November 30, 2010
Childhood Nostalgia, Mahogany Trees, Spinning Seeds, Street Trees
Swietenia macrophylla - Mahogany: Leaves, Pods and Seed.
Dizaman dulu, waktu belum dibuat perlebaran jalan, didepan rumah kami tumbuh pohon mahoni (= Swietenia macrophylla). Pohon pohon tinggi dan besar ini yang tumbuh ditepian jalan tampak megah dan kerindangan daun daunnya membuat jalanan yang waktu itu masih sepi, begitu teduh dan asri.
Masih teringat jelas dianganku, waktu waktu masa kecil bersama kakak perempuanku dulu. Kami senang sekali setiap pohon pohon mahoni itu mulai rontok daun daunnya dipanasnya musim kemarau. Disaat itulah pohon pohon itu tampak menggundul dan buah buahnya bisa tampak jelas dilihat. Buahnya ukuran dan bentuknya seperti avocado tapi warnanya kecoklatan dan keras.
Kami tahu tak lama lagi disaat musim hujan hampir menjelang, buah buah mahony itu akan terbelah oleh panasnya sinar matahari. Jarang buah buah itu jatuh dalam bentuk utuh, tapi hanya belahan kulitanya yang gugur ketanah disaat biji bijinya sudah habis jatuh beterbangan. Disaat itulah, waktu biji biji mahoni gugur beterbangan, aku dan kakak senang sekali.
Angin yang lembut menghembus menerbangkan biji mahoni dan biji yang bersayap itupun berputar seperti baling baling helicopter. Pemandangan ini selalu membuatku terkesima. Kemudian kami berdua mulai mengumpulkan biji biji itu dan melemparkan setinggi tingginya keudara. Puluhan baling baling kecil berputar dan pelan pelan akhirnya jatuh kembali ketanah. Masa kecil waktu itu begitu sederhana, namun kami serasa lebih sadar akan kejadian kejadian kecil yang terjadi disekitar kami. Biji biji mahoni yang sedarhana itupun bisa mampu membuat kami riang gembira. Berjam jam dan berhari hari kami bermain main menerbangkan biji biji bersirip itu. Dalam imajinasi kami, biji bji bersirip itu adalah benar benar helicopter mini dengan baling balingnya yang berputar dan berputar….
Sekarang setiap kali aku pulang kekampung halaman di Indonesia, aku selalu teringat pada pohon pohon yang besar dan teduh dipinggiran jalan didepan rumah kami. Namun hanyalah kenangan yang tertinggal. Sudah lama pohon pohon itu tak ada lagi. Jalanan yang dahulu teduh dan sunyi itu memang sekarang jauh lebih lebar tapi tak pernah sepi. Lalu lalang kendaraan tak henti hentinya berlalu dari pagi hingga malam hari. Panas terasa menyengat dan debu debupun berterbangan…………
November 28, 2010
4. Seasonal Garden Notes
My garden, Roses
The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
(Quotation written by: John Boyle O’Reilly)
I have to admit that I am not a rose person. Growing roses for me is just that every garden should have them. Many people say that a garden is missing something without a rose bush or two.
Though some rose plants can survive neglects and extreme conditions such as long drought, but I find that most of them need certain degree of care. Pruning, fertilizing, taking care of pests and black spots are necessary in order for the plant to grow and produce well. Lately with so many rains, black spots have become really troublesome.
Yes, rose blooms are truly beautiful, but I hate the sharp curvy thorns, even the leaf stems are often thorny. Ouch, ouch….! They really hurt my fingers.
Anyway, these are the roses in my garden. Most of them I know the names but few of the old ones that we bought long time ago, we have lost the recollection of their names.
November 25, 2010
Crataegus phaenopyrum, Melbourne Area, Nature-strip trees, Washington Hawthorn
One tree species that grows along the nature strip in our street is ‘Washington Hawthorn’ (Crataegus phaenopyrum). I like this small tree because of the small size and beautiful foliage (especially in autumn). It has pretty white flowers in late Spring and little red berries in late Summer to Autumn.
Right now this hawthorn tree in front of our property is flowering and many bees enjoy the sweet nectar. When the fruits are ripened, birds will eat them. In a few occasions, bird droppings spread the seeds. Sometimes I find the seeds grow new seedlings and I don’t really mind as they are not as invasive as the loquat trees. I pulled some off the garden bed and grew them into bonsai.
- Washington Hawthorn. Botanic name: Crataegus phaenopyrum.
- Native to Eastern USA from Virginia to Alabama.
- Deciduous ornamental tree.
- Nice autumn colour foliage.
- Small clusters of white flowers.
- Small red berries.
- Full sun position.
- Well drain soil.
- Attracting birds and bees.
The leaves of Washington hawthorn tree look similar to Trident Maple’s (Acer buergerianum). I read somewhere that the berries are edible and can be made into jam or jellies, but I never tried to taste it myself.
The Washington Hawthorn tree in front of our house has started to have some fruits/berries:
November 13, 2010
1. Cactus and Succulent
2010, My garden, Orchid Cactus, Plant Collection
Our orchid cactus/Jungle cactus with very large red flowers is blooming. At first I was not so sure what kind of epiphyllum it was, but now I have a strong feeling it is actually Epiphyllum/Disocactus ackermannii. Such beautiful flowers but they don’t last very long. They start to wilt on the third day after the flowers open.
Epiphyllum/Disocactus ackermannii - Flower buds
Very large bloom: Epiphyllum/Disocactus ackermannii
Red Epiphyllum/Disocactus 'Ackermannii'
It is a very different story with Nopalxochia phyllanthoides aka Epiphyllum ‘Deutsche Kaiserin’, this species has long lasting flowers. The candy pink and white small flowers open slowly and will continue to grow bigger until they are fully open. A prolific bloomer which is perfect for a hanging basket. This year they are doing very well, many more flowers compared with last year.
Nopalxochia phyllanthoides / Epiphyllum 'Deutsche Kaiserin'
Nopalxochia phyllanthoides aka Epiphyllum Deutsche Kaiserin
The other epiphyllums that have finished flowering:
Chiapasia nelsonii / Epiphyllum nelsonii / Disocactus nelsonii
Yellow Epiphyllum (Fruhlingsgold???)
Sadly, our “Sunrise cacti /Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri” are not doing very well. (Note: Sunrise Cactus is not really an orchid cactus, but it is also a jungle catus). The stems are droopy and only have few flowers. Today is raining and dark, so the flowers don’t open fully. Just like Mesembryanthemums, the flowers only open when the sun light is bright. I read that Sunrise cacti are the hardest to grow compared with the other jungle cacti. I am not going to post the picture of the Sunrise cactus now. Hopefully tomorrow will be sunny and the flowers will open properly . Then I will take some photos.
The next day….. it is overcast but bright enough to make the sunrise cactus flower open.
Pink Sunrise Cactus
Sad looking Sunrise cactus
Links to other blogs on Orchid Cacti/ Jungle Cacti:
November 7, 2010
1. Cactus and Succulent
Carrion, My garden, Plant Collection, Stapelia, Starfish Flower, Succulent
Our Stapelia plant is flowering. The flowers are star-shaped, hairy and smell like rotting flesh. The colour is dark red like the colour of meat. Though the smell is not as strong as Corpse flower (Titan arum), it is good enough to fool some flies. Flies think that the flower is some kind of rotting carcass, so they lay their eggs/maggots inside the flower. So the missions are accomplished for the plant! The flies have helped the flower with polination. When I took the pictures yesterday, I saw tiny maggots near the stamens inside the flower. Not very long they will die as there are nothing for them to eat in there, within 3 or 4 days the flower will also wilt away.
- Stapelia is originally from southern Africa and also known as Carrion or Starfish flowers.
- There are about 40 species.
- It is succulent plant and not a cactus.
- Attractive fleshy, smooth and spineless velvety long stems which can grow to about 20 cm long. Green or grey-green with purple tinge in colour.
- Large flowers and the flower buds grow like balloons before they open.
- The flowers are hairy, mostly are 5 points starshaped. Once open, they will last for a few days (3-4 days).
- The flowers come in many different colours: dark red/maroon, yellow, cream, greenish or spotted/mottled.
- It needs similar growing requirements as other succulents. Sandy but rich well drain soil.
- Full sun position, keep in sunny place indoor in winter.
- Much less water during cold season.
- Liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
Stapelia Flower Bud
Stapelia sp. just about to open.
Star-shaped Stapelia sp.
A fly is attracted to the flower.
Maggots inside the flower.
The Amazing Wonder of Nature….. Sometimes it is just bizarre!
November 3, 2010
4. Seasonal Garden Notes
Images from our garden, My garden, Spring Garden 2010
It rained so much lately. I notice that some of my roses have developed black spots on the leaves. It is obvious that too much moisture from the rains have made the black spots spread. I got rid of the foliage with the spots and will not do anything else. Just wait and see. I will only spray if the problem persists.
What else? The yellow Genista racemosa is still blooming, but this year my ‘Green turns to Yellow’ Cymbidium Orchid refused to bloom. I don’t know why, but I think it is because I divided the plant too late. I divided it into three. Hopefully they will bloom next season. As with my Orchid cacti, the Chiapasia nelsonii (Epiphyllum nelsonii) is still blooming while the others are still in buds. The yellow Epiphyllum that I bought earlier this year has finished flowering.
The water lilies have waken up from their winter sleep and now they have grown many leaves and few flower buds. I like to see how the goldfishes are peering from underneath the lily leaves when I come near……their open mouths are poking out near the edges of the leaves. Just like dogs, they know how to beg for food. Ha….
I am going to post some of the photos that I took in the last few days. It was a surprise when the other day I saw a green Katydid insect among the camellia leaves. I was lucky to have a chance to make few shots before it eventually flew off.
Goldfish and Water Lily
Yellow Rose - Unknown variety
Rhapsody in Blue - Purple climbing rose
Pink Mesembryanthemum (Pigface)
Purple Mesembryanthemum (Pigface)
Yellow Mesembryanthemum (Pigface)
Strelitzia reginae - Bird of Paradise
Purple Bearded Iris
Today is nice, cool and sunny and it is perfect to go out there and to do something in the garden. I am thinking of getting rid of the weeds in the garden bed. It is still too wet to mow the lawn. I better post this….. Happy Gardening :o)
Link to go to my previous notes on my garden: