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Surprising cucumber update, cucurbitacine natural poison & my “challenge plants” ;)

3.9.2015 surprise massive cucumber!-a--1-

I was so proud of a success never matched before in my home grown projects, the cucumbers came out relatively huge… that is until I got this very important information, which was like my balloon being pricked, nevertheless I am going on having a load of fun seeing it grow!
I have included a one mn video showing how to get rid of the poison. Personally, I’d rather not touch it. I rarely eat cucumber as I follow the guidelines of macrobiotic eating & it’s a nightshade(*see correction in comment) vegetable which means a big no-no. ­čÖé
I call my other plants a challenge as they are warm climate ones which I have to keep indoors all year round for the first two yrs then for many winter months.
A very gratifying experience. I always get a kick out of a good (positive obviously!) challenge.
Not many survive. I start off with a whole load then, left with one or two. Keep scrolling down to see my “exotic” plants ­čÖé
Out of precaution I kept my plants in a protected part of the balcony which is partially closed.
I wasn’t going to take any chances ­čśë

Have a great weekend!

Here’s the news I received…

“A 79-year-old German died after eating a home-grown zucchini. In the vegetable (probably one created by the plant itself) was poison. That poison can cause death in very rare cases.
The man and his wife were seriously ill after their meal. They were taken to hospital. The woman recovered, but the man continued to deteriorate and eventually died. The culprit is the substance cucurbitacine. Which was formerly naturally in courgettes and cucumbers to prevent animals from eating the vegetable. Growers have the past centuries with breeding programs managed to take away the poison. If people grow vegetables, it can still crop up. The advice is therefore (to home-grown courgettes) first to eat a raw piece. If the vegetables taste much more bitter than usual, then this are indicative of cucurbitacine. This also applies to pumpkins.”

Published on 27 Nov 2012
Cucumbers naturally can produce chemicals called cucurbitacins which causes the cucumber to be bitter. In large quantities, this chemical can make a person sick.

Did you know that?

And here I thought a cucumber was just a harmless vegetable.
I learned this method of reducing the bitterness from my mom.
The kids found this exercise rather amusing :).
Science & Technology
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See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

My beautiful Litchi plant! That's a very difficult one...

My beautiful Litchi plant! That’s a very difficult one…

Two pomegranate trees left :)

Two pomegranate trees left ­čÖé

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

A close up... See the huge leaves?

A close up… See the huge leaves?

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it... A beautiful summer surprise!

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it… A beautiful summer surprise!

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up :)

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up ­čÖé


And with all the painting, there’ll always be some room for gardening!



Yes, I stop painting in order to treat myself to some gardening ­čÖé
I try to plant every year different vegetables so as not to find it monotonous. I enjoy wondering if I’ll be up for the challenge & like to see the difference stages between one plant & the other.
The garlic survived the winter (in a pot!) but came out tiny. The carrots were very small & the cucumbers are growing but die off before they are fully grown.
As it’s all on our balcony growing in pots with natural fertilizers as eggshells… I do it as a hobby I truly enjoy aware that the end result is not the goal.
Happy weekend to all of you!







Weird beauty ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

Weird beauty



My tiny garlic! ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

My tiny garlic!

And last but not least... ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

And last but not least…

A bumblebee in our balcony! Un bourdon dans notre balcon…

A bumblebee in our balcony! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

A bumblebee in our balcony!

A bumblebee in our balcony…
So rare a sight I thought it was reserved to the eye of the privileged, those living among completely natural environments.
To my astonishment it was there, hanging so still on the flower of my plant I was sure it was dying & had accidentally landed in our small haven of peace, all I could see was its hairy tail moving rhythmically.
I ran to fetch my camera wondering how it would all end, if I could eventually be of any help… came back to find it still hanging on, quickly took all the shots possible & to my delight saw it fly healthily away a second later!

Un bourdon dans notre balcon …
Un spectacle si rare, je pensais qu’il ├ętait r├ęserv├ę ├á l’┼ôil des privil├ęgi├ęs, ceux qui vivent parmi un environnement compl├Ętement naturel.
├Ç mon grand ├ętonnement, il ├ętait l├á, suspendu si immobile sur la fleur de ma plante, J’├ętais s├╗r qu’il allait mourir & avait accidentellement atterri dans notre petit havre de paix, tout ce que je pouvais voir, c’├ętait sa queue poilue faire un mouvement rythmique.
J’ai couru chercher mon appareil photo me demandant comment tout cela finirait, si je pouvais ├¬tre d’une aide quelconque ├ęventuellement … je revint le trouvant toujours suspendu, rapidement pris tous les shoots possibles et ├á ma grande joie l’ai vu s’envoler sainement au loin une seconde plus tard!

Stepping closer... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Stepping closer…

And more so... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

And more so…

Only too happy to go on :) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Only too happy to go on ­čÖé

Last but not least... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Last but not least…

My tomatoes are out!

My jewel! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

My jewel!

I have seven tomato plants in my balcony this year & finally have results! The tomatoes I thought would never come out, did just that!
Years of experience & mishaps have made this possible. My first plant was grown indoors & took nine months to give one tomato… you can check the link here
This time round I was wiser & knew I had to look out for our “friends” the green flies which I have been doing & removing nearly every day.
I was so crazy over the sight of these beauties that I took close ups of each tomato in order to be able to share our hard earned miracles with all of you!
Posted bellow are the photos from beginning to end.
I hope you’ll enjoy the process ­čÖé


In my last photo you can see my only surviving squash out of many shoots, my onions that had been forgotten & had germinated in the kitchen (!) carrots that I tried to grow from carrot tops (YouTube advice) but that just died ­čśŽ a few green pepper plants & on the extreme left a plant that people wanted to throw out that I rescued…

How it all started... a small plastic box! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

How it all started… a small plastic box!

Growing in the kitchen in October! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Growing in the kitchen in October!

A lot of care... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

A lot of care…

And... voila! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

And… voila!

After many flowers & beyond my wildest imagination! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

After many flowers & beyond my wildest imagination!

Isn't this quite a sight!? ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Isn’t this quite a sight!?

So very proud ;) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

So very proud ­čśë

And of my "garden" ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

And of my “garden”

Floating in a Fuchsia world

Oh! Exquisite rose! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Oh! Exquisite rose!

Today, I want to share this exquisite Fuchsia rose that was given to me when I had accidentally dressed the table with what do you know… yes, a Fuchsia tablecloth.
It gave me the perfect background.
Following for nearly two years very talented photographers on WordPress gave me the right angles for perfect shots.
I work with what I consider a basic camera which is a Canon digital IXUS 95 IS but following the advice of a blogger I exploited to a maximum its potential & come up with quite good results but,

I’ll let you judge for yourselves these close-ups in the hope that it’ll greet pleasantly your eyes ­čÖé

The bunch  ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

The bunch

The close-up lining the veins... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

The close-up lining the veins…

Shadow & light of a B&W classical ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Shadow & light of a B&W classical

Dainty petals ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Dainty petals

The elegant blur  ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

The elegant blur

Sideways ┬ęcopyright2014owpp


Frontal ┬ęcopyright2014owpp


Pink world ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Pink world

Curled edges ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Curled edges

Continuation of “our chick pea experience”

Chick pea flower ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Chick pea flower

Now that I have my brand new gardening section I have the incentive to share my previous attempts at it.
This is the continuation of our chick pea experience which you can check here… we managed to grow one chick pea out of the whole plant which is a far cry from proper gardening (let’s put it this way, it won’t feed the family!) but that one was just as exciting as the pepper we discovered two days ago ­čÖé
If anybody had a successful try at it, I’d be more than happy to take the advice!
I took photos of the maturation process, just scroll down…
Have a relaxing weekend ­čÖé

Our chick pea is out!! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our chick pea is out!!

Letting it mature... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Letting it mature…

Cracking it open ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Cracking it open

Dangling by a thread ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Dangling by a thread

Trying out indoor-veg-art :) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Trying out indoor-veg-art ­čÖé

The Peace lily & seeing green

The Spathiphyllum-floribundum ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

The Spathiphyllum-floribundum

We are lucky enough to have succeeded in keeping this most exotic plant alive in our home for quite a few years ­čÖé
I’ll include the photos of its maturation.
I hope you like it, have a good weekend!

Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Spathiphyllum floribundum, snowflower,[2] peace lily,[2] is a flowering plant in the family Araceae, native to northwestern South America from Panama east to Venezuela and south to Peru.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant. The leaves are oval to lanceolate, 12ÔÇô20 cm long and 5ÔÇô9 cm broad. The flowers are produced in a spadix, surrounded by a 10ÔÇô20 cm long, greenish- or yellowish-white spathe.

Perfect shape & texture ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Perfect shape & texture

Close up ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Close up

Magical changes ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Magical changes

Seeing green ;) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Seeing green ­čśë

Extravagant & pure obverse yet counterparts…My tulip



Two version tulip
Extravagant and
Honest pure lines
Obverse yet

P.s Another home-bulb-growing & tulip-photography experiment
Enjoy ­čÖé



Green flies on organically grown plants… can anyone help?



I have asked a blogger that question already but I did not have photos to show.
They were hard to take as my macro is a very basic one but I got some good enough close ups for anyone to have an idea of what I’m talking about.
I tried red pepper juice with soap, vinegar cut with water but they all spoil the leaves which as you know takes a long time to grow.
These little guests come later when the plant has finally had time to grow and you to have become very fond of them.
Anyone with an idea that works without any damage will be gratefully welcomed on this blog and who knows, we might help others in the process ­čśë



Are they  eggs? ┬ęcopyright2013owpp

Are they eggs?





Perfect cicada-The beauty of a fly



Through my lens,
Unfolded the birth
Of a flower among nettles
Through my lens,
Unravelled poetry
Of sunshine among thorns
Heedless of the allegory
Happening on a leaf…

Out of the corner of

My field of vision
I conjured you’d
Spread your wings
The instant you
Skidded on indefectable
Foliage but you paused-posed
And played an important
Role in what would become

The dawn of a beautiful adventure.

The tale of someone
Who saw grace in lieu
Of hideousness…
Inferred small is big
And never again would
Squash impeccancy and
Perfection under
An angry slipper!





This poem was inspired by the first photo I took focusing on the Theme of an-only-flower-among-foliage.
You can detect on the side the fly which I thought I had no chance of capturing, cicada’s are very
fast, but to my delight soon realized that I could… where began my fascination for those small wonders ­čÖé

P.S If you are curious no, I have never squashed a fly just the idea repulses me ­čÖé