Amazing Mother-in-laws!

Flowering “Mother-in-law Tongue” plant
In my neighbor’s yard
Atenas, Costa Rica
Flowering “Mother-in-law Tongue” plant
In my neighbor’s yard
Atenas, Costa Rica

My plant like this is in a pot in my bathroom, so I guess it is not as likely to bloom as these that are outside getting sunshine and rain. Interesting! My first time to ever see this plant bloom. I did not know that they had flowers!

See also my photo gallery called Flora & Forests.

And enjoy this very brief National Geographic Video on the greenest & happiest country in the world:

The Greenest & Happiest Country!

The Greenest and Happiest Country in the World

This is the greenest/happiest country in the world, according to the Happy Planet Index, which measures the happiness and longevity of a population and divides it by their ecological footprint.

If all countries followed the Costa Rica example, it would be a wonderful world! Go for it!
But first the States have to “Dump Trump!”

A Biologically Diverse Place

Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 plant & animal species,
nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making Costa Rica
one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world.
Of these 500,000 species, a little more than 300,000 are insects.
And oh yes, the above flower I shot at Rancho Naturalista Lodge is
commonly known as anthurium, tailflower, flamingo flower, and laceleaf.
And all of my photo galleries show off this biological diversity:

Exotic Flowers Hiding in My Garden

In the back corner of my garden beyond the big Heliconias and
behind these Red Gingers are some tall green, leafy plants, not flower-like.

If you get close, you see they kind of
look like tall, leafy stalks, similar to corn,
but that is not a corn cob in the back!
It is the flower!

If I stand on the hill above my garden and look down 1 of 4 is peaking out.

This is one full-grown Maraca or Shampoo Ginger Flower

Another Maraca or Shampoo Ginger

And a Baby Maraca or Shampoo Ginger

In my pre-move travels all over Central America I saw these unique tropical flower and always thought they were the most unique. Thanks to my gardeners and especially Alfredo, I now have a plant that has grown well and spread in my garden. I can now walk out my back door and see them, well, with a little searching!  🙂  They are somewhat rare and not available in all the Veveros (plant nurseries), but my good gardener Alfredo found one in his uncle’s yard for me! Be nice to your gardener and he will be nice to you!  🙂

I’m just starting my garden photo gallery but it has quite a few photos already!

Maraca Plant Blooming

My “Maraca” plant as it is called in Costa Rica or “Shampoo Ginger” in Asia and the states in English has greatly grown with many multiple plants and now a first bloom for this year. Both photos are from the hill above my garden because the bloom is difficult to see from the walkway. I expect more blooms soon. This one was hidden by my ground-cover and spreading ferns until the gardeners cleaned them out (mixed feelings about that!).    Zingiber Spectablis

Maraca Plant zoomed in at 300 mm

Maraca Plant zoomed out at 75 mm

The following description is from:


Shampoo Ginger, Zingiber zerumbet

Pharacology: carminative, digestive aid

In Hawaii the spicy-smelling fresh rhizomes was at one time pounded and used as medicine for indigestion and other ailments. To ease a stomach ache, the ground and strained rhizome material was mixed with water and drunk.  External: In traditional medicine, the rhizome was ground in a stone mortar with a stone pestle and mixed with a ripe Noni fruit to treat severe sprains. The pulp was placed in a cloth and loosely bound around the injured area.  For a toothache or a cavity, the cooked and softened rhizome was pressed into the hollow and left for as long as was needed. Perhaps the most common use of the plant is as a shampoo and conditioner for the hair. The clear slimy juice present in the mature flower heads is excellent for softening and bringing shininess to the hair. It can be left in the hair or rinsed out.  Hawaiian women often pick or cut the flowerheads of this plant in the forest, as they approach a pool or waterfall for a refreshing summer bath, leave the flowers atop a nearby rock, and then squeeze the sweet juices into their hair and over their bodies when the swim is completed .
And a better photo on Project Noah at

Changing Garden

 I did what I thought was pretty radical pruning of the overgrown giant Porter Weeds and some of the Overgrown Red Ginger. But my “TuttiFruti,” which had been my most colorful plant, was apparently dying. So the gardeners cut it to the ground which I would have had trouble doing, though we had been pruning it some. They also sprayed for a leaf-eating insect. If it does not come back healthy, we will pull it and plant something different on my border. But we will probably have nothing blooming along the border when Reagan visits in just 4 weeks. Sorry Reagan! Though plants fool you here and some grow really fast!

The colorful border (inset photo) was dying, maybe insects for which he sprayed, but it is cut to ground now,
hoping for a beautiful renewal or revival. If not, I’ll get a different border. But waiting is hard!  🙂

Even without the border and the heavy pruning, the garden looks okay.
The Red Ginger and Purple Petunias will always bloom, even when cut.
And also the Plumbago, though it blooms on new growth, so cutting it back diminishes blooms briefly.
And though not seen above, I am getting new blooms on my Heliconias as seen in below photos. 

The tall plant in the back of garden photo above is where
this large Heliconia sports 4 blooms right now!
This is the biggest of the four.
This smaller Heliconia by my kitchen window also has several blooms.
The other plants like it have red and orange blooms but are dormant now.
I cut back the two big Porterweeds the hummingbirds love, BUT
I still have one smaller plant blooming and attracting hummers!
Though the hummingbirds are mainly in the Yellow Bell Trees now.
And very few butterflies are around this time of year.
May-July was the most butterflies last year.
The TriqueTraque or Orange Trumpet Vine has not done well, but now that I started feeding it fertilizer I’m seeing it grow a little and getting a few flowers, so there is still hope that it will cover that big massive concrete wall in time! That’s my goal!

The Maraca blooms at the
base of a very tall plant.

Also once my Planta Maraca or Shampoo Ginger gets established, I expect to regularly have more blooms, which is more exotic to me than the heliconias! And every time we trim the Blumbago it shoots out new growth with lots of blooms, so everything will have its ups and downs but as I wanted, something is blooming year-aroung, all the time! And it is fun to watch it change, though I have learned (what I really already knew), that maintaining a garden this big and a yard with lots of flowers is a lot of work, even with a hired gardener a couple of times a month! And for any reader living here, my most constant and prolific bloomers have been the Red Ginger and Purple Petunias. And I still don’t have all the Spanish names for these flowers and that sometimes that changes depending on who I talk to or which website I check!  🙂

EDITORIAL CORRECTION: Yesterdays post was of an unusual bug in my bathroom, I tried to call it a stick or matchstick insect, but Kevin & Charles both correctly noticed that it is/was a spider: 

It’s a spider – 8 legs
Insects have 6 legs                        THANKS KEVIN!

AND LATER: A note from Charles Parker with the same 8-leg, 6-leg story! Did I know that? 🙂

RAIN in the Garden!

Has the “Rainy Season” really started now? Afternoon rain for 2 days in a row! 🙂

Rain dripping off a Guarumo leaf.

Wet Palmetto leaf in my garden.

Wet Heliconia leaves in my garden. Camera doesn’t show rain, just wet!
My miniature rainforest in the rain; habitat of birds, butterflies, frogs, & lizards.
But you can’t see the rain in the photo.  🙂   Believe me. It is raining!
My pride and joy, rare Maraca Plant (Shampoo Ginger), has 4 new sprouts!
Snapped this as rain stopped and I finished post. See ground cover filling in?
My garden is one of the best things about this house and done from scratch!
With a rare plant to boot! It came from being nice to the gardeners.  🙂

“Open up, heavens, and rain.
    Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
    sprout right living.
    I, God, generate all this.”
Isaiah 45:8
The Message