Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hoya dasyantha or Hoya fungii?

I normally got hoya cuttings from friends or bought them from roadside vendors. The cuttings, therefore, always come without a label and so all my hoyas are NOIDs. My common practice is to search the internet to find out the names of my plants, if possible. And when they bloom, I seek confirmation from members of the Hoya Forum on GW.
This one plant got those people confused. I thought it was Hoya fungii but then it was identified as Hoya dasyantha. And I took it as Hoya dasyantha.

It bloomed again these days and again, it got those people confused! Some say it's Hoya fungii, others say it's dasyantha!

Of course it's nicer to know its real name. But whatever it is, it still is a pretty hoya!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My planters

This is one of the big, heavy terra-cotta planters that I brought up from our other home. This time I tried to keep to a color theme.
These two planters have blue-white theme. In them, I planted forget-me-nots and another plant (which I don't know the English name) for blue. For white, I had white petunias and shasta daisies. I also added some ivy for trailing effects.

After nearly a month, now the plants have started growing, but I guess it might take another month for them to completely fill in.
I also planted another big, heavy terra-cotta pot yesterday. This one has red-orange theme. I had a few wax begonias, 3 dwarf marigolds, 2 zinnias and a cosmos plus some ivy as well.

Nowadays we have light rains, off and on, during the day which is very good for the garden. I hope these planters will grow fast.
Oh, when weeding the flower beds yesterday, I found this volunteer. Does anyone know its name?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My dahlias

Dahlias always have a place in my heart. I love the flowers as they look so "cheerful". I also love the flowers because they remind me of my childhood living with my father in our hometown.
I was about 8 or 9 years old then. I remembered we lived on a large property but we didn't have a flower garden 'cause father didn't have time for that. He was busy working on the farm as my mother was usually away from home running her trading business. So there were only my father and I most of the time.
I had a crave for plants even then. I remembered having gone around the neighborhood and begging for seeds and seedlings to plant at our home. Once I was given a clump of dahlia tubers!
I followed instructions from adults to give the dahlias chicken feathers as fertilizer. It was said that the feathers would make the dahlia blooms have the color like that of a rooster's tail. I had beautiful dahlia blooms but I don't remember now if they looked particularly shinny like the rooster's tail or not!
When I grew up and have our own home and garden, I tried many times to grow dahlias with no success. We didn't have the right climate for them down in our Saigon garden. So my desire to have dahlias in the garden keeps on growing!
When we have Tuysonvien, I decided that I must have dahlias in my garden!

So we went around looking for them. Dahlias are considered 'wild plant' locally and there's no way one can buy seedlings or tubers from the market. The only ways to obtain tubers are to beg for them from friends and neighbors or to "borrow" from roadside strays (hehehe, you know what I mean, don't you?)
One morning back in 2005, while we were taking our morning walk, hubby and I spotted a clump of dahlias growing by the fence of a house. I couldn't find the owner to ask if I could have a tuber, so... you know what happened. This is our gain that time.

Then another time, I got given another tuber. This is my second plant.

I didn't know before I started planting dahlias that they were perrienal and that they would die down and come back year after year, in spring. Of course, I do now thanks to GW!
This year, my plants have came up already. I've just done weeding and fertilizing them. I hope I will have many blooms this summer.

Even now I grow many kinds of plants, I always love dahlias. They're great in the garden and as cut flowers, too. When I have many blooms, I often cut them for the vase. They always remind me of my happy time with my father some fifty years ago, in the countryside.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New arbor

Last week, my husband helped put up an arbor on the back patio. The structure was meant to be covered with jade vines (?) in the future.

There are two kinds of jade vines available locally; one bearing orange blooms and the other blue. The blue one looks more like 'tiger's claw' (hence the name in Vietnamese). It is much prettier and harder to find.

We have had the 'orange' vine growing for a few years now. It definitely needed something to climb up. Hubby has made a 'ladder' for it on one side of the arbor.

On the other side, I planted two 'blue' ones. I hope they will grow fast to catch up with the orange.

It might take another year or two for the vines to climb to the top. Meanwhile I think I will hang my hoyas and orchids on the arbor for them to enjoy the rain and sun.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New succulent bed

The photo above is the succulent bed that I have completed today after consulting members of GW.
First I dug out the existing soil and added sand. Before adding the sand I lay newspapers at the bottom.

Then I placed the rocks I had prepared last week on the bed. After that I placed the potted plants on the bed to visualize how the bed would look like once planted.

Finally, I used the gravels to decorate the surface. This is the final look of my bed. Thanks to the inputs from GW.

I really like the look of it. The plants I used in the bed had been put outside in the rain for several months to 'harden of'. Now, let's see how they would behave.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New hoya cuttings

I've just acquired three rooted cuttings of hoya: one Krimson Princess and two Hindu rope (green and variegated) from a friend I know over the internet.
The cuttings are all very healthy despite being small size.

The cuttings came from a new friend who grows very good hoyas but doesn't have space for all of them. She also sent some Tillandsia usneiodes.

Internet is a wonderful place to make friends, in deed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More blooms on the hoya multiflora

Three more blooms have opened so far, on my hoya multiflora. Wow, it's soooooooo slow. I'm waiting for the day when all the umbel opens. Hope it will look nice.
Here are the photos taken this morning.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Amaryllis bulbs potted

After cleaning the bulbs and soaking their roots for a day in water, I potted them up last Thursday.
Initially I could see only three out of the five bulbs show scapes. Now all five have scapes coming out of the bulb. This one even has three scapes! How cool!

And look how big this scape has grown in two days!

I will soon have many blooms, hopefully on my birthday. BQ said two of them were "Picotee" but I don't know which ones. Big surprise when the blooms finally show.
Here they are enjoying their new life on our back porch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ten days later

After waiting anxiously for ten days, this morning I spotted my 'so-called' Hoya flat-stem has decided to open its first bloom!
I really don't know why it took so long or, maybe, it was just the way it should be. This is the very first glimpse of the bloom. Obviously, it's not 'flat-stem' but it's one of those Hoya multiflora/javanica clones. Will check with GW to confirm its ID.

I expect I will see the full umbel by the end of the week???
My husband just informed me yesterday that the other one in Tuysonvien was loaded with buds, too. Hopefully next week when I'm back up there I will witness a grand opening!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From Keukenhof, with love

I got wonderful presents from our dear daughter who has just come back from Keukenhof: jumbo-size amaryllis bulbs, tulips, iris and a pack of seeds!

Although the best of the amaryllis lot - a double Promise - could not be saved, it was still a real delight to have these goodies.
I know they were picked with love. Thanks BQ. We're so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It rained so much yesterday

We are 'officially' in the rainy season for it has rained every afternoon nowadays. But yesterday, oh mine, 'it didn't rain but it poured'!
My gardens were filled with water, up front and in the back.

When the rain let up a bit I had to run out to turn on the bump to get rid of the water and to take a few shots for here.
I always love rain. We Asian people believe much in feng-sui, and according to feng-sui, I 'belong' to the Wood group. So I feel fresher, healthier, happier... when there's water around me! LOL! I guess all people would feel the same, don't they?
But one thing for sure, when it rains I'm dry because I don't have to water the plants. Otherwise, I'd be all wet hosing plants in my gardens, especially that the hoses are broken and my husband can't seem to find the time to replace them for me!

PS: I found a lone bird on the top of a tree. Perhaps he/she was waiting to join their friends somewhere after the rain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Selecting rocks for my succulent bed

I've always wanted to plant a succulent bed in my 'cool' garden but never knew where to start. I've spent many hours searching and looking at photos of various C&S gardens but everything seemed "too distant" from what I wish to have.
So I posted a question on GW and got very simple, easy-to-do steps. I now feel full of confidence to start my project.
I must first of all get some big rocks. Where? Ah ah... I know where!
Several years ago, we had a water feature down here. It looked very pretty first done.

But we eventually could not keep the feature working well because the water we used was from the river, full of dirt and debris, so it clogged the bump frequently. Now, there's a pile of big rocks lying idle there.
My husband won't go to Tuysonvien with me until a while yet. That means I will have to hand-carry these rocks up myself.
So I went out, selected just a few mid-size rocks which I can put into my carry-on for my next trip up Tuysonvien.

I bet the coach people might swear when they lift my carry-on! It's heavy, I tell ya, but I will try to manage. It's all for my love of plants.
Stay tune for the finished project when I'm up to Tuysonvien next week. I hope it will look nice.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It may not be a "flat stem"

To this date, my so-called "flat stem" looks more like H. multiflora! So it may not be a flat stem as I thought.
But whether it's flat stem or multiflora, it's a thrill for me to have.
I will post photos when the buds open; they aren't now yet.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My hoya "so-called" flat stem

I got two rooted cuttings of this hoya about a year ago and have been growing it in both of my gardens.Both plants grew well and produced a lot of peduncles. However, all the peduncles did not develop!Thinking the plants might like more light, I moved them to another location in the shade house where they could receive the light they need. Then I noticed that the peduncles have started to grow bigger and now one of them is about to bloom!
This hoya species is still rather rare and it has been going with the name "Hoya sp. flat stem" since its stem is flat, not round.
When I got the plants, they were mistakenly named H. multiflora for its up right stem and elongalated leaf form.
Now I'm excitedly waiting for the first buds to open to see how it is different from multiflora! Many thanks to the friend, who sent us the plants last year.