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Monday, June 25, 2012

Collectibles

Every gardener and plant enthusiasts will understand the pride and joy of maintaining a large, lush and beautiful collection of flora, be they common or rare, exotic or mundane, expensive or affordable. Virtually any plant can be a collectible, determined by how the grower groups them together. A magnificent collection of verdant specimens is surely a dream of plant collectors and a sight for sore eyes.

Well, personally I love collecting any species of plants I find attractive. I have a small, unimpressive collection of tillandsia species (air plants) which I have no plans to expand. 



Then, there's my new collection of orchids. In addition to the usual dendrobiums and vandas, I've added a couple of unique species, including brassia rex, gongora claviodora and bulbophyllum lepidum. I hope to get more additions to my modest collection in the near future.




But my main and largest collection of plants are carnivores, which I have started collecting since 4 years ago. It's been my family's pride and joy, and they enjoy showing my collection to guests. Unfortunately, my carnivores suffered a great decline during my neglectful and busy period throughout last year. Now that I have my own section of my house allocated for my gardening activities, and my more efficient schedule, I'm restarting this collection. Hopefully it'll go back to it's former glory.









So, what collections do all of you have or hope to have?




Saturday, June 16, 2012

Heatwave

It's been extremely hot around these parts for almost a week now, with no rain at all. I've been feeling really tired in this heat, especially with sleep deprivation (can't sleep, piano exams too close for comfort). Anyway, I still have some free time to care for my plants, especially now with all this heat. I have to water and mist them daily to prevent the more delicate and carnivorous plants from dying.






Some nepenthes growing nicely. They mostly love the heat and sun (for the lowlanders anyway), yet supplemented by constant watering and misting. (Clockwise from left: N. x dyeriana, N. mirabilis var. globosa, N. x gentle)


My carnivorous mini-bog has been doing quite well and has overgrown rapidly since I first made it (which was months ago). I should probably trim them and separate the offshoots and plantlets. One of my Venus Flytrap has gone into dormancy though (which is a risky situation here in the tropics since we don't have the 4 seasons.)



My vines are also making the most out of this heat, provided that the water supply is sufficient. The scarlet passion flower (passiflora coccinea) has gone into a blooming spree after a long time as just leaves. The mandevilla is also producing lots of flower now. I'm not sure whether the Madagascar periwinkle is a true vine, but mine sure does acts like one. It's so free-flowering, I'm tempted to buy more. My variegated bleeding heart vine is also starting to send out blossoms.

Also, I've recently been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by both Bernie from Bush Bernie's Blog and James Missier from Gardening Chronicles. Bernie is an experienced gardener with an extremely variant collection of plants in her beautiful garden. James is quite the knowledgeable fellow in gardening, and is a good source of information regarding tropical plants. Thanks, both of you!


Here are the rules upon accepting The Versatile Blogger award:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 bloggers that you follow or have just discovered who you would consider fit the bill of a 'versatile' blogger.
  4. Tell 7 random facts about yourself.
  5. Include this set of rules in your post.
  6. Inform each of your nominated bloggers of their nomination.
15 is a difficult number for me, since I can't really maintain a large number of blogs to follow, with my busy schedule and all. I guess I'll just make it 8 then. Also, some blogs may have already been nominated, but I don't really have much choice to select from haha.

1. Andrea/Kalantikan from Pure Oxygen Generators and Andrea in this Lifetime. She's an incredibly informative blogger, especially regarding tropical plants and nature.

2. Autumn Belle from My Nice Garden. She's an extremely versatile gardener, and her blog is very entertaining to read. She's very passionate in her hobby of gardening.

3. Bangchik and Kakdah from My little vegetable garden. Their blog is very informative regarding tropical vegetable, fruits and herbs and their gardening methods.

4. Lotusleaf from gardentropics and Indian Flowers and Herbs. Her blog is a wonderful source of knowledge on tropical and exotic plants.

5. Orkid La from Orkidla. Orchids are his specialty, and his blog is filled to the brim with marvelous photos of them.

6. Rohrerbot from Las Adventuras. His blog is very informative regarding flora and fauna, particularly those from 

7. Becca from A Southern Garden by Becca. I enjoy reading about her garden and the various plants she grows.

8. Noel from A Plant Fanatic in Hawaii. His blog is always a fun read, and a very good source of information regarding tropical plants of Hawaii.

7 random facts about me:

1. I'm currently preparing for both SPM (a major and very important exam in my country's education system) and Grade 8 piano exams (I'm not really confident this time since I lack time to practice. Maybe I'll try again next year if I fail).

2. I enjoy making and animating 3D models, as well as papercraft (building 3d models from paper), but I'm currently sacrificing these hobbies to prepare for my exams.

3. I enjoy art, so I'm taking Visual Arts as a subject and is currently completing the compulsory assignment (in which I chose carnivorous plants as an inspiration).

4. I love playing video games and browsing the web like any other teenager. 

5. Plants, gardening and botany has always been my interest since I was still a child in primary school, and I hope to further my studies in plant-related fields such as agricultural science or plant biotechnology.

6. I love to please people and set a good impression. Unfortunately, this causes me to fear other people being disappointed in me. This is one of the factors contributing to my stress as my teachers and parents have high hopes and I fear of not meeting them.

7. I have the bad habit of studying at the last minute. I can procrastinate until a few days before the exams, and then burn the midnight oil until 2-3 am in the morning. So far, my results are OK but I really need to change this attitude of mine before the final exam on December.

Until next time!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dripping Wet

My roof garden, being my pride and joy, has become a place for me to relax daily in the evening, particularly after a hectic and stressful day. The sight of lush and verdant plants, abundant in colourful blossoms and dense foliage is a wonderful remedy for a mild headache resulting from long hours of homework or computers. At least that works for me! That's why I find it a matter of utmost importance to always keep the roof garden moist and well-watered. I find that humidity is an important factor in growing many exotic plants, especially orchids, tillandsia and carnivorous flora. Therefore, I regularly mist my plants, and drench the whole garden while watering the plants, to keep the humidity levels high.



Carnivores are lovers of moisture and humidity. Keeping them in constant humidity (in fact, 100% humidity is optimum to lots of species) is a key factor in making the thrive. Nepenthes sp.(Tropical Pitcher Plants) are divided into 3 categories, the lowlanders, intermediates and highlanders. Some highlanders can actually thrive with enough humidity in the lowlands, though temperature still affects them. Same goes for heliamphora (Marsh Pitcher Plants), who are one of the finickiest plants I have ever grown. Temperate CPs (Carnivorous Plants for short) such as Sarracenia and Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytraps) also enjoy high humidity coupled with bright sun.


I've decided to start and hopefully maintain a collection of orchids. Now that my dad can't limit my freedom in buying whatever plant I like, and with the support of my mom, who loves orchids, I can happily enjoy growing the orchids I have longed for. So far, I have assorted vanda and dendrobium orchids, as well as arundina (Grass Orchid), brassia rex, gongora claviodora, bulbophyllum lepidum and a cattleya hybrid. Hopefully it's include more species soon as I love variance in collections.


Two of my bulbous plants have finally flowered after such a long period of normal foliage growth, albeit very fast. Perhaps the fact that I kinda neglected them catalysed their rate of flower production? The foliage died back to the bulb, and now they are flowering nicely. Bulbs need such abuse before they decide to bloom.





More assorted blossoms after a nice watering and misting. The white hibiscus is the most vigorous hibiscus I have, constantly flowering even when my pink, yellow and red hibiscus are resting. The cleome is growing and seeding like a weed. It's certainly a weed I enjoy having in my garden though. The Madagascar periwinkle is also another fast grower, and free-flowering to boot. 

Now with an abundance of flowers, I think I may need more colourful foliage to balance them out haha. Until next time!