Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hedges Delights

Hello everyone. I've been looking at my photofiles and found some nicelooking hedges. Maybe you will appreciate them too, as i did when i first saw them in some gardens and our own. Included in ours are the Hippeastrum sp., which we call Lirio, orange Lantana, Tagetes erecta we call amarillo, Pachystachys lutea or candle flower, Caesalpinia pulcherrima and Petunia.
Tagetes patula
Hippeastrum puniceum

Odontonema strictum

Lantana camara (orange and yellow)
Tagetes erecta
Pachystachys lutea
Tecoma stans
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Euphorbia species
Petunia species

Monday, December 14, 2009

Farming in a Basin

FYEO means For Your Eyes Only.

These mushrooms look so vigorous that they really can be very productive if farmed. Look at those young growing tips, they seem edible. But however beautiful and luscious these mushrooms are, it is better seen than eaten. Probably they have medicinal values like most mushrooms have, but i did not research on them as i still don't know how they are called. Generous ID souls are welcome, thank you very much.

The above mushroom grow on trunks of living trees, however these at the bottom live on decaying logs.

They are 2-3 cm in diameter and look so elegant. They are only in our backyard and they have been there for at least a week. They could be poisonous, because nothing seemed to touch it at all even chicken, ants and insects. Probably they will just go to the food chain when they die and will serve as food for other fungi and bacteria.

                FTM or For the Mouth

These types are the FTM or For the Mouth variety. This is the oyster mushrooms or Pleurotus species. They are commonly sold in the vegetable section of the supermarket. I tried growing them in the bathroom corner for an experiment. If i will be successful then harvesting and cooking will be very handy. Besides, i will be able to observe them all the time whenever i go there.

I place first the mineral water bottles to serve as support so the bags will not touch the floor. I put a big basin of water on the side to provide high humidity to the atmosphere so the mushroom will not dry. As i leave in the mornings and return in the afternoon, they are just like pets which receive my foremost attention. I water them before i leave and upon my return, that is their food. I enjoyed my project immensely. For another post on this farming please click HERE.

The photos below happened when the bags were not yet opened and i left for the weekend. A single mushroom cannot stand sufocation anymore and sprouted at the tip of the bag. When i arrived it was already very big, mature and dry. I just took the photo and opened both ends of the bag so the other mushrooms will also grow.

It really is very rewarding and fun to be growing mushrooms in your own kitchen. You can just harvest whatever you need and put the rest in the refrigerator for future use. You will also develop a skill that will be yours forever! You can also call yourself a mushroom farmer, whatever the size of your farm is. Never mind if your farm is just a basin!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aesthetic mushrooms...anyone?

The three above photos are soft mushrooms on decaying tree trunks. The normal colors are as you see them in these photos, reddish-brown. However, i am not really familiar with mushroom classification, so i am sorry about it. What i know is this is not edible but very helpful in the food chain as every organism is!

The 3 top photos are also brilliantly reddish-brown, also hard and still grow bigger than this present photos. They are also very beautiful with their fan-like structures. The stem is not at the center but on the other side. They are growing in dead coconut trunks in these photos. I am not sure if these are edible.

The above 2 photos, in contrast with the previous 2 mushrooms, are white under the crown but grayish brown on the top crown. These are also hard, fanlike but instead of a stem one side seem to be fully attached to the coconut trunk. It looks like the Ganoderma species which is medicinal and has been encorporated with food preparations like coffee and other medicinal supplements.


Some other exciting leaves in excesses!

This is a fern struggling to outsmart the ocean of grasses! It seems to be alone but i think it is not lonely. Actually it looks like it is doing great!

Tropical vegetation is really like this, the survival for the fittest is really the law. Be fast to reach for light and water or else someone else will be there first.
These grasses seem to be growing too fast that they have really outsmarted the others. This is an almost vertical slant of land and these grasses are welcome residents to avoid erosion when the rain comes.

Ferns grow luxuriantly here, that even in between concrete stone pavements this fern looks very healthy.

Butterflies seem to be frolicking happily in the myriads of grasses. These butterflies are fond of dried dill stems that even after you disturb them, immediately they will be back. These are the Ideopsis juventa manillana and Hypolimnas bolina sipping through them as if they really depend on it when there are a lot of flowers around. I wonder if the effect of the drying dill on them is like a hypnotic aroma!

Even this cat is fascinated by the grasses or so it seems. Or how will we know what the cat thinks. Sometimes it just look for the kind of grass which cures its bad tummy. We are familiar with the grass it really eats when it doesn't feel well. That is a characteristic the cat shares with the dog. They know the kind of grass which will cure them. If you are curious enough, you will also know as you tend to observe.

These are fallen wild Tithonia diversifolia, even after cutting overnight they are still unwilted. This grows profusely in marginal lands seemingly without any use for people and animals, although there are some reports that it has some pesticidal characteristics.

What do you discern from the shadow? It is an animal, isn't it. The golden yellow flowers fit well.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Leaves, leaves, leaves and more!

I have always been fascinated with leaves. Their so many forms and colors are amazing. This is also the reason why people have been interested in doing hybrids to produce variegations. A normally-colored plant has a normal price, but make it variegated and its price soars!

The more abnormal the shape of the leaves are, the better they are as ornamental plants. This is the reason why the irradiated ornamental plants with spindly leaves and retarded growth command higher prices in the market.

My post today will just be the latest photos i took from the garden. But there are of course a lot more fascinating shapes, colors, sizes out there and inside my files which i dont have the luxury of time to locate at the moment.
This is commonly known as bird's nest, Asplenium nidus. Female and male plants are planted side by side at the above left photo. At the right on top is the male, more slim, darker green, more curls at the edges. At the bottom is the female version, more expanded lamina, paler green color and lesser curls at the edges.

Caladium is one of the taro species which has more variations in leaf colors. The above cultivar shows narrower red color during the juvenile stages (top right), which progresses and widens as the plant matures (bottom left).
There are other caladium variations like the all white and green or the pink and green. However, i have not yet encountered yellow and green or yellow and red! Ahh, there is yellow and red as in the top left lowest leaf! But of course that one is already senescing, and yellowing is expected.
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Lotus plants also have lots of variations, but most specifically in sizes and shapes rather than variegations. The above samples are miniature leaves which fit perfectly in smaller containers. Other variations need ponds for them to show their immense beauty, as the photos below show.

We also have a lot of these Aglonema sp. in the garden, which sometimes grow so profusely that we throw away some plants. It thrives under very limited light that it is still vigorous under the trees.  I originally thought this is Maranta but later on changed to Aglonema. Maranta thrives in high humidity environments but this one can tolerate drier soils. In fact this lump in our garden only receives watering during the rainy season. They are under the trees so minimize water loss.

Sanchezia sp.

Thank you mr_subjunctive of  Plants are the Strangest People for giving me the lead in this leaf ID as Sanchezia speciosa or S. nobilis. I would rather call it Sanchezia sp. to be safe. Some links about the plant and methods of planting are here or here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unusual creatures, Unusual incidents!

I was on leave for four (Dec 1-4) days plus the two weekends before and after that, which means i had a very long holiday. So i had a wonderful time in the province, with natural vegetation, biodiversity, many birds, unconfined domestic animals, organic fruits and vegetables. All of these are so different from the confines of city life. Less noise, less congestion, less pressures, less people, less risks and doubts, and of course very much less pollution! I walked every morning but always distracted by the birds, butterflies, some unusual insects, flowering weeds and any unusual things for me though very common in this part of the world. I had a great time.

We also harvested citrus fruits and sell them to whoever ordered. Actually we only have 6 trees, but they fruited well that we have to sell most of the fruits. Our picking pole with pouch at the end is just improvised and repaired by my mother. I had also to climb with slippers on to lessen the stress on the feet. Although my arms, feet and back ached i am very happy for the experience. Many people pay a lot in the gym, here i had a free exercise, and not in an airconditioned room but with free normal air, oxygen laden newly produced by the trees. As they said "the best things in life are free"!

I want to share with you my unusual finds. Some of you gardeners and nature wanderers might be too familiar with them.

This is a moth catterpillar, but i don't know how it looks like as an adult.

Definitely, these two moths are not the adults of the green hirsute catterpillar!

These chickens are hybrids. They are offsprings of Japanese chicken hen and native Filipino rooster. The black hen got the color, body size, short feet length and leg feathers from the Japanese chicken parent.
The white rooster however, got the size of the native chicken, as well as the length of its legs, but it also got the leg feathers typical of the Japanese chicken mother. They are all fertile.

I found this spider on top of the trees and i had to climb a ladder to use my Point and Shoot camera, i wish i had a nice zoom lens of a DSLR.
Nonetheless, i had a better than none shot, magnified below. I also have old posts of this spider in close up.

This red mushroom come in compatibly with the green maidenhair fern.
And these are the citrus fruits of our labor! They taste so sweet, juicy and delicious! Haaaay....
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