Archive | June 2009

Some New Shots From My Garden

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The weather today was like it is still summer.  So hot and humid. I did a little weeding and some pruning of the overgrown borders in my small garden, but it is a fine time to take out the digital camera and take some macro shots…..

It’s Simply Called Mayana

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Paint your garden with attractive and colorful leaves.  They come in bright colors of green, red, maroon, pink and sometimes with a combination of yellow.  The color of the leaves depends on the exposure to the sun, they are more intense in partial sun shade than in full sun.  I just took these pictures a few minutes ago, I just can’t resist the beauty of the flowers.

Known as coleus to other gardeners, this plant is so very easy to propagate. Just take a cutting with about two or three leaves and put it in water.  Allow it to grow roots before transplanting it in your garden. Voila! there is no rooting hormone needed.

Do you know that the coleus plant growing in your garden is medicinal too?  The leaves are used for bruises and sprains, for headache, mild bleeding of wounds and also for sinusitis.  Our local gardeners simply call it mayana.

Oregano

I am thinking of re-planting the row of oregano we have in our small garden. Some of the branches have grown so tall and they need to be trimmed before the rainy months set in for good. They are mixed with a few bulbs of caladium. The latter are now beginning to show new shoots. This is the best time for these caladium plants to be cultivated in areas where there is morning sun. I like them interspersed with the oregano though, they make an interesting sight, pure golden shade of green and the pinkish and white hue of the caladium.

Oregano wine, oregano juice, oregano tea, oregano vinegar. These are the potential products that can be derived from the Philippine oregano. Coleus Aromaticus is the common variety which is usually found in the Philippines. It is not commonly used in cooking but it is considered as a primary medicinal plant for the relief of common coughs. My mom swears by the efficacy of this plant. Every time she has colds and cough, she makes an infusion of the fresh oregano leaves. It has an intense aromatic and slightly bitter taste.

In a study conducted by Dr. Estela Tano of the Dept. of Agriculture, oregano contains carminative, tonic and medicinal properties. Rosmarinic acid compound and thymol found in oregano are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-fungal properties.

IMGP2390Other species of oregano are used as culinary herb particularly in Greek and Italian cuisine. Pizza is one such dish that is commonly associated with oregano.

Hmm…I am just thinking right now of Viva Italian pizza.

An Eye-Catching Rain Lily

IMGP2382Zephyranthes grandiflora.

Rain lily has a tendency to burst into bloom after the rain. Finally, finally, I enjoyed mine for about three days….you can’t help but love these dainty flowers.

How To Attract Butterflies In Your Garden

There are certain plants that produce nectar which in turn attract butterflies. The brighter the color of the flower, the more it is attractive to these winged creatures. Butterfly pollinates our flowers.

There are four stages of development for a butterfly to become an adult, from an egg, it grows into a caterpillar, then a chrysalis and finally into adult. They need host plants to lay eggs. The question is, what flowers attract the most butterflies?

Butterflies love basking in the heat of the sun. It’s because they are cold-blooded creatures. Many butterflies perch on flowers or leaves when the wind is cooler. They lay themselves flat down and face upwards at the sun so they could get the best exposure. The monarch butterfly lays eggs on milkweeds. These butterfly weed flowers are rich in nectar for many adult butterfly species.

Butterfly weed, scientifically known as Asclepias Tuberosa is one such type of milkweed and is considered a nectar-source of a number of butterfly species. There are other plants that produce nectar some of which thrive in our garden:

Asters Bee balm (Monarda)

Butterfly bush (buddleia davidii)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)

Cosmos

Lilac

Marigold

Ornamental thistles

Sunflower

Verbena

Zinnia

Lantana

Pentas

Don’t you just love having these wonderful creatures in your garden? I am propagating my butterfly weed plants and hopefully, grow more lantana, marigold, zinnias and pentas. It’s just so sad that I no longer have the orange and yellow cosmos in my garden.

Powder Puff Plants

Calliandra Haematocephala , otherwise known as powder puff plant belongs to the family of Fabaceae which comprises about 200 species.  It’s a great looking bold bloomer.  The flowers thrive very well during spring, summer and even into fall.  This carefree specimen shrub is great for outdoors and can even be grown in pots.  All it needs are regular and faithful watering. It thrives in partial shade but needs full sun for maximum blooming.  It prefers moist but well-drained fertile soil.  The buds look like berries before they open into “puffs.

Powder puff plants can grow up to 3 feet tall, their size can be controlled by pruning.  They can be propagated via large cuttings or through seeds.  (Seeds are better of course).  The flowers are very soft to the touch and grow from hundreds of slender, bright-red stamens which create a powder puff effect and seem to explode out from the center of the flower.  These plants are attractive to bees and butterflies.  They are native of India, Madagascar, Mexico, South America and United States.

Took these shots from our wild garden in our province.  How I wish I could propagate them in my miniature garden at home.