BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Friday, March 21, 2014

sago palms in the wind

Today's video shows our house "WoodStar" (named after the local hummingbird) behind a royal palm, with, underneath, 2 large "Sago Palms". These are "Queen Sagos", Cycas circinalis, which do very well in the sandy soil of the oceanfront garden. You can also see pink bougainvillea, and in the background a very tall Norfolk Island Pine (on the left) and, on the right, a tropical almond (Catappa terminalis). There are also smaller queen sagos in the lower corners. Our house has a chimney, and a pretty fireplace, which we only use when the overnight temperature drops below 65 degrees, which has been rare this winter.
Sagos are officially known as "cycads", a very ancient family of plant that dominated the carboniferous era. We also have some nice specimens of the King Sago, Cycas revoluta, which is less tropical and more formal looking, but also more slowly growing.
The main source of culinary sago is not the sago palm but a true palm, Metroxylon sagu. However, sago can also be extracted from sago palms, but only with special techniques, since otherwise it can be very poisonous.
In Britain sago pearls (small compressed sago flour balls) are (together with the very similar tapioca) used to make a sweet milk desert. My school lunches often featured this, which was as revolting as the rest.

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