Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Wild World of Ginger

My mom is one of those remarkable people who can identify a whole host of plants and flowers casually as she floats through her day. I love that about her, and I love other people who know plants as individuals, as if they were second cousins associated with fond memories.

So I LOVED meeting Sarah, the ex-wwoofer, in Hawaii.
Sarah regards some male seals on a coral beach

She's a botanist for the Waimea Botanical Gardens on the North shore of O'ahu and an amazing person to boot. She took us on a personal tour through "her" gardens, and I discovered that ginger is not just for chinese cooking.

Turns out there is a whole genus of plants called Zingiber, which is not just a great word, but also makes an array of beautiful flowers. Orchid-like in appearance, many of them have strong, spicy-sweet scents as well.

The best smelling was the White Ginger. Imagine caramelized sugar with mango and ginger and that's a tiny percent of how good and complex this flower smells!

Torch Ginger: solitary. lovely. Dramatic.

But hands down the best is the beehive ginger.

Is that a flower within a flower?!!

See how I just brought this whole post back around to bees? Clever, no?

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