Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet Our Garden Pets

I was asked by my kids one day why I always blog about things that I find interesting such as the garden and prodded me to post something about things they love as well. Since they are animal lovers, let me share what pets we have at home.

There are various colors and kinds of lovebirds but these peach-faced lovebirds are the easiest to care for. Their warm, happy color combination reminds me of a bromeliad bloom Vriesea or flaming sword. Kids feed them with sunflower seeds. A garden would not be complete without the sound of chirping birds.
Agapornis roseicollis
Peach-faced lovebirds
As their first pet, they had guinea pigs or cavy. Belonging to the rodent family, they are gentle and social animals. They love to be touched and coddled. They produce a wheeking sound everytime kids go near them. Perhaps it is their response when they get excited.
Cavia porcellus
Guinea pigs
Hamsters love to dig and stay in burrows so we provide them with wood shavings in their cage. They have pouch-like cheeks that can hold considerable amount of food. They store food in their cheeks and carry them where they want them to eat.
Baby hamsters
Red-ear slider turtles have a distinctive red mark beside the ears. Their diet consist of insects and worms.
Trachemys scripta elegans
Meet Chewbacc, the newest member of the family, given to us by an aunt. I am not so much of a fan of Star Wars but I did watch the movie and remember vividly the names of the characters. Star Wars will always be a part of my growing-up years. A shih-tzu and poodle mixture, he was named after Chewbacca, the seven foot sidekick of Hans Solo in the movie.  This lovable and cuddly little puppy carries the same loyalty of Chewbacca to Hans Solo. How the kids adored him!
Mixed shih-tzu and poodle

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


It has been like more than a month since I stopped blogging due to changes in schedules, extra work load, some out of town seminars and a favorite sister getting married. How I wish those trips were for leisure. Even if I was not blogging, I never left the garden. How I miss the blogs of my fellow gardeners. 
A Japanese-style garden with a soothing koi pond of a hotel.
A huge vase in the hotel lobby. 
My work assignment in the operating room made me choose to set aside blogging for the time being due to the erratic schedule.

Suddenly, my day became the night and my night turned into day.... 

and the metamorphosis has begun.
Swallowtail caterpillar
What used to be backbreaking affair in my garden became long hours of leg-aching sessions in the operating room. There was a time when little spiders were common sight in the garden. Now, spider veins are the last thing one would want to see in the legs which may possibly occur from prolonged standing and from restricted movements. Thanks to Conrad Jobst who invented the compression hosiery. With that, varicosis can be prevented and  long periods of standing becomes comfortable and easy.

I was told this plant is called variegated papua but when I googled it, I can't seem to find its name.
Suddenly, the glare of the sun was transformed into the glow of the surgical lights in the theater. I did not mind getting dirty at all in the garden. Now, scrubbing to keep the hands and arms as clean as possible is a protocol and keeping asceptic field in the OR area is all that matters. Garden gloves turned out to be surgical gloves. The greens surrounding the garden came to be the green drapes and gowns. Pruning shear and secateurs, shovels, hand hoe, garden hose were made into the surgical scissors and bone shear, retractors, tubes and catheters. 

My Pleomele reflexa with volunteer coleus
Basically, time plays a vital role in the OR. In the garden time passes by unhurriedly, calmly.
Chocolate ti plant
Life in the OR contrary to the time in my garden... I can have both worlds, I can't complain. As Albert Einstein said, life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crazy Over Crosiers

Crosiers are unfurled fronds of a fern. It is always such a joy to find some everytime I take a walk in my garden. 

Unfurling of a crosier...

Like a Koru, it represents new life, growth, strength and inner peace. 

Unfurling of a tree fern.

Crosier of a mother fern.

Isn't it such a beauty?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Compensatory Mechanism

I was on the brink of exhaustion. Half of my cerebrum told me to relax for a while, garden, watch a movie or listen to Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi or Beethoven in fugue and baroque for that matter while the other half of the hemisphere logically pointed out that there were still some work that had to be done not to mention helping the kids out with their schoolwork. As a working mom, I can no longer afford to guide them in math so I opted to enroll them in Kumon Programme (some kind of tutorial)  instead. Driving them to Kumon is like hitting two birds with one stone; I can go to the grocery or shop until they finish the session, that is if my schedule allows me to. Talking about maintaining my psychological and physiological equilibrium!

Now I'm back in my garden. I miss the plants!! Some of them changed a lot. This was how the Asplenium looked like when it was newly  acquired a year ago.

Look at how the fronds changed in time...

After a year....
Could it be the that the fronds reverted back to its true form? Or was it the environmental condition that caused the change?
... and this.
The plants have been getting too much water this rainy season. I noticed how the fibrous roots of  this Asplenium nidus grew rapidly from the heavy downpour.
Asplenium nidus fibrous roots
A closer look at the roots
As a compensatory mechanism to control the amount of water, there is a tremendous growth along the roots so as to absorb the excess water brought about by long periods of rain. Imagine how this plant can survive considerably in dry and moist conditions.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Peculiar Platys

Something wonderful happened...My Platys produced a pup!
Platycerium coronarium
From the normal 80 beats per minute of the cardiac muscle, I had it at 100 bpm as a result of my excitement.  This was the first time I saw a young fertile frond growing. I thought it would take some time for it to grow but surprisingly it did not disappointment me at all. Look how fast it grows.
1st day of the young foliage frond

3rd  Day 
What is so unique about this stunning fern is its capacity to collect and trap dry leaves from the host tree to its nest where they get their nutrients for their growth. Thus, they benefit from their host without damaging the tree.  As the basal fronds age, they curl inwards into the center of the nest to contribute to the organic matter inside and to conserve moisture needed by its roots. For some reason this makes them self-sufficient fern.
6th Day

9th Day

12th Day
Another thing I like about it is the unique and odd appearance of its fronds. The basal frond that grows upward which forms the nest from their tree host makes me think they look like outstretched hands ready to catch anything thrown at them. The long fertile fronds draping from the nest  taking the shape of the antler makes it more interesting, adding a dramatic effect on the host tree.

More than 1 week

My excitation did not end there when I had another Platys with a pup. I had them hanging at the right side of our home where they get only partial early morning sun because full glare of the sun is detrimental to them.

I feed them with dried banana peel at least once a month to supplement their nutriment.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Sound of Nature

The rain had stopped, it was calm and quiet outside. As a lover of music, I can hear how nature was carrying out melodies in the garden...It was all like music to me. The slow rhythmic sounds heard in nature is a good example of relieving stress. Babies inside the womb are influenced by the heart beat of their mother. That is why people  respond to the soothing, rhythmic, repetitive sound around them. In my work, music is an alternative measure in reducing pain and in relaxation technique.  When I garden at home, I sing.

The sound of the house crickets was like the rhythm of maracas. Tree crickets gave off  faint resonance of tambourines. They blended well with the symphonic low bass sound of the bullfrogs croaking harmoniously. We have lots of them in the garden at this time of the year. I welcome them for they help me get rid of snails, rats, mosquitoes and other unwanted visitors in the garden.


Soft tympani drum was beating at 4/4 as the water from a tree was dripping onto the cover of an empty can. The leaves were swaying with the wind as they danced to the tune of "The Songs of Nature." 

One last look in the garden and I was pretty sure my plants were safe as they listened to the sound of nature before sleep had finally set in.
        Can you hear the sound of the moon?

These Hands