Adenium obesum. Desert Rose. According to Warren, this succulent plant, a native of arid Arabia and East Africa, grows to 1 meter. It has a swollen, pale grey trunk. Its leaves are glossy and club-shaped. It bears trumpet-shaped flowers almost continuously. It has a highly toxic sap. As can be expected from a native of dry Arabia, it does not like too much water and should not be grown in moist places. It is often used as a decorative pot plant.
Adiantum raddianum. Delta maidenhair. I started out with 4 plants. Dead and damaged fronds should be removed to enable new ones to grow. Likes shade. In my garden, the maindenhair has been growing well among the rhapis and the medinilla.
Aglaia odorata. Aglaia pinnata. Cinamomo, sinamomong sunsong (Tagalog). Chinese perfume plant. Mock lemon. Cultivated as an ornamental tree and for its fragrant flowers. Introduced to the Philippines from south-eastern Asia. The tiny yellow flower balls are fragrant in the evening; dried, they are used to perfume clothes and cigarettes, and to scent teas. In Asia, Infusions of the roots and leaves are used to treat fever, convulsive illnesses and menopausal problems. A chemical extracted from the leaves is a natural insecticide. Other extracts are said to be useful in the treatment of specific cancers.›
The leaves last long in flower arrangements, though they are perhaps better suited to looser, more ŽnaturalŪ arrangements than to the more formal ones sold by flower shops.
The cinamomo flowers intermittently throughout the year.› It is easy to grow; likes rich, well-drained moist soils, and warmth and humidity. It is tolerant of partial shade. Propagated from semi-ripe stem cuttings.
My plant was carrying flower buds in mid-December 2004; it has flowered several times since then.› (Photo source: www.parks. gov.sg)
Allamanda violacea. Purple allamanda. Vine or climbing shrub with year-round 8 cm funnel-shaped flowers that are reddish-purple fading to pink. While it can cover a trellis or clamber over a wall, it can also be pruned into a free-standing specimen. Regular pinching will keep it in bounds, but too much pinching removes flower buds which form on new growth. All parts of the plant are toxic.
The allamanda grows in full sun. It is propagated by woody cuttings, but grows best when grafted on A. cathartica (Yellow Allamanda). I have two varieties: one is more vigorous than the other, has bigger flowers and is more floriferous (photo on top).››››››››››››
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Althernanthera ficoidea. Cucharita (green and white). After nearly two years, my cucharita grew leggy and was fading away under the shade of the palmeras where they had been planted.› My gardener took some cuttings, put them aside overnight and stuck them in the soil the next day. They have now taken root and were doing well in mid-December 2004. They are still thriving.
Alpinia purpurata. Red ginger. According to Madulid, the red ginger, native to the Pacific Islands, is a recent introduction to the Philippines. Its bright red bracts cover small white flowers. It likes full sun or partial shade, moist but well-drained soil and requires protection from strong winds. Propagated by root division.› By December 2004, my plant has disappeared completely: probably defeated by the strongly-growing raphis among which it had been planted. Photo source: www.
vittata. White-striped ginger. Also referred to as Alpinia sanderae, apparently
erroneously.› Some sources say this is a
low and leafy perennial with creeping rhizomes; others say it grows to 1.5
metres. (I shall have to wait for my plant to mature to find out who is right.)
Leaves are pale green with narrow white strips along the margin and sometimes
through the leaf. The flowers they say are small and pink. Madulid says this is
a native of New Guinea and is new to the Philippines.› This plant, too, has vanished, also probably
overcome by the raphis.
American rose. I acquired 6 of these on 30 December 2004, from a plant shop (AngelŪs) along Aguinaldo Highway, Silang (at Pesos 60 each for a mature plant, very cheaply I thought).› Plant vendors in the Philippines have no idea what the scientific names of these roses are and sell them under the all-enveloping term žAmerican roseÓ.› I have three with pure white flowers in the classic modern tea-rose shape with 32 petals surrounding a tightly curled light-yellow core of numerous other petals; non-fragrant, 9 cm wide. The fourth has slightly fragrant, 12-cm white flowers with a peach tint (particularly at the core) and 33 petals that fold into a triangular shape as they open out. The fifth has smaller deep-red flowers (6 cm) and purplish stems and young leaves. The sixth has non-fragrant, pink-peach flowers, with about 33 petals that open out flat to about 9 cm to reveal deep-pink-orange stamens which turn brown as they age.›
I prefer and love the exuberant, fragrant and exquisitely beautiful old-fashioned shrub and climbing roses beloved of English gardens, but these are not available here.› Going very much against the grain and with much twisting of the proverbial arms (mine), I decided (after two years of gardening) to buy the žAmerican rosesÓ to see what I could do with them.
The plant shop owner told me that the roses need regular watering, treatment with soapy water if they get infested with aphids, and an occasional malathion spray (against viral diseases, I asked, but she didnŪt say). To keep them bushy, faded flower stems should be pruned lower down rather than just at the end of the flower stalk. She seemed to prune her plants even on mid-stem. I have been taught to prune just above leaf axils to encourage new growth at the point where the cut is made.› Photos were taken on› 31.12.04.
Artabotrys hexapetalus (L.f.) Bhand. Climbing ylang-ylang. Described by internet sources as a woody climber with a spiny trunk. Bears fragrant six-petal fleshy flowers that are greeny yellow at first, turning yellow-green as they age. The leaves, up to 15 cm in length, are dull green. Also said to bear fleshy yellow berry-like fruit in clusters of up to 25. (My plant has no spines nor has it borne any fruit, but it has been flowering frequently though not profusely since April 2003.
Synonym: Artabotrys odoratissimus. Ylang-ylang climber; hara-champa. Described by the Web as a 2-3.5 metre woody climber which climbs with a curved hook developed from flower stamens. Can be allowed to become a dense evergreen shrub bearing fragrant light green flowers which turn yellow with age. Main flowering season: summer and the rains. Needs the full sun to flourish. Propagated by seed or ripe cuttings. My plant is referred to by vendors in Manila as the žBangkok ylang-ylangÓ. However, Artabotrys hexapetalus is said to originate from India.
We have successfully marcotted dispensable branches from the
musifolium. Giant birdŪs nest; dapong babae, pakpak
lawin babae. Epiphytic fern similar to A.
nidus but with much longer and much wider leaves.› (My plant has leaves that are about 170 cm
long and 23 cm at their widest point.) Will adjust to full sun but prefers
light shade. Tolerates a dry spell but does best with frequent watering.
Propagation is by spores, which often sprout in moist areas around the parent
plant. My plant is in a pot; it is thriving under a palmera clump which
provides dappled shade. I have since transplanted it to a bigger pot and have
moved it to a shadier place in the garden, mainly to give it some protection
from the wind which tended to topple it.›
Asplenium nidus L. BirdŪs nest fern, dapong lalaki, pugad lawin. Epiphytic fern. Requires abundant moisture and shade for optimum growth. Propagated by spores. Garden centres say that they can get used to the sun. In my garden, this plant has remained in its original basket. It was exposed to the full sun all day for several months when its leaves became slightly yellow, but otherwise the plant did well. Now that the plants around it have grown, it is in dappled shade and is thriving.
Atriplex halimus. Silver dust; Mediterranean saltbush. The variety that is known as ŽSilver DustŪ in the Philippines has attractive silver-grey leaves and small light purple flowers. It is drought resistant and can be pruned quite closely.
My plants have flowered intermittently since April 2003. I
started with nine of this plant, but three full-grown bushes have died over the
past two years. I have yet to discover the cause. Too much watering perhaps?
Too much fertilizer? The leaves of a thriving plant suddenly start to wilt and
in a month or so the entire plant is gone. The remaining shrubs had a generous
display of flowers for the first time in April 2005.