Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hippeastrum Blooms in May

When climate was still reliable, and it has not yet been acting like a stressed psychopath, hippeastrum here in the hot tropics wake up from dormancy after the first heavy rains. By heavy rains i mean continuous rains that lasted for long hours or overnight. That literally soaks the soil deep until the roots of trees are fully quenched. That is the time when after 2-3 days the grasses starts to produce the green carpet, and the weeds starts to simultaneously germinate.

However, with the so called "Climate Change", not only people are experiencing the dilemma and problems in planning agricultural planting. Even the plants themselves suffer chaotic behavior. And that response to rain is very obvious with the hippeastrum blooming. We got some long drizzles in March and April, enough to break dormancy of some hippeastrum bulbs. Definitely, i will not be getting again simultaneous blooms from my H puniceum hedges and mounds. Moreover, i will not be able to pollinate some blooms as they will not bloom simultaneously. This year is a repeat of last  year. It is now May and i am already getting the bad picture of the climate change outcome.

The first one and No. 3 are red while the others are orange.

1. Hippeastrum X johnsonii

2. Hippeastrum petiolatum 

    It has shorter growth, scape and smaller bulbs. The flowers are also smaller but compensated with more number of 4 flowers per scape.

3. Hippeastrum from seeds of Carol Noel
They have much bigger bulbs, longer leaves, taller scape and big flowers. The tips of the flowers also tend to flip that brings more grace to its look. They also have 4-5 flowers per scape. 

4. Hippeastrum puniceum

5. Hippeastrum puniceum 'Alberti' 

    This hybrid of H. puniceum is short, with leaves also dwarfed by the other species. However, the multipetalled flowers get the wonderful limelight. Besides, the blooms last for several days. 

6. Hippeastrum roseum

This is also a diminutive species, but taller than that of H. 'Alberti'. Leaves are more erect and        thicker too. However, the flowers per scape are normally just 2-3. Flower sizes are also narrower just like the H. petiolatum. The stripes however gives it the outstanding attraction. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hardy Blooms in April 2018

The weather this year is not actually chaotic, but very misleading! Imagine, we feel that we are already at the height of the Dry Season in March because the Heat Index reaches 38°C and yet the official Dry Season announcement was only on April 10. It is very funny, because after the announcement it suddenly rained at noon, with concomittant thunders and lightning. It is incredible, and we made fun of the weather. The pronouncement was delayed because there still are Easterlies making the mornings still colder. When the air from the North East gets so hot, then that is what the Weather Bureau is waiting. But the truth is, the change to colder days are very very welcome!

Actually, for the last past 2 weeks there are intermittent drizzles! I am really puzzled by this, as it never happened in the past except last year. Probably, the ultimate culprit everyone always mention is indeed the reason, Climate Change. It is a very famous phenomenon on Earth! Whew! And i personally experience the changes in my own personal environment.

The saddest immediate response i envision is the also intermittent flowering of my hippeastrum. It happened last year when the small drizzles were enough to teminate the dormancy of the bulbs, sending some to blooming. The outcome is not my expected simultaneous hedge blooms i am visualizing and waiting for the whole year! OMG, it could be a repeat of last year, i am so frustrated. I feel great yet i feel sad, two competing emotions for two different reasons. Happiness is a choice so i am still happy.

 the ever gregarious bougainvillea that is happy with heat, welcoming everyone at our gate

 in the family of justicia or shrimp plant, though am not sure of exact ID

 Ixora javanica, a tree ixora, a new plant we got from the tree that was uprooted
 to give way for the garage. It is happy also with the heat.

 the real flowers of bougainvillea with satin-like petals

the 4 o-clock plant, Mirabilis jalapa

 close-up of Mirabilis jalapa

 Portulaca oleraceae, ornamental for us, but salad vegies and medicinal for others

forgot its name, Genus ? australis 

Turnera ulmifolia and Turnera subulata, which both blooms only until noon, favorite of some bees especially the stingless bees.

 My ever reliable and self-supporting purple Vanda, towering against the blue sky. At right is "kasupanggil" or Clerodendrum intermidium, food of butterflies

 Celosia argentea 'Cristata' or C. cristata, with their wavy tops, i just realized i also a nectar plant for some butterflies. From now on i will always plant it just to pacify them.

 The sweet scented Sansevieria trifasciata, whose inflorescense opens at early evening sending us their delightful aroma.

The most responsive among my collection of hippeastrum. My hedges are orange but the different color collections are in pots, just like this one. I have already asked around FB and groups the ID of this, but somehow the exact one is still coming. There still are 6 spikes already coming out last week, which i might not see the bloom because i am not going home this weekend. I hope my nephew will send me a nicer picture of their blooms, as most of them are first time bloomers. They are from seeds.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Almost Macro Shots

The title is not confident, i know that, but i used a macro function in taking these photos. Suffice it to say that the subject of these photos are really small, and my macro lens is just 50mm. That is the reason for using "almost". I wish i have 100mm macro lens! That time i will shun from using almost. I am laughing, with the colloquial term now as "lol".

NOID blue weed flower, nectar plant for the Tiny Grass Blues. 
I love those very tiny protrusions on the sepals of the flowers.

 this is how the flower stalk looks like, this shot is even  longer than reality

 this is one of the fallen flowers from a bunch of molave umbel. It is maybe only half a centimeter

 the width of that expanse is about one inch, also a nectar plant

the diameter of that crown is about 1 cm, also a weed

this baby praying mantis is less than an inch long, it posed for me nicely

 a very small bag moth is inside, length is 1 cm

this Tiny Grass Blue which nectar on all the above weed flowers except the molave tree, has only half a centimeter wing span

Monday, March 12, 2018

Blooms in Intense March Heat

I have always been "bitching, complaining, repeating, talking, etc, etc" of the sudden increase in temperatures in Luzon, Philippines from the middle of February this year! Imagine, in early February we were still at the most comfortable temperatures yet of at least 27°C, courtesy of the Easterlies from cold countries. Then suddenly we experienced the temperatures rising to 33-38°C in a few days, not even a week! It was too drastic that i still haven't called for the airconditioning repairman. My unit has to be pulled-out for repair, but i haven't prepared because i thought the hot season will still be in March. That is totally underestimating the effects of climate change!

This morning it says the Heat Index is 39°C, can you feel that! Those used to winter climates will die in hearing they will be put in that temperature.  The funny part is that our Weather Bureau is not officially announcing that we are already in our Dry Season, because some easterlies are still at the northernmost-eastern part of the country. HI of 39C was experienced last year in April, when we are already tense waiting for the first rains, that might alleviate the heat. So it was advanced by 2 months. I can't imagine what it would be like next year and the succeeding years. Please help us God!

Anyway, back to business. The good thing is that our vegetation continues to be green and flowering, except for the annuals of course. They are now dried or wilted because some clayey soils are already cracking from dehydration.

Flemingia strobilifera was posted still purely green last month, now it is already maturing and dry. Those shrimp-like structures already have mature seeds ready again for the coming rainy season. This is not in the garden but in the adjacent property.

Even this Grey Glassy Tiger might have difficulty looking for nectar plants

Locally called Tagpo, Psychotria luzoniensis (not sure ID), is a medium sized bush that is growing under the trees.  It offers flowers for butterflies during the wet season and now the fruits mature into golden berries eaten by birds.   

the tagpo plant with ripe fruits

This Ipomoea sp. vine with lavender flowers now have plenty of maturing fruits, 
again trying to be ready for the rainy season in May-June.

These are also flowers under the bushes, also visited by butterflies. 
The first is pandakaki and the 2nd i still don't know. 
This is now in our garden, Dracaena surculosa, with very sweet fragrant blooms 
that open early in the evening. The scent resembles some sweet hoya. 

 Impatiens balsamina at the last vestiges of reproduction

first flowering of the volunteer Pentas lanceolata

the ever heat happy bougainvillea, when others dry they still bloom

my self supporting Vanda sp. trying to catch attention

a vine from the wild but domesticated in my garden, butterfly pea or Clitoria ternatea

 The biggest hoya bloom found in my garden, Hoya imperialis,
which i haven't seen when it opened

Hoya mindorensis being visited by a moth and a cricket at night.