11 September, 2017

Plant Rescue

In the previous post, you saw how we junked up the fallen fig tree.  We did that to make room for the new plants that we rescued  - a vanilla orchid and a tiny little coral tree seedling.

I had been keeping an eye on the vanilla orchids for a few years now.  They grow in a palmetto stand along a path that I walk or run almost every day.  I showed a shot of a vanilla bean (seed pod) on one of them a couple of months ago in this post.  In preparation for transplanting the vanilla orchid, I got advice from the head gardener at The Spice Farm not too far from us.  Turns out there are quite a few individual plants in the palmetto stand, so I selected one close to the path.  Following instructions from the Spice Farm, we cut the vanilla vine that was growing up a palmetto, leaving the part rooted in the soil behind.  Then we chopped down the palmetto with the clinging vanilla vine to take back to our place.
Pascal clearing out undergrowth to get to the vanilla vine.
The vine is cut and now the palmetto is ready to chop down.

Carefully extracting the palmetto with attached vanilla vine from the undergrowth.

Tiger chopped off the palmetto fronds, we will only use it as a support for the vine. 
More trimming, taking care not to cut the vanilla vine.
Once the palmetto stick (as they are called here) was trimmed, we could safely take the attached vanilla vine back to our place.  We leaned the palmetto stick against a horizontal branch of an ancient cashew tree and piled up some mulch around the cut end of the vanilla vine.  The rest of the vine still had its roots attached the palmetto stick.  It will probably take the vanilla vine a couple of months to recover and it will undoubtedly suffer some die back as a result of the transplant trauma, but I am expecting it to make a full recovery.  If it does well in this location, we will bring in more transplants.  If it doesn't thrive here, we will try another location.  I would love to be able to harvest the occasional vanilla bean.

Next on the list to rescue were some coral tree (Erythrina sp.) seedlings.  Coral trees grow to a large size and are well-suited to our location with its high water table and sea salt spray.  Plus they have the most gorgeous flowers.
Here is the trunk of a large coral tree harboring sprouted coconuts nestled in amongst the buttress roots at its base.
Another view of the same tree showing its lumpy bark and buttress roots. 
Growing around this big old tree are lots of seedlings.  We selected 2 to dig up and transplant at our place.
Little seedling.
Little seedling in its new home near the location of the old fig tree.  I have great expectations for it.
We will be doing lots more rescuing and transplanting as the rainy season kicks in and the days get a little cooler.  


  1. Lovely specimens but what a lot of work - good you have help. Are you experiencing any effects from the hurricanes buzzing around in your part of the world? Perhaps you're a little further south than Katia (I think that is the name of the one that hit Mexico).

    1. It is a fair amount of work. Pascal is a font of knowledge and experience with native and cultivated plants. We rely tremendously on input from him and other locals.

      Harvey passed over the north of Belize as a tropical storm prior to hitting Texas as a major hurricane and we are well south of Irma's track. Katia was an odd one, but still far to our north. A hurricane has to track south of Cuba to affect us. We still have the rest this hurricane season to get through and hoping for the best.

  2. At some stage in a few years time you are going to have quite a spectacular garden, perhaps you will invite people to come and see it.

    1. Things grow fast here in the tropics, weeds included! Little by little things are taking shape. Always happy to have visitors, Derek. Just let me know when you and your partner can make it. Seriously.

  3. Great to see the care being taken to give the plants a good start in their new surroundings. Hoping they will reward your efforts with a good display in the future.

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  5. The plants you can grow make me more than a bit jealous. It's a horticultural wonderland, isn't it?

  6. It is horticultural wonderland, Mary. But I bet many of these plants would grow for you. And of course I am VERY jealous of your camellias; they are gorgeous.


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