Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Up the garden path II

Lately, it seems that I've been concentrating in featuring plants, structures and projects in the lower garden. What about the garden in the upper area of the farm, particularly the back side?

Although the upper garden plants have been sort of "neglected" they are doing just fine. For some reason they are more independent than their relatives in the lower garden. When it comes to nourishment, they are able to fend for themselves without much human help. This summer alone they have not received as much watering as one might expect they needed and yet they are thriving.

For the past several months we temporarily hired additional help to clean the garden area. As much as the plants are thriving well, so too are the weeds. In fact, the viny weeds have found good structural support from the taller plants almost to the point of taking over, threatening to choke them. So the task of the extra helpers were to clear the grass and weeds around and under the plants, remove dead leaves and trunks and other gardening stuff.

Much of the upper garden is the realm of the grazing animals particularly our small herd of sheep, a few cows and water buffalos. In the small areas where they are not allowed to roam are where the plants are growing.

In the places where the plants dominate, you will find different types of Heliconia, different palms (Foxtail, Manila, Fan, Traveler, Triangle, etc.), Norfolk Island Pines, Indian Masts ("Indian tree"), Plumerias, Ti plants, Alocasias, Cycads (Sago palm), ornamental bananas (Blood, Yellow, etc.), different ornamental gingers (Red, Red Torch, Shampoo, Beehive, etc.),  Calatheas (Cigar, Rattlesnake), and somehow a lot of Crotons. Not to mention are some other plants, the names of some I do not know.

These are the plants that are currently there. The 'greening' of the garden isn't done yet. We will continue to add more plants whenever we could. As much as I'd like the garden to look like a jungle of tropical plants now, I'd have to be super patient since the plants with the capacity to grow tall are still relatively small.

If there is one particular thing that I am proud to say about these plants is that they look strong and healthy despite the fact that they are free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm still passionately feeling blue...

Oh, but this has nothing to do with that hideous monstrosity in my previous post. I haven't gotten over that yet but we need to move on.

The Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea) vines crawling up the four corners of the steel pergola are experiencing a growth spurt. There is an abundance of exotic flowers gracing the garden with an irresistable display of beauty.

The Blue Passion Flower vines are busy putting up a show.

And more are coming. In no time they too will unfurl their yet hidden beauties.

Aside from the flowers the vines too are creeping and crawling like crazy. And their spiraled tendrils are reaching out for the closest object to latch on to for support.

While they are busy flowering the vines are also busy filling in the spaces at the top of the pergola.

Soon the creeping vines will completely cover the top of the pergola. Eventually they will provide a completely shaded area underneath. This shady area will then be an ideal place to hang out at any time of the day, as long as it's not raining of course. This is what I'm aiming for, a cool place for an outdoor breakfast, lunch or dinner, a picnic area or just a place to relax and unwind.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hideous monstrosity

BE ADVISED This post may contain words that some may find too strong and harsh. Please bear with the author as, even after three agonizing days now, at the time of this writing he is still fuming.

Monsters are supposed to be hideous but the title of this post simply states in a superlative degree that it's very, very ugly and repulsive. To be blatant and direct, I really hate it.

The retaining wall is one urgent project that must be completed before the wet season begins. After funding the first part of this three part project the work began but curiously I was not informed of any developments. Then after leaving me in the dark, finally I received a text message saying that the first and second parts of the project are finished.


This cold structure will greet anyone who follows the dirt path that leads to the 'upper garden'.

Before we started this project I made it clear to my father that I want the wall to follow the curvature of the road. If one follows this logic then it is clear that there will be no straight lines and no corners except where the upper and lower walls meet.

So imagine my anger and dismay when I received pictures of the project and looking at these straight and solid walls arrogantly staring at me with an 'in your face' look. Where is the soft and subtle curved wall that I was eagerly expecting to see?

Left view.

I let a day silently pass by without uttering a word because knowing myself I might spit expletives all over the place.

On my second day of silence I received a text message from my mother asking me how I felt about the outcome of the project. She then mentioned that she didn't like it and my niece who was there on vacation finds it an eye sore. With that single text message, mother unwittingly opened Pandora's box.

As seen from the right side.

A long-distance phone call is once again made. Suffice to say that words not meant to be said were spoken with a raised voice loud enough to pierce an eardrum.

I am yet to blindly accept this structure but until now I'm still repulsed by it. The only option I have in mind is to tear it down and rebuild. But with a very tight budget it will be a waste of resource. But then if I keep it, it will be a constant thorn in my side.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A glimpse of paradise

For most of April and on into May our very first Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) has been gracing the garden with its exotic yet stunningly beautiful flowers.

Third flower in early bloom.

Second flower in full bloom.

Very first flower past its prime.

To me, this is a wonderful milestone in the garden since we've been waiting for so long for this moment to arrive. At last it's here! And there are still young flower buds waiting for their time to shine.

Then another promising development. I recently received a text message that it looks like the second Bird of Paradise is forming a flower bud. It's too early to tell if it's indeed a flower bud or just another leaf, but Mom believes its going to be a bud. So here we are, looking forward to another glimpse of paradise in late May or early June.

Visit Hope Grows Day: May 2011 meme to meet other hopeful gardeners.
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