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We have had gardens in both Taxco, Mexico, a mountain town at about 5500 feet, and in Montserrat, one of the West Indies islands. Though these two geographic areas are very different, many of the plants we have enjoyed in each of our homes were comfortable or grew as well in the other. We now live some of the year at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, traveling to other beautiful places whenever we can. Along the way we always gather seeds and sometimes plants to bring home.

One of the major factors that affected our tropical garden in Montserrat is the still active volcano on the island. After about three hundred years of dormancy, it erupted in 1995 and in 1997 erupted again laying waste to almost two thirds of the island. Its activity level still determines the health and well-being not only of the island’s residents, but of its plant and animal life as well. In July of 2003, the northern inhabited part of the island was covered in muddy volcanic ash to a depth of 2 inches or more when the Soufriere volcano erupted again with a major collapse of its large unstable dome. In our area we received 4 inches of the wet suffocating ash. The more delicate ferns in our garden died as did all of the epiphytes. Surprisingly, our orchids survived quite well. The rest of the garden plants and trees survived, though there was a notable difference in blooming times and some evidence of long term damage to our well-established trees. Our lovely zoysia grass grew back beautifully covering the inches of ash beneath its soft green carpet.

Before living in these more exotic places, I grew up in New England and then lived some time in Washington, D.C. Wherever I was, there was always a garden so you will find lots of useful information here wherever your garden lies.

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Click below to see our plants alphabetically listed by common name with their cures and cooking ideas
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Or
 
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