Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Missed the Butterflies

When i indulged in Hoyas, the short weekend at home is lost to them. Just looking at them, familiarizing myself on the characteristics of the leaf designs, colors and habits of the vines, manner of growing, etc really use all my time. I look at every leaf axils as there might already be a spur ready to flower, or the previous spurs that might have lengthened or stayed the same. I can see the butterflies fluttering around, but i relegated my attention to the hoyas. I hope the butterflies will not be jealous.

 Lantana is a real favorite of butterflies. You will notice the two above, however the other species are so fast i can't shoot them.

 Again this one is on Lantana camara. Can you blame me for planting an invasive species? Tirumala limniace orestilla

 Turnera subulata is also a magnet for some butterflies, bees and other insects. I don't know the reason though, why the flowers only open for a few hours in the morning before noon, and close the rest of the afternoon. We have a lot of these scattered on the ground, so the critters are happy. Pareronia boebera boebera 

Tirumala limniace orestilla again. We have many of these.

 another Hypolimnas bolina on the Lantana camara

 Even the blue Duranta repens is a favorite of butterflies. However, it is already tall limiting my accessibility to shoot them. Anyway, i already pruned it for more young shoots to emerge and more flowers. However, this Hypolimnas bolina male seems not to be very picky among flowers.

 This Pentas lanceolata is growing nicely, but the pink and violet counterpart is so slow. This common mormon (Papilio polytes male) loves this. Not many butterflies though want the pentas nectar.

 Comon mormon (Papilio polytes female) loves the Ixora more than the pentas. I based these conclusions from my observation, but i don't fully espouse them for lack of scientific merit. I just see them more often in the plants above.

They are doing the courtship ritual, did so for a few minutes, I was able to take some shots, but rains drove them away. I haven't seen where they eventually hide. That was a lovely weekend.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sourly Sweet

We have a perennial bushy plant or a small tree near our kitchen. The location is very handy for its many kitchen uses. Filipino palate uses a lot of sour seasoning in many recipes, and the fruit of this plant comes naturally for our use. Both the fruit and the leaves are used as medicinal as well. I searched for these uses and the knowledge will change how i look at "dayap", our local lime,  from now on! Scientifically it is called Citrus aurantifolia.

The peel has a lovely scent that contains a lot of oils, and i realized some of which are good sources of antioxidants and weight loss properties. From now on, instead of using vinaigrette, vinegar or calamansi (Citrus microcarpa syn. Citrofortunella microcarpa), i will now be using this citrus. That will even give me more savings because our three trees never stop producing a lot of fruits throughout the year.

 I never thought that its flower when given particular attention is very delicate and beautiful. This will further change how I look at our "dayap".

These are still immature fruits but can already be used for souring. Mature fruits have slightly lighter green or yellowish green color. The taste doesn't change in maturity, only the volume of juice and ease of juicing change. It is the mature ones that is very handy and readily substitutes for the grapefruit used by many for detoxification.

'Dayap' here i come!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

GBBD for August

I have missed GBBD for July, I forgot if I were so busy, so lazy or I just really missed it. Actually, I was a bit busy, was sick and was not able to go home last month, so i missed taking pictures. Anyway, our garden dwellers don't really vary much in a month's time during the rainy season. There could be a foot growth in some plants, some bloomed maybe more profusely, but i am sure they will still be here this August or even next September. So i purposely post here mostly the foliage plants, next month if things will still remain normal i will post the real flowers.

We have a lot of them now at the middle of the rainy season. The problem is in limiting the number of posts and not the availability of photos to post. I promise we have a lot, and i am not yet including the butterflies and critters. I will save them for Saturday. This is just like an enumeration, or a parade, lined up for appreciation.

So this is the gate to the small garden in the province. I am at the garden facing the bar-less entrance. Beyond that entrance is the orchard that ends with a small forest, where birds converge for the night. A street divides the garden from the orchard. To the left where the crotons sit line the hedges of many different plants including heliconia, cryptanthus, candle flower, dracaena and golden duranta. I will not post here the hedges.

This is the close-up of the Alternanthera that grows at the right of the entrance in the top photo. It is a bit invasive, so i often cut them to the ground, but it grows fast in a few weeks. 

This is an unusual Coleus, which i grow to balance the mostly green surroundings. This growth is only from a planted stem. When still very young, its leaves are even larger and looking more vigorous.

We have a few varieties of Caladium. We just let them go dormant on the ground during the dry season, and the rains immediately resurrect them to this lushness. The above is already 5 years old. this is just below the blue Duranta bush.

This whitish caladium is known to send out very long petioles and wide leaves. I planted it on the ledge with very thin topsoil, almost on top of porous rock so petioles will be shorted and leaves smaller. As you can see, i got the desired purpose.

This clump of the old traditional caladium just grows here on the ground as a volunteer. It started last year and now is already a big clump. Even if not on the right area, i cannot just dig them for transferring, maybe i will do that during their dormancy when they are not as beautiful.

This clump was intentionally planted here, to balance the green foliage at the background and the cascading greens in front. 
Above photo is obviously a newly acquired one, as it is still planted on a pot being cared for to produce more corms. It is my reddest yet. I actually found its small corm two years ago from the garden show/exhibit. I am glad i noticed it before many feet trampled and mashed it to death.

Above left is our crinum with wonderful scent. This is already its 2nd scape this rainy season. It might still produce another one before the dry season starts. 

We can see a lot of blooms in one umbel of this crinum. They bloom staggered so the umbel last for about 2-3 weeks until all blooms are spent. That is long enough for the garden scent to be around the vicinity.

The hedge of the Caesalpinia pulcherrima grows to a tall bush. A lot of butterflies also love nectarring here, and the small yellow ones also use it as host plant. Above is orange while the bottom is pink.

I looted the seeds of this one from the highway when our bus stopped for an emergency. The pinkish flowers i thought are prettier than our common orange. This is still planted in a pot.

 Our Mussaenda 'Doña Luz' towers at about 10 feet. Pruning in December produce this show of the lovely bracts this time of the year. We have at least two plants of this size. It will be pruned again when the bracts turn brown starting this dry season.

Can you see the flower? They are those small yellow ones almost hidden among the multitude of bracts. 

The orange Lantana, i once took from the meadows of a southern province, is now the preferred food for our butterflies. This is actually an invasive species, but i want butterflies to come, so i ignore its invasiveness. We have it also in variegation of white and pink, but the habit is not as compact as this orange.

Another introduced species in the country are this Sanchezia speciosa and Alternanthera. They both grow vigorously without much attention, except for pruning. Cutting them at the start of the rainy season produce lush beautiful colored leaves like the above. Nothing eats them so they completely go to the compost pile. 

Next month will be the parade of the blooms!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Foreigner in my Custody!

I received a few half-centimeter diameter bulblets of an unfamiliar lily two years ago. This was sent in a small package of other seeds courtesy of a blogger friend in the US. Of course, the very small bulblets excite me more than the seeds, which otherwise proved to be more susceptible to our tropical climate. The bulblets thrive, though hesitant at first, they eventually acclimatized and passed successfully our hot dry season of >35C.  Half the leaves died, but they lived through. I had to put the pot under filtered shade during dry months and they were so pampered with water and attention.

I searched immediately with how they look and the bright red curly petals seem so beautiful. I haven't seen anything like it here in the country. It was reported to have originated from China and Japan, and I realized it is a bit invasive in foreign lands, and they are seen growing abundantly in abandoned lands. I hope this is the first Licoris radiata here and i will try not to allow it invade our lands. The first bloom already emerged, with four flowers per scape. Despite the small flower size, they are lovely.

The petals curl at the tip, but the petal blades also look like ruffles.

The very long wiskers, which are actually the filament, are wonderful

 Only three flowers are already open in this picture. I still don't know how long is the bloom life.

I searched for any succeeding scape, but nothing is conspicuous just yet. I hope more spikes will be produced this season, which coincide with the rainy months. Those long thin leaves are beautiful on their own, with the whitish hues at the center of the leaves along the midrib area. 

I have a few foreigner plants in my custody, but this one has the brightest and loudest color, so far!

Badge 2 photo RubyTuesdayToobadge_zpsafc3fc23.jpg

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Old Reliable Hibiscus

Chimera plants are those where cells of more than one genetic makeup are found growing adjacent to each other in one plant. This is well exemplified in plants by variegation. Many plants have variegation and it is very well preferred in the ornamental industry. Even fruit trees and herbs produce chimera. This big bush below is our neighbor's. It is only one plant and constant pruning produced a more compact roundish canopy. Variegated stems are very prominent here because they are allowed to grow longer, without pruning excessively and allowing each branch to droop as it gets heavy with leaves. 

 There are stems that are fully green or normal. Lesser stems produce less chlorophyls, but plants like this are more beautiful as stand alone landscape plant.

 Leaves vary in their chlorophyll concentration. The one above has more or less equal prominence of green and whites. Chimeric leaves often start with less chlorophyll when young, but develops more at maturation.

Even the stem color of chimeric plants vary. The above stem of a predominantly white leaves stem is red, while those from normal green stems are maroon with greenish tinge. However, this red flowered variety produce the same red-colored flowers, no matter whether the branch is variegated or normal.

The more challenging is when getting stems for propagation. When you get the branch having fully green leaves, it might be difficult to get variegation through time. So if it is variegation you are after, cut the stems with very evident variegation. This will ensure a constant production of chimera in the new plant.