Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hooked on Hoya

My affair with hoya started only last year, when i was given a plant by a plant breeder friend.  She was an authority in hoya then, before she left for the other dimension. Then in a garden show in January this year i was again given two plants by a collector who happened to be a colleague of another hoya authority, also a friend. The two plants are too prolific and even without much care and attention give me continuous flowering. I brought one to the province while the other was left with me in the city. They both flowered immediately after the previous blooms finished. The first photo below is the sample of its flowers. This species got me hooked.

Hoya buotii. I am so delighted with the fussy corolla and the bigger size of the individual flowers. They are very good subjects for photography.

The immature flower buds of Hoya buotii

leaves of the Hoya buotii
I then realized that more than 100 species are native or endemic to the country, but they are mostly not anymore seen in the wild. They have already been in the hands of collectors, who mostly are based in other countries. Many of the species can just be sourced from these foreign nurseries, at already a high price.  Many hoya enthusiasts, hobbyists and conservationists are now collecting them with ultimate goal of putting some specimens in sanctuaries, if not back to the wild. That is also my purpose if ever my attempts in growing them will succeed.

 However, an absentee gardener has a big problem. I live in the big city and it is already fortunate if i can see the plants once-a-month. Normally, it is even beyond a month. It is a bit easier during the rainy season because they can be left on their own. My sister is forced to care for them during the dry season, when water at our area is a big problem.

 Earlier acquired plants already develop some spur, as shown above. That is where the blooms arise. Unfortunately, i am forced to disturb the vines when training them to be growing in a circle, so they will not grow upwards clinging to fruit tree trunks. These spurs were stressed by that disturbance, and they become dormant.

 The last garden show in the city, there were lots of small hoya rooted cuttings for sale. Many of these only have two leaves but already with roots like the Hoya imperialis above. One species normally have a few clones, each clone show a different bloom color.

Aside from buying them, there are also a few given by friends. A Hoya Exchange Group is also active in helping everybody get their desired species. This way, everybody increases their collection.

I devoted one whole Saturday in making planting media and planting. The above photo shows my newly acquired plants. I put them under the fruit trees to avoid direct sunlight. They prefer bright light from filtered lights. This arrangement is simulating their normal environmental conditions while still in the wild. 

Another view of my finished job, after a long day. They will just be watered by my sister when normal rains are not available. I hope by next year all of them will already show their blooming secrets. And i further hope that many gardeners will be envious of my display and themselves be lured in collecting hoyas.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Macro Weed Bloom

This is a leguminous weed flower, not very conspicuous on its own to humans. But put it through a macro lens and it becomes a different subject! Do you agree?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 2013 GBBD

I missed GBBD last month, but it doesn't mean we don't have blooms in September. As long as we are within the rainy season, we will always see a lot of blooms. Never mind if most of them are orange and red, we are stuck with these warm colors as long as the climate change has not yet drastically changed the world's seasons. We are the tropics, warm and humid. Despite the typhoons visiting us in one season through all the letters of the alphabet, we also get the Inter Tropical Convergent Zone (ITCZ) and Low Pressure Areas (LPA). All of these correspond to a lot of rains, and most frequently floods in some low areas, or landslides in soft steep zones. Fortunately, we live, or our garden is located in a safe place.They are all planted on the ground, mostly untended. Rains are actually advantageous to our plants. As long as they are happy, i am happy too.

Chrysothemis pulchella is at its best during the rainy season, dwindling or dormant at dry months

Odontonema strictum loves the rainy season too, but not very happy under shade 

 Anthurium andreanum shows its lush growth too, evidenced by the bright spathe, this is pale pink in the dry months.

 This Hippeastrum flowered for the first time with one bulb having two scapes and one scape having 3 blooms. Isn't it great.

This zinnia has been blooming for almost a year now, it might dry during the next months.

This is a lily I haven't yet searched well for the proper ID, but it is also dormant during the dry season

Butterflies bloom when flowers abound

Hedychium coronarium provides a nice scent for the garden, reaching around a few meter radius when the wind blows, it provides a good lingering scent while i am having coffee in the terrace, while the birds are eating the fruits in the nearby tree.

 Even my Hoya diversifolia flowered for the first time, in less than a year from planting. Can you see the 3rd level of immature flowers under the 2nd growth. I'd like to tell you that the 3 nodes above this are carrying immature flowers too. It's not very busy eh!

 The Ixora provides a good nectar source for butterflies, they really love it, and loved also by the photographer because the butterfly just transfer its proboscis from one flower to the next in the same umbel. I can focus and shoot when they stay at one place.

 This Impatiens walleriana is planted in that cracked plastic basin, recycling to the max! I guess the basin will have a long service life this way.

This golden duranta hedge is overpowered by the invasive Asystasia intrusa; bougainvillea is relegated to the side, while the tall Cycas serve as the green background. This Asystasia is truly living its name!

This is just one plant of the blue Duranta repens (erecta), but it produced lots of new growths and flowers after pruning. This is a favorite of the butterflies and they normally converge here.

I always cut this Sanchezia speciosa leaving only a foot at the base, and it always give this luxuriously healthy growth afterwards. It flowers during the dry season, so prunning is annually.

 Dracaena fruticosa is a very tough plant, which can stay long indoors too. This is planted in a rocky surface yet doesn't complain, still produce lots of flowers like firecrackers which eventually will become orange berries resembling Christmas lights.

 This tree Lantana has been here for more than 10 years, i don't totally remove it because of the butterflies. It already has a 1 inch diameter trunk.

Lastly, even the white mushrooms are blooming during the rainy season. We still have a lot of blooms, but i ommitted some because there's already a lot of photos in this post. Maybe i will reserve the rest for next month, because some of these here are already getting old and might not be nice anymore for the next GBBD. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Spiky Delicious Beauty!

Maybe those from the temperate countries will not easily identify what this thing is! But for those from the tropics, this is very common. This is a fruit of a tropical tree, that originated from South America. They are naturalized here in the country, maybe introduced during the colonial past or the galleon trade. The trees though are small in size, just taller than a shrub. We have many volunteer trees in the orchard and under cocunut trees. Ripe fruits not finished by birds just fell on the ground and the seeds grow again becoming new ones.

When we were kids i don't like its sourish taste. Maybe that is because there are other fruits available. Lately though, it became famous in the internet, reported to be medicinal for many ailments including cancer. The leaves too are reported to be soaked in water, which in turn drank for healthy body cell growth. It has become a very in demand fruit here, the  price increased as well. In my case, whenever I come home and there is a mature fruit i see to it that i bring them to the city. I suddenly realized i love eating the flesh most specially when very cold, fresh from the refrigerator. Others prefer it to be in shakes. I prefer it to be eaten fresh. It is available all year round in the market, but uncareful handling or picking them at immature stages render the fruit not at its best. Ours from the property are picked ripe and at the most excellent quality like these in the photos. Internationally, it maybe known as graviola, but we call it guyabano or Anona muricata.

It is the fruit of Anona muricata, or soursop and has been famous in the internet as 'graviola'. It is locally called guyabano here in the country. The flesh is white while the seeds are black. Those thorns are soft when ripe and easily broken in handling. Ripe fruits are soft and easily yields to finger's slight pressure.

A moderately sized fruit like this one can weigh at least one kilogram. Sometimes, i bring 3 fruits to the city to be distributed to officemates.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Water Blobs

Rain has always been a positive element for me. Whatever others feel during heavy rains, I am always joyful and celebrate the rains; and it hasn't changed through the years! Even in the  city, commuters get depressed to  ride the jeepneys or busses during heavy rains. I relate with them very well because you run and struggle with fellow passengers to board first against everyone else, while at the same time holding on to the open umbrella to be closed quickly on entrance. Despite this difficulties, i still enjoy these and amused at the collective movements of the passengers, sometimes they can be like a mob with a distinct sole purpose, that is get a place in the bus and go home.

At other times i just watch the commuters while at the sidestreet enjoying the scene. Of course your pants will be wet to the knees and your shoes get soggy. That is a bit uncomfortable, but that is also an interesting experience. I also like watching the plants after a good soak. They communicate with me their joy and sense of well-being, and they send the sense of contentment. That, somehow, is how i fell too.

Custard apple leaves after the rains

Caladium leaf

a hoya leaf 

a cactus flower

an orchid inflorescence