Sunday, March 29, 2015

Almost a Macro Shot

I have just been out of town for four days, meaning i was not able to post anything this week. That includes absence of blog visits and commenting on other's posts. My macro lens is also still at the service center, thanks God i have a zoom lens capable of macro focusing.

Most of us are garden bloggers anyway, can you guess what this structure is?

It is the pistil, most specifically the stigma of a squash flower. There is a well full of nectar that makes this colony of ants very happy. A squash flower is only alive for one day, so those ants are taking advantage of the short amount of nectar supply. The nectar is glistening with the sunlight, some even look like swimming in it.

This flower is not fertilized i suppose, as there is no available male flower nearby. Once-in-a while i also take glances and i haven't seen any bee alighting on it. I can be sure, it is not pollinated.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blooms before the Dry season

Some of you might not be appreciative of my post today! This might be too biased for my addiction at the moment. In the previous years they are mostly orchids, so please bear with me, hoyas are my current pre-occupation. They are the flowers that currently rule my consciousness. I am asking forgiveness from you, but at the same time hoping that some of you might get contaminated with this hobby. It has only been with me in the last 3-4 years, and it really is contagious. The nice part of it is that it is grown worldwide, despite its endemicity in the tropical climates like ours. The sad part is that, virulence emanated from the collectors residing in temperate climates. And we here in countries where they came from cannot sometimes get the species here because they are already not available, either lost from the wild or already in the nurseries of collectors. And the saddest part of all is that the price has gone up in the world market and our capacity to pay is not enough to get samples from these collectors with the shipping cost. We intently want to have samples be back to the country.

You might misunderstood me, but inavailability in the wild is not solely due to collectors, but also because of unjudicious deforestation. Moreover, these plants are not known in the past so they just slash and burn the wild to open for agriculture. These are sad truths, and we can just salvage whatever we can at the end of the storm.

Hoya crassicaulis, in bloom (above) and at bud stage (below)

 Hoya camphorifolia or bifunda i am not sure yet

Hoya naming has been so controversial recently, and there are some inconsistencies and doubling of names to otherwise the same species. Lack of thorough research on these plants predispose them to these controversies. It will only be DNA methodologies which will later give light to the chaos in their identities.

Hoya obscura

 Hoya mindorensis 

Above form is when it just opened the corolla, the photo below is the same flower a day after when the corolla already reflexed or turned backwards.

Hoya mindorensis

 Above is another color form of Hoya mindorensis. There are at least 12 forms reported here already.

Hoya ilagiorum

This is also immediately after flower opening. Those corollas eventually reflex too.

Hoya lucardenasiana
Its blooming has a story. It hasn't been growing nicely and looks retarded. After 2 years i eventually changed and cleaned the roots in January. To hasten recovery from stress i enclosed it in Polyethylene Bag to conserve transpiration. Then after 1 month we just saw that aside from growing lots of roots it also bloomed inside the bag. Oh i learned that it needs a lot of surrounding humidity. Another trivia is that it is named from a batchmate in college Lou Cardenas. Isn't if funny!

Hoya imperialis

Another species which challenge my patience is this Hoya imperialis. Its first time blooming was in December when i was out of the country. Then it buds again, but it has been already 2 months, already very big and yet doesn't show any crack yet. I am going home every weekend, no matter how tiring just because it might suddenly decide to open, of course i have to document it with pictures. My sister said that during the first time there are already cracks but they didn't open fully yet, so she got impatient also and tried helping it by hand! Hilarious don't you think?

 Hoya pubicalyx

Hoya pubicalyx is one of the most beautiful of the hoyas. It also produced lovely round umbels and stays on the plant for at least a week. When plenty of umbels are simultaneously blooming in one plant, it really is very attractive. Some people find the scent as nice, but i prefer the other species. It also has some color forms; pink, red, white, purple, variegated and black. 

Please bear with the bad quality of the photo, but i took it with tablet. My camera batteries were not charged last week and i forgot the charger in the city, what a shame! It also has another open umbel at the far right side, and 3 more are following. Do you visualize the total picture, and my delight looking at them? I hope you do, and i hope also i contaminated you with enthusiasm of owning at least a few of the hoyas. The Philippines has at least about 200 of its endemic species. Other countries have theirs too, like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. 

Come on Garden Bloggers, lets try hoya in our gardens!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Biggest of my Hoyas

Despite the many hoyas in my collection and the number of flowers blooming at the same time, it seems incomplete without this! If one is different, or getting too much of your time, or taking so much of your patience, it becomes very important. Just like the rose of The Little Prince, this hoya seems to be mine.

Its first blooming was in December when i was out of the country. It gets working at once and produced buds immediately after the first 3 blooms fell. That was the start of my weekly commute for home because these buds might open at my back. Unlike other hoyas in my collection, its progress seems so slow. Maybe that is because the buds are big, so they are very conspicuous. But i really felt more than 2 months from buds is very long enough.

corona of Hoya imperialis

I almost forget going home when my sister called saying i must go home now, as in NOW! Hoya imperialis already opened 1 flower. I suddenly went home last Saturday and 3 buds already opened when i got home.

 another angle of the corona

Will you not be enticed by this sight?  It is one of the biggest hoyas, and this originated from Papua New Guinea. The diameter of one flower is about 2 inches in that normally curved form. 

After taking a lot of photos, i can't seem to be satisfied that 2 of them remained tightly closed! I arrived home at 1:00pm and at 5:00pm those 2 buds are still very hesitant to open. My sister said they might be still due the following day. I can't agree on that, so i tried putting pressure to the center of the bud, and it cracked, even with a crackling sound. I repeated the process to the other one and it followed unhesitatingly. I jokingly said that it can do a "Caesarian section".

Here is the final picture of all the flowers fully open. You can see that right one still newly opening. But who will blame me for my impatience! They are so lovely impressing the onlookers as a group. I don't think someone will contradict me on that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Orchid Intermission

At the height of my relationship with orchids, i deposit all of them in my sister's front yard in town.   Her old boarding house has a wide front yard that she likes because of her dogs. The dogs can play unrestricted on that front lawn, with nothing on it but grasses. When the orchids came the area was devoted for the orchids and the dogs were left inside the house, put on leash when they went out walking. I always have 1 or 2 orchids from my travels to the regions.  They are expensive then because i always wanted to have the prettiest. Hybrids are of course more expensive, with more showy blooms.

I was fascinated with Vanda then, most specially the terete types. They are easier to grow, can be left open to direct sun without scorching. They are all mounted on Gliricidia sepium trunks for easier handling and aesthetic concerns. My sister learns fast, she was able to grow them well and they easily bloomed to the neighbors' and passers' by delight. Nobody passed by the street without slowing down to watch the orchid blooms. Even the roots look so beautiful.

Eventually the driftwoods decayed, the orchids got old, and health dwindled without enough sustenance. My enthusiasm also decreased for maybe it is already fully assuaged. Then my sister got so much responsibilities in school. Eventually, they got sick, i was also sick for sometime and they eventually succumbed to bad health. Only very few of them remained, which were just left on their own untended. The left-overs were brought home and my sister built her own house near our old one. I forgot all about them when last week this one bloom caught my attentionb. I think it is very beautiful. I didn't remember that there is this color before!

Not all the buds opened yet, but it represented a lovely breed. It evoked some past memories of our old relationship and it didn't stop to evoke new delight. 

The close-up of the individual flower is beautiful, don't you believe me?

This one is called tiger orchid because of the design on its leaves. Actually, it is Phalaenopsis schilleriana, native to the Philippines. It is mounted on a lanzones tree, only watered when remembered and left on its own. Sometimes the leaves were all eaten by a flat short caterpillar, which i remove when i see them. There are only 2 plants left here. The cold and long nights last Dec-Feb induced them to flower. Sometimes the flower buds are also eaten by some unknown larvae. I am glad these 2 inflorescences at least continue blooming. They are also lovely and look so special.