Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Podranea ricasoliana - Trumpeting Its Loveliness

These delightful lilac-pink flowers of Podranea ricasoliana aka 'Pink Trumpet Vine' bloom the whole year round. It is actually a climber but I've trained it into a slender tree of about 12 feet high. 
 I love its pastel colours against the light blue sky. 

The rim of dark pink around the entrance to the tubular part seems to be a pointer for insects. 

I've seen carpenter bees with big girths struggling to get into the deeper recesses of the flowers. 

An unidentified moth*with transparent patches in its wings hangs precariously on this flower. The underlying pink of the flower shows through its wings making it look like a pink-coloured moth.
(now identified as *Clear Wing Tiger moth, Ceryx sphenodes - updated on 25.1.2016) 

It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see
Hendry David Thoreau

The lateral branches arch gracefully down displaying the blooms for eye candy enjoyment at eye level.

  The yellow trumpet flowers of Allamanda cathartica and Tecoma Stans (image below) provide a strong contrast of colours.

This is a tree-top view from above. The compound leaves of dark glossy green provide a nice background to the flowers which are produced terminally.

I shot this from the first floor balcony. My plants have a good drenching from this high-powered hosing. Water pressure was high but adjusted to a rose shower so as not to damage the flowers.

 When a strong wind blows the flowers float gently down. 

Fallen flowers gave the lawn an added texture of interest. I usually leave the flowers on the lawn as it is, ornamented with Nature's baubles to be enjoyed for a while longer.

 This snail enjoyed gliding along the watering hose so much, it refused to get off it. It moved along the hose for many, many feet and seemed to be enjoying itself so much that I've no heart to interrupt its glee. I left it to its  own devices for the night. The next morning it was gone. Well ... so be it.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 
― Confucius

For recipe, please click on my food blog


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gangara thyrsis - Giant Redeye Butterfly

I was online one night tapping on the keyboard when this little fella landed on my screen, peppering it with its powdery scales. I thought it was a moth as it was still active at that time of the night but on closer examination, found that it was actually a butterfly.
Its wings were folded up at rest and its antennae are long, ending in clubs.

This butterfly actually has several yellow markings on the upper side of the wings. A small sliver of yellow is visible here, having been overlapped by the hind wings.

 It was either admiring its reflection in the screen or it thought it was embracing another butterfly.

 I touched it slightly and it flew off and landed on a metal sieve which I've left to air-dry on the kitchen dish rack.

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

 The ruby-coloured eyes were like pomengranate globules. I think of it as a bejewelled gold brooch. The long burgundy tongue was coiled up. It would be extended out to reach for nectar which is very much akin to using a straw.

Autumn leaves, a holly leaf and an Apple

I was still in Cork when I accidentally pressed the 'publish' button of the draft version on 25 Oct. I think it was up online for about ten minutes when I noticed two comments from fellow bloggers, Rohrerbot and Giga. I have to revert it to draft as the captions was incomplete. This is my first post (re-published) since my arrival home in Malaysia about 6 hours ago.

A Pink-throated Hibiscus

This is one of those smaller old-fashioned Hibiscus unlike the large and gorgeous hybrids that we see nowadays. However, it is not without its charm. The white petals are streaked with fuchsia-pink lines which merge towards the tubular part giving it a pink throat. 
The markings serve as a good guide for pollinators as to the sweet treasure within.

In Hibiscus the numerous stamens comprising filaments and anthers are carried on a long upright staminal tube which also encloses the style.

 The style branch into five, each carrying a stigma at its end. The stigmas look like orange pom-poms.

"In the end, life lived to its fullest
is its own Ultimate Gift" - Jim Stovall

The anthers have popped releasing the fine pollens.

A top view of the outstanding reproductive part of the flower.

This long protrusion of anthers and stigma cast a shadow under the morning sun.

After the shower, the flower is still fresh for the picking.

A Common Five Ring butterfly (Ypthima baldus newboldi) perched daintily on a bamboo stem which is used to stake the Hibiscus plant.

This greyish brown butterfly has a single large ring (ocellus) on the forewings while there are five ocellus on the hindwings. The last pair is counted as one. The ocellus or eyespots are black enclosed by yellow rings. The eyes are grey, matching the wing colours.

A Hibiscus leaf is the prefered landing perch of this brown moth. It has dark brown patches strewned in wavy lines across its wings. Unlike butterflies the antennae of moths do not end in clubs. As they are nocturnal, moths are more furry so as to counter the lower temperatures at night. Note that a main distinguishing feature of moths is that they rest with the wings flat whereas butterflies have their wings folded upwards. 

Posted from Cork, Ireland (I've only a few days left from my one-month sojourn in Ireland).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anthurium andraeanum - Life Imitatimg Fake

This is one of the most misunderstood flower. It has often been mistaken for a fake and a popular fake it is. The petal (spathe) is thick and waxy making it a popular cut flower. It is also very often maligned as those with imaginative or 'wayward' minds refer to its vague semblance of a part of the human anatomy.
This vermillion variety is large, loud and a real attention grabber.
A less fiery shade of red but just as lovely is presented here.

The dwarf variety is mass planted for visual impact.

Being low and compact they make ideal bedding plants.

Nodding heads of the dwarf variety make a good landscape design statment.

This is an anthurium with a slightly different form and hue. The variations extend to the spadix where in this instance is mostly white with a slight pink flush on its tip. The tiny flowers are carried on the spadix.

This is another dwarf variety with purplish red spathe and deep purple spadix, Anthurium previa.

This is a large variety with pure white spathe and spadix, the tip of which is dipped in sunshine; Anthurium carnival.

This anthurium of white spathe with pink spadix provides another permutation of variety.

A teeny weeny damsel fly seen clutching the edge of this anthurium.

This one started off as a white spathe but gradually acquired a greenish tinge as it matured. It provided a broad platform for this gastropod to glide happily on until it ...

reached the tip and then - oops! The equilibrium was lost and it was left swinging and suspended for a while. It was probably having great fun.

“If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  - Lewis Carroll

A single stalk of anthurium provide contrast to a single frond of Norfolk Island Pine. These two cuttings last like eternity in my columnar vase of water.

Posted from Cork, Ireland (This is my last week of my one-month sojourn in Ireland).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Cold-blooded Encounter

I enjoy looking at butterflies fluttering around. They appear to be mobile ornaments for my garden. Robert Louis Stevenson once said that "Butterflies are like flying flowers, the flower a tethered butterfly." 
How apt, I would say by looking at them frolicking amongst the plants. As I strolled in the garden, my mind was on beautiful things and I stopped by

a nearby clump of Alpinias to select some for cut flowers. As I stooped down to sever the stalks,

 I felt as if I was being watched.

I looked up and lo and behold I saw gleaming eyes with piercing Medussa look.

It was a slender snake of about five feet long. 

It then slithered away deeper into the ginger torch clump.

I flipped through the large fronds and found it lying lengthwise along the long leaf stalk. It was certainly not pleased to be discovered and showed its displeasure by extending its forked tongue.

After a while as it no longer felt threatened, it changed its stance and ...

gave me a quizzical look.

It then turned its head sideways to get a better look at me. It looked at me hard and long. It was a very tense moment as we eyeballed each other.

“Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.” - Chanakya 

I then bade it goodbye and it lifted up its head as if in acknowledgement. We parted in peace. 

It was hovering near the wall probably because of small morsels of food such as this which was self-exhibited and ready for the picking.

An interesting shadow play was displayed with its pair of tentacles. It seems snails have poor eyesight. No wonder their eyes have to be located at the end of stalks. Dots at the end of the antennae make them look like eyes.

This snail has found a lovely way to shelter from the sun. The canary yellow petals of the Allamanda cathatica form the perfect canopy for it. Snails have a messy habit of leaving their droppings on the walls which are rather difficult to dislodge. Spraying with a stream of water under high pressure can dislodge them but the smudges remained - ugh!!!

Posted from Cork, Ireland. How time flies. I'm into the third week of my one-month sojourn in Ireland.


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