Friday, July 8, 2011

Bifold Doors and Chokoes

We have reached lockup stage now. All our doors are in, including the bifolds for the family room. Aren't they lovely?


In winter, the sunlight will stream in to warm the slab in the family room. In summer, the pergola will be covered with vines for shade. In fact, I already have a choko (chayote to some) growing on the windowsill towards next summer. My long-term plan is for a passionfruit vine to cover the pergola, but even if I plant one as soon as I can, there won't be enough of it to provide shade this year. The choko vine, however, will be luxuriant in months.

The choko vine and the passionfruit vine are staples in Sydney, though chokos -- traditionally grown over one's shed -- are much less common than they were. The newer dwellings don't have enough space for a choko vine, for one thing, and secondly, a lot of us grew up eating chokoes way too often! I saw some nasty big yellowish ones at the shops today for $3.99/kg, way too much, and at least twice as big as they should have been. Of course, the one I bought was even worse: I could see it was starting to sprout, which was why I wanted it! I don't understand why greengrocers persist in selling such old chokoes.

I saw the aggregate and the planter box mix being wheeled in this morning to fill the herb bed, but I can't really plant my choko until the pergola is painted. I might sneak in a few late bulbs, though. Or if I can find my strawberry plants... if they've survived... I might pop them in.



7 comments:

Paul Anater said...

That's funny. Chayote are considered to be pretty exotic in the States and Passion vines as an invasive species that once introduced, can't be controlled.

Chookie said...

Some passion vines are very invasive; I've had trouble with the stock of the 'Nellie Kelly' grafted passionfruit, which suckers horribly. I won't ever have one again!
Chokoes here tend to be associated with poverty and the Depression. They are used to 'bulk up' apple pie if you don't have enough apples, because they'll absorb the apple flavour. The other traditional way to eat them is boiled, with salt, pepper and butter -- the flavour is delicate, which moves to bland if they're too old. And the sap is hard to get off one's hands.

Paul Anater said...

That's interesting. In the US, we equate chayote with Latin America.

There's a species of passion vine with a read flower that bears no fruit but doesn't spread and when we see passion vines in Florida, that's the usual type. Almost all of our pergolas are covered with Bougainvillea or various species of trumpet vines. Trumpet vines are in the datura family.

teresamcnamara said...

I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying seeing the whole process of your renovations. It has obviously been planned meticulously and it must be so gratifying for you to see those plans coming together.

Fawkes76 said...

Just wondering how you will get sun through your pergola when it is covered in a passionfruit vine..?

Chookie said...

Thank you Teresa, I am enjoying it. I think that the meticulousness is down to the builders rather than us, though!
Fawkes, good question. The idea is to shade the slab in summer and to allow sun through in winter. The sun travels through the sky at a lower altitude in winter so the passionfruit vine will not obscure it too much. I will double-check my calculations, though, so stay tuned.

deardarl said...

So exciting...
...and a choko vine isn't a bad idea to screen the back fence here ... hmmm.
...and same principal on my new deck wrt to the sun .... in winter it is coming in nicely via the gap between fly-over roof and house roof, but in summer, the higher angle will mean no sun on the deck ... Bewdiful :)