Friday, March 30, 2012

Heliconia rostrata

Heliconia rostrata is native to the north western region of South America, commonly called lobster claw because of the flowers' resemblance to it. It is also profusely growing here in the Philippines and are also popularly used to enhance flower arrangements. 

Ours produce more flowers in February to March, at the start of the dry season. At other times of the year they also flower but not as profusely during these months. After the flowers wilt, the spent stems are better cut to give way to healthier growing follow-up stems. Otherwise the clumps become crowded and untidy.

Ours is a clump growing near the street and the entrance. We remove also some suckers to keep them confined to a smaller area. It has already been here for more than twenty years now, and even with just occasional cutbacks and trimmings, they are still growing beautifully. Everyone passing by never fail to appreciate the profuse blooms. They last for more than a month in that condition, and later turn brown and wilt. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tracery for W4W

Again, Donna of gardenwalkgardentalk, you are putting us into a state of deep contemplation. It could be good as it is Lent season for most of us here in the country. And it could not be far because you have posted the church photos, which i took to mean i am reminded of putting myself in the presence of the Lord, even if i don't always go to church. Reminders always come from so many ways, it is sensitivity which doesn't always follow. It is just like a reminder about love from a song saying "it comes from the most unexpected places"! 

However, i can't make much for tracery, and my contemplation branched so much into so many things! And in times of adversity, i will just follow your examples. At the end, i hope you will at least be amused. Tracery is a term i just learned through Donna! 

 We don't have your autumn nor your winter, but we also get some semblance of those when some deciduous trees remember the imprints in their genes to shed those leaves, because they are approaching very dry months; ...

 ...or when we are almost at the end of our dry months, and some fruit trees like this avocado did not make it until the rains come. Even the crows, which are among the most intelligent of the birds seem lonely for lack of food.

The frangipani or Plumeria (we call calachuchi here), shed leaves but still full of energy and it is one tree very difficult to kill. It is also very easy to grow even through neglect.

I love the tracery effect of the very early morning sun through the coconut fronds. This tree is maybe the very common symbol for the hot tropics, with lots of beaches and full sun. This reminds me of the colored glasses in churches of old.

 The very distinct venation of a Sanchezia leaf, prominently displays tracery. I am amazed of its brightness, and how the contrasts and brightness of the venation help the plant for its growth and development. I wonder if there are correlations.

 Everybody is very familiar with the strong contrast and patterns of a Caladium leaf. Does this pass also as a tracery effect?

How about this one from a frond of a tropical fern?

 The drooping pattern of a blooming herb!

The very distinct lines and design of butterfly wings (Parantica vitrina), seemingly like the colored glasses in churches and old buildings.

How about a 'holy' vine climbing through the mesh wire? Is the wire considered the tracery?

This is my personal tracery, tracery of the nearby hill profile and very symbolic for me too! It is one of the rainy season sunsets viewed from our house in the province.

 And to complete my mimicking Donna of the types of shots for tracery, i included this nave of the Taal Basilica, or the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours, a church built in the 16th century, considered the largest in the Far East. The tabernacle is made of silver, and the only one of its kind in the Philippines.

And for my fun shot, i hope you will also be amused by this, a kettle on top of a bamboo pedestal i consider its tracery, placed in front of a restaurant. I don't think there will still be a more meaningful and evocative sign than this one. Would you consider it a tracery too, or a treachery!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Nature's Art - what are they for!

I confessed with you last Mon the reason for my 2-days off last week, to join my friend to his farm, "far from the madding crowd below". I prepared my psyche for it, so I was open for any eventualities, any sights, any activity, any food, and any experience!

The farm is on a hillside with lovely views of the surrounding mountains. The unpaved road might give some inconvenience, but it actually adds beauty to the experience, giving complete ambiance of remoteness or maybe exclusivity. 

The tunnel-like entrance to the farm, is made such by constant pruning of the lower tree branches. Doesn't it have a dome-like significance?  There is a faint light at the end of the tunnel, maybe on earth that light is not as bright as the more famous ONE!

 Rainbow eucalyptus, rainbow gum, Mindanao gum, locally called bagras, Eucalyptus deglupta
The showy multicolored streaks covering the trunk is its very distinct feature. The bark of this tree matures in patches at different periods, with hues of blue, purple, orange, maroon. The peeled off patches reveal the young green barks. This is a native species here and grows very tall just like their  Australian cousins, which otherwise have mostly white barks.  Being fast growing produce light wood for making plywood and paper.  Seeing it close and personal convinced me to plant a few trees in our own property. I will be planting it not for the trunk, but for its beauty.

 The trunk of this tree is heavily guarded with scary networks of hard, thick thorns. I wonder if any herbivore can still approach it from the ground. They surely need wings to get to it and that is directly through the canopy. I am thrilled to know what kind of land animals this tree is very scared of, or its very expensive part or component that is so palatable to anything! Definitely no mammal can climb its trunk! Actually, this fruit is classified as a berry (sorry for calling it pome earlier), and fruits are beautifully reddish purple in color. That means it has lots of antioxidants!

Flacourtia rukam or bitongol in Tagalog

It is known in many names in Southeast Asia, India and Africa. Its fruits are eaten fresh and as preserves and jellies, and  in these countries it is common to use the barks, leaves and roots for medicinal purposes. Some gardeners also use it to make bonsai, which i am sure is very exotic-looking. I am not interested at all to plant this in our property, unless i am very angry with my neighbor. A slight accident or ignorance about it will ensure a scary horrible scene. But surely, it will be a good perimeter fence to unfriendly neighborhood. 

Our World Tuesday Graphic   Outdoor Wednesday: Click on the picture below to learn more...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plants of Strasbourg

I started posting plants from travels to some temperate countries. Last post was Sweden Plants, now i will post some Strasbourg plants. I am doing this because, as i said earlier, i am a little bit bored with our own. Our plants have been growing there all year in our garden, sometimes after pruning they become lovely again, but not so attractive for me anymore. We can change the plants, but I pity discarding those peacefully growing plants. They are just like pets, giving us beautiful experiences and make our days more interesting, so it pains me to throw them out due to boredom. 

I pacify this inclination to dig and discard by planting some vegetables in another area. However, vegie photos are not as lovely as the colors of the flowering plants. I might sound like too defensive for posting foreign plants, but actually gardeners seem to be like that. We love the uncommon, no matter how common they are in their natural habitat. So the natives become boring after seeing them everyday, while the exotics seem very attractive. We even spend a lot to give proper requirements for our fancied plants. Normal greenhouses and sophisticated phytotrons or arboretum arise to cater to these whims and cravings.  That can be another use for the phrase "someone's thrash is another's treasure"!

Perovskia atriplicifolia or Russian sage, thanks to Gisela of  Guildwood Gardens, Canada for identifying this plant

I wonder if the two photos above are varieties of lavender. I do not remember if i smell their scents though. Please help me identify them, as I only saw them once! (Thanks to Nick of Floral Friday Fotos for the ID of the 2nd photo above, Lavandula angustifolia)

The blue flowers are so lovely, it is planted near the first NOID i call lavender. These are the landscape plants of some research facilities near our hotel. (Thanks to Nick again for the ID of the above as Salvia divinorum.
This is not my advertisement, as this is the grounds in our neighborhood where i took my shots most. I think this is a consulting IT company.

 The roses are flowering profusely although I haven't seen any caretaker gardener visiting around. Whenever i have a few minutes of free time before dinner, i just roam around the vicinity to take some photos.

 The above cluster of flowers is only from a single stem. This is also the first time i see such variety of roses. The one at right is still at the immature bud stage and will eventually blossom like this. I haven't seen this variety also in our hot tropics. 

This is a bushy marginal area on our path to the conference room of the International Space University. The attractive flowers borne on tall stems caught my attention. They are growing wildly in the thicket. Later, i realized this is the famous Buddleia, a favored flower by butterflies. However, i did not see any butterfly hovering on them, during our daily walk through this path.

Among the plants and flowers in this area, this is the most familiar to me, impatiens. I realized it grows in a very wide range of temperatures, as a lot of them grows well in our hot climate in the tropics.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dampalit Falls

I took two days off last week to join my friend in visiting his farm outside the city. My excitement was primarily due to the waterfalls near the university I've been with for so long. We will take a detour to see the falls on the way to his farm. I will have a chance to see it again after leaving the vicinity. I just realized that i don't have the affinity for waterfalls during those times, as I've seen it only twice. Or probably we were so busy studying or doing the thesis. Later when i was already working in the laboratory, we cannot think of other things anymore but our gas chromatogram, our pipettes, or the perishables we have in storage that change so fast, or our boss who always check on the progress of our work. And we don't sleep or eat at normal hours, so who will have the time to think about waterfalls!

Now that i have more time, or i can already manage it as I please, i can be absent for whatever purpose and nobody will be mad. So I was able to visit this waterfall again. There is already a minimal entrance fee and also there are more butterflies and damselflies. I don't remember seeing them in the past. It really is very significant if we are not so in a hurry.

 Dampalit Falls, Los Baños, Laguna. I love those luxurious growths behind the falls

 High school kids take picnics nearby

Dampalit Falls is reached in 1.5 to 2 hours from Manila on the way to Sta Cruz, Laguna via the South Luzon Expressway. Take off at Bgy Dampalit, Los Baños just next to the Camp Eldridge.Then a 15-20 min walk from the Los Baños main road to the right side will take you to the falls. The path is going through the residential area of the barangay.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Plants of Sweden

GBBD is supposed to be flaunting the blooms from your own garden, although the meme owner Carol of Maydreams Gardens did not specify that. This time of the year our dry season already started, many plants are still blooming, but most of the annuals are already turning brown. The grasses specially, already died from so much heat. We still have some blooms in our own garden, but i seem to be already bored with posting mine. They don't die from frost or snow, so they are still there, but i am really bored seeing them again in my post. So, i would rather post blooms from foreign lands. I am sure these might be more familiar with most of you.

I had the opportunity to be in Sweden in June a few years back, which I suppose is advance spring. However, i remember that the temperatures were mostly around 10C. The flowers and plants are luxuriously blooming. Whenever we had the time outdoors, I normally took their photos, while my companions are taking people shots or what we call tourist shots. If they did not voluntarily take my photos, i wouldn't have my photos at all. What i have are all buildings, landscapes, plants and flowers. Please let me know how they are called in your temperate climates. 

not sure what the above tree is, maybe of the apple family, they surround the Scandic hotel grounds

a plum tree blooming profusely on top of bougainvillea hedges near a research facility (thanks to Nick of

 planter boxes at the Scandic hotel in Svalov, Sweden

 Forget-me-not growing as weeds 

 pansies on public grounds

 found this in a friend's garden, at the back with white hanging flowers is Solomon's Seal or Polygonatum odoratum (Thanks to Karin for the ID). If only i've known that before, i will smell the scent.

tulips seem to be growing as weeds or volunteer plants

various colors of tulips in gardens

mainly red colored tulips, with some darker than red mixtures

the grounds around our Scandic Hotel bloom with those whites and yellows, which look like miniature daisies

To foreigners like me the burgundy colored leaves are amazing. This is in 
our neighborhood in Svalov, Sweden

Everywhere we go, landscapes are profusely carpeted with yellow rapeseed, Brassica napus
I am amazed at the great volume of canola oil which these flowers will produce later on. 
I just don't know how much of these are GMO.

On our way to Stockholm, spring flowers abound in the roadsides. I think this is the best about spring

This Welcome sign, planted to pansies, signals entry to Stockholm.  

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