Monday, May 31, 2010

Magnolia grandiflora - Southern Magnolia

Here i am again with another edition of macro monday. In this post i would like to share with you some macros of my favorite tree, magnolia grandiflora. This tree is native to southern america and state flower of Mississippi. It is widely cultivated in india and pakistan for its beautiful and fragrant flowers. There are many species, some are dwarf, almost all bloom very late specially if grown from seed.
These magnolias are shot in lawrence gardens lahore. It has very large flowers and the scent is very sweet and delicate. Here is how looks the bud unopened.
Bees love it although i am yet to see any butterfly on it. Remember growing magnolia from seed takes a lot of time to reach blooming sometimes 15 years and minimum 3 years. So mostly it is grown from cutting or layring. It has common name bull bay or southern magnolia as well. A true subtropical tree.
It produces seed mostly after 8 or 10 years. There is another close relative Magnolia champaca or michelia champaca also grown for fragrant flowers as well but it blooms in february here in my zone 10 while magnolia grandiflora blooms in March-April here.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Catesbaea spinosa, frangipani and egg fried tree flowers

Welcome to blooming friday.The intense heat of 110F is not allowing plants to settle right now but some tough beauties are still hanging out there. Here are some of those.

Plumeria rubra also known as frangipani and local name gul-e-cheen is a subtropical fragrant plant. It comes in lots of color with white one the most common. This color is not so common but most beautiful of all.
Water lilies are another tough beauty blooming profusely. These white water lilies are shot at botanical garden of the Government College University lahore.They do not appear to be tropical ones but hardy tropical lilies.They bloom when temperature rises above 70F. Growing inside a large pond.
This flower is what we commonly call fried egg tree. The name implies the appearance of fried egg. Bees love its blooms. It was shot at lawrence gardens lahore. Botanical name Oncoba Spinosa,this one has small spines over the trunk of the tree but not too hard.
And last but not least is Lily thorn having botanical name catesbaea spinosa. I had thought that only fuchsia and brugmansias having inverted flowers but the list has gone one more step now. These are also shot at Lawrence gardens lahore.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Amaltas,Gul mohr, neelam and fragrant ixora

In this edition i will share with you the flowers which are currently blooming in lawrence garden (bagh-e-jinnah) lahore. Remember this is garden bloggers bloom day post and for others gbbd posts go to May Dream Gardens and check out other beautiful blogs showing some marvelous blooms from all around the world.
The first one is cassia fistula or amaltas. Very drought tolerant tree and blooms freely in this heat of over 110F. A common street tree with masses of yellow blooms.
At this time when not a lot of trees are blooming, cassia fistula gives eyes a treat to watch. You will lots of these trees in india and pakistan. In lahore a lot of specimens are planted on mall road.
Day lily is another common sight in lahore these days. There are mainly three varieties availabel here commercially. The yellow one which is cheapest, the orange one which is most common and the red one which is most expensive and slightly fragrant as well. Botanical name is Hemerocallis. And there are tons of cultivars and colors but here only these three are common. Some nurseries do sell other colors but at high rates. This is a perennial plant in our climate although flowers only in late spring and summer.
The tree is probably one of world's most beautiful trees. Having botanical name delonix regia but more famous with common name Gulmohar and flame tree. It is indeed a sight to watch when in bloom as it produces hundreds of flowers and looks like the tree is on fire.
If you look closely at the bloom it has very interesting shape like that of a claw.It changes its color with the passage of time. Remember this tree belongs to the pea family.
Here is what i would call the remnants of jacaranda and i belongs to the famous bignonia family.Remember tecoma?, yap same family.It was in full bloom in spring and whole tree was covered with blue flowers but now only some are left on the tree.
This fragrant ixora having botanical name ixora parviflora is also at the end of blooming in lawrence garden. What a scent!!!!
And now some blooms from my terrace a well. This morning glory the hardiest of all, blooms much earlier than other varities. I planted 3 various colors and will share with you as soon as other colors bloom but right now be content with this one only. And yes its botanical name is ipomoea purpurea.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trumpet honeysuckle and butterfiles in Lawrence garden

Here i am again with another edition of macro monday. Yes more butterflies in this post. I would post seperate on butterflies of lahore. And not just butterflies, capturing some hummingbirds wont be a bad idea though? Wild life is in full swing in urbans of lahore. Most shots are from Lawrence gardens also known as Bagh-e-Jinnah.
First is Plain tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus), Very common and easy to capture as its speed is not very fast. It spreads the wings easily and very beautiful indeed.
This one is Pioneer white butterfly (Belenois aurota) Very fast and difficult to capture. She does not like being photographed at all. I hardly manage to get few shots of hers. She is trying to get some nectar off trumpet honeysuckle the botanical name of which is Lonicera sempervirens.
Here is a trick to capture them easily. The small ones in pioneer butterfly group were much faster than those which were large. So i concentrated on large ones having large wings. not a bad deal at all.
This one was pretty fast as well and very small as compared to others butterflies. But capturing her back with spread wings was the challenge. I do not know her name, this is my first capture of her. She just adored alyssum flowers.
Another butterfly whose name i do not know. She was attracted to trumpet honeysuckle or Coral Honeysuckle, which is a hummingbird magnet. I also captured some hummingbirds, but the shots were not clear as i had no tele lens with my digital camera.

For more macro monday posts, visit Lisa's Chaos

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Protecting Container Plants from Summer Heat

Protecting container plants in extreme summer heat is a challenge many gardeners face. Note that the plants in soil bed do not feel that much heat as compared to the ones in containers. In my case, i have got majority of my container plants on my terrace, the floor heats up in summers and the roots of plants at bottom of container are stressed. I had to water every second day to protect them. Last year i lost some of my plants because of that. Here is what i am doing this summer and this is going good so far.

Mulch: The best mulch components are leaf mold, coco peat and some organic matter or humus. You can also include, shredded newspapers and card boards. Remember, leaf mold cools the soil more than anything else. See the following arabian jasmine, though in soil bed, i have mulched it with leaf mold and coco peat around 2 inches depth.

This is how it will look closely. Don't forget to keep the mulch away from the main stem. Mulch will protect the plant from outside heat but not the bottom heat which is coming from the floor and stressing the roots.
Humidity: If your containers are at your terrace, the bottom heat will stress the roots of the plants. To handle this, place your container in a tray of pebbles soaked in water. But don't forget, your pot should not be standing in water, just the pebbles should be soaked and not the lower portion of your container. It is also useful for those plants which like humidity e.g. Arabian Jasmine etc.
Type of container: If you see below, this is my murraya exotica plant in an 18 inches clay pots. If you use terracotta pots, the terracotta color will protect the plants from heat however plastic pots heat up in direct sun. I like clay pots and they provide better protection from heat as well. The mulch of leaf mold and coco peat is 2 inches deep.
And last but not least container gardeners should try to plant drought tolerant plants as much as possible. The plants which are native to south africa, brazil, australia and mexico are very suitable to our sub tropical hot climate. The temperature outside temperature on my terrace right now is 110F which is quite challenging. But the mulch and pebbles tray are doing a great job till now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tropical milkweed and murraya on my terrace garden

Here i am again with another edition of macro monday. Hot summers are in full swing and i am busy mulching all my plants to save them from scorching sun. I will start with this beautiful butterfly hanging over my murraya plant on my balcony.And she is a frequent visitor here.
Another butterfly i captured but not at my terrace, in an open space instead. She is way faster to capture and i spent hours to get her.
This is Tropical milkweed. Botanical name Asclepias curassavica. This is first ever bloom of this plant in my garden. Initially i planted it just fro sake of attracting butterflies but the blooms changed my mind. I grew it from seeds last year. As the name implies it is more suited to tropics than its cousin butterfly milkweed asclepias tuberosa. It likes moist climate specially in hot summers. It is a bit drought tolerant as well. I am growing it in a 14 inches container on my terrace.
I captured this bee busy in a sunflower bloom. This species has gone wild in open areas of punjab. Not many bees are attracted but bees just love it. Could not resist few close ups.
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