With all the plants and trees growing on our property, this is a wonderful time of year. The wild orchids bloom, the sweet plums come out on the tree, mangoes are falling from the sky (well, from the trees), the Tamarind trees have produced their seed pods and we have collected them to extract the pulp from within for the making of juice and jelly and the Jacaranda tree is in bloom.
The Jacaranda tree produces small purple flowers in May and when they fall to the ground it almost looks like purple snow! The Jacaranda is native to Central and South America and puts on a beautiful display. We have two large trees (about 40’ tall) near the house and although they do not seem to emit much of an odor, their display is gorgeous. Approaching our house from the sea, one views the tops of these trees covered in a light purple-blue color.
Meanwhile, all the flowers are in bloom. We have hibiscus in white, peach, yellow, mango-colored, pink and red. The Ixoras come in two shades of red (that I have seen) and a yellow variety. We have one shade of the red and it is a miniature Ixora which I have developed into a small hedge plant. The pineapples have blossomed and the fruit is developing and should be ready in 2-3 months.
There are several large trees on our property which are in bloom; the Crabo or Nancito (Nancy Tree). Right now they are in full bloom and the drone of thousands of bees can be heard every morning while the flowering lasts. They produce a bright yellow berry which the natives put into bottles with water which they let ferment and then they drink. The texture of the fruit is very dry and I do not find the taste of them particularly pleasing. But, to each their own.
The wild orchids here on the island (the orchid is the National Flower of Honduras) come in two varieties; one has a small purple blossom which blooms late April through May and the other a less attractive white variety which blooms almost year around, depending upon rainfall. We also have many Ti plants as ornamentals and they, too, are blooming with a very unusual looking flower.
This time of year new growth on all the trees is seen and the island is a blanket of various shades of green. The mountains are covered with Caribbean Pines. Although the National Tree of Honduras is the Pine Tree, I am not sure if it is the Caribbean Pine found on Guanaja. One native woman on the island has used the needles to make a living for her family by making baskets to sell to the few tourists that come here.
We also get a large influx of hummingbirds now. We have two varieties that come to the island to breed and feed; the Canivet’s Emerald and the Green-Breasted Mango, the Canivet’s Emerald being the smaller of the two species. Lately, this year, we have noticed a new arrival, a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. While we have seen only about 4 of the Ruby-throated hummers at our feeders we have since learned that even though we thought they may have been thrown off track by a recent storm, they have been seen on the island before so it may be that they do have a flight route over the island. The unusual sight this past week was seeing some of the Canivet’s Emerald landing on an open section of ground on the other side of our fence. Since it was not one but 6-8 birds landing in the short grass and sitting for short periods of time over several days, we wondered why this activity was taking place. The ground is a dangerous place for small hummingbirds and we have never seen them in this type of activity.
Of course, we are in the dry season and because of the lack of rain our plants are starting to suffer. Luckily for us, however, for the past two weeks we have seen a sprinkling of rain in the evening. This has been just enough to turn the brown grass green, perk up the flowering plants and put water back into our cistern. Unlucky for us, this week our water pump chose to burnout and the other day when I turned on the water to wash dishes it suddenly stopped flowing and I had no water. I knew we have water in the cistern (unlike my February 2008 Blog wherein we ran out of water in the cistern) and called for my husband. A rule of thumb on the island is to have two of everything. He discovered the pump had burned out and replaced it immediately with a back up pump. Now we have to get on the Internet and order another pump to be prepared for another emergency.
So, Spring has sprung, so to speak, and the smell of Jasmine, mango flowers, orange flowers and other plants perfume the air making it a delight for the senses.