Gardening Adventures

I started this post on 11/24/2020 and it had two words in the draft all this time, “My grand”, and nothing else till not. And sad to say my veggie garden is in similar shape.

My first attempt at planting seeds, I put a few seeds in a starter pots with seeding soil. I watered them everyday and put them in a sunny but cool spot. Well, out of two pots of eggplants, I got 2 seedlings and only one looks like it is doing well. And the shiso, nothing sprouted. Sad.

Uncle H’s radishes and my color sketch

A couple weeks later my cousin brought over radishes from her dad’s garden (Uncle H), and was laughing about how he planted his seed. He liberally spread the seeds in the garden and a lot of the sprouted and this was from thinning out the radishes. I decided to try Uncle H’s technique, it couldn’t be worst than I did.

First to tidy up my new veggie garden of weeds, and “sigh,” cat poop. A stray neighborhood cat was using it as a litter box in the area that I decided to plant. I scooped out the poop, weeded, and spread a layer of coffee and cacoa grounds in the bed to keep the cat away. I read cats dislike the texture and smell of coffee grounds and we save our grounds for the plants, it works out perfectly. Once there garden was clear, I planted my kale who was looking pot bound and the Waialua pepper plant I got from the half price rack at Lowes in the top bed, daikon seeds and a papaya seedling (birds brought the seedling to us in returns for morning papaya from my mom) in the lower bed.

Using Uncle H’s technique, I planted one generously seeded row of daikon.

daikon seeds spouting

Just in case you were wondering, Waialua peppers are a hybrid of a jalape├▒o and the daikon that I planted are long white Japanese radish. I use a lot of that for pickles for our meals.

Haha! It worked! Both the coffee/cacoa grounds to keep the cat away and Uncle H’s technique. Now I’m patiently waiting to my veggies to goodies for our meal with them.

At 6 weeks in, leaves are beautiful and I’m just starting to see the white tops.

More gardening adventures to come. I’ve been spending much more time outside in the garden. Twice a day, weeding session to get the yard back to what it was like when my dad worked on it. And I started a science experiment with some dying orchids. That’s for the next post.

Cora's Garden: Papaya

The morning start to the day for Mom (Cora) and Dad (Joe) beginnings with coffee, toast, and papaya most days. The seeds and skins of papaya have been breakfast for the birds for many years. This relationship with my parent and the birds breakfast has brought them several papaya trees to their yard.

Their current tree is in a bit of an odd place, in the crack of the backyard walk area. You wouldn’t think this would be a good place for it but it seems to be doing well.

brought to us by mom’s bird friends

The homegrown papayas take a bit longer to ripen that the store bought ones. She supplements with one on sale when they are still sweetening up.

Papaya on the left from our tree, ones on the right from Costco
Picked this on Monday, still ripening. Maybe next Monday

Sizes of the fruit varies on the tree, little ones without seeds to giant ones. Those giant ones are on the top of the tree. This giant one (left) is 2lbs, the one on the right is 1lb. There are even bigger ones on the tree.

My Citrus Nursery

After a watering

Haha! In my dreams. I’ve been raising variety of citrus from seeds since last year. It’s always fun to see the seeds germinate and the tiny leaves to into little leaves and then move into little pots then to the next size.

First of my trees are from my mom’s calamansi and kumquat trees. And I have variety of miniature calamansi from our neighbor, blood oranges that bought from Kokua market, Meyer lemons from my sister and local lemons, one from a miniature tree.

Top row l to r: Mom’s plants with (a bad slug); Middle row l to r: kumquat, mini calamansi, calamansi; Bottom row l to r: empty pot, mini calamansi 3x (the last pot on the right is a survivor of a slug attack)
my cherished blood oranges

Not sure what I’m going to do with all of these little trees but a few of them will move along to our new house once we find it. And who knows how long these trees will take to fruit. The process is fun.

Mom said

“I want you to take a picture of my irises in the back. They are in bloom.”


And like a good daughter, I took the pictures. Yes, pictures. I even took more than one. The crazy daughter I am, I took pictures of the flowers in the back. And yes, the irises are beautiful but there are other beauties back there, too.


Not sure what these are called but they are quite striking.

Joe McGyver

Can’t be in the backyard with seeing a gadget that my dad, Joe McGyver, made up. This is a papaya picker when they had a very tall papaya tree. Made with items around the house. Now hidden by the calamansi tree.

hand woven wire basket

Speaking about calamansi, that was the whole reason for being in the back yard, to pick and prune the calamansi. I got out the rickety wooden ladder and climbed up to prune the branches that were leaning into the neighbors yard and one that were too high for use to reach. I did cut away a few branches with flowers on it. Oops! Mom thought the pruning would help the tree produce more fruit. Not that we need more.

our bounty

Here’s our small papaya tree with fruit on it. Mom said that it isn’t really doing well and not sure if the fruit will do well.


More flowers


Akulikuli came to mom’s garden by way of Uncle Robert. She is always getting plants from him. This flower in made into leis–beautiful pink lei. I got on from for my HS graduation many moons ago.


Anthurium patch with this unusual bloom. Kind of a plum color not your usual red.


Flower in the Front

Killing time as my parents get ready for an outing to Costco, I roamed around our small front yard and decided to take pictures of the flowers in bloom.

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

There’s a row of these rimming the front of the yard. They are odd looking plants. The stem and base are grayish, gnarly, and tangled with leaves here and there topped with bright dark pink blooms. Mom likes these plants they are all over the yard. Notice in the bottom left corner of the image, the orange-yellow pile of stuff are the papaya that Mom feeds the birds in the morning and then turns into compost.



The bougainvilleas are potted and run up the side of the front yard. They are very old and a few have worked into bonsai by my dad. Most of them in old cement pots some of them made by my dad (That’s another post). There are all sort of colors from this fuchia to lilac┬áto orange.

Cup and Saucer

Cup and Saucer

The finches favorite, at different times of day they come to get the nectar from the flowers and play. These birds blend in with the plant and are hard to get on camera–no pictures. I usually know there because the cats are staring out the window at the tree.

Ice Flower plant

Ice Flower Plant

This beautiful intense magenta colored flower is so delicate and last for a day. The plant looks like a succulent and I don’t know why it’s called ice plant when it seems to love the hot dryness of Waipahu.


Orange watching me. And yes that is purple on the trim and I had nothing to with that choice
Lady’s Slipper

Lady’s Slipper

Since I arrived I wonder what those long leafy plants were. There were no flowers. Mom told me they were lady’s slipper and will bloom in the winter. As winter starts to arrive, buds start poping up. Then these fabulous flowers appear.



Almost missed these, the flowers almost blended in with the leaves. Just that little hint of pink made me give it a second look.



These bloom like crazy in NJ in the spring but it’s in the middle of February in HI there are few blooms on this azalea bush. Big blossoms.



Last but not least this pink rose plant. Two buds plus a bloom on the plant. The bloom was already spent so that’s why took a picture of the bud.

A Backyard Interlude

Just a little interlude between my baking and jamming for the holidays.

My parent’s backyard is a combination of dad’s workshop (what is left of it), mom’s flowers, fruits, and veggie garden. It’s a mish-mosh of mom crazy plant collection combined with dad’s McGyver skills of the gardening ware of plant hangers, cement tiles handmade by dad, and many kinds of pots, handmade, recycled and store-bought.

Dad’s workshop and old projects




Hawaii 2017

UPDATE: Not sure why this went back to draft. I had to republish this to get it out of my draft folder. Sorry to repost. Still learning WordPress.

I’m back from my trip to Hawaii to see my folks, family, friends and Oat’s send off (Next steps: part 1 and part 2). Wanted to share photos of what I did. It was a great trip. Thought it would be hard without Oat but I had a really nice time family and friends beside being very hot.

Morning walks

I tried my best to keep up my walking when I was back. Not as early, no cats to nudge me awake. But I should start walking at 6 but never was out that early. So hot, what a sweaty mess.

Waipahu Gym

Waikele Golf Course

White egret by side of the road


Doing too many things, not too many shots. I’m surprised I don’t have all shave ice and popsicle images because they were my major food group on this visit.

Flora and Fauna

Most of my shots are from my parents’ yard or their neighbors.


Hung out with folks most days with the last week being a whirlwind of events. Wasn’t the greatest of documenting things this trip.


Went with my cousin and her family to Marukai. It’s like a Costco for all things Japanese. Love their candy and pickle section but this time I didn’t go crazy, instead I could watch 3 little girls go crazy. Picking up every cute and proclaiming, “This is soooooo cute!!!!! Can I get it, pleazzzzzze! I’m so glad I’m just a cousin.

Okinawan Festival

The Okinawan Festival is annual event that is held at Kapiolani Park that is getting bigger and bigger every year according to my friends. There was food, plants and craft/dry goods tents with a Bon Dance in the evening.

View from the Okinawan Festival–Diamond Head

Bon Dance is summer tradition in Hawaii. It is usually connected with a Buddhist temple/church and it is when you go and pay your respects to your ancestors. There is usually live drumming and singing. They perform at top of the a center tower and everyone dance around it.

I was hoping I go get out to a Bon Dance. Something I miss living in NJ. I know there is on in South Jersey but never made it there. Here’s a short video of the Bon Dance that my friend Allyn shot. I’m in there some where, look for blue dress.

Ko Hana Rum

I found out rum was being made near where my parents live, on the outskirts of Waipahu, the cane fields in Kunia.

from the KoHana Tour

My friend, Jan told me her daughter’s boyfriend works there giving tours. And I asked her if she want to go with me for a visit. I needed to get a special gift and I thought Rum distilled in Hawaii sounded good.

Though not, a drinker–a glass or two of a nice red wine is my limit, the tasting w