Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pseuderanthemum reticulatum - the insect attractant

The flowers of Pseuderanthemum reticulatum are borne on upright spikes. The 4-petaled white flower has a magenta throat, spreading outwards into speckles and dots.
A lovely spike of delicate flowers interspersed with buds which are ready to pop over the next few days.

Pseuderanthemum reticulatum is a fuss-free plant. Young leaves are yellowish green, becoming darker green with yellow veins or reticulations as they age.

It can be grown as a border plant to provide an effective and attractive screen.

A flower fly landed on this petal to contemplate the goodies within.

An ant joined in the exploration of this flower.

A golden drop of nectar becomes a sweet source of sustennance for the day.

This pearl of a drop can be indulged in a different setting just by hopping on to the next petal.

Traces of left-over nectar lead to frenzied feeding from a bunch of ants. They scrambled over each other in pursuit of the sweetness.

A female Jacintha Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina jacintha) fluttered by and perched on the flower spike.
She immediately started on plumbing the deep recesses for the coveted delicious liquid.

This spider made a sudden appearance on a young flower spike.

It smelt the presence of grub and is bidding time to switch on to predator mode.

A soldier beetle is waiting on the underside of a leaf, also bidding its time.

With the breaking of dawn, this common garden snail is casting around for a safe place to retire from the onslaught of the harsh sun.

It did a long stretch upwards to reach the leaf above.

And then its a heave-up to position the whole foot on the leaf.

In this upside-down position on the underside of a leaf, it rested for the entire day.

While removing these unsightly 'holey' leaves, I came across this snail stuck onto the underside of a leaf.

A floral spike from the garden is used to brighthen up my kitchen window sill. This small vase has been with the family for more than five decades.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bat Knight Rises - Combat with Twig-worms

I adore the flowers of Quisqualis indica with its light fruity fragrance. Thus a few Q. indica vines can be seen twining itself up in my garden. 
A fully matured Quisqualis indica vine reaching up to the balcony. This is the 'Mother vine'.
A sucker taken from the 'mother' vine has grown vigorously to scramble more than 20 ft up to embrace the balcony.
 Another sucker has been trained into a young standard with support from the wall. This is its maiden blooming, thus the clusters are considerably smaller.

They flower continously and its fragrance pervades the whole garden, perfuming it. Actually I've always harbour the hope of having a perfumed garden. Towards that end I've planted an array of plants with fragrant blooms.
The single petal variety is more common than ...
the double petal type.
The fragrance of the 'double' is spicer and heavier and could be cloying. I personally prefer that of the 'single'. Both are gorgeous when in full bloom.

This vines are popular hanging-out grounds for various faunas including bats, caterpillars, bees, snails and others. 
While pruning one of the vines, I came across a bat suspended from one of the branches.
When I moved nearer, it turned its head down to scrutinise me with unblinking jet-black eyes. We eyeballed each other for several moments before it decided to take flight.

It is good gardening practice to prune after every flowering season to encourage new growth and flowering. While clearing out the pruned vines, I came across this stiff and menacing twigworm stretched out immobile along the stem.
It could be trying to "play dead". I turned it over, ...

and it immediately coiled its head part very tightly. After what seemed like an eternity of being in this coiled up position,
it decided to creep forward in this arched position as worms normally do.
It then stretched itself out along another section of the stem, 

and remained rod-stiff for all eternity. As there was no love lost between us, it was swiftly disposed off together with the rest of its ilk. I get goosebumps just looking at it.

Both bat and twig-worms are found on the same plant. I just wonder whether this twig-worm menace can be mitigated by the presence of bats. Hopefully it is not a situation of cozy co-existence.

Pruned Q. indica flowers are not thrown away but brought indoors for further enjoyment of their wonderful fruity fragrance .
A simple arrangement where the blooms are just plonked on a giant clam shell.

Profusion of blooms means there is work to be done when the show is over. Usually the blooms can last over a week and even  longer if there is no heavy shower. These flowers are not discarded as they make good mulching material.
The aftermath of a shower.
Note: The title of this post is a play on the latest batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' starring Christian Bale and directed by Christopher Nolan.


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