Sunday, August 4, 2013

Unusual plants in Millbrook

We are on the road again and have just visited Nate, his garden and his humans, in the village of Millbrook, near Peterborough, east of Toronto in Ontario. Millbrook has numerous attractive Victorian  houses and public buildings all around a mill pond. The garden we visited, boasts of interesting, unusual plants.

Nate patrolling his garden

Here are a few pictures of buildings in the village.

Old town hall

The mill pond attracts interesting birds. I saw an osprey which had just caught a fish, and I frightened a blue heron who took flight, skimming the pond water.

Here are a couple of views of Nate's garden.

Two of the most interesting plants in the garden were Calceolaria mexicana and Cyclanthera pedata. The first one is an annual, but, despite being a Calceolaria (when I think of Calceolaria, I think of hothouse plants), the seeds survive the winter to produce each spring these very striking short plants with vibrant yellow pouches. The plant prefers a humid shaded location.

Calceolaria mexicana

The other, Clyclathera pedada,is actually a vegetable. One common name is "Caigua".
It is an annual climber from South America which produces edible pods. It is quite vigorous. The pods can be eaten raw or cooked (they work well in stir fries). I sampled a raw one. It has the texture of a pepper, but is not hot and has a rather bland, agreeable taste. I also tasted flower buds in a salad. They were very similar in taste to nasturtium. Having begged some seeds, I hope to try these two next year.

Clyclathera pedada
Fruit of the Caigua


  1. The leaves of the plant in the large pot resemble nasturtium, which I have not thought about in years. First, what is it, and second, I need some nasturtium in the garden next year.

    1. I had never thought of it but you are right, the leaves do look like nasturtium. However, they are lotus leaves (Nelumbo) - each one is about 2 feet wide!

  2. Beautiful photos!

    For me, the leaves of clyclathera pedada - at first glance resembled leaves of marijuana plant :)

  3. Nate is very handsome! It's a lovely garden and I appreciate the education - both plants are new to me.

    1. They were new to me too, an yes, Nate is a very nice dog.

  4. Hello Alain,
    Do you know how Nate's humans overwinter their lotus plant?

    1. Hi Lotte,
      I did not know you knew Nate's humans. It is a small world. I also overwinter mine but it has not done as well last summer. I got only one or two blooms. I hope it does better this year. It is just starting to sprout now.
      If you have an opportunity, do come for a visit again this year.


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