas, but I will save that for a later post.

This is my GIANT (5 foot) dwarf ambarella. It's hard to imagine it can get this big after dying to ground every year. I prefer to eat these green. When young you can eat the skin and seed too, with the size of it's fruit, it's too troublesome to peel, in my opinion. Maybe I just don't love it enough. I'm sure this is blasphemy to some who read this. It produces way more than I can consume and even give away. At the end of the season there are always fruit littering the ground.

In the corner of my old backyard, is my dwarf ambarella tree. It dies to the ground every single year, some years worse than others. But it still manages to produce a ton of fruit from July to October. Next to it is a starfruit tree that was given to me.

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First Gardening Blog, an Introduction

I live in zone 8b-9a, in Houston, Texas.  We have gumbo clay soil, impossible to work on a large scale, or even a small one.  In the summer, we deal with a lot of heat and humidity. We also have very low chill hours, not suitable for growing a lot of fruit trees and certain flowers. Not only that, we have multiple freeze/thaw cycles in the winter, which confuses our plants. It’s not cold enough to grow cherries, peonies, etc.  But it’s too cold for tropical trees and fruit. But that hasn’t stopped me from attempting the impossible, which often results in success more than failure.

I want to show that, despite these challenges, it’s not impossible to have a magical garden in the middle of Houston.

I love edibles in the garden, but I love it better when intermingled with ornamentals.  A lot of edibles ARE ornamental. I love tropical fruit because they remind me of my childhood, and also because I like things that are different.

I also have a lot of ideas on how to reuse and repurpose a lot of things that can be used in the garden. But that’s part of the problem, I have so many “ideas” that I get overwhelmed with getting them into my real, physical world. I am a pisces after all, the hopeless dreamer.

I have always felt uneasy throwing away things that are perfectly good for other uses. My job, and everyone else’s job, is to come up with the best ways to avoid waste. Use your noggin, it’s free.

Tulip cutting garden. This was my first garden at my old house.

These bulbs were purchased from John Scheepers. It was the "magic carpet mix". A lot cheaper, and much more rewarding than a bouquet of flowers.

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Lilies in my Garden

These are my lilies that I grew in zone 8b-9a. Only the oriental Casablanca returns every year, but it returns the same size or smaller. The others need replanting.

fresh lilies from my garden

oriental lily

Asiatic Lily

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Florida 2004

These were taken from my trip to Miami in 2004. A lot of tropicals there will grow in Houston.

Vanda type orchid. One of my favorite colors.

Dwarf Ambarella or June Plum. This one is actually puny compared to the one I grew in Houston. I will post that one soon.

Some type of begonia

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Maui 2004

This was growing in a public garden in Maui. I've seen it for sale @ toptropicals.com. The flowers grow upside down, I will try to grow this one day.

Breadfruit tree, growing as an ornamental.
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