Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tropical Highway Scenes

I am fond of taking photos while inside the bus going home to the province on Saturday mornings and returning to the big city again the following day. This time I make sure to sit on the left side of the bus for the sunset views. It is very difficult to take photos while the bus is in full speed at the highway, but i just keep on shooting, sometimes i get a few decent shots.

Akasya trees or raintree (Samanea saman) are towering above other vegetation in this side of the highway. It is untypical canopy for this tree, but they are regularly pruned to behave that way. Fruit trees below them need partial shading for proper growth and development. 

This is a scene in one of the toll gates. I like the combination of the  hedge colors here. 

 It would be very nice if the bus will just stop here for me to take nicer shots of this landscape. I love the white sugarcane flowers in the foreground. They glisten with the afternoon sun, but they gently sway with the wind, producing the blurry effects.

The sun here is already hiding beyond the tall bamboos. How i love to have a long zoom lens on the ground to take this scene. Never mind, a private car one of these days will solve this wish. 

I am joining Tina's PicStory to give them some deviation from the winter grey skies at the other side of the world. Our tropical skies seldom get grey in the whole year.

  Our World Tuesday Graphic

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My other 5th Floor Residents

Hoya buotii given by a new acquaintance at the last horticulture show. She gave me two plants and this one has some flower buttons already. This is endemic to the Philippines and is actually named after one of the UP Los Baños university professors now dean of the UP Open University, Dr Buot. Out of the more than 300 species of hoya, about 115 are endemic to the Philippines. The sad part is, many of them are not found anymore in the country, but in the gardens of foreigner collectors. The foreigners are now selling them in prices we are not able to pay! How humiliating for us now, to have allowed such loss.  

My single tomato plant flowered, but it developed only three fruits because of the leaf miners infecting the leaves. Besides, the birds seem to have the habit of cutting the leaves without eating them. They just leave them on the ledge.

A basil plant already flowered and seeded. I already topcut this and planted some new cuttings. The flowers are so dainty and elegantly white.

The left photo above is ampalaya or bitter gourd joined in the pot by ashitaba or cholesterol plant. I've harvested lots of ampalaya leaves already for mixing with mungbean stew. However, no matter how good the advertisements for ashitaba, i have not been keen in eating it, but it grows so profusely even with less water. At the right is an ampalaya flower. 

Who says my garden is small! It can accommodate even a praying mantis. However, i saw this only for a day, maybe the birds ate it. Those are already the fruits of the Ipomoea aquatica. Some already ripened which I've germinated again, and they are now growing (below).  The birds are my competitors in growing them. 
My newly planted 2nd generation of kangkong.

The green onions are very prolific and giving me lots of leaves. I left some plants and just get the leaves whenever i cook, the plant don't seem to mind. They have been growing already for almost a year now!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My New Acquantances

Succulents are beautiful plants, but i haven't grown a cactus at all. However, when i transferred to a condominium unit at the 5th floor, my access to the land or soil or earth gets so difficult. But of course many of you know that i have some pots on the airconditioner ledge, and I have to be contented with that. I have been forcing myself to be contented with the smallest garden patch in the world. I have a few kinds of vegies there and the birds even share with me by getting some of the leaves. I have kangkong, ampalaya, green onion, tomato. Furthermore, there are three Rhenanthera orchid seedlings, 3 Hoya seedlings, 1 Epiphyllum oxypetalum, 1 zigzag plant and 1 very very tiny Adenium, that is only 3in tall in a 1in ceramic pot! Can you beat that!

My smallest window is only 1.5ft wide. This is not a busy window, so it inspired my planting of cactus. The window sill accomodates 3 small cactus. Eventually, i put stacks of cartons on the side, where i put some more succulents. At least they don't need full sun from sunrise to sunset, the afternoon sun passed through the glass window and keep them alive.

My 1.5ft window where i keep my indoor cactus. Haworthia attenuata decided to flower now, after 6 months in this compact space it learned to adapt. I just used the soft plastic as container so they can be contained in a very thin elongated tray, longitudinally placed at the window sill.

 Newly acquired in January, it already toppled 3 times, ejected from the pot and replanted. This doesn't fit in the window sill anymore so have to be placed on an extra platform behind the Haworthia.

The very very tiny Adenium obesum at 3 inches tall, on a 1 in ceramic container. Can you see the companion succulent which volunteered to grow at the side! It is already there when i bought it. I guess this is already 3 years old in that torturing situation.

Another Haworthia species bought in the garden show last January, probably it is Haworthia reinwardtii. It is said that producing a tall columnar plant without any dead leaf at the middle is a real challenge.

This ricrac, zigzag, or fishbone orchid cactus,  Cryptocereus anthocyanus, started as a 2 inch cutting i picked at the garden show ground, already stepped on by some feet. You might say i have a green thumb as the almost dead piece is brought back to life. It is actually that base at the left side where 3 branches are already growing.

They look like this now!  That rectangular plastic tray is a recycled tofu container, while the Haworthia at the back is placed in another transparent recycled plastic to maintain the water drippings at the bottom. This way a humid root area is maintained.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Orange for Monday

An orange for Monday might misled many readers! I mean orange color of this Clerodendrum intermedium, a volunteer plant in our property. This is a bush and produce lovely big spikes loved by butterflies. The visitor here is not so obvious as it cling downwards on that lower left. Actually this flower is already on the late part of blooming, as many fruits are already evident. In a little while those fruits will turn black as they ripen, disperse its seeds and propagate again when the rains come in May.

lorik art

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Philippines Horticulture Show 2013

The Philippine Horticultural Society, Inc. holds annual garden show at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City. It normally is scheduled at the beginning of the year when weather in Metro Manila is still more comfortable compared to later months when the dry season is at its peak. This show marks the start of our hot and dry season. It was shortened this year to only 8 days because the plants in the exhibit area normally cannot recover anymore after the 2-wk display. The theme now is gardening with a heart, literally and figuratively, and also because of the approaching Valentine's Day. Lectures are also scheduled daily for the whole duration of the show.

Two sites are always allotted for the show, one for the landscape design and exhibit, where prizes are given. The other site is occupied by the commercial booths, where fruit trees to cactuses are available for sale. My office is just a short distance ride from the area, so i can always pop-in when i feel like it.

 The big heart design is easily accomplished with the more common flowering plants: marigolds, torenia, impatiens, etc.

The big acacia tree, Samanea saman, provided a beautiful backdrop for back to back exhibit. This side is composed of the aroids and ferns, while at the back of this shot, facing the entrance are mostly decorated with hoyas. The left side is planted with agaves, orchids and philodendrons and other filling plants. Even the high branches are laden with cascading plants, making it like a natural setting.

The above basket holds a lot of epiphytes but mostly hoya, hanging on a very high tree branch.

 Another landscape design is full of very colorful array of ornamentals, with a heart full of tillandsias.

 Desert designs are always present in these shows, the above is just one of the three designs this year. The rocks look so natural, while the cactus are already big and a collectors' item. Those cactus at the far left could have already been with the owner for several decades.

Urban gardening styles are also very well featured in this year's show. Above is just one of them, with recycled soft drink bottles. Those plants at the center on a vertical stand are all growing on those bottles. With the decreasing spaces for gardening in the cities, these designs and vertical strategies get so much attention and adoptors. Even common vegetables grow very well in these vertical recycled bottle designs.

Above is not an exhibit, but a perennially growing bougainvillea climbing a narra tree. It lends a good complimentary color to the greens around. This is also at the center of the exhibit area.


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