50+ Maracas!

The last time I tried to count my Maraca Flowers (Shampoo Ginger) I counted around 52 of them! These are the ones behind my house in a very full garden area compared to another Maraca plant out front more in the open which flowers earlier than these and they are more red while these are mostly yellow. Having tropical gardens is a fun past time! 🙂

Maracas or Shampoo Ginger Flowers, Atenas, Costa Rica
Maracas or Shampoo Ginger Flowers, Atenas, Costa Rica

See also My Garden GALLERY.

¡Pura Vida!

Six on Saturday

One of the other blogs I’ve encountered because of their “like” of mine was “The Compulsive Gardener” who copied another blog’s “Six on Saturday” garden blogging phenomena with her own “Six on Saturday–A Flurry of Flowers.” If you want to learn more, go to the originator’s blog: The Propagator. Or to his 6 on Sat collection and Participant Guide. I don’t plan to do this every Saturday, but thought it would be fun to do it at least one time to help propagate the idea! 🙂 And ohhh, is it hard to limit myself to just 6! 🙂 But here is 6 of my favorite from My Garden Gallery:

1. Triqui-Traque or Flamevine Closeup

Triqui-Traque or Flamevine

Continue reading “Six on Saturday”

A Rare, Unique Jewel Hiding in My Garden

Hiding in the shadows of taller Red Ginger plants & their own tall stalks,
Cellphone photo of Zingiber zerumbet, also known as
Shampoo ginger, bitter ginger, and pinecone ginger
And my gardener calls it Moraca plant 
 Atenas, Costa Rica

Left of center behind and below Red Ginger
 (click photo for enlargement)
 Atenas, Costa Rica
A description in Wikipedia       A TripAdvisor photo post from Pura Vida Gardens visitors
My first post on this plant as a baby 2 years ago  –  I’ve given some to a neighbor who has about this many blooms this year also, all from my one little beginning plant. A hidden jewel for me!
Or a Google Search of images of this flower       A FloriData description
Use as an Alternative Medicine        Useful Tropical Plants  post
A ScienceDirect article on the plant        CABI scientific info & distribution maps
And Google gives many more information sites on this rare and unique plant.
Of course for all flowers I see here: my Photo Gallery Flora & Forest
are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty 
outvalues all the utilities of the world. 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Surprises in the Garden

Blue-winged Sheenmark, Eurybia lycisca
In my garden yesterday. Only the 2nd one I’ve ever seen.
See last year’s sighting inside my house! Better photo! This is cellphone.
Atenas, Costa Rica
Maraca Plant or Shampoo Ginger
Is spreading like wildfire! Each flower will be a new plant!
Atenas, Costa Rica
Caladium Lily
Not expecting flowers from my caladiums!
Atenas, Costa Rica
Guardian Mom! 
She sits on top of hummingbird feeder, chasing adults off so
her children can freely feed when they wish. See below.
Atenas, Costa Rica
Guardian Mom!
Atenas, Costa Rica

Maracas are Flourishing!

Maraca Plant or Shampoo Ginger
My Garden, Atenas, Costa
As always: Click Image to Enlarge

I had the gardeners clean out my garden today, cutting back the plumbago which was taking over everything like a plant-eating monster and this is part of what was opened up. New surprises every day in a garden! And I used to be happy with one or two of these flowers! 20+ now! This sure is different from gardening in Tennessee!  🙂

See also My Garden Photo Gallery  or  the bigger FLORA & FORESTS gallery

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 http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/77046013

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

Maraca Plant Added to Garden

Zerumbet Ginger, Maraca Plant in Costa Rica, and in other places
Shampoo Ginger or Pine Cone Ginger (links are to Google photos of flowers)
It is the tall plant, two spears now with the
little yellow flower on ground at base.
They grow 7 to 8 feet tall and can have
a large cluster of flowers at base.
Click photo links under top image.

I’m really excited about this addition to my garden which I requested in the beginning, but they are very difficult to find. They surprised me the other day! In a year or two it will be developed more with multiple shoots and multiple flowers. The flower starts small and yellow like this one and by October will be more like a pine cone and will have turned red or sometimes orange. This may be the neatest addition to my garden yet! A Heliconia plant was in that location and they moved it to my front yard for more color there! It is fun to live in a garden! Plus I start traveling next week.

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion