Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wildflowers in the tropics

These are tropical wildflowers. They are normally very persistent and grow even in harsh conditions. Harsh in the tropics means dry and infertile soils or long rainy days, lots of weed competition, shady locations, eaten or trampled by grazers, and weeded by people. They produce lots of seeds or their roots and stems can multiply fast. They can be invasive in better conditions or when allowed to grow unrestricted.

Weeds are only weeds when they are not yet domesticated or planted in containers for some use. Just like the Mimosa, which is an obnoxious weed here, is an ornamental in temperate countries. I see also in some blogposts that porterweed is also cultured in gardens. 

Mimosa diplotricha or Mimosa invisa

Urena lobata or Caesar weed, flower size is about 1.5 cm in diameter. For botanical descriptions, medicinal values, and other names, and references, click HERE

Above and below: porterweed or Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

wild cosmos plants, Cosmos caudatus. This weed is supposed to be brought in by the Spaniards

This looks like a shrimp plant, but it remained green until it dries to brown. It is different from the common green shrimp plant in literature. But this is very drought tolerant and can still be seen with little greens even when most other plants turned brown in the dry season. Seeds are inside those structures, which might be bracts.

For the last plant, will anybody be interested to plant them as ornamental plants in their gardens? I am thinking of planting one in a pot at home, and if it will be pruned or trained, i guess it will be nice. Who wants green shrimp plants? Me!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do we really know Santa Claus?

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all!

It is now the season...season for Santa Claus! We all know him, and most children in the world know him. His presence with us is  maybe as old as the Christmas tree, although i haven't searched that. Commerce use him to the fullest, with lots of his images of all sizes, as well as the gifts he will be giving yearly. And there is even a Santa Claus University. In 2011 alone, there are 2000 enrollees in one University of Santa Claus in South California. And because there is the idea that he is from North Pole, there is even a Santa Claus Village at the University of Lapland in Finland, and says that he lives in that village.

It was also told that Santa enters the house through the chimney. How about kids in the tropics, where chimneys are not a part of the house! I wonder if you experienced waking up at midnight trying to spy on Santa Claus. But most kids, as they grow-up, learn that Santa Claus is either their moms or their dads who put the gift in that famous sock, which contains Santa's gift when they wake up every Christmas mornings. 

But Santa Claus is a real person in history, who is actually St. Nicholas. I happened to visit Myra, Turkey in 2009, the home of Santa Claus and his church. Rather than explaining it here, these photos will give you clearer information.

 St Nicholas in front of his church in Myra, Turkey

Left: St Nicholas Church painting on the wall; Right: remnants of the old floor

Left: The columns of the original church; Right: the church basement passages

Different rooms of the church. More church photos HERE

I enlarged the above epitaph below to be more readable.
 St Nicholas is born on the 2nd half of the 3rd century AD, and he was the Bishop of Myra. The basic story why St Nicholas became Santa Claus, HERE.

Please take note of the different rooms in the church, and there is even a room for the Infidels

Most of the roads to Myra from Antalya are along the shore of the Mediterranean

 The rock tombs of Lycia are also in Myra (This is a very good reading reference)

The old theater is just beneath the rock tombs of Myra

Beside the old theater, below the rock tombs are the modern vegetable production areas, using modern cultural management practices and modern hybrids. Turkey supplies most of the fruits and vegetables for some European countries. The very old and the very new scenery exist side-by-side in Myra. The old towns during the time of St Nicholas are buried by earthquakes about 8 meters under these modern vegetable farms.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Infamous and Famous Critters

How many critters in the first photo do you see, and how many kinds?

I was getting some wood from a pile and under the big timber saw a lot of these critters. They look gross, but because 2 kids are near me I just gave them some lecture. And I feel they changed their intention to kill them after my talk. These critters might be infamous and look different from each other, but they are only at different stages of development. Insects, like these beetles, undergo a lot of changes in their looks. That white curled grub at the center is the youngest among those shown. I can't see any egg here, maybe it is very small, or they all already hatched. Those greyish catterpillars called grubs are their voracious stages, which normally stay in decaying logs or in the soil. The browns and black are the adult stages. These are decomposers, helping our organic wastes go back to the smaller parts, for other decomposers like bacteria, fungi and others to further decompose to the basic elements that can be utilized again by plants. 

The curled one at bottom left is a millipede

Now these are the famous ones. They are just two of our kitties. Above is still young and below is her older brother. Of course, we all know that they are more playful when still young. Young sister above wants to play with the tail of her brother, she even hides and jump on him from afar. But the brother below doesn't like playing with her, he only wants to clean himself, and watch other creatures around him instead.

Look at him below with some of his acrobatic postures.

Camera Critters

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Garden in December

The more frequent visitors here, most especially my blogger friends, might say that they have already seen my flowers here in the past posts. That is really true! But what can I do when most of these flowers are perennially present in our landscape! Our tropical weather permits them to be alive throughout the year. But of course, some of them also rest for a while during our dry season. They are also afraid to come out for fear of scalding or even burn-out (literally)! But this is still a part of the rainy season, so they are happier these months. By February, they will start to rest a bit and consolidate its energies to bloom profusely again like now.

But even if i have the same kind of flowers here, i don't post the same photos, no worries! When i repost the photo, i will tell you that, or i will include a previous link. So....for my friends at the onset or already in deep winter, I am showing you a panacea for the grey or white environment. Sit and relax, and watch our perennial tropical vegetation.

 Mussaenda philippica 'Doña Luz'

please help me identify this plant

 Turnera subulata

Turnera ulmifolia with a yellow sulfur butterfly

variegated amaranthus

 marigold, Tagetes erecta (2nd generation from seeds courtesy of Skeeter-In the Garden)

 periwinkle, Vinca rosea syn. Catharanthus roseus

candle flower, Pachystachys lutea

 Cat's whiskers, Orthosiphon aristatus

Pentas lanceolata

 thornless red rose

 Asystasia intrusa


Euphorbia millii

Impatiens balsamina

Sanchezia speciosa 

crotons, Codiaeum variegatum

My Photo  Monatlich  ff 

GBBD         Bloggers Bloom Day         Fertilizer Friday     Blooming Friday

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