Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not just another flower

My original title was Another Flower. Then I realized that it is not just another flower! 

The ubiquitous bougainvillea, is really found everywhere, not only in the tropics but also in subtropical climates. It has variety of colors which really fascinates everybody. There are also plant characteristics which make it either as upright in pots, climbing in trellises or fences and hanging in ledges and verandas. I have also posted  some of the varieties in old posts. Whenever i see one in the vicinity, i never fail to take some photos, no matter how common it has become.

 This is mother's forgotten plant at the corner. But it is very tolerant of our extremely hot dry season. It may dry some branches but coming rainy season, branches will come up again. The color above is maybe the commonest of the colors, but it is nonetheless lovely!
 This is a variegated variety at the side of my aunt's house. The leaves are attractive being variegated but the flowers are beautiful too. It needs some trimming already, but it has already gained compact growth with the semblance of a roof. A chair or two can already be put under it. You will notice that water sprouts above, are purely green in color, unlike the old variegated ones.

This variety is not very prolific in flowering, maybe because flowers are not its most attractive trait. But a closer look shows us the also varied colors of the flowers. There are pinks, pink with whites, greenish whites and pure whites! 

Knowledge of the branch characteristics to pick for propagation will give us the best characteristics we want. We can even separate these characteristics in our future materials. But that is negating the beautiful characteristics of this plant. Chimera is another term for variegation. If we want to produce the dominant characters as in red flowers and green leaves, then the purely green leaves of the water sprouts will do. Getting the mostly red colored flowering stems will produce dominantly red with white variegation in flowers and mainly variegated leaves, plus occasionally pure green. However, getting the stems with purely white flowers will give us mostly white but with occasional red and variegated flowers. Of course leaves are also variegated with slightly occasional green. 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

W4W: Inspiration for the Underprivileged

Inspiration is usually something or an agent that influence someone to create or move forward. A normal meaning is the arousal of the mind to a special unusual activity or creativity. Different status of people might be inspired to do different things. It has always been said that artistic pursuits are difficult to pursue with an empty stomach! I don't know if there are researches done in that context, but I am sure there are also artists, inventors or creators who did their masterpiece even when hungry. But they  might be the exemptions. They say higher pursuits of the mind can only be done after feeding the physical body. So that might have been said as a general observation or felt reality. Literally, it is really difficult for me to think or do something with my hands when i am hungry. 
 This is a papaya with fruits, might not be plenty but still productive.

 This is the condition of the papaya's environment, who would think it will still thrive and produce the fruits above! 

 This is another productively fruiting papaya plant i took at different time and at different location. Both these trees persistently thrive on unusual and deprived environment; a crack on a cement floor, no water nor food given to them. Other plants might not be able to do what the papaya does. 

My posts are all inspirations for the underprivileged souls, the hungry and the needy, those deprived of normal sustenance, the handicapped and the orphans, the homeless too. These we have plenty in these country. These photos might inspire them to persist, fight circumstances and move on! They will not see this posts, how can they know how to blog when they don't even get enough food for their own body! I hope this will instead inspire those of us who are more privileged in this life, more knowledgeable, more understanding, more capable of giving and helping, and more time to think of artistic pursuits than delving on the mundane. The papaya is only persisting to maintain the species, we are persisting to help one another because WE ARE ONE! A small pain in our little finger is felt by our whole body, and that is analogous to one pained soul in the planet. 

A juvenile plant thriving also on the cemented roadside. It looks luxuriantly healthy even in this very deprived conditions. 

The above is a fern without even a slight show of vehemence or harshness in growing. It looks happy and green, ready to fight more rigid environmental conditions. 

The above photo looks like a dead end, but at that end are luxuriously growing plants and trees, ominous of fertile grounds for sustaining life. 

And the different colors of light emanating from a partition in the trees' canopy, provide sustenance to the small plants and organisms below. 

This is linked to Word for Wednesday at Donna's Garden Walk Garden Talk.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Terrible Quest for a Name!

The first Hoya I have is given by my Hoya scientist-friend, who crossed the spirit world last December, after a long battle with the big C. Being the new authority on Hoya in the country, she found a nameless species in our Hoya-rich plant kingdom, and authorities in Hoya-world honored the species with her name, Hoya siariae Kloppenburg. Unfortunately, I still do not have her namesake in my Hoya kingdom. But it is already in my wish list. 

Hoya diversifolia, half umbel already opened

 This is Hoya diversifolia, already with me for two years. It is difficult to care for plants in the condominium units in the big city, so i entrusted it to the building gardener to give it the much needed watering and an open space better than my room. Hoya is epiphytic, so it is very difficult to kill. They are designed to be exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
more flowers in the umbel already opened, flowers opened in 3 batches

Another hoya which I acquired long ago was nameless. I just put it in a driftwood near our house together with another self supporting orchid. Last year's severe dry season almost killed it, but produced stems again coming rainy season. Since it was exposed to full sun, i got a cutting from the mother plant last Feb and put it in partially shaded area to root, with coconut husks to maintain moisture. Maybe it wants to teach me a strong lesson! There was no apparent roots yet being less than two months from cutting, but it produced the peduncle where flowers arise. 
the immature, unopened flowers showing two different apical sites

Now i think i am hooked. When the flowers opened, the scent is citrusy sweet that is really lovely, not loud but just soft which you will smell repeatedly. This is the start of my quest for identifying it. I shortlisted all the names nearest in morphology to mine, including the leaves and other plant parts. My friend who got Siar's book also emailed me a shortlist and some descriptions. I got nine shortlisted names. Even with a stronger background on plants, i still found it very difficult. I realized Hoyas have different flower forms even within a single name. I eventually reached just 2, but the leaf shapes did not fit mine, so i change one to another, which turned out to have short internodes, opposite of mine. GRRR, i am almost at my limit!

Hoya crassicaulis

But there are serendipitous knowledge on the side. I found that our country is very rich in Hoya endemics, more than 50 species at the latest count. I learned that it is expensive online in other countries, and there are already very systematic online nurseries also here in the country, where i can get what i want. I also realized that many species are named after persons i know in the university and plant industry. Two even have the names of my batchmates in college. At the moment, I feel like just leaving the office and go to the mountains, forests and the woods to also find one which might not have been baptized yet!!! 

After settling on the 2 shortlist among the shortlists, I still don't know its name, I am still lost and not convinced. I am so disappointed to be going home with something hanging in my mind! So the last resort is to search for the next hoya authority name whom I personally know and ask! After a long night of waiting, his reply is already in my inbox this morning.  EUREKA! My now very very expensive plant, because of the difficulties it has given me, is now baptized Hoya crassicaulis. WHEW!

My gratitude to Mr Fernando Aurigue for ending my search. 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flying Colors near the Waterfalls

Our last visit to the Dampalit waterfalls in Los Baños, Laguna also showed us lots of beautiful insects. Some of them fly in groups, while others sip minerals from the pathway. However, it is already noon and they are already very active, so difficult to photograph together. Those i showed here are only some of them, a lot we cannot really wait just for a pose!  I cannot take their photos as either they are too smart and fast, or I am not really that adept in using the camera. How i wish i have the equipment and the knowledge to at least get their photos, at the moment they just gave their imprints in my mind. 

 Would you believe that this damselfly is green when the wings are open? [Thank you Caroline Gill, yes it could be a Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens].

The Common Mapwing, Cyrestis maenalis. It was reported that there are 11 subspecies of this in the Philippines, however this is my first time to see it. There are about 6 individuals we saw there. 

Common bluebottles, Graphium sarpedon, puddling on our wet path. There are maybe about ten of them there, but they don't stay near one another on the ground.

This is only my 2nd time to see this butterfly, the first was also near a natural pond. Green Dragontail, Lamproptera meges subsp. decius

Wont you say they are elegant? I love those long tails, but they are parts of the wings.

Delias henningia

Our World Tuesday Graphic  Outdoor Wednesday logo_thumb[1] 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

GBBD-April 2012 From the Tropics

It is GBBD once more, and we are at the middle of our dry season! Last month instead of posting our plants i posted those from temperate Strasbourg, France, with the reason that I am bored with ours. Now i will try to post our other plants and their different growths. I realized I can still post others not yet posted in previous GBBD. I will also try not to be bored. (lol)

This is our native 'sanggumay', Dendrobium anosmum. It normally flowers during the dry season with a very sweet scent. I am starting again with very short spikes because the original long and old spikes died two years ago from the very long dry season. Big old clumps can have stems as long as a meter completely filled with flowers. As you can see above, a very short stem has only one flower and the bottom only has two. It will take a few more years without extreme dry season before i can again get long stems full of flowers. I wonder why waiting is not boring for me!

 Mother has a few of this Euphorbia millii, which i don't like because of the spines, yet she insisted to plant a few. She has 4 varieties of this planted at the borders. At least they can tolerate very long and hot dry season, without any complaints. 

 I planted this cockscomb, Celosia gigantea, for the first time. They have the habit of scattering lots of seeds which become a problem for me when the rainy season comes, with lots of those seeds germinating which i pluck and throw out. Too much sprouts means I consider already as weeds. Look at those round seeds below the comb, they are potential plants, a lot of them, do you agree?

 This is  Euphorbia pulcherrima, the poinsettia we all get during Christmas. They are photoperiodic, where long nights induce them to change color in Dec, i wonder why they are still not turning green when our nights are already shorter.

This is viny Plumbago rosea, i always cut it at ground level hoping the stems will behave and group themselves in order. However, its habit is really like that. It grows haywire everywhere as in an uncombed long hair! But the flowers are showy red.

 Our beautiful Heliconia rostrata, which i posted earlier in a single post. It has become boring for me because we see it in the front entrance everytime. At least they will become brown and wilt at the end of the dry season, be vegetative again during the rainy season and flower prolifically again in March in time for the long dry season.

 Another Heliconia planted at the back of the H. rostrata. I find this species more vegetative and not as prolific in flowering like the H. rostrata. I always cut many stems of this to lessen the plant population in its area. 

 This Caesalpinia pulcherima has been with us for more than 20 years. They are planted along the slightly shaded hedges, get yearly pruning but still return with flowers. I posted here this one with the pods, because i have long been posting the long flower spikes, so getting away from monotony!

 Flemingia strobilifera, or wild hops. This is growing as weeds in the property and everybody treat it really as weeds. Maybe i am the only one who appreciates its beauty, calling it green shrimp and later become brown shrimp when already mature. I am so amazed when i visited my friend's farm and finding that he actually planted it domestically in plant boxes. Now i know there's already two of us who appreciate it aesthetically. 

 A spiral Ti plant, which becomes spindly and dry during the dry season. This just happens to be still looking good because it is almost covered by the tall Sanchezia. 

 Due to the unusual heavy rains at the beginning of the rainy season in March, this amaryllis Hipeastrum puniceum, produced some flowers very early. This time it is normally dormant and will flower at the same time in May or June after the first heavy rains of the season. The beginners are just a few, in contrast to the hedge-like flowers in its normal season.

A few remaining blooms of some chrysanthemums which flower in December as a result of the long night periods. I wonder why it is still flowering when the days are long again. They are considered shortday photo periodic plants because they will not flower unless they receive the daylength they need. 

My Eucharis grandiflora didn't bore me at all. A year after planting it already produced these elegantly white flowers, against the blue sky (top) and against the dark window (bottom). A spike produced at least 7 consecutive flowers. It flowers a few times per year unlike the Proiphys amboinensis below.

Lastly, this did not keep me bored at all, at its 2nd year of blooming. Unusual early rain at the start of the dry season shortened its dormancy. Here it is just starting to sprout. I might not be able to see it fully blooming as i already left for the city.

Thanks to Carol of Maydreams Gardens for continuously hosting GBBD!

My Photo       Monatlich 

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