Fig. 1 Calibrachoa enjoys the shade under an umbrella.
It's that time of the year again when my family takes a summer trip. This time we are in Taipei, Taiwan (Fig. 4). As we tour this place and experience the conditions that prevail, I think of my garden back home.
For my plants (Fig. 1) to grow they have to be consistently watered as the environment is dry. Their counterparts in Taiwan (as in any tropical area), however, can remain alive in almost dry soil much longer - as an effect of the high atmospheric humidity. Being a gardener in California, a semi-arid area, I envy the growing conditions of the tropics.
Fig. 2 A garter snake takes a dip in the fountain to cool down.
In the tropics, plants and animals maintain their lives throughout the year in a relatively consistent fashion. At home, my plants undergo a period of slow to no growth in the winter and a period of rapid and prolonged growth in the summer. Even some animals that hibernate during winters become incredibly active (Fig. 2) during the warmer periods of the year.
Fig. 3 A place to sit in the cool of the day.
When I look at the city of Taipei (Fig. 4) there seem to be a very limited place for gardens. The place is covered with tall buildings. Private gardens, if they exist, are kept privately on rooftops or on balconies of apartments. For example - from my hotel room, I can see a beautiful but very small private garden with a pond that has large koi fishes. Vines climb all over the interior walls surrounding the garden while elephant ears grow from large clay pots. But if you are just walking on the streets, the gardens seem not to exist.
Fig. 4 Taipei as seen from the Taipei 101 building.
Tomorrow, we will travel outside of Taipei and visit the headquarters of the World Vegetable Center, formerly Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) in Sanshua, Taiwan. There we will see more of the agricultural instead of the technological-center Taiwan.
I'm looking forward to visiting AVRDC and hoping to bring back new ideas in vegetable gardening.