Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Gastronomic Adventures of Ladybugs

Ladybugs are cute little critters. I counted eleven spots on this black-spotted on red ladybug. 

It moved clumsily down this leaf blade of Costus Woodsonii. 
With jet-black round eyes placed low down, they seem to be peering over low-rimmed bifocals.

Its stiff feelers are placed horizontally, looking like the top rim of granny spectacles.
It seemed to be sniffing the path as it moved along.

As I continued to observe it I realized that it was on a gastronomic trail which was arduous and torturous; up and down from foliage ...
to stem and finally towards...
a large colony of aphids. This should make a good larder adequate for many rainy days.
What a serendipitous discovery. It is like Solomon's mine of epicurean delights. Such good fortune is truly a blessing from Mother Nature. 

In fact by the next day, most of the resident aphids were ravished by this little fella. It saved me the dirty job of being the Terminator.

Costus woodsonii spikes (Dwarf cones ginger) can last for months. They are borne on the tips of canes.
Some cones are taller
whilst others are shorter. The real flowers are the yellow protuberances that sprout sporadically from the bracts.
The bracts open up when the seed pods ripen.
The dehiscence of seed pods release the shiny black seeds which are most probably dispersed by birds. Costus is easily propagated from stem cuttings thus negating the collection of seeds.
This non-spotted lady bug glided down this blade of variegated Dracaena leaf.
It stopped in its track when it came across this hapless teeny weeny bug, in anticipation of a delicious snack.
After this light snack, it then cast around to look for more grub and having found none,
continued merrily along its way in search of other scrumptious meals.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gerbera - Lure of the Daisies

Gerberas always brighthen any garden. They make very good bedding plants as they are low lying. I have them in many colours and shades. Potted flowering gerberas can be brought indoors to be enjoyed for weeks.

Even then when Tasha was a 2-month-old puppy, she would always patrol the garden and ... 

look for a cozy niche amongst the daisies  to ...
chill out. 

She had the leisure of sniffing out the flowers one by one though they are without any discernible fragrance. She also bear witness to ...
the unfolding ...
and the unfurling of the petals over several days.

The saturation of orange hues also marks its maturity...

to full bloom.

  This is a robust homegrown variety, rather resistant to pests and fungal growth. Large clumps are formed in no time which can then be divided.

This yellow petal hybrid has become puny looking where before it has thick luscious petals in many whorls.

This red colour is full bodied in volume formed by the many tiers of petals.

A delightful bouquet of gerberas.
Whenever I look at Gerberas, the tune of this little ditty from my childhood days will spontaneously play in my mind ...
"Daisy Daisy,
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dragonfly ballet - Pas de libellule

Dragonflies of all denominations have flitted in and out of my garden throughout the year.

Their favourite perches are bamboo stems which I used as stakes for slender stems and climbers.
  They can bask in the sunshine for hours on end.

Unlike most bees and butterflies, I have not seen them collecting pollens or imbibing nectar. They mostly sunbathed and appeared to be utterly contented.

This particular one is small. When I approached with my Nikon micro lens, it arched its dainty abdomen in an upright stance with the gossamer-like wings spread out horizontally, reminiscent of a ballerina's tutu.

This little insect ballerina pirouetted round the pole in a pompous display of its artful ballet movements.

Its gossamer-like tutu shimmered and glimmered in the sunshine with every tiny move.

 All six legs are "en pointe" for this stance.

She is still at her solo "pas de valse" at dizzying heights on the high pole.

And now to go down, to take a dip and a bow. 

It's time to take flight to signal the end of a brilliant performance. A silent applause is bestowed on this wonderful critter.

I do not the ID of this plant. It has slender stems carrying numerous blooms and need to be staked.

Note: This plant has been identified as Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum


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