Saturday, January 30, 2016

Euphorbia Milii - Crown of Thorns

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia Milii) are year round bloomers. They can always be relied upon to brighten up the garden. Each inflorescence last for months and they are seldom seen without any floral adornment. This is a tough plant and resistant to common pests such as mealy bugs, thrips and aphids.

This inflorescence of red flowers is tinged with green. Contrast this with ...

this cluster of pure red flowers. This plant has since passed on to plant heaven due to poor drainage of the pot-bound plant.

In the background is a Lantana camara standard.

Euphorbia Milii co-existing happily in container with pink Portulaca and pink Torenia fournieri. Its bluish-green leaves are thick and when crushed, bleeds with a white latex.
A single frond of the Philodendron bipinnatifidum is seen stretching out towards it.

Euphorbia Milii is easily propagated from stem cuttings. Snip off a small section from the lateral branches, let the milky white latex dry off for a day and stick it into a rich soil mixture. It will take root in no time. 

This male dawn dropwing dragonfly perched on a dried up twig.

The blue and pink flowers in the background are those of Torenia fournieri which self-seeded themselves in containers meant for other plants.

Inle Lake at Heho, Myanmar. This photo taken from the verandah of a lakeside restaurant. This restaurant serves western meals.

Wooden houses built at the edge of the lake are charming and hark back to a rustic, gentler way of life.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Obssession of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees whizzing past is a common sighting in my garden. They flew by fast and furious, buzzing loudly at the same time. When there is a handful of them buzzing around, the drone can be quite intimidating. Sometimes I have to duck when they buzzed just inches away from my head.

This one flew purposely towards the object of its desire ...

a blushing red Hibiscus rosasinensis bud.

Eventually it landed on the coveted Hibiscus bud.

Bud hugging is a favourite past time.

 In the background are the orange clusters of Bauhenia kokiana. 

They bloomed profusely for most times of the year.

It continued doing so for all eternity, flying off for a brief interlude and back again to the same bud. I think they could be suffering from a psychological condition, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Under the overhead sun, the dark wings glimmered with hues of blue, purple  and tinges of red. The body is absolutely jet black.

Every now and then, it flaps its parchment-thin wings rapidly ...

in readiness for take off to God knows where.

A Hibiscus in full bloom.

Another bee was sighted on a similar flight pilgrimage to its object of obsession.

It landed on the bud and perched on it possessively.

I always wonder why they do not fancy fully matured blooms such as this but instead chose the buds. There were no signs of pollen or nectar gathering.

A seed pod

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clear Wing Moth, Allamandas and Alpinia Pupurata

The Clear Wing Tiger Moth (Ceryx sphenodes) is a small moth of about two cm wing span.It is a wasp mimic.  Normally I do not take much notice of them as they are  too small to make an impact. I pointed my lenses on this mini beauty when there were no other butterflies or moth around for me to snap away. It was only after I reviewed them in my monitor, that I was able to fully appreciate its beauty.


This petite was resting on an Allamanda cathartica leaf.

Yellow and Purple Allamandas.

The moth then flew off and perched on the underside of a Alpinia pupurata (ginger torch) leaf.

Alpinia Pupurata

Pruning of the shrubs provide flowers and colours for the kitchen island.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mexican Sword Plant and Flower Fly

Echinodorus palaefolius (Mexican Sword Plant) is an aquatic plant though it can thrive on damp or muddy soil. I planted them in containers without drainage holes.

The long spikes carry clusters of round buds at intervals on its nodes.

Cascades of flowers bloom from the long flower spikes. The next day another fresh crop will take its place.

With many generations of plantlets growing from the container, its time to consider re-potting. The leaves are now about one third its original size. The large leaves of the Calathea lutea is seen in the background.

Masses of blooms produce the effect of a bridal bouquet.

Its a magnet for both bees and flies.

This is a Flower fly or Hover fly (Eristalinus aeneus).

It is hard to tell whether it is gathering pollens or imbibing nectar.

After the snacking, it was time to enjoy the view below.

Another type of Flower fly (Eristalis) approach this treasure trove of entomological epicurean delights.

Thick clusters of Echinodorus palaefolius in a container next to my letter box.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bulbul Fledlging and Red Hibiscus Rosa sinensis

Cute little Bulbul fledglings were seen learning to fly and fend for themselves. They could barely fly, let alone forage for food.

This 'toddler' sat on top of a ledge of the concrete fencing. It appeared rather lost and forlorn.

Suddenly, it stood up and chirped loudly.

The source of its excitement was the arrival of mummy bird with a morsel of food in her mouth. It looked like a green berry harvested from my shrubs.

A soon as the feeding was done, mummy flew off, leaving the young one to its own device.

Here it perched and rested under the dappled sunlight, framed with foliage and a single red hibicus.

Not long later, the preening started ... 

and continued ...

to other parts of the body. A good pecking was done all over.

Strangely, it then began to peck at its feathers, laying bare a patch of pink skin.

Plucked down feathers were carelessly casted off.

My concern was about the bare patch on the left side 

When the preening was done, it laid down on its side to soak in the glorious morning sun.

It was then ready to face the day. Attempts at flying take top priority. 

Hibiscus rosa sinensis


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