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A garden enthusiast who loves to travel and capture the beauty of places and freeze the memories of her travels in photographs, as well as document her experiences in verse...thankful for the simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chasing Butterflies

I spent three hours yesterday...chasing butterflies. More like stalking, actually. And I am giddy with delight at the result...150 photographs for my new collection! It was a glorious achievement for me. I had never managed to capture a single image of a butterfly in my garden, and now I have so many, I do not know where to start. I'm sure you realise by now that I was at a butterfly sanctuary, and not in the natural habitat of butterflies, and that was how I could get so many shots of these lovely flutterbys.

According to the brochure I received at the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary, there are 30 species there. I think I managed to photograph 18 or so different species. I am in the process of identifying the ones I photographed, and this might take quite a while.So, I shall feature only two varieties in my first post on butterflies.

I'll feature my favourites first.

This was the first butterfly I saw as I parted the screen to enter the enclosure. This specimen was a wonderful introduction to the host of butterflies I was to see. Impressive, to say the least, as its wingspan was about 5 inches! And no wonder, as this was royalty...the Raja Brooke's Birdwing, the most recognised butterfly in Malaysia, practically the national butterfly. International trade of this butterfly is prohibited, as it is a protected species.

Raja Brooke's Birdwing
Trogonoptera brookiana

Inside, there were more of this variety...they were the most visible, not only because of their superior size, but also because they loved to stay at one place for quite a long time before they moved on to attach themselves to another place.

This fella  seemed to be filling up on gas for the next flight out!

I didn't realise that butterflies need to drink, no wonder there was a small waterfall from which the water made puddles among the pebbles, so that the butterflies could stop by for a drink. I would think the nectar provided enough liquid nourishment! Ignorant me. I am learning quite a bit about butterflies with the reading up I'm doing for this post. That's part of the excitement for me...learning new things.

This one, I actually caught landing on the yellow ixora!

The Common Birdwing
Troides helena

This is another large butterfly. I love this particular Common birdwing in the image below, damaged wing and all. This Troides helena had graciously deigned to let me shoot it feeding on the yellow ixora. How's that for colour coordinated dining?

The Common birdwing is among the largest butterflies you will find in Asia. The ones in the photographs are about 6 inches from one wing tip to the other.

This is another lovely specimen, wings not damaged by the early morning rain.
[Photo submission for Photo Challenge - Bokeh]

I can't help but be inspired by these butterflies, to write a haiku for Leo's Haiku Heights:

incandescent green
flash of electric blue wings
breathe beauty into life 

Linking to:
Haiku Heights
Fertilizer Friday
Macro Friday
Weekend Flowers
Macro Flowers Saturday
Photo Challenge: Bokeh
Fabulous Friday
Mosaic Monday
Macro Monday
Mellow Yellow Monday

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden of A Thousand Flowers

I have posted on my garden visits in many parts of the world, but have not had the time to post on the gardens in my hometown. This one which I am posting about has an ambitious name, "Taman Seribu Bunga", meaning Garden of A Thousand Flowers.

The last time I visited it, there were lots of orchids in bloom. This time...none. I was a little disappointed, but the other areas made up for that. 

Let's go in and count the flowers! 

Colourful carpet of annuals at the entrance to the public garden

This grove of Golden Chain trees greets us from the car park area.

Lophantera lactescens

Manicured garden with hardscapes including gazebos are found throughout the grounds.

A close-up of the Mussaenda philippica also known as Buddha's Lamp, Bangkok Rose (the bushes in the previous photo, to the left)

This walkway is lined with clumps of  bamboo  on the left.

This path has a row of  heliconia  backed by tall palms on the left.


Heliconia augusta

Drunken Sailor, or  Quisqualis indica, all  in a row.

Giant-leaved yam plants.

Musa ornata, a tall banana tree with  lavender flowers. The yellow stamen-looking off-shoots must be the beginnings of young combs of bananas. The ants want the first taste, I see.

Sweet pink Peacock Flowers

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Another mussaenda variety

Mussaenda luteola, dwarf yellow variety called White Wing. You can see why.

"Misai Kucing", meaning Cat's Whiskers

Orthosiphon aristatus

 My favourite part of the garden

Topiaried bougainvillea with a carpet of annuals beneath them.

If your count hasn't reached one thousand, my job has not ended. I shall have to  make another visit to this garden for more tropical delights. The bromeliads, ferns and palms are waiting for their turn to be featured in the next segment of Taman Seribu Bunga.

In the garden...
(my first tanka for submission  to Poetic Form at The Purple Tree House)

temptation beckons
passion reaches for a taste
tainted fruit so sweet
faded petals on the ground
soiled for all eternity

written by rosie gan

( also for Poetry Picnic Week #1)

Linking to:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Miniature or compact?

I can't tell if my cattleya that I'm featuring today is a miniature or a compact cattleya. I have posted about this plant before...whenever it blooms, I can't help but take lots of photographs. However, I have never found out its actual name. So I went surfing the orchid websites and was amazed at the mindboggling hybrids and clones that are part of the family of "small-sized" cattleyas. Excuse me for making up my own category...that is necessary because I am now totally confused as to what kind of small-sized cattleya mine is. 

I assumed mine was a miniature, fondly referred to by orchid aficionados as Mini-catts. That's a cute-sounding name.I was going to settle for that term for my catt. Then I read that these plants grew up to only about 5 inches tall, and no taller. Mine are a good 3 to 4 inches taller. Then I saw that there was a category termed 'compact' cattleyas. These are said to grow up to a height of 12 inches. Mine has remained about 8 to 9 inches all these years. Mine should be a 'compact', then. They seem to fit the requirements for admission to the Com-catt category. Com-catt flowers are said to be large. I took a tape measure out into the garden to ascertain the size, and the reading across the flower from the tip of the petal at one end to the tip of the petal  at the other end, read 9 cm. Yup, could be a compact. I was however quite unhappy that I couldn't refer to my flower as my 'Mini-catt' anymore. Com-catt sounds like what you would name a telecommunications satellite. But wait, maybe mine is not a Com-catt after all. It could be a Stan-catt! Standard cattleyas have the growth pattern of compact cattleyas, and they have strong stems that carry 5 or more flowers! I ran back out and counted...mine had 6! I read again, and it said that Standard cattleya plants 'will mature at 12 to 24 inches tall'. I guess mine is still immature, a Stan-catt acting like a little catt.I'll just call it Mellow Yellow Catt. End of search.

Note that I have still not found out the botanical name of this flower. I would be so glad if someone would ID this cattleya for me.

* After-post Note: I knew that one person could easily identify the cattleya for me, and I was right. I sent an SOS to Orchid de Dangau and he immediately emailed me with the ID. How great is that? You can see lovely photos of orchids at his blog. Thank you Makarimi!

Here's what my cattleya answers to from now on, a lovely name for a lovely catt:

Chanchai Gold

She is a cattleya allied hybrid, a potinara (Pot.), and her full name is
 Pot. Thi Ti 'Chanchai Gold'.
Linking to:
Mosaic Monday
Macro Monday
Today's Flowers

Yellow, Mellow Monday