Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quisqualis indica - Tropical August Blooms

Here it is hot throughout the year. At times we wilt with the heat and get exasperated with the high tropical humidity but the plants I planted thrive and flourish with splendour. The sight of showy blooms was like balm to the spirit and their heady fragrance more than made up for all the discomfort.

Quisqualis indica (Single petal) aka Rangoon Creeper, Drunken Sailor

What amazes me about this plant is the bunches of flowers which starts of as white, turning to shades of blushing pink and finally maturing to a flamming red. Fortuitously, as they mature at different times, all three hues can be found on the same cluster. It's a robust plant needing very little care and is easily propagated by runners. The fragrance is particularly stronger at night and is delicate.
This was planted as a standard to keep it tidy and structured. The branches were only allowed to sprawled at the top of the balcony. When the flowers fade, the branches are pruned down hard, up to a third to encourage the next crop of vigorous new growth.
Quisqualis indica (double petal), Bauhenia Kockiana and Bougainvilla Mrs Eva
All three plants clamour for a piece of vertical territory and solar radiance. Long vegetative limbs stretched out languorously and got blisfully entangled in their quest for the energy-boosting sunshine.

Quisqualis indica (double petal)
The double petal variety is lovely and blooms profusely. Branches are heavily laden with clusters. However they are not so easily propagated as they hardly throw out runners. Their fragrance is not as delicate as the single petal ones.

They happily colonised the rain water gutter and stand out as emblems of a cheery floral welcome to all who dropped by.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crouching Spider Unsuspecting Ant

Crouching Spider Unsuspecting Ant
Costus Woodsonii (Dwarf French Kiss)
This predator, a small species of spider with interesting markings got the whole congregation of ants running helter skelter. I would thought that the whole pack with their sharp mouth-pieces could easily make mince meat out of this arachnid.
Sending the smoke signals to flee

Running helter skelter in a mad scramble to safety
Keeping the family together

This arachnid was later found under a palm frond indulging on his latest largesse - a fly. This eight-legged fella took some time to finish his meal. He ran all over the the frond with his precious meal when I try to photo-shoot him in his murderous act.

He devoured his unfortunate victim with much relish

When the first group of ants have their fill of nectar (around 1 week), another tribe of ants; darker, more stout and with shorter legs took over.

This group of black ants are not complaining of getting left-over food.

These ants appear more communal and keep close to each other, sort of in the same latitude


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