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Archive for February, 2010

Thunbergia Erecta

I first saw this in the highlands.

The shrub had beautiful vivid purple blooms with a contrasting yellow throat.

I took a small stem – so small that I didn’t dare pin much hope on it. But the 3-inch stem surprised me. It grew.

 

And a year on, the Thunbergia Erecta bloomed! The same royal purple blooms graced the plant.

From afar, it looks like an ipomoea. But these blooms stay open the entire day.

Unfortunately the camera can’t seem to do the rich colour justice. Whoever called it the King’s Mantle named it well.

I wonder how it got its other name though – the Bush Clock Vine. Anyone wants to venture a guess?

 

 

Care and propagation: partial to full sun; well drained soil; water moderately; propagate using softwood cuttings (preferred) and seeds

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Portulaca Grandiflora

Portulaca Yates Dazzle Doubles – that was my very first packet of commercial seeds. I was about 8 then and treated the seeds like the crown jewels.

If I was the happiest kid on the block when the seeds germinated, I was certainly over the moon when they bloomed!

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I had a journal and documented in childish script the various colours and the number of double petalled flowers that bloomed each day; tiny luminescent gems in red, orange, yellow and ivory.

The portulaca is actually one of the easiest annuals to grow in a tropical garden. They don’t need to be fussed over. Just stick the stems into the ground and let nature take over. Before you know it, you’ve got to start restraining them.

Today our portulaca, which is a more common cultivar, gets walked on, pushed back and pulled out periodically. Yet they rebound effortlessly to add a splash of colour to the flower bed.

We have tried numerous cultivars through the years and never tire of them. Garden centres sometimes surprise us with yet more varieties.

The portulaca’s vibrant tissue-thin blooms last for only a few hours, but it’s good to know that there’ll always be another colourful display the next morning.

Be dazzled – I still am.

Care and propagation: well drained soil; full sun; water moderately; propagate using cuttings (preferred) or seeds

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Sarracenia Stevensii

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When a friend gave me a cutting of his Sarracenia Stevensii in June last year, I couldn’t thank him enough.

I treasured that cutting and promised myself that I’d do it justice.

I potted the single pitcher in LFS and watched it like a motherhen.

……

…..

For a long while, nothing happened. While this meant there was no progress, it also meant that the Stevensii was still alive, at least.

And then it happened.

After 3 months, the Stevensii bloomed and I was chuffed – it was a proud moment. I pollinated the flower, determined to harvest a few seeds at least.

The Stevensii continued to grow.

Today, less than 7 months after I planted the lone pitcher, the pot holds about two dozens rosy Stevensii pitchers.

And the flower which I pollinated about 4 months ago has formed …. a very promising plump pod!

Care and propagation: long fibre sphagnum or a combination of peat, perlite and sand (2:1:1); sit in dish of water; full sun; propagate using cuttings or seed

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