Saturday, 30 May 2009

a new find

(Updated) Yet another encounter with unidentified costuses at SBG's ginger gardens. The label for the one above read Costus 'orange bud'. The green cone below wasn't labelled but closely resembles the Costus arabicus. However, the distinguishing traits are most noticeable from the cone. This is more slender and it appears more reddish around the bracts whereas the arabicus is generally green with reddish colouration inside the bracts.

Friday, 29 May 2009

latest bromeliad order

This is the third order which good Lyndi had organised with Michael's Bromeliads. Needless to say, it is quite evident from the photos that I burnt quite a huge hole in my pocket. That's the thing about ordering online with only photos to see. You tend to get bolder and more adventurous and this usually translates into the desire to acquire the unique and virtually unattainable. It also doesn't help that Micheal's catalogue is so darn comprehensive. I had to be really disciplined and cut down my order quite drastically to a mere 22 specimens!

Anyway, two of the specimens alone had set me back by USD$120. It is the extremely rare and much desired Aechmea tayoensis which is endemic to Equador. The other is a very new hybrid known as the Neoregelia (car. x Hannibal Lector) x Tiger Cub #2. So far, I could possibly be the only one in Singapore to have the Neo. hybrid. Quite a few people have the Aechmea and the Orchid Gardens at the Botanic Gardens has quite a few large specimens.

I tend to prefer ordering the more unique species and therefore shy away from the popular selections (which are usually more colourful). Hence, my orders usually stand out from everyone else's not because they are outstanding, but because no one is really interested or "turned on" by what I want. Still, I think they are pretty cool selections. These include the following: Aechmea orlandiana, Aechmea phanerophlebia, Hohenbergia castellaosii, Hohenbergia burle marxii, Vriesea Simplex, Blilbergia viridiflora, Billbergia stenopetala

Thursday, 28 May 2009

costus laevis

The costus laevis has finally bloomed. However, it doesn't look anything like the costus laevis on Dave's website, which is arguably more unique. Still, at least it resembles the one pictured in the supplier's (Heliconia Paradise) website. That's the thing I keep telling people about costuses. There are so many species around, many of which remain either undiscovered or unidentified. And until it flowers, people often find it difficult to distinguish one from the other unless the foliage is particularly distinctive. Anyway, I am happy with this specimen and I am certainly taking comfort in knowing that i've not seen this anywhere in Singapore, not even in the Ginger Gardens.

I got the costus laevis in the form of 2 to 3 rhizomes. It has taken it a year to flower. But in all fairness, I only transplanted it into the ground in November last year and the plant started growing pretty quickly after that. They are now about 2 to 3 metres tall but still shorter than the costus lucanunsianus which is probably about 3 to 4 metres. The other unique trait I noticed is that the flower has a light sweet scent. Quite unusual amongst costuses I have to say.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Costus lucanusianus - Yellow Form

costus scaber

Everyday, as I drive to work and park my car at the Singapore Recreation Club, I would come across this huge patch of costuses growing along Stamford Road, just before the turning into Connaught Drive. Initially, I thought they were the very common Costus woodsonii. But as I got closer and drove past slower every day, I realised that there was something very different about them. So one weekend, I drove down to check them out. As you can see from the photos, they are most definitely not the Costus woodsonii because both the flowers, the foliage and the form are very different. These tended to appear more "shrubby" in appearance because they grew in clumps and were not very tall, probably 3 ft max. I managed to knick a few plantlets to grow them at home.

In my view, it is probably the costus scaber (commonly known in the nursery trade as costus spicatus).

Monday, 25 May 2009

let there be light

I spent much of yesterday morning re-arranging the plants in the "cage". I shifted all the bromeliads to the neighbouring yard as they appeared to be starved of light. Bromeliads tend to lose their colour and turn greenish when light levels are low. Although they did get some sunshine where they were placed originally, I gather that it was probably insufficient due to the shade cloth and the numerous pots of nepenthes hanging overhead. As they are now directly under the open sky, the colours should (*hopefully*) show up pretty quickly, especially the spiny leaved neoregelias.