Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hello, what's this I see?

Pottering around the garden this morning ticking off a list of 'feed this', 'repot that' type jobs, I came across this interesting person in my lime tree. Somewhere between 5cm-7.5cm long (two to three inches) he/she was doing the 'master of disguise' thing and not moving a bit. The perfect subject for a photo!

Handsome devil (click on the photo to make it bigger, if you like). With those spines on its back, I am sure all sorts of creatures, including me, would think "leave this person alone". Which is what I did, of course. Live and let live as much as you possibly can, then a bit more, I say. There is a very pretty, big black, white and orange butterfly known as a citrus or orchard butterfly which is quite common around here (seen here every day in fact). Perhaps this is Junior?
Update! Yes, this is a citrus butterfly caterpillar. Always welcome in my backyard!

Another pleasant "hello, what's this I see" moment this morning was the first tinge of yellow on my Eureka lemons. "About time, too", says the Impatient Gardener (me)! Isn't it nice when a crop shows signs of ripening?

Finally, a very pleasant discovery not in my backyard, but down at my local fruit shop, Banana Joe's in Illawarra Road, Marrickville. Quinces are back in season – hooray! I love quinces, and if you want to see what I do with them in the kitchen, I rattled on about them at length here, last year. Yummy as part of breakfast, stewed quinces, but quince jelly is also lovely, too.

Quinces have an old-fashioned charm (which is why I popped them into one of my Grandma's old bowls for this photo). Unlike so many fruits which seem to be available year-round to consumers, quinces (and figs, for that matter) still have their seasons, then their absences from the shops. I like that about them.

The other thing I like about quinces (apart from the eating) is that they're the stuff that dreams are made of. If in the extremely unlikely event that I manage to win Lotto or some similar lottery, I am immediately retiring from work and heading for the country, to do some serious gardening on a decent patch of ground, not just this little green handkerchief of earth I have here in the inner-city.

I'd like to grow things I can't grow in Sydney. I'd need a country property in our coolest zones, up in the mountains somewhere, so I could grow quinces, pears, apples, raspberries and all sorts of cool climate things that don't really work that well in Sydney. That's what I mean about quinces being what dreams are made of. The 10-minute walk home from Banana Joe's was consumed with planning out that orchard!


Lanie said...

I'm getting impatient for my eureka lemons to show their first tinge of yellow too! I'll have to go and check mine now.

David in Kansas said...

I love Quinces too! In my native Mexico we ate them straight out of the tree, like an apple. I just learned that I may be able to grow Quinces here in Kansas. I hope the person who told me this is right.

robyn said...

Its great fun to discover camouflaged insects in the garden

dictionar german said...

It is clear that you are passionate about what you do. Thanks for sharing

Sakura said...

Hey David - I always ate them fresh from the tree, too. Imagine my surprise when I saw a sign in our Woolworths supermarket the other day saying that they "require cooking."


It is one thing to out up a friendly note prompting some unadventurous person to try a pomelo because it's "similar to grapefruit," or warning the uninitiated to "eat only the red seeds" of a pomegranate.

But hands off my crunchy quinces!

Sue O said...

What a lovely caterpillar. My potted Meyer lemon tree bit the dust again in our December cold spell. It came back from the dead last summer, but not soon enough for a lemon crop. I fear this may be the end of it.