Heady, heavenly garden scents

BURYING your nose in a bunch of lavender or running your hands along a hedge in full flower is one of life’s pleasures. Whether it’s an old-fashioned rose, a small bunch of freshly picked violets or a pungent herb, the heady smell is a reminder of the joy that nature – and gardening – bring to our lives.

Lilac trees hold a special place in my heart. My mother grew them in Nottingham and she picked the flowers in spring to bring inside so we could enjoy the delicate blooms and revel in their beautiful perfume. Likewise with sweet peas, which she grew in abundance every year.

An Australian friend got quite teary in the 1960s when he came across some gum trees while in the Canary Islands, which shows how evocative a fragrance can be.

No garden is complete without something exuding an aroma, be it a tree, vine, shrub, ground cover or herb – unless, of course, you’re highly allergic. So let’s start from the ground up.

Obvious flowers that have a delicate smell are violets, but they can be a curse when they multiply, unless you go for native violets (Viola hederacea), which aren’t quite so prolific. Dianthus or pinks (smaller relatives of carnations) have a very sweet smell. Lily of the valley has a lovely perfume and flowers on Caulfield Cup Day, but I find them tricky to grow. Then there are the many heavily scented spring-flowering bulbs such as freesias and jonquils.

Tropical Gardening – Vitamins abound

Tropical Gardening — Vitamins abound
Sunday, January 15 2:10 am

Lucky we live Hawaii, but we can learn a lot from gardeners on other tropical islands. Right now, we are in the Dominican Republic working with farmers on a project sponsored by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, or FAVACA.

Voltaire Moise, who is from Haiti, is working on the uses of edible crops while I work on some of the production problems. Like the folks in the Dominican Republic, we in Hawaii can grow almost anything. We have many climates, depending on elevation and whether you are on the rain-swept eastern side or the dryer leeward part of the island.

Below 2,000 feet we grow the tropicals and above we can grow the warm, temperate and even cool season crops. Tropical fruits are the favorite for most, since they are varied and unusual.

Many of these fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and energy.

So instead of popping vitamin pills every day, we should consider fruit. Those vitamin pills on your shelf, besides being pretty expensive items, are not nearly as palatable and eye appealing as fresh fruit — especially when it is grown in your own backyard.

Fruits of labor – Hawaii News – Starbulletin.com


Statutes on overhanging trees are unclear, but experts say the fruit belongs to the tree’s owner, not his neighbors

By June Watanabe

QUESTION: A neighbor’s fruit tree canopy extends significantly into our yard and creates an abundance of work and green waste for us to handle. Often more of the canopy is overhanging our yard (and other neighbors’) than the trunk owner’s yard. For more than 20 years, the tree owner concurred that the neighbors owned the fruit over their yards. But the owner recently sold, and the new owner seems to feel differently. Any "right of way" or "common law" created by long-term previous activity? Who is entitled to the fruit that grows over onto our yard? Considering we have to do the cleanup, it would seem that we should be entitled to some, if not all, of the fruit.

ANSWER: While the prevailing law in Hawaii, and elsewhere, is that if a neighbor’s tree overhangs into your yard, you have the right to trim the tree up to the property line, there is nothing specifically addressing ownership of any overhanging fruit.

At least nothing that we could uncover.

However, according to a national authority on neighbor law, the fruit belongs to the owner of the tree, no matter how much the tree overhangs onto your property.

But in Hawaii, where neighbors tend to share any bounty of fruit, the question really hasn’t been an issue. It actually hasn’t been a matter of law in other states, as well.

While many disputes involving a neighbor’s tree have been mediated, "we’ve never had one where one has accused the other of stealing their fruit," said Tracy Wiltgen, executive director of the Mediation Center of the Pacific. The organization formerly was called the Neighborhood Justice Center.

She said she did not know of any law that dealt with that subject.