Appearances Can Be Deceiving

One of the coolest things about growing exotic tropicals is becoming acquainted with their unusual forms, which often have otherworldly appearances!  Those of you who have the plant pictured probably know what it is, but for the rest of you, try to identify it by looking at just the first photo. 

Give up?  Its hidden ginger, or curcuma!  I think the flowers look like cheerful little snakes, complete with pointy fangs and a yellow forked tongue, though my fiance sees fried eggs.  She must have been hungry.

Okay, here's another test!  See anything unusual about the grass in this photo?  Okay, how about the dead grass?  Congratulations if you guessed it, and here's the answer if you're still stumped:

I was walking around the garden and narrowly avoided the toad nestled in the grass's dead thatch, but did bother him for a photo, as it definitely beats being stepped on any day!  The two toads above were under the plastic runoff catcher thing... forgive me if that's not what they're really called.

Well in other news, soon-to-be tropical storm Nicole just showed up on our doorstep and I for one am pleased as punch.  (By the way, what does that even mean?  Why would punch find a greater sense of contentment than other beverages?)  Anyways, I'm satisfied.

Right now its cool outside and pouring rain, perfect napping weather if there ever was such a thing, and the rainbringer isn't even upon us yet!  My garden will be pleased as Kool-aid (That sounds pretty happy too) to receive all of this much needed precipitation, and if my bone dry garden gets some flooding, the flood tolerant plants will be ready for a nice deluge.  My leather fern, gingers, alocasias and cat palms are made for this sort of thing!  Hmm... a weather update doesn't fit my theme of deception, so lets just say that tropical storms sound horrible but they're just what the doctor ordered!  For me anyways, and sorry to my friends down south.  Hey, you're used to this stuff by now, right?

I also have to throw this little tidbit of info in this post somehow, even though it doesn't really fit either.  Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, FL is having an Orchid Show and Fall Plant Sale on the 2nd and 3rd!  I know that most of you can't make it and have ridiculous excuses like "I live in Oz" or "I can't afford airfare", but consider yourself invited if you live nearby.  I'll be wandering aimlessly among plants and plant lovers if you're looking for me.  Maybe I'll find another cryptic looking ginger!


  1. I am glad that Nicole is just a tropical storm, rain without the windforce, it is just what we needed for the garden! Good luck with your plant shopping, sounds fun! BTW, I have so many giant toads in my garden, and very active at night. They often scare the hell out of me if I almost step on them, or even grab them when I handle the plants in the dark. Prefer those cute gree tree frogs!

  2. Are yours exotic invasive cuban cane toads? If they're huge and you live in south Florida they probably are... they scare the hell out of me and I like toads!

  3. I'm with you when it comes to the storms. We've had record September rainfall and most people are complaining (just because it happens to be school holidays). Our garden loves it and we've been planting & fertilising like mad.
    Don't think I can make the Orchid Show but ENJOY!

  4. We are having squally weather down here now since this morning. Flood watch until 2pm tomorrow at this point. I'm sure everything outside is so happy!!! YEAH! I used to live in Gainesville and would love to come up to Kanapaha...who knows, maybe I will.

  5. Yep ... I live in Oz and I definitely can't afford the airfare right now!

    I got the Curcuma flower ... they have such interesting form! It certainly does look a lot like a snake with fangs! I also spotted the toads ... although they're nowhere near as ugly as the Cane Toads we get here!

    How lovely that you've finally got some rain ... hope your garden gets a pleasant soaking.

  6. Hi there Rainforest Gardener, I am with Bernie - live in OZ and cant afford the airfare but hopefully you will post some great photos - hint hint! Yup I could definitely do without cane toads.

  7. I've never seen this, and it is lovely. Also love the way the flower seems to pop out of the little "leaf cup."These are wonderful shots!

  8. I know what you mean about appreciating tropical storms. Hurricanes, no thank you. Tropical storms on the other hand have been bringing much needed rain here as well. My curcumas seem to be on their own schedule. They bloomed back in April. I keep seeing everyone else's posts on blooms now. Your photo is really intriguing and your interpretation of the blooms is so true.

  9. Living in SW FL I wish we were going to get the rain, our rain barrels are almost empty, but looks like we'll get missed again.

    Someday, after the weather cools down to the mid 80s, we want to spend some time at Kanapaha gardens for some much needed inspiration.

    FYI - Pleased as Punch comes from the Punch and Judy puppet show's rather gruesome story line, and not from drink. Altho, considering the story line I prefer your Pleased as KoolAid.

  10. Oops, someone beat me to the punch there. I too thought that was a reference from the Punch and Judy show. Amazing how a couple of puppets could influence a culture!

    And yes, I did recognize that curcuma, a staple in my garden! Good to see so much rain headed to the Southeast. I know a lot of areas have been encompassed by drought. I do hope the flooding isn't bad though. I remember horrid floods that hit our area back in the '90's. I think it was Floyd?

    I don't live in Oz, but it is the Boonies. I'd love to hit one of those sales, though! You do find some amazing plants there. Such sales are not found in the Boonies.

  11. Glad to hear you're getting some of the rain from Nicole. We're only getting heavy thick humid air...and a rainshower here and there, but we'll take it.

  12. I agree tropical storms are good. In the Philippines, hurricanes are called typhoons and its just unfortunate that our place is almost always in the path of incoming typhoons. Luckily we haven't had any strong ones (yet) this year.

    I don't like toads. When I was younger I almost picked up one, mistaking it for a stone. I was startled when it jumped just before I could pick it up.


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