Vanilla in your garden!
Real vanilla is the flavour of a fermented vanilla orchid fruit. The commercial Vanilla planifolia comes from Mexico, and it grows best around the equator in areas with high humidity and even rain fall. There are many vanilla plantations in Indonesia, implying rain forest climate. Since Dokmai Garden has a pronounced monsoon climate, with six months of drought, I was curious to see if I could create an outdoor management for its cultivation at a small scale. On the 24th of January 2009 I planted a cutting in a sandy soil enriched with humus to hold water, and then I tied the vine to a nearby tree trunk. I have a nursery shade cloth, why the plant grows in light (50%) shade all the time. We water leaves, stems and roots every day. On March 20, 2010 I saw the first flower! The flower is fairly large, greenish and without any particular smell. Since its pollinator is back in Mexico, I had to pollinate it by hand. We’ll see if that works!