Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back home

I return home to find the skies are not so blue and the air laden with neither scent nor birdsong, the food is less exotic and the cottage rather chilly ......but the cold is invigorating after tropical humidity, the dogs are thrilled I'm back, the moon is the right way up again and the rabbits must be very fed up as Les and Rob have nearly finished rabbit fencing, the new packing shed is going up.... it's not all bad!

The trip was amazing, visiting islands where tourists just can't get to, hearing the dawn chorus in the rainforest before watching red birds of paradise displaying, amazing tropical vegetation, snorkelling over perfect coral gardens, smiling people, superb food and the greatest variety of fruit imaginable. I think my favourite was a large spiky green fruit called something like zirzak that tasted like a cross between a lemon and an apple with the texture of an over ripe mango. (But smelly durian fruit just do not do it for me).

The Asian area director of Flora and Fauna International, Tony Whitten was leading the Wallace fact finding trip for Seatrek (the company who do wonderful trips round Indonesia), and it was fantastic to have him at my elbow showing me different trees and flowers including extraordinary plants that rely on symbiosis with ants to grow and survive. I return fired up to find more about tropical plants though I'm afraid orchids still don't thrill me as much as perhaps they ought. We saw the oldest clove tree in the world on Ternate (and were told a fantastic clove story by writer Simon Worrall who was fact-finding for a future spice islands tour), sadly in its last throes but the next oldest is on the slope below and still thriving, and we got a lesson in nutmeg harvesting on Tidore. Tony's daughter Ruth is a brilliant photographer and will be posting here photos soon for us all to share so I didn't get my little camera out as much as I probably should have done as Ruth's are superb. But here's a little glimpse into January in the southern hemisphere.

Ombak Puthi base for a couple of weeks

sunsets were spectacular

with my new friends (I'm somewhere in the middle!)
yet another orchid

I love the packaging

my favourite fruit

shells and coral fragments from the beach which had to be returned to sea as I didn't realise I shouldn't have collected them

 a flower arrangement in the Sultan of Tidore's palace
 Ofo, the oldest clove tree in the world
 nutmeg flowers

a lesson in harvesting nutmeg

 jackfruit tree and cassava in her pack

ants needed


  1. Just found your blog. What an amazing garden you have! I enjoyed looking at your photo's of the bouquets you made. I hope my cutting garden will one day look a bit like yours. I just signed up as a new follower.

    Your holiday sounds lovely!

    From a cold and wet Holland,


  2. Thanks Madelief. I'm sure your patch will be every bit as beautiful one day, just keep going!