Monday, January 23, 2017

Hoya mariae as Mellow Yellow

A fellow attendee in last year's lecture on hoyas at the local garden show brought a long vine of Hoya mariae. She is an FB friend and a plant hobbyist too, so encouraged me to plant what she brought. However, she said it has the habit of invasiveness, so i turned down the offer. Besides, i thought it was so full of leaves and maybe lazy to bloom. It also didn't have any flower in the vine that time. 

Sometime last November a hoya hobbyist from Thailand visited and we went to an area near the mountain where lots of plants are being sold at the roadsides. It was raining so hard and we just bought some hoya vines that took our fancy. Most of the time the vines didn't have flowers, we just relied on the description of the seller, who also do not know the name or the species they are selling. 

I bought a few vines, whatever they might turn out to be later. Then this one led the rest of the group in blooming. It doesn't have shoots yet but started blooming. I love that shape of the flowers, characteristics and color. The pure yellow color is different and beautiful. When i asked for the identification from a friend, it turned out to be Hoya mariae synonymous with Clemensiella mariae. I was laughing because i rejected a free cutting, but eventually bought it. LOL.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Skywatching at Home

I have always been writing in my posts that the December Holiday season starts the coldest time of the year in this part of the world. Then it starts getting hot again in mid-February or March, the start of our dry season. So officially the colder months also fell on the rainy season. We only have the wet and dry seasons in this part of the tropics. And our cold will be even hotter than the summer of our counterparts in some temperate countries. This means...hold your breath.... 23-25°C is already colder for us here in the tropical Philippines lowland. 

But my home in the province at ~500 masl is a little higher than our lowlands. We sometimes have foggy mornings and even colder dawns, time when we wear our sweaters and socks. During the Christmas Holidays it was already cold with our standards. But i still want to have some sunrise shots. I always see them on our east window, so when it looks so bright at dawn i immediately go out of the house despite the chill to get some vantage point. I walk along our road a few minutes and take shots whenever there is some clearing from the so crowded trees and plants. 

Here are some shots, SOOC, for roughly 10 min before the sun emerged at the horizon! They now ended up on my office desktop background. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Calamities and Occurrences

I had a long vacation this Christmas Season. I went home early on 20 December, in time for my sister's arrival from another country. I have been thinking of many things to do in gardening, thinking i will finish a lot of chores. However, a lot of unexpected happenings occurred limiting my efficiency and working hours. The morning of Christmas Eve my mother's youngest brother already transitioned to God's Kingdom. We were already there immediately even before the funeral services. It made my mother the sole survivor of her eight siblings, yes 8 siblings. She is now 86 years old. My uncle's interment was just yesterday, 11 days from death. We just slept in our house but were there almost everyday.

The second untimely occurrence was a strong typhoon Nina, whose center passed at the islands beside our town. That makes us also very vulnerable and most of our fruit trees were destroyed. Fortunately, it passed at daytime, so we were able to make some corrections, like removing water from the terrace. All of us helped alleviating destruction in the house, but plants in the garden suffered a lot. My hoyas and hippeastrum were toppled down and thrown away. I immediately retrieved the pots and thrown away plants . They suffered a lot of stress and setbacks.

The results are inadvertently not favorable. My vacation seems too short for me to do all the required tasks for the garden. I even wasn't able to get even just one picture of a butterfly!

 Hippeastrum and caladium pots are scattered on the ground, leaves broken 

 even the hoyas at the background are thrown to distances with broken stems and leaves

hoyas scattered on the ground, far from where their former places

 This scene of scattered plants and debris made me so confused what to do first, where to start in putting things to order.

 Coconut leaves, tree branches and a lot of things were scattered on the streets. It was total chaos. 

Thanks to the immediate response of these young men, equipped with sharp and strong bolos to cut the big trunks and branches on the streets.  Above is a big branch of our mango tree.

 Epipremnum pinnatum attaching on the mango tree trunk fell with the tree. 

Epipremnum pinnatum inflorescences. 

Most of our fruit trees were destroyed. Two coconut trees were uprooted, bananas are weak so they all broke or fell. Papayas are weak too, most trunks are cut to the ground. Our chico tree is laden with lots of fruits, already waiting for a few more days to mature before harvest, but all the fruits fell on the ground. The chickens had a feast on chico fruits two days after the typhoon.

It took 2 days for my nephew and sister to clean the leaves from the roof drains. There still are lots of dirt sticking outside our walls. There still are lots of scattered things, plant debris on the streets and gardens, but they will eventually decay and be part again of the environment. I thought the spiders and insects will not be a part of my garden for a longer time, but they were able to build their webs faster than us. The butterflies are already there flying again when the rains stopped. These creatures are trully incredible. Nature really is awesome, fascinating!