Monthly Archives: February 2013

Guest post on My Sea Story

I am guest posting on My Sea Story today so please head on over there to read a little about what I love about Turks and Caicos.  Joana’s blog is lovely, if you have yet to be introduced, here is a little splash.  Joana (isn’t she adorable!) writes a wealth of information on travel, for example this charming post on Valladolid, Mexico.
 Of all these amazing places she has visited, she has clearly fallen head over heals for Turks and Caicos; the food, the beaches, the diving, the ins and outs of island life.   I am so not a foodie and often visit her blog for great restaurant tips like a few new food spots in provo, and
So go get your feet wet over at myseastory, you are sure to find something you fancy!

Field Guide Friday – Passionflower Vine

 Image above via passionflow, all images below via B Naqqi Manco
I had planned a few weeks ago, in honor of yesterday, that the Field Guide Friday post for today would be the Passionflower Vine, a member of the Passiflora family.   I thought surely the name must come from it’s exotic shape, accompanied by some dashing romantic narrative.  Would you have guessed that in actuality it is handed down from Christianity?
“Early explorers and missionaries to this hemisphere, specifically to South America, named these dramatic vines Passiflora or passion flower to help in their conversion of native Americans to Christianity. They saw and used the beautiful intricate flower parts to tell the story of the death of Jesus, making the story more memorable to listeners. The legend they told is that the passion flower’s ten petals and sepals represent the ten apostles present at the crucifixion. The filaments portrayed the crown of thorns, or the halo about Jesus’ head. The stamens, of which there are five, suggest the five wounds to Christ’s hands, feet and torso. Other parts of the flower and leaves are also used to represent aspects of Christ’s passion.”
 Quotation from virtualherbarium
This ruby colored lovely is the Passiflora cuprea, or red passionflower vine. Many species of passionflowers are often known to need a large bee (perhaps our big black carpenter bee here in the TCI), hummingbird, bat, or wasp to effectively pollinate due to their unique structure. These vines can reach 30-40 feet in length, making them useful for colorful arbor climbers and dappled shade makers.  They appear to be undemanding, liking well drained soil with sun to partial shade, and as they bloom nearly all year producing a pleasant fragrance, a gardener would receive an abundant return for their care.

The below beauty is the White passionflower vine, Passiflora pectinata, the most common of passion vines in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  They are an unforgettable flower, only fitting that they have such a significant namesake!

Valentine’s, hearts and all

 Images via desdemventana
I must admit, I have an aversion to heart shapes, and to red (that flower above bothers me and I am resisting cropping it out as I think the photo would be highly improved without it).  So as one may see from yesterday’s post I am trying to challenge my inner heart scrooge.  I do find it interesting that the symbol, generally though of as the human center of emotional, moral, and spiritual being, comes to us from ancient times with varying opinion on what it references.  Some believe the human heart (although it only resembles it when from this angle), others the medicinal seed of the now extinct silphium plant, and yet others a direct reference to certain female anatomy.  The last theory “intertwined with the true-to-life idea that the heart emerged as a symbol for love in the now lava-covered city of Pompeii. It holds for true that brothels conveyed their business via heart-shaped symbols depicting female breasts and sexual organ. This symbol reached high popularity as a motif for tattoos during late antiquity and spread quickly with the heavy seafaring of the time. Since few wanted to declare the true meaning of the tattoo it was usually explained as a symbol of love.”
Quote via wikipedia.
One place I could certainly handle seeing the shape repeatedly would be at the Prieure Notre Dame d’ Orsan, an early 12th century monastery in Central France.  Wander on over to the website where you may take a virtual gaze at the gardens, enjoy a leisurely lunch of fresh ingredients from the orchards, organic gardens, and neighboring wine and cheese makers, followed by a restful sleep at the architectural beauty of a hotel, free of televisions and telephones.  Talk about a February 14th dream date!  What might you be doing for your dear?  I best get busy making banana pancakes for my love!

Something for your Sweetheart?

 Image via pinterest
Have you planned something for your sweetheart?  If not, there’s still time!  Here’s a fun list of 10 valentines day ideas that arent cheesy
Image via  creaturecomforts
Here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we don’t have all ten of those options so we may need to get a little more crafty!  Here are some local promotions that might catch you or your love’s fancy:

Fieldguide Friday – Wild Sea Island Cotton

I am ashamed to admit just how long it has been since I have featured a Field Guide Friday post.  That is all going to change now that I have a file folder full of local species identified (thank you Naqqi)!  First up, locally known as Wild Cotton or Sea Island Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum.  The photos above were taken in January of 2012 on the way to Southwest Bluff, an area where there were a great concentration, but if you are driving around Providenciales this time of year you are likely to see these fluffy white poofs by the side of the road in many areas.  Contrary to popular belief, it was not the British Loyalists who introduced this species to the Turks and Caicos.  It came long before, but by whom?  For a couple of hints, reference the wikipedia link above; “native to Central America” and “cultivated for over 5,000 years.”  A people who were weaving the cotton, not into clothing, but very cleverly into sleeping hammocks and mosquito netting. Have you figured it out?  Whether your certain or stumped, you must read this fascinating article to discover this and so much more: Back In Time Sea Island Cotton.
 Image above and images below via the brilliant botanist, B Naqqi Manco, who captured this thriving wild cotton in Lorimers, Middle Caicos in 2012.  Remarkable the white and pink colored blossoms stemming from the same plant!  This lovely looker seems to be spared entirely from the Cotton Seed Bug, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis.  Referencing this CAPS Survey Report; “In the
Western Hemisphere, it was first documented in the North Caicos Islands in 1991 (Slater
and Baranowski 1994); and by 2005, it had been observed throughout the Turks and
Caicos, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Hispaniola (Baranowski and Slater 2005).” 

The cotton industry in the Turks and Caicos was sadly quite short lived due to the invention of the Cotton Gin, the quality of the soil, and another unfortunate pest, the Boll Weevil.  I have often thought about creative uses for the cotton we still have growing on this island, someday I will hopefully have the opportunity to style with the fluffy stuff like this rustic-wedding-decor-creative-with-cotton!