Helping out to make a greener earth

Monday, November 8, 2010

In Bloom - October

 I have just created another blog entitled "Green Spell Farm."  Since this new blog will focus on my farm exclusively, where the orchid and ornamental greenhouses are located, I have decided to broaden the scope of this ("In Bloom") regular feature.  It will not only showcase those in bloom mostly in the farm but anything in bloom during the month regardless of where they were found.  However, the pictures will be arranged in a chronological order, according to the dates when they were photographed.

So, last month these were all abloom -

October 11

The first week of October was spent preparing for the Taipei trip.  In that trip, thousands of flowering plants were observed, with special emphasis on orchids for which Taiwan is famous all over the world. As a result, I have posted several articles on Taiwanese phalaenopsis to showcase some of these wonderful orchids being grown in Taiwan.

However, not all that fascinated me in Taipei were orchids. One of these was a flowering tree.

On my third day, I decided to take another street from the hotel to the exhibit site. Arbitrarily selected, this decision led me to a wonderful discovery.

Midway during this brisk walk, my attention was caught by a line of flowering trees that I initially thought were bauhinias.

As I approached, I realized that these could not be hongkong bauhinias because their flowers were much bigger.

And then a realization struck me.

Could this be flowering specimens of a tree species whose seeds I ordered from a foreign catalog years back?  I have since grown a number of those seeds and now they are almost 15 ft tall growing well in the farm.

The leaves were the same, the thorny bark was identical and keenly recalling the catalog description, I could not be wrong.

These were indeed silk floss trees, chorisia speciosa or pink kapok.  A native of South America, this flowering tree is considered as one of the most beautiful in the world.  The flowers were almost saucer-sized and looked like tiger lilies.  Now I have more reason to take care of the ones I have at the farm.

October 17

It was now Indonesia, in a place just south of Surabaya where the doberman competition is being held.

 While waiting for my turn to judge the dogs, I took the short free time to appreciate the resort-like atmosphere of the area where the show was being held.

This particular flowering orchid caught my attention.

Perched on the branch of a small tree, just about three feet from the ground was this very healthy orchid calling attention to its caramel brown flowers that looked like plastic as they were so shiny.

 I could not help but associate it with our local vanda lamellata. The plant looked like a healthy lamellata.  The flowers have almost the same shape though a bit fuller and much larger in size.  On the other hand, I could not recall if there was any scent.  Those who are familiar with Philippine orchids would know that our local orchid exudes a most pleasing aroma.

This could have been a hybrid, I will never know.  But this little plant sure made Surabaya memorable for me.

October 20

I was in Chatuchak very early and had only less than two hours to spare.  The convention that I need to attend will start before lunchtime and I need to go back to the hotel to change into something formal before going the convention center which might take almost an hour of travel time.  Not much time to go around and appreciate the plants.  Normally this would take me almost a day, with a return trip the following day.  This trip, I had to be satisfied with a measly two hours.

So many beauties, so VERY LITTLE time....

First thing that attracted me was a red adenium with multi-layered petals.

The typical varieties would have only one layer but fanciers have been at work with adeniums or bangkok calachuchi as these are popularly called in the Philippines.  Not only did they broaden the range of color of the flowers, they also developed different flower types, in terms of size as well as the number and shapes of petals.

Adeniums are rather finicky plants based on my experience.  However, the newer introductions always demand my attention and a desire to see whether the vigor of the plant has improved and whether the tolerance for cultural variation has been widened just like what was done to the flower characteristics.

The plumerias or calachuchi as filipinos call them were being sold with flowers.  I have collected so many varieties through the years but these varieties I do not seem to have yet.

Quite big flowers, basically white with a blush of pink at the edges and bright yellow at the center.

This is also quite floriferous as may be seen from the buds that are yet to open.  I can imagine walking under this huge plumeria tree with all this sweet looking flowers at my feet.  In six to seven years time.....

Plumerias have not enjoyed the public acceptance that they should in the Philippines.   Being very hardy plants, requiring very little care to produce so many flowers, they have been used extensively as shade/ornamental trees in cemeteries and as such have been associated with the dead.

This variety really got me excited.  The colors are so vivid - the contrast of pink with the yellow jumps at you even from a distance.  Medium size flowers and extremely floriferous.  I would have wanted to bring this home though I can't this time.  Better luck next trip then.

Bangkok like Taipei is also orchid country.  This orchid though, caught my attention -

There was no tag to identify the plant.  The flowers were huge, almost the size of medium-sized cattleyas, immaculately white with deep yellow on the lip.  It could have been a hybrid of one of the formosa type dendrobiums.

And how could I possibly leave the plant market without checking on my other favorite, the water lily.  

I found this beauty displayed in one of the prominent water lily vendors. The subtlety of the changing petal color from dark red to baby pink with the yellow at the center is something that I have not seen so far in water lilies. 

The plant is still small.  This must be first or second flower for the plant still.  I can imagine how pretty it would be when the plant matures and the flowers would be 6" to 8" wide.

I wish I can bring this home too!!!!

October 30

Towards the end of a very hectic month I was thankful to find myself with a few free days to go to my farm and to check the progress of my plants there.  

These two plants were in bloom - 

The very reliable and no frills dendrobium dearei.  Small pure white flowers with  a blush of green at the center, it flowers twice a year, most years in the farm.  Very relaxing to look at.

And to cap my very hectic month, the coelegynye rochussennii were all abloom.  Here is a shot of the flowering clump and a close up of the spike as well.

These native orchids from Mindanao were bought many years ago in a regional garden show without flowers.

The seller practically twisted my arm to buy them as I was then in no mood to buy.  He said that they are called "rosary orchids" since the flower spikes are long and a clump can send plenty of spikes.

I was glad I allowed myself to be "convinced" as these plants adapted very well to life in the farm.  It helped that my farm is a bit cool too which I found out to be one of the requirements for this orchid to flower.

Grown under a single net with coconut husk for growing medium, the plants receive nothing extra but for the twice monthly fertilization.  They were also watered when the growing media started to become dry.

For many years now, without fail, these plants would send out this long yellow flower spikes at this time of the year.

Whew,  what a full October it has been!


  1. Gorgeous blog! I'm always jealous of plumerias when I visit Florida. There is something in their symmetry that really appeals to me. Even though I live in a mild climate the winters are still a bit too cold for them.

  2. Hi Fred, i am new here just saw your link in Blotanical which i just also recently joined. But I've been blogging about ornamentals and travels for a while though. I like your photos and posts, and congratulations for having a wonderful exhibit in Taiwan. I saw your older posts about it. I have to email you privately on some comments. thank you.

  3. Thank you so much Appalachian Feet for your comment. I must admit that being new to this stuff, I am a bit flustered. I love plumerias a lot so you can look forward to seeing more of them in the near future. I am waiting for my other varieties to flower so I can take the photos. Have a wonderful day!

  4. Hi Andrea, just like you, i am also a newbie here. i have been rather busy with work lately so I was not able to reply any sooner. Thanks for your comments. I have not had the chance to seriously look around at the other blogs but you can bet that I will be following your blog regularly. Yes, do email me if you have any questions or comments. Thanks again.

  5. Gorgeous flowers and photos! I love plumerias too and I have the white with pink at the edge type and also the original white big bloom type (very common on cemeteries)..just love their flowers and sweet scents!