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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Chateau Grand Bigrad a splendid visual feast

This post is includes more previosuly unpublished photos of my visit to Grand Bigard in 2012. Since I was unable to be there this year I thought that I might as well share more of the many photos I took. Please forgive me if I include any that have already been published in a previous post.
In this post I have selected photos to illustrate some of the mixed groupings of flowers and colours. If ever you are in Belgium during the period in which this is held for four weeks in early April till early May the annual flower show at Chateau Grand Bigrad is a definate MUST see.
I also strongly recommend getting the multiple entry pass as there is no way  you can see everything in one day unless you rush around and believe me their astinishing spectacle of floral colours and forms is not something you can or should want to rush through.

 
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Additional Information

For more information and pictures either click on the lable "Chateau  Grand Bigard" or this link to my first post on that visit. You can also visit the Grand Bigard official site for information as to the annual event.

Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Hibiscus flower Up Close

Here are some Macro photos of a hibiscus flower. It is amazing how different things look up magnified.


 





Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

My other blogs

· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

· The Blood of Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

· Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Peacocks Gui Zho Province

Peacocks in Gui Zho Province



While visiting Gui Zho Province, China in November 2009 one of the places we stopped had peacocks in a park/reserve.

 

 












Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

My blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters)

·         The Blood of  Souls (on language, translation and etymology)

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general)





 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Weird and Wonderful Creatures: Mysterious metallic green beetle

Weird and Wonderful Creatures: Mysterious metallic green beetle

The blog has been pretty heavy on plants so here is a friendly little fellow I met a couple nights ago while I was at Malifa.
unknown Metallic green beetle in glass jar of seeds
One of my cousins Leatuse referred to it as a Talie because he has seen this type of beetle around the Talie tree (Binomial Name)

 
Metallic green beetle
I have seen these beetles around before but noone ever mentioned its name. I am not even sure if it is native to Samoa or an introduced species.
Metallic green beetle
I took it with me from Malifa to Alafua in order to photograph it and it was rather docile.
Metallic green beetle
At first I photographed it through the glass jar I had popped it in but eventually I realised that I could take it out and photograph it without any danger of it flying away.

Metallic green beetle. Side view
Although I was able to take some rather decent photos through the glass.

Metallic green beetle on its back (one leg is missing)

Don't worry it is not dead. Everytime it was handled too long it tucked its legs and feelers in and played dead. After a while it would start to stir and in the instance bellow started to do so even though I was holding it. Once I had all the photos I wanted I took it outside and released it.
Metallic green beetle
Incidentally I had a hard time photographing it because Pebble kept jumping onto the desk to investigate what I was doing. Naturally remembering his beetle mania I kept pushing him away because I did not want him to eat it and that kitten moves fast. He opperates on the sniff and snatch.
So unhappy was he with my not allowing him to get close the this intriguing specimen that he started to walk over the laptop keypad, push the screen down and pretend to rub his face against the desk lamp I was using to illuminate the bug. When I had rescued the lamp several times and gotten tired of his antics with the laptop I put him outside the room and closed to door to his very vocal displeasure.

Metallic green beetle
When I let it go I made sure that Pebble and all his clan of Ninja Cats were nowhere around.


Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

 

Additional information:

As I said I will be posting the photographs of the statues on another blog which will cover “A blog about art, sculpture, food, history, culture, literature among other things. Basically this blog will be a catch all for other topics that I cannot logically cover in my existing blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters)

·         The Blood of  Souls (language, translation and etymology)

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general)




 



Egyptian starclusters and Felonious felines

Egyptian starclusters and Felonious felines

Most of the Egyptian Starclusters that I ought a few months ago have grown well especially considering that most of them were just cuttings that I had been given along with a couple plants that were growing.

Assorted Egyptian Starclusters (Pentas lanceolata)
I have six colours now although sometimes I am not too sure and you could argue that there are eight as there is a slight difference between two of the darker pinks and two of the darker purples. I have not included the other two as the difference was to slight.



When these plants are well developed and in full bloom they are quite stunning.

Above are some of the reds and pinks in a bed with Ti plants of which you can see one. They were actually only meant to be there temporarily as I was waiting for them to become established and then use them to get more cuttings as I want to plant a large bed of them.

Above is another lot in another bed which are also supposed to be temporary since that bed has Beehive gingers, Torch gingers and Indonesian Wax Roses which once they attain their full growth will be large and overshadow them although ... they are on the sunny side of that bed so I guess they will be ok.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (White)
I have sort of started on the large bed of the Egyptian Starclusters but will most likely have to make cuttings and plant them directly into the ground. I do have a handful of plants in planting bags which I propagated from cuttings I took earlier but they took a while to grow and I think that rather than waste time planting the cuttings in planting bags only to transplant them it would be better to just plant them straight into the ground. That way I don't have to go through two periods of careful watering as first the cutting and then the transplanted cutting go through shock.

Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Dark Pink)
The only problem is that I will have to be vigilant and make sure they are well watered and that the cuttings do not dry out. The cuttings I stuck directly into the current beds only got some evening sun and the cutting I grew in planting bags were initailly grown in a nice shaded spot before being gradually exposed to full sun.
I transplanted some of those in the area where the large bed will be and those plants went into a bit of shock, withering alarmingly but they are recovering now. So ... the idea of planting cuttings directly might not be wise.

Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Lavender)
 
 On the other hand I think that part of the reason that the plants that I transplanted had problems getting established is because I planted them in 100% river sand which while it makes for excellent root development and survival of cuttings ... when you transplant them the sand just falls out and there is little or nothing around the roots.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Red)
I suppose I could root them in sand then transplant them into a soil/sand medium and let them grow until they are bigger and ready to transplant into the final positions ... or ... I could just plant them without removing their bags. But that is a waste of bags and prevents good root development so I am not keen on doing that.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Dark Pink)
Anyway the big bed I am planning on will probably have sections of single colours as well as sections with a mixture. In front as edging I'm thinking of using some zepheranthes. At the back which slopes up a bit onto a rather over grown part of the property I want to have a screen of Heliconia psittacorum proably a mix of Andromeda, Golden Torch and Lady Di or some other variety I have been trying to get hold off.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Lavander)
The screen of Heliconias will serve to deleinate the bed, provide a sort of frame for the Egyptian Starclusters as well as act as a barrier to keep the overgrown part of the property from encroaching on the Egyptian Starclusters and well ... they will also effectively screen the overgrown parts from view.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Pale Lavander / Pale Blue)

Grass grows so quickly here and although we planted most of the property with banana trees in the hopes that the shade will keep the grass down, a few weeks after the grass was cut and the banana trees planted the grass was already two feet high. Now it is a jungle again.
Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Starclusters (Light Pink)

I planted some Talie and other trees also to create shade and keep the grass down but they are slow to grow. I have quite a few Moso'oi, Fuafua, Talie and Tamaligi seedlings that I want to plant but am worried that if I am not there to keep any eye on them some over zealous grass cutter or tree hater will chop them down.
I also have finally germinated some Orchid tree seeds of the Pink Orchid tree I planted here a couple years ago and would like to plant those too. The big problem is that it is vital that these trees are never pruned if you want them to keep that perfect "umbrella" shape. Once you start cutting branches they start sending up new branches and you end up with an ungainly mess of a tree.

Rocky sleeping on top of Zepheranthes

Rocky pretending to wake up. Note the stretching of the toes

Stoney comforting Rocky after Rock got a scolding for sleeping on the seedlings


L=R Ninja Cat Clan Kittens: Pebble, Rocky and Stoney


Rocky sleeping on the seedlings 5 minutes after having been told off




Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.


Here is a list of my blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

·         The Blood of  Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/






Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hyacinths at Chateau Grand Bigard

Hyacinths at Chateau Grand Bigard


I have been going through some of the hundreds of photos I took in 2012 at Chateau Grand Bigard and posting some of those I have not et posted. For this post I decided to do one all on Hyacinths.

















 


Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Here is a list of my blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

·         The Blood of  Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/