Friday, July 31, 2009

hummers update

look at those babies, they have grown already. Notice the beak /bill and the downy covering on the skin
I am wondering if they are a boy and a girl?
the female antillean crested humming bird keeping her chicks warm. She actually allowed me to come quite close without leaving her nest.
the emerald throated humming bird just look at that colour! A pity I couldn't get a full shot!
The babies will be ready to fly off on or around August 17th meanwhile their mother is busy collecting nectar and white flies to feed them. The mother sits on them to keep them warm and today I got a good shot of her. I have also got some shots of the emerald throated humming bird with the sunlight on its iridescent body.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The babies are out

these babies will be ready to leave the nest in 21 days

I peeped in to make sure that everything was ok when I saw this !

I got a piece of wire and bent it to hook onto the branch supporting the nest

so I decided to do some renovations and put in some additional support

Yesterday when I had gone to check on the nest it had tilted to a dangerous angle, and I was afraid that the eggs will fall out.

the antillean crested female, notice its straight bill

the emerald throated humming or the green throated carib bird, the larger of the two species we have on the island with its long curved bill

I have managed to capture some photos of the emerald throated humming bird, these are not the best photos however that is what I can manage so far. Yes the babies are out and in twenty one days they will be ready to leave the nest. Humming birds need lots of nectar for energy and will feed on white flies for their protein. Humming birds are the smallest birds in the world, the smallest humming bird is the bee humming bird from Cuba which measures a little more than 5 cms (2 inches) from bill to tail. Humming birds have the fastest metabolic rate of any warm blooded animal. They are capable of flying backwards to the left and right, hovering and even flying upside down. They have the fastest beating wings as well as being the fastest flyers in the animal kingdom. They are very territorial creatures and fights break out regularly around my feeder.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A hummer's hideout

I was walking under the mango tree and suddenly this humming bird flew out from some leaves in front of me, I must have I startled it. I suspected that a nest was nearby, because a few days ago I was picking mangoes and it was around making a loud racket. I went in search of the nest but was unable to locate it. This time I stood in my place and looked around. I lifted a few leaves above a bunch of mangoes and voila! I had finally found the elusive nest. As usual there were two tiny eggs the size of lizards eggs (normal sized lizards). The nest was securely fastened to the tree branch and the intricate workmanship of this tiny bird's nest was a work of art. It consisted of fine threads of coconut fibre, cotton wool and cobwebs. In Barbados we have two species of humming birds, the antillean crested and the emerald throated . This one was the antillean crested and the smaller of the two . The male species of humming birds are the most colourful. This female had muted colour feathers and was quite ordinary looking. The male sports a florescent green crest on his forehead and has a glossy very dark almost black green feathers. I wasn't lucky enough to capture a photo of him. The nest measures about 3cms across and 4cms tall. The eggs will hatch in about two weeks and I will be posting photos .

Friday, July 24, 2009

bloomin' Friday

The rains have started and the rain lilies (zephyrantes) are out in full force! Their beautiful pink blooms just add that air of happiness to be alive feeling to the garden! Have a great weekend to all garden bloggers around the world. Please visit Katerina at roses and stuff to see more blooming Friday

Thursday, July 23, 2009

nursery visit

miniature anthuriums, they make beautiful live centerpieces

pretty coleus, I have had no luck with these so I stay far away from them

this yellow ixora was not for sale however I plan to get one soon.

Yesterday I stopped briefly at one of my favorite nurseries to see what was new. This was a very brief stop because I had the hubby with me and we had gone to the supermarket just before. So we had food stuff in the car including some of hubby's favorite haagen daz ice cream. He was most concerned that it will be melted by the time we got home so he was on my case to hurry up and leave. That was the shortest trip to the nursery I have ever taken. The next time I will leave him home. I didn't get to see anything! Lovely wet day today so am house bound or I'll go to my favourite hardware store.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bloomers of a watery kind

day bloomer

day bloomer

day bloomer

day bloomer

night blooming pink

night blooming white

magenta night bloomer

Alas!! The rains have come! There is a steady downpour and it is comforting to know that my plants are being fed from the skies above. So today I decided to post from a watery perspective. Growing water lilies can be fun and so rewarding. There will be a bloom everyday in your water garden when things are done correctly. There are four types of water lilies to my knowledge. These are the hardy, the tropical day bloomers, the tropical night bloomers and the amazon Victoria.

The hardy ones are better suited to cooler regions and they also grow well in the tropics. They are very pretty and have the widest range of colours . They go dormant and will reappear the next year. The blooms float on the water's surface . These are normally propagated by root divisions and by tubers or rhizomes.

The tropicals are more vivid in colour, the blooms stand above the water, are larger in size and many of them are scented. In the tropicals there are two types, day bloomers and night bloomers.

The night bloomers are large with a leaf span of 3-8 ft or more, and come in three colours, light pink, magenta and white. There are other characteristics that define the night bloomers. They are more prolific and are very aggressive growers. They cover a larger area and can stifle any other lilies that are in the pond. The blooms open at night hence the name night bloomers around 8pm and will stay open until 10 -11am the next day.

The day bloomers include miniatures, medium size to large. The colours range from many shades of blues, yellows, pinks, whites, purples to hybrids. Recently there was a successful hybridizing of a night bloomer with a day bloomer. Propagation is done by way of root division, seeds, rhizomes and viviparously. Viviparously means that the young plant develops on the leaf of the mother plant.

The Amazon water lily or the Victoria is the largest of water lilies. It originated in the Amazon and one lily will need a space no less than 20ft by 20ft. So that one is enough for large ponds. The leaf of this water lily is thorny and care must be taken when tidying up the plant.

Water lilies are planted in pots or basins without holes, in clay soil and be careful not to bury the crown of the plant. They grow in in full sun in depths of 18 - 30 inches of water. Mind you I have seen some growing in depths of 14 inches. If you have Koi fish I recommend that you find a way of protecting the plants from them or just do not put water lilies in the same pond. We had Koi a few years ago and they lived well with the water lilies until one day we came out to see the plants all eaten and uprooted. What a mess it was. So we decided to sell the Koi and replace them with comets. Since then we have had no more problems. The comets look like Koi without the damage to the plants. So be careful of the types of fish to put into your water garden. Ask your self whether you want a fish pond or a water garden and that will determine the type of pond you will have. Water lilies are voracious feeders and must be fertilized regularly, every 4-6 weeks or the leaves and flowers will become smaller and eventually stop flowering. If the water lilies are planted in the bottom of the pond like a natural pond, they would not need any fertilizing. They will get their nutrients from the fish waste and the soil. Their roots will be free to travel in search of food. Water lily fertilizer tablets are available in many plant shops and if they are not available you can use a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote . I will take the plant out of the water, lift or pull the sides away from the pot and sprinkle some Osmocote. Or I recommend that you get some old pantyhose or knee highs and cut them into pieces that will hold about a tablespoon or two of fertilizer. Tie the small tight bundles and push them down into the soil that the water lily is growing. Remember to cover the fertilizer with more soil. From my experience the Osmocote will last longer than the tablets.

Water lilies are very hard to kill and the plant will have a lifespan of 10 years or more if you pond conditions are right. High or Low pH is a definite killer and always check the pH before adding water lilies to your pond. If it is too high or low I will say not to put them in until you can adjust the pH. Water lilies thrive best in a pH of 7.5-8.5 Anything over 9.5 and below 7 will quickly kill your plants.

Friday, July 17, 2009

blimey it's bloomin' Friday

lemon ginger monocostus uniflorus

dwarf oleander another poisonous plant

This is not a hosta after all it is a cardwell lily proiphys amboinsis

white mussaenda

plumbago a very poisonous plant

I cannot believe that it is blooming Friday again. Where has the week gone? It seems as if it is hurling down through the time tunnel. Still no rain and am now watering. Some of my potted plants have begun to shrivel up so I must water. Rain rain where are you? Have a great weekend to all you gardeners and garden bloggers. Visit Katerina on roses and stuff for more blooming Friday blooms

Saturday, July 11, 2009

SOS Who are you? Can I grow you?

update ...this is a peony

these are lilacs


viburnum plicatum tomentosum

I was in Illinois attending my daughter's graduation in May and I took a stroll through the campus with my daughter. She was pointing out where she attended classes, this moment I will always cherish . Having THE EYE, I came across several plants that made me hyperventilate. Lauren couldn't help me even though she had spent five years there living on campus and passing these flowers every year! I was enthralled with these blooms and I am asking the world garden community to come to my rescue! Those Illinois garden bloggers who had their spring fling in Chicago in May this year (I'm soo jealous and Oh how I hate you all) will definitely know the names of these plants. Jean I hope you are reading this!