Saturday, April 22, 2017

Camera Pets!

My niece always wants to pose for the camera since she was a kid. That hasn't diminished through the years. Because of the digital technology and the easy access to photos with celfones, she has lots of them. I wonder why these days the so called millenials are so fond of taking their own photos. It is almost like second thoughts to them to raise their fones, smile and click.

I am not fond of taking people's photos, only for special occassions, on trips as tourists to say we were there, or when obliged in group pictures. But i seldom stay in front, nor be prominently displayed in focus. I noticed that there are also older people who take their own photos seemingly like they are still young, or mimick the actions of the millenials. I laughed at the word selfie, groupie, and i chuckled at the words by an Indian blogger friend "doublefie". Oh how easy we are in coining words, they come with the times, but very functional.

Back to my niece. She knows i don't like to take much of her photos anymore. She already graduated from college and already working. So in the following pictures she took someone to go with her. She was able to oblige me even without words. There i am hooked to click!

 We have 2 mother goats, and they both have newly born pair of kids.

 they are pets and the kids come to the house when hungry

 They even smell better than dogs, even if they don't bathe. And look
 at those soft eyes, they are so lovable and endearing.

 my niece and nephew always hug them at this young age

These are the brown pair from Goat Mom One, and Goat Mom Two has a pair of blacks, the same style as the browns. One of them is purely black and the twin has white. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

GBBD for April 2017

Uploading garden photos on April Fools Day  anticipating the 15th for GBBD might be too early. But that is a lesson learned when i forego posting for some months in the past because i am just reminded when i see a few posts linked to FB. So since last month i already learned. I am smiling to myself because of this, but i also enjoy the fun. Don't worry that i might be posting those from last month because these flowers will still be there until maybe a few months more. Those that will dehisce sooner are anyway not posted yet for last month.

Even if we are already experiencing heat at above 30°C with Heat Index of 36°C, some of our plants don't seem to care. They love the heat and humidity.
Bougainvillea is a known hot and drought tolerant plant. They even florish at the height of the dry season here. It can be found everywhere here in the tropics, as if it is our national flower, though it isn't. Above is our share of it, planted near the street and allowed to go haywire. That is only one plant, been there for many years.

 Caladiums are rainy season plants in most gardens in the tropics. They normally go dormant during our dry season, but these two, above and below, are alive and growing well because their pots are placed in another container with  inch of water in . That inhibits their tendency to be dormant. So they remained colorful.

Impatiens balsamina is starting to dry as they are very succulent and matures fast during the dry season. The seeds are now scaterring and will voluntarily emerge again in May or June come rainy months.

 The 4 o├žlock flower grows like crazy under slightly sheltered light under the avocado and jackfruit trees. They have the well developed storage organ at the base that prevent them from drying, and the primary root is deep that can get some moisture below the soil surface. A lot of seeds are also scaterred that makes it a bit invasive. I have already uprooted a lot of these plants to the garbage.

 close up of the flower of 4 o'clock or Mirabilis jalapa

This is the only hippeastrum which flowered on its own without dormancy, and flowers more than once per year. Others definitely becomes dormant and flowers only when watered or placed in refrigerated storage for sometime. I am not sure if this is H reticulatum var striatifolium or H reticulatum var striatifolium 'Mrs Garfield'

 A mini anthurium which delighted me with a very long flower bloom life. The oldest flower has been there for already 2 months and now 2 more followed and it is still there. It is a newly single plant. 

adeniums love the dry hot months, so this is expected

The butterfly pea just started flowering, i let it climb on the matting wire, and that was lovely. Actually, i thought i planted a blue one, but surprisingly it is white. Anyway, it is also lovely, 
and a few friends are already waiting for some seeds. Next rainy season 
i will not conceed without the blue Clitoria ternatea. 

Clitoria ternatea pods will mature this dry season, ready again for planting for the rainy months

 newly opening Hoya bicolensis

No GBBD from me will be posted without hoyas. Of course, they are the main characters in my garden, they just exchanged places in blooming.

 Hoya bicolensis a day after opening

Hoya lucardenasiana

 Hoya pubicorolla ssp anthracina - this has been flowering continuously for already a few months 

 Hoya buotii purple buds

Hoya lockii

 My hoyas are not really always doing great, flowering continuously without hassles. Hoya lockii above is its first flowering. It came from Thailand as a present from a friend who visited lately. I was so glad last week when i saw the buds, but they eventually aborted because of too much heat.

Hoya madulidii

The nodes of Hoya madulidii are almost all laden with buds, i was so expectant that there will be a lot of black flowers simultaneously blooming. But everytime i go home on weekends, the older buds are aborted. I am so disappointed, but what can we do, we really lack water in the province during this months of extremely hot weather. 

   The summary of my garden is this reflection. How do you like it?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Famous Milkweed

I have long been hearing and reading things about milkweed for a long time. It is famous because it is the host for the even more famous monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, which comes to the US from Mexico for a very long dramatic urge for something they haven't yet known why! The genetic make up of this butterfly is so unique, i guess! 

Then this milkweed is also controversial because it is said to suffer extinction in a place bombarded by a GMO herbicide that is reported to be erradicationg all weeds. Others also do not like it for being almost invasive that becomes a dilemma for farmers. Then comes the other sector at the other side of the fence, conserving the milkweed for the balance of biodiversity that is threatened by so many "advance technology" chemicals and so called development. 

Being not familiar with this weed, i got curious. I thought it is only growing in temperate countries, where a lot of controversies lie. Eventually, when i got addicted to growing hoyas, i learned that they are in the same family, Aclepiadaceae. Oh that even heightens my curiosity more! Lo and behold, when i visited (highlands) Baguio City last December i saw it in the Botanical Garden. This is Asclepias curassavica, also a host for the monarchs found here, Danaus chrysippus & Danaus melanippus,  different species from the famous one. I got some seeds to try in our hot lowlands, and it thrive very well as you can see in the following photos. 

growth is healthy without any predator at all, our monarchs haven't seen it yet

 there are different stages of blooming maturity in one stem, so i can see flowers every weekend

it gave me lots of photography angles and each single one is lovely

those seemingly dancing ladies in their vivid red gowns are so attractive
 I can see the flower parts resembling that of the hoya, being in the same family. It has been flowering since February and hasn't stopped since then. 

 Last March it started to produce the fruits, i can already imagine the seeds inside those pods. In hoyas the fruits are technically called follicles, i just don't know how they call it in milkweeds. I am sure more pods will develop later on, and i will be able to distribute seeds to friends. Maybe i already have the premonition that even here in the tropics where it is alien, it will also become more invasive. So good luck to us.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Garden Residents Popped Again

 It is already very very dry and hot again. Our dry season just started in March, but the heat seems to already be in April-May, the height of our intense 2nd season. Here in Metro Manila the highest recorded temperature now is 31°C with Heat Index of 39°C. Can you relate to these conditions, when you are still expecting for spring, still in the midst of very cold winter? I remember reading something like, the hot countries will get hotter, while cold countries will even be colder! OMG, we are being punished! If this is not climate change, then what is inflicting us these conditions?

Anyway, enough of that, that is a human being talking. I wonder how the smaller garden creatures feel. They are still there, as if not feeling the heat. They just hid among the flowers or leaves. They seem to be just feeling great, as long as there is food.

This spider doesn't have the back abdomen marks as i posted before, with smiling faces, or scary old men's snare!

Larvae still eats available leaves, but that has to be in colder mornings, or else their bodies will not tolerate the oven-like temps. That right hoya leaf is the damage of that larva at the left.

This sphinx moth probably just emerged from the pupa, as the wings look great. However maybe that bald head is a result of bumping into something hard like glass window.
 A young praying mantis hopefully gets its prey, or hopefully will not be seen by its predator.
 These 2 photos are just pictures of only one spider. Above is taken towards the sky, while below is taken at its eye level.It just shows that expressions of anything only depends on the perspective of the onlooker. Top looks like that of an angry dog or angry old man. On the other hand the bottom looks like a smiling young creature, even with a ribbon on its head. So all of us don't judge immediately of what we see, let sometime pass until you change your perspective.

We are into perspective, so what do you see in the above photo. I will be very curious of what you think, or see, or feel, or what is your perspective. I see a poodle, don't you think so? Please let me know. I will tell you the answer at the comments.

As for me......later!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, March 2017

March is an awkward month of the year in this country. It is when the "cold" easterlies stop and replaced by the hot winds. Literally, the air suddenly gets hot, it didn't even pass by warm! Temperatures will now all be above 31C which will still go up to about 37 or 38C. The other night i suddenly woke up feeling the perspiration on my head and neck. It is the start of the dry-hot season, the difficulty going outside the building, the plants drying up, and the soaring of electric bills from continuous airconditioning units. 

AT least we still have lots of flowers. Of course, we actually don't loose the flowers, but many of what we have now will also die the following months. 

I would like to show you my flowers grouped into colors.


Above and below: Episcia

a rose bud

milkweed, Asclepias curassavica

I am very much fascinated by those ladylike structures of the flowers with their flowing red gowns. But this milkweed is not commonly growing in our lowlands. In fact this is growing with me for the first time, flowering for the first time, which excites me a lot. I got the seeds from the cold uplands before Christmas. I know this is the host for the monarch and we also have a Philippine monarch species, so i am hoping they will eventually find their way to my milkweed. If the monarchs in Mexico can travel the distance to the US, then i am hoping wherever our native monarchs are will finally show up to eat my milkweeds. Let us see, i am hoping!

 It is amazing that there are stages in maturity showing at the same time in one plant. Despite my going home only on some weekends, at least i will always see them at the open stages. They are so lovely.

 The plants are not as tall as those in the cold uplands in Baguio City, but they also grow luxuriously and looking healthy in my garden. I just realized they mature fast in hotter climes. Nothing is eating its leaves yet. The monarchs are nowhere to be seen.


Clitoria ternatea

I planted the seeds of this, thinking i am planting the common blue butterfly pea. Only 1 plant germinated, and eventually a white flower emerges instead of the blue. It could be disappointing, but it actually is beautiful that also fascinates me. Although of course, i will not be able to produce blue rice, and blue juices. Nevertheless, i love the white one.

 Hoya multiflora

My bloom day will not be complete if i will not be including some hoyas. There are always a few of them blooming in my garden.They sustain my lust for flowers every weekend when i go home. They say "food satisfies the body, but flowers sooth the soul". Nothing is more apt than that. 

 Hoya celata

Not many hoya species are white. There are a few more but mine is not yet flowering, except for this Hoya celata. 


I realized i have more violets blooming now. I wonder why they suddenly opened at the same time to make me have some conclusions about them. That i have actually lots of violet flowers in my garden. I didn't intend to have all those, but they are already there, so get the most out of them. 

Hoya pubicorolla ssp. anthracina

This started as black or almost black, in fact, its original commercial name is Hoya pubicalyx 'Black Dragon'. But hoya flowers being mostly anthocyanins change color with different conditions. This is one of them that responds well with changes in the environment including its media. 

Hoya pubicalyx

This is one of the remnants of the orchids i once owned. They were neglected, and just left on their own 'instinct' to live, to perpetuate the species. They are watered only by the rain and not fertilized at all in their lifetime. I guess it just got to become tolerant or resistant of the unwelcome conditions in my garden. Definitely, an orchid is always loved when it suddenly showed up. 

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Duranta erecta, is one of the most durable plants in my garden. It gets stressed and yellow during the very hot dry season, but it never fails to show some flowers. I planted it for the butterflies, and it never disappoints.

a single flower of Impatiens balsamina, 

If i didn't take a picture of a single flower, i wouldn't realize it is very beautiful and elegant. They grow in droves, get a bit invasive and thrive so fast so easily. That is the reason i fail to see it like above. 
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The single plant

The above group is not planted intentionally. They are the seeds from the previous growths and suddenly emerged that plenty. The original has peach, purple, whites, but the peach didn't show up in this generation and only a few white plants are growing. 



You might think that there is no green flower, sometimes there are! This is actually a pink anthurium. I intentionally touched that spadix when the minute flowers are still open, trying to pollinate them. A few of those bulges in the spadix are the anthurium seeds, which are more plenty at the base. I learned that the upper portion is the male part, however there are also a few bulges there, which means some seeds are developing there too. Anthurium seeds mature in almost a year, so if i will really be interested to get those seeds i need to wait for a lot more months. However, i will not wait for that, as i am not really getting the seeds from its selfing.  My curiosity just got the better of me during that time, just needed to see some green anthurium spadix.