Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flight of the Carpenter Bee

Carpenter bees are frequent visitors to my garden. They are often seen collecting nectar and pollen only from the flowers of the...
 Thunbergia Grandiflora which cascaded freely down.

A cascade of sky blue flowers formed an attractive drape over a fenestra in the concrete fencing thus providing a privacy screen.

A humming and buzzing bumblebee carpenter bees zoomed straight into a Thunbergia Grandiflora

 and stayed for quite a while. As blue flowers are not as common as reds and yellows, they complement the whole gamut of colours in the garden.

When they are done with gathering, they are frequently seen sunbathing on hibiscus flower buds. In the background, Bauhenia kockiana vines hung down, heavily laden with a profusion of yellow-orange blooms
Bauhenia kockiana start off as yellow blooms which gradually mellow into a deep orange colour.

Carpenter bees are adamant about perching on the same flower bud, even when there are many others to choose from. When I approached with my lens, they'll buzzed off but soon returned to the same bud in spite of my continued presence. 

This bud-hugging activity can go on for the rest of the day. Such behaviour is so persistent and repetitive that it presents a good study on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

 This bumblebee continued to hug its dedicated flower bud possessively for the next few days, always the same bud and no others.

Wings are spread-eagled presumably to derive the full benefits from sun worshipping.

When it flew off momentarily, I playfully placed a flower near its bespoke bud. On discovering this unfamiliar object upon its return, it buzzed over the unsolicited flower, then chided me by buzzing furiously and closely over my head. I felt the strong air currents and feared that it would sting me.

The wings are delicate and look almost black while some shimmering rainbow colours are picked out by the sunshine.

Here, this carpenter bee is preparing for flight. Wings are flapped rapidly prior to take off, generating a loud buzz. This is indeed a good life.

“The busy bee has no time for sorrow.” - William Blake

Eventually all good things have to come to and end. Nothing was known about how this bee met its demise.  It was disposed off in an orgy of feasting for days on end by some marauding ants

NB: Originally this bee has been identified aas a bumblebee. It has been determined that this guy is actually a carpenter bee

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Bougainvillea Flaunt

Bougainvillea plants are at its best during the hot, dry season though the occasional tropical showers bring some respite from the intense heat. This is the time to pamper them with nutrients, preferably organic fertilisers. Then just step  back and be tantalised by the big FLAUNT.
Burnt orange bracts never fail to impress.
Burnt orange with variegated leaves
White bracts with variegated leaves.

This bougy is a prolific bloomer with flowers flaunted the whole year round. This is one of the best specimen around and a must-have for any avid bougy lover.

Baby Pink bracts with variegated leaves seen at dawn...

and at dusk. A casuarina tree in the background sways gently in the evening breeze.
Pink bracts with variegated leaves.
This starts off as pure white bracts with the pink blushes appearing later.
Bougainvilla 'Mrs Eva' is a great bloomer. It has never disappointed.

A trailing branch of bougy blooms, cascading in front of a mickey mouse bush.

Bougainvilla 'Mrs Eva' planted as a standard, almost sans foliage.

Bougainvilla 'Elizabeth Angus' 

Colour became less intense with time 

An ant wandered forlornly around ...

on these faded blooms with shrivelled stamens.

This bougy with magenta blooms adds colour to the garden.

Bougainvillea spectabilis has pristine white flowers.
Bougainvillea spectabilis (white) and B. Mrs Eva (mauve) planted as standards. In the background is a mature Callistemon (Australian Bottlebrush tree).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alpinia purpurata and the Resident Frog

I planted some Alpinia purpurata (red ginger torch) rhizomes outside the entrance to my abode. The conditions must be most ideal as the clump became much larger and lush in no time. 
It thrives under the dappled sunlight created from the ...
canopy of Quisqualis indica (Rangoon creeper) above.
Both provide an effective screen from the sun, keeping temperatures lower.
A ginger torch bud begins to bloom.
The flower petals open up from bottom to top.
Apple green foliage sets off the red flower beautifully. 
The yellow flowers of the draping Nong nooch vine is in the background.
Mealy bugs love to hide in the many crevices of the flower.
This green translucent caterpillar had spunned some strong silky fibres to stitch the edges of the leaf in readiness for its next stage.
The canes created a secluded sanctuary for this solitary tree frog that resides in my Alpinia clump.
It stirred and jumped away when I rustled the canes to get better access for our intimate photography sessions. 
 A new position was assumed on a leaf. The ginger torch was draped with the fallen flowers of the Rangoon creeper towering above.  

The pastel flowers are just a day old whilst the red ones are two to three days old.
 With its bulging eyes and folded forearms, it appeared to be presiding over this clump from his verdant hammock.
An insect flew by and immediately roused this otherwise placid frog.
It immediately went on 'predator mode' and managed to get its prey with a quick flick of its tongue. I was so stunned by this murderous act that I failed to capture the scene.
I've always been partial to images of frogs. Here this pair had the rare chance of enjoying the outdoors.
A cloisonne frog and pill box among newly plucked Quisqualis indica flowers.

These are some glass canisters with froggy enhanced covers from my Ranidae collection. 


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