Tag Archives: Trip Report

Trip Report: Miscellany in Delhi

I got to spend a week in New Delhi, India in April.  I didn’t have a lot of free time outside of my work obligations, but I spotted some interesting plants here and there.  The part of town I was in was very green, with trees everywhere.  Even still, with India being highly vegetarian, I probably ate more plants than I saw.

My hotel had some nice palm trees on the grounds.  When I think of India palm trees aren’t the first plants that come to mind – especially far from the coast.  However, I know very little about Indian flora.

Caryota urens, Fishtail Palm
Phoenix roebellini growing in a container.  Notice the white flowers.
Close-up of Phoenix roebellini flowers.

There was a beautiful lotus pond at the hotel.  In the morning and early afternoon the flowers were open.  By the heat of the afternoon they would close.

Lotus pond at the hotel

My hotel also had  a collection of bonsai trees.

Ficus bonsai at my hotel

I walked about a mile from the hotel to the Lodhi Gardens.  Along the way I passed the India Islamic Cultural Centre, where there was a nice aroid (maybe Epipremnum) growing on the trunk of a deceased tree.

Probably an Epipremnum

The Lodhi Gardens is a public park where a lot of families and friends congregate to just enjoy the outdoors.  Inside the gardens are several tombs and a mosque, beautiful old buildings dating back to the 1400s.

Tombs in the Lodhi Gardens
A tenacious Ficus religiosa taking root in the cracks of an old tomb. Hopefully someone will yank it out before it turns this tomb into a pile of rocks.
Sunset at the Lodhi Gardens

I wandered around the gardens until sunset, taking photos and enjoying the hot weather.

Beautiful Cannas in front of a beautiful tomb
Stands of bamboo
Agave plants forming on the bloom stalk of a parent plant

Many of the trees in the park were tagged with their species names, including this Cinnamomum camphora.

Cinnamomum camphora at Lodhi Gardens

There were many interesting birds in the park and a large placard that identified some of them.  I identified Parakeets, Common Mynah, and House Crow.

Placard of birds that can be found in the gardens
House crow (Corvus splendens)

 

Within the grounds of Lodhi Gardens is the “National Bonsai Park.” Apparently it closes earlier in the day, so I wasn’t able to go inside.

Closed.

Down the street from Lodhi Gardens is the Safdarjung Tomb, which is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture.  It looks a bit like the Taj Mahal.  On the grounds was a beautiful fl0wering tree native to Madagascar.

Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi
Beautiful flowers of Delonix regia, a Madagascan native.

On the walk back to the hotel I passed a tree with interesting flowers hanging from inflorescences under the canopy at eye level.  It was dusk and my camera battery was dead, so I had to use my phone camera with flash, which resulted in a less than stellar picture.

Flowers of Kigelia africana

Some friends helped me identify this tree as Kigelia africana, the Sausage Tree.  I have seen these trees at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, with their large seed pods that look like sausages, but I had not seen them in bloom before.

I really enjoyed my limited leisure time in Delhi and I hope to get to visit India again some day.

Trip Report: Iris Gardens at Will Rogers Park

The Oklahoma Orchid Society show and sale takes place at the Will Rogers Park in Oklahoma City.  While we were there for the orchid show, we decided to wander around the park a little.  The Oklahoma Iris Society maintains a nice Iris Gardens that was in full bloom for our visit.  All of the plants were neatly labeled so we knew what we were viewing.

Greatest Show On Earth
Act Surprised
Sorbonne

 

Rayos Adentro

There were probably about 35 varieties in bloom.  This last one was Christie’s favorite.

Splurge

This has been a good year for our own little Iris garden at home.  We might have to add a variety or two for new colors next year.  This variety, Splurge, would be a good candidate.

Trip Report: Begonia of the Cloud Forest

I am not an expert when it comes to Begonia.  There are so many species, even more cultivars and hybrids, and since I don’t actively collect these plants, there is really no hope of me ever being able to identify more than a handful of them.

I have seen my share of unique, and bizarre Begonia.  The Cloud Forest didn’t have anything really bizarre, but they had some really beautiful Begonia.  So, rather than flap my jowls, I’m going to just let you view these pictures in silence.

I promised not to babble too much with this post, but don’t you think that many Begonia just have an amazing way of reflecting light?

Aren’t these plants awesome?  Such variety of textures and colors.

I have still more photos from the Cloud Forest to come.

Trip Report: Carnivores of the Cloud Forest

At the top of the mountain in the Cloud Forest dome at Gardens by the Bay is a pond surrounded by orchids and carnivorous plants.  I admire carnivores, but I can’t identify many of them.  My tour companion, Shawn, grows a lot of Nepenthes and I’m pretty sure he could identify everything we saw.  I had to check with my carnivorous friends to get identifications on most of these plants.

Dense grouping of carnivorous plants
Dense grouping of carnivorous plants

Many people know the Venus Flytrap, but there are many other interesting carnivorous plants. Most terrestrial carnivorous plants grow in bog conditions in poor soil, which is the reason they supplement their “diet” by catching insects through various methods. There are deep pitchers with slippery edges, sticky leaves, and even triggered traps with teeth.

Sundews (Drosera)
Sundews (Drosera)

Drosera (Sundews) is the largest genus of carnivorous plants with nearly 200 species. They catch their prey on the sticky glands on their leaves.  In the photo above you can see at least two different species.

Butterwort (Pinguicula)
Butterwort (Pinguicula) flower

You wouldn’t necessarily know by looking, but Pinguicula (Butterwort) has sticky leaves that act like flypaper. Insects are eventually digested right there on the leaf surface.  The flowers resemble those of some Gesneriads.

Sarracenia and Heliamphora
Sarracenia and Heliamphora

Sarracenia are the upright pitcher plants from North America, not to be confused with Nepenthes, the trailing pitcher plants from the Old World tropics (mostly southeast Asia). The primitive South American counterparts to Sarracenia are Heliamphora, the Marsh Pitcher Plants.

Nepenthes pitcher
Nepenthes pitcher

While Nepenthes usually have symbiotic bacteria living in the pool within their pitchers, there is at one species of Heliamphora that produces its own enzymes to break down its food.

Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi

The top of the Cloud Forest mountain had a lot of different carnivorous plants, but Nepenthes plants were scattered throughout the dome, so I have a lot more photos of those to share.

Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi
Nepenthes robcantleyi

I did not see any open flowers of Nepenthes, but I did see a flower spike that would be opening soon.

Flower spike on a Nepenthes
Flower spike on a Nepenthes
Nepenthes ampullaria x sibuyanensis
Nepenthes ampullaria x sibuyanensis

I love the little jugs of the Nepenthes pictured above and below here.  Aren’t they cute?  The big, long pitchers are very impressive and have really neat markings, but the little jugs of these two hybrids were my favorites.

Nepenthes xHookeriana
Nepenthes xHookeriana

In the middle of the pond on top of the mountain there was a little island planted entirely with carnivorous plants.  I hope no bug crawls ashore there thinking of taking a vacation.

Carnivore island:  Enter at your own risk.
Carnivore island: Enter at your own risk.

Trip Report: Vireya Rhododendrons in the Cloud Forest

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay has two large domes, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest.  Both are amazing places.  The Cloud Forest dome has more of the types of plants I like to grow, including aroids, orchids and other tropical plants.

Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest dome
Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest dome

One of the really cool types of plants growing in the Cloud Forest are the Vireya Rhododendrons.  These are a special section of Rhododendrons that grow in tropical locations, usually as epiphytes.  They have beautiful flowers of all sorts of different colors.  I contacted the guy who runs the Vireya website and he helped me identify the plants in this post.  He also told me that the plants in the Cloud Forest were all shipped to the gardens fairly recently and had to have all buds removed from the plants before shipping – for import reasons.  So I am really lucky to have been able to see any blooms.

Rhododendron 'Archangel'
Rhododendron 'Archangel'
Rhododendron 'Inferno'
Rhododendron 'Inferno'

I’ll let the flowers speak for themselves.  Beautiful, right?

Rhododendron 'Jimmy Sax'
Rhododendron 'Jimmy Sax'
Rhododendron 'Pretty Lady'
Rhododendron 'Pretty Lady'
Rhododendron jasminiflorum
Rhododendron jasminiflorum

I need to try to grow one of these.  Right now all I can think about is how unhappy they would be in my greenhouse.  It has been about 100 degrees every day for the past couple of weeks and we haven’t had any rain in over a month.  It’s not exactly a cloud forest here in central Oklahoma.

Rhododendron 'Uluru'
Rhododendron 'Uluru'
Rhododendron 'Kisses'
Rhododendron 'Kisses'

I will be posting more photos from Gardens by the Bay soon.