Thursday, December 3, 2015

In Focus: Hoya obscura

Hoya obscura is one of the about 200 species of hoyas endemic or native to the Philippines. The first documented collections were from Bulusan, Sorsogon, but later found in many areas in the country. Being endemic to the country however, does not mean it is still fully available in the wild. It is now mostly found in private nurseries locally and in specialized gardens and collectors in other countries. It was just noticed and sought after here by hobbyists in the last few years, which could also have aggravated its demise in the natural habitat. 

The plant is medium size, more compact than other hoyas and grows favorably downwards in hanging baskets. Leaves are mostly green to light green with conspicuous veins. It belongs to the hoyas with milky sap. The flowers are drooping downwards with flat umbel, and the corolla is hairy revolute.   The leaves sometimes turn pinkish when exposed to colder weather in a sunny environment.
It is friendly to a hoya beginner, as it is easy to grow, and responds favorably to normal caring. But just like most of the hoyas it doesn't need wet roots all the time. Drying between watering is a requirement, in a media that is well drained. 

The flowers in the above photo can make the vicinity radius of 5 meters to be sweetly smelling of citrusy cinnamon buttered bread. My hoya garden is just 1 meter away from the terrace, and drinking coffee and toast in the morning feels more luxurious when the flowers are in bloom. I haven't heard someone not liking the scent of Hoya obscura. 

The flowers are normally visited by ants, which partake their share of nectar or whatever satisfies them there. Other insects are also seen lingering in this hoya plant. Those peduncles bearing the flowers must not be cut, as the flowers always emerged at the tips. Flowering is continuous when the plant is growing very well.

The 3 umbels above represents 3 stages of maturity, with the buds clearly seen. The other 2 umbels not in focus are fully blooming with the yellowish one being the older.

Unopen buds show dark pink around each flower, together with the pedicels. Even at the unopen stage the flowers are already beautiful.

 Above photo shows the typical size and color of the fully opened flowers. The corolla are still pinkish with the corona always yellow. Color hues of the corolla are also governed by many factors of the environment including sunlight, temperature, pH of the media. 

Above is a representative of the already advanced bloom. They become more yellow or lighter yellow as they approach dehiscence. 

They turn full yellow in 3 days when the flowers are ready to drop.

a black ant lingers on the flowers 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I have always been forgetting GBBD. Sometimes i remember when i see posts of my friends, and the meme at Maydreams Garden is already very full. So i opted to just forego with a promise to myself that i will not forget again next month. However, forgetting seems habitual. Then this time i already drafted this 3 weeks from the mid-month. I hope i will remember to post, hahaha!

Officially, we are still within our rainy season, but rain has already been dwindling. Our temperatures are at the lower 30Cs with Heat Index even higher than that, as if it is already at the height of the dry season. Climate change is manifesting so well with us, and El Nino fully aggravates it. At least our flowers and plants are still lingering with their flowers, unlike when they are in temperate zones, that cold front or frost will totally obliterate them in a few blows. So i am giving you our present garden status.

D Hedges 

I am posting both my mother's biodiversity garden and my hoya garden.

It looks invasive but who cares, white is lovely, Alternanthera ficoidea 'Snow in the Mountain'.
We just trim them when time allows. You will see some invaders there too,
that green vine is a misguided sweet potato.

Ixora coccinea never fails to show off, and is a favorite of the butterflies.

above is the wider angle shot of that area

Asystasia intrusa favorably hides a wire fence, serving also as its trellis

 Crossandra infundibuliformis gets lovelier too during the rainy season

Alternanthera ficoidea 'Party Time'

Individual Flowers

 a terete vanda remnant of an old hobby

 we also have some roses

Chrysothemis pulchelia - we have a lot of this as it has an enlarged root that lies dormant during the dry season and ressurect again during the rainy season.

a lovely lily, Hippeastrum reticulatum, flowers all year unlike most of the hippeastrum that only flowers once a year

Artemisia scoparia, also lovely when in hedges, also favorite intoxicating potion by some butterflies

Duranta erecta

 kamantigui or Impatiens balsamina. We have different colors before but it seems like only the violet and the whites remain with us now.

 red Salvia

 This Sanchezia speciosa is a new plant from our old mother plant which has been with us for several years now, allowed to grow fully during the wet season and hedged back before the end of the dry season

My Hoyas

GBBD is not complete without my hoyas, which has been occupying all my weekends. I started with a few species, but its addicting properties become so virulent that i now have a lot of species in my collection. This addiction is also contagious that i have friends now who are also deeply into it. Even my Facebook photos have its share of virulence, affecting some FB users who are not my former friends. Now they become my hoya friends. I still have many which are in bloom, but i intentionally refrain from posting them. They deserve another post. 

 Hoya diversifolia

 Hoya buotii (purple)

 Hoya buotii (yellow)

Hoya imperialis 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hoya imperialis

Hoya imperialis is a bit difficult for me to know well. It has been with me for almost 2 years and yet i still cannot understand what it fully wants to perform fully. I am aware that it hasn't received its full needs, there are three umbels that always start with many buds. Many of the buds abort at different stages of growth. But at least there still are a few flowers that continue to open. I guess it doesn't  like water more than it needs, at the same time it doesn't want to experience even a short dryness at all. In other words, it is difficult, just difficult.

But when it opens, even just only a flower will get your heart, and it really is awesome! Moreover, it stays there for 8 days. My sister says it looks so mysterious, to the brink of a bit scary at night because it is different-looking among most of the hoyas. The diameter is around 2 inches without stretching those corollas. For me, it just is other-worldly!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Flowers of Hoya diversifolia

I have not been taking photos lately. My weekends are always so short and always lacking in time. I arrive home normally after lunch from the big city where i stay weekdays, and at 3 or 4pm Sunday i leave home again to be back to the cement jungle and to the 5th Floor of the condominium where i live. Most of the time i stay late at night doing garden chores and wake up early direct to the hoya garden. I am already there even before having coffee and breakfast. Hoyas, i confess, are getting most of my time. It entails a lot of work, i am tired but i enjoy it. My hands got dirty, my legs ache, my eyes got so overworked, but still i love them.

Photography now takes second place. Butterflies, lots of insects and spiders roam around, but i seem oblivious of them. Oh how i miss photographing those butterflies. When they enter the hoya garden, then i somehow can take their photos. But that is not often, so i lack butterfly photos this year. Again, this seems hard work, but i enjoy it.

Hoya diversifolia flowers in an umbel. It was just washed with strong rain, so the usually oozing nectar is not seen now. In a few hours there will be nectar again.

This Hoya diversifolia is planted about 3 years ago when i got disappointed in seeing a supposed-to-be a hoya sanctuary in a resort. After returning to our place i immediately planted this to climb our lanzones tree in front of the house. This bottom parts of the hoya are exposed to the sun, those leaves get so yellow and wilted during the dry season. It is the rainy season so the leaves resurrect and get a bit greener. It doesn't receive watering at all.

This NE part of the canopy shows a lot of consecutive peduncles on the vines.  I was able to take direct level photos by climbing our rooftop. It is nice to look at long strings of blooming umbels.

 Branches that tend to drop from the branches produce lots of blooming umbels too.

 This phase of the 2 adjoining lanzones trees fronts the house, and the vines already transfered to the 2nd lanzones tree at the left.  A few lanzones fruit bunches are starting to ripen. This year it is not laden with more fruits unlike last year. The lanzones tree is not fertilized so it gives biennial fruiting.

 the same portion of the trees at wider angle

 this photo was taken during the typhoon showing the branches moving with the wind

 a migrating vine with long growth shows consecutive blooming peduncles

another nook with lots of blooms

The hoya vines already reached the canopy of one side, stems still 
conquering more portions of the tree. It is amazing how prolific this 
hoya is in our country. I guess that is because it is native here and needs 
no acclimatization to bloom fully.

Monday, October 19, 2015

For the Memes

I would like to show you some flowers found in my garden in the province this time of the year. They are mostly around during the wet season. I posted them for joining most of the memes. They are all shots this October, when we are entering the colder part of our weather. As most countries enter the Winter we get some temperature spillage from them, giving us the most comfortable in terms of temperatures.

This is the end of our rainy season, but that doesn't mean we are free from strong typhoons, especially now that our climate is trully changing for the worst. Today a very strong typhoon just wrecked havoc in the northern part of Luzon, with a lot of areas suffering from floods, thousands of families rescued from their water-laden homes, some lives sacrificed. I was in the province last weekend with fortunately weaker winds. I came back to Manila last Sunday night (last night). We in Metro Manila got only Signal No. 2, which also gave lots of water/flooding, causing closure of classes in all levels. My plants outside the 5th Floor Window are now in quarantine inside the room, as the winds might still blow them away.

 Jasminum sambac gives wonderful scent in the garden

 a hoya flower 

Hoya buotii purple corona inner lobes for Ruby Tuesday 

Hoya ilagiorum for Ruby Tuesday

a bitter gourd leaf, Momordica charantia

a butterfly on Duranta repens, its favorite nectar plant in my garden