Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blooms in December

The colder temperatures for the year are finally here! The Northeast Monsoon already brings the colder temperatures from the winter countries north of us, like China and Russia. These temperatures are maybe hotter than most of the summers in temperate countries, but we love it anyway as these are the only cold temps we get. You might laugh but the lowest we get in Metro Manila is just below 25°C, which also gets to above 30°C at mid day! Don't worry about us, when we really want to get colder, we go to the uplands or Baguio City, that we call our Summer Capital. The temperatures there are sub-tropical, where most of us wear sweaters and jackets.

In my province where my garden is, it only gets colder at dawn, so we feel the most out of it as much as we can. At noon we still get 32-35°C. What do you say about our temps, when some countries already have the negative numbers? That is fine, as long as we still get enough flowers. They are dwindling now, but they don't really get lost, they just mature and produce seeds. Some are still blooming though.

There are 2 orchids there, the terete Vanda and the white Dendrobium.They are self supporting so not very luxurious in growth.

This Ixora coccinea  just blooms continuously throughout the year. It doesn't mind if its raining or dry season. During the latter the leaves just get yellowish but still produce flowers. And can you see that Scarlet Mormon butterfly? It is one of our biggest, and also one of the most difficult to photograph.

The red hibiscus is always there too, we just always prune it to get just bushy. Red against green is very Christmassy in color.

This firespike is under the trees, yet continuously produce those red spikes.

Yellow heliconias are blooming too, but the blooms are few compared to the leaves, so i can't get a wide angle shot with lots of them.

Gardenia when in bloom gives sweet fragrance in the vicinity. It is just unfortunate that the bloom stays open only for a day.

Turnera subulata is tolerant of the dry season.

Turnera ulmifolia also has deep roots that allow it to thrive even during the dry season. Dry or wet, the turneras are always around. It is much loved by the honeybees and stingless bees. 

my white dendrobium

another self supporting terete Vanda perfectly lovely in lavender

Asystasia intrusa

Asystasia intrusa lives up to its name, very invasive! If we will not cut their vines, it will conauer every space in the property. Here it serves as fence climbing the cyclone wire.

Pentas lanceolata, another favorite of the butterflies, stressed during the dry season though.

Hoya buotii, named after one of the botanists at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.

Hoya nakarensis, named from the place it was first collected, Nakar, Quezon.

Hoya alwitriana, very much loved by the native honeybees. Even if there are hoya blooms around, they just converge in this hoya. Yellow is attractive to insects. 

Hoya ilagiorum is also named after a family from UP Los BaƱos, it flowers all year when propery attended to.

And of course, this Hoya diversifolia is constantly blooming from September to January. Most of you have seen this, as i can't resist posting them blooming at the top of the lanzones trees. It suffered a bit when we cut some branches of the tree for the new hoya house. I gave some friends a lot of cuttings. I hope the remaining vines will continue flourishing for many years. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Critters on my Hoya

Hoya ilagiorum is one of the most prolific of the hoyas. After the blooms dehisce, it starts preparing for the buds again, and in a few weeks blooms appear once more. It also has a slight aroma that is not actually bad, but not also very prominent to the senses. It blooms in the afternoon and remains open for 3-4 days. Some hoya species rest for a while from blooming, but this one never fails to delight us. And of course, its color is very attractive.

a typical Hoya ilagiorum umbel

last week i saw some flowers without the corona, or those whitish stars protruding from the corolla

I searched inside the umbel, and this very small larva about 2 cm in length is the culprit. I removed it and put in a farther place. Unfortunately, some chickens followed me and saw it. That was a food chain happening before me. 

The other umbel just newly opened, and this butterfly cannot resist its scent and nectar. The nice thing about this butterfly is its lingering habit, not always fluttering rapidly like the others. It is friendly to the camera and delightful for me. Idiopsis juventa manillana

Even if my time is very much occupied, if the butterflies alight on the hoya, i cannot resist taking their pictures. I felt like it was my reward for so much time devoted to the hoyas, neglecting to chase the butterflies. But if they are together, then i can have both in one shot, 2 birds in one stone!