March 14, 2007

A peek at the garden today, March 14

Heliconia rostrata, Parrot's beakHeliconia rostrata

Heliconia rostrata, Parrot's beakThe Heliconia rostrata (Parrot's beak) that we bought for L. 25 (U.S. $1.32) in El Pino is doing well. There are many new shoots and it's been blooming constantly since we planted it in September 2006. The blooms are very long lasting. This is a new bloom and the upper photo shows a full bloom. That flower is almost two feet long (.6 m.).

Russelia equisetiformis, coral or firecraker plantThe photo at right shows the heliconia next to Russelia equisetiformis (common name coral plant or firecracker plant) which also blooms pretty much all the time.

Russelia equisetiformis, firecracker plantThe truth is that I killed my first firecracker plants by forgetting to water them but these came back from seeds which had dropped on the ground. These plants stretch to about 6 feet tall (2 m.). My neighbor gave me the hollowed out tree trunk. This is a close up of the firecracker plant blooms.

weird bananasThese weird bananas look like some kind of freak of nature. They are about 6 inches long and 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide (15 cm. by 6-7.5 cm.) The picture is a little confusing because they are sitting on top of a bunch of regular platanos (plantains). Frank thinks they are bananas and a really good kind, he says. El Jefe thinks they are platanos. I'm kind of leaning toward the wild non-edible banana. We'll soon find out.

weird spiderWe ran across this spider while working on our 'wild' hill. I don't know what kind it is but it was scary looking. If you can open this in a photo program and enlarge it, you'll be able to see how freaky it is.

It was about 2 inches long (10 cm.), not including the legs. After the photo shoot, El Jefe chopped it up with a machete. I worry about poisonous spiders biting our dogs so I didn't complain this time. Besides, when in Rome.....

Clerodendrum thomsonae attacked by leaf cutter antsThe bare sticks in this photo are a Clerodendrum thomsonae (Bleeding heart vine) that has been completely defoliated by leaf cutter ants. They are called zompopos here in Honduras. One day it was fine, the next it looked like this.

Clerodendrum thomsonae (Bleeding heart vine)Here is a picture of what it normally looks like. It's hard to believe that ants can do this overnight, isn't it?

Clerodendrum thomsonae (Bleeding heart vine)And this is a closeup of the blooms. Apparently the ants don't like the blooms. They strip every single leaf but they don't touch the flowers.

Lemon treeThe leaf cutter ants decimated my Limón tree (whether this will be a lemon or a lime tree remains to be seen!) as well. I thought I took a picture of the nude tree but all I could find was this pre-ant photo.

It is a little deformed as some
Celosia argentea v. spicata grew up around it and I actually forgot it was there for awhile. Apparently it was stretching sideways to reach some small bit of light. Just imagine it now without one single leaf on it. Poor limón!

Leaf cutter ant pathThis photo shows the path the ants wore in the lawn in only one night! It looks like a well-used bicycle trail. Can you imagine how many ants and how many trips it took to do this in one night?

I have some incredible leaf cutter ant photos to show you one of these days. Stay tuned!

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