Please note that all content (photographs and text) are copyright of the author. I have licenced the contents of my blog under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License:This means that you can repost and use material for non commercial use only and as long as you give credit to me as the author and include the same conditions for anyone else to use the material likewise.Refer to the link for more information: Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rain Lillies and Torch Gingers

Here is a photo of some Zephyranthes that were flowering in front of the house I am staying in at Fagalii (Samoa). I also got some from Alberts Peter's place Samoana Nursery at Aleisa ... wow almost two years ago. Now I have tons and tons of them. I have been planting pink ones at the back of the place I am staying at Fagalii as well as at my parent's place at Malifa and will be planting many at Alafua also. I have lots of pots of pink Zepheranthes that need to be transplanted. They are getting cramped in the pots I have them in at the moment although I have already divided some up and transplanted them into other pots.
They grow pretty well. Once they have recovered from being pulled up, divided and transplanted they grow and start to multiply. They also produce viable seeds. So whenever they flower I am out making sure all the flowers are pollinated even though that means the flowers do not last as long.
For some reason the white ones do not produce seeds. I suspect they are a hybrid because apparently some of the hybrids have this problem.
The yellow ones produce seeds but I do not have any in the ground because the African Snails go for them. Albert Peters had the same problem with his at Aleisa. the ones I bought were rather ... raggedly already. At the moment the only yellow ones I have are some I got from seeds from the ones I bought from Peters. The parent plants unfortunately got munched soon after.
The new lot are still seedings and are coming along so slowly compared to the pinks. Between the African Snails and the stupid cat sleeping on them its a wonder they are still alive.

This is a Torch Ginger the scientific name is Etlingera elatior. They belong to the Zingiberales Order and the Zingiberaceae Family.

I planted a stand at the back of the house at Malifa. I got the suckers from Tanumalala which is on the crest of the mountain ridge on your way to Lefaga. From this single stand I have been able to get suckers to start 8 more stands five of which are producing lots of little suckers already. I think that the reason that the newest ones are producing suckers so quickly is because they are in soil that is loose and sandy which probably makes it easier for the suckers to come up. At least that is my theory. The original stand is in hard soil that is full of rocks. Getting the suckers off that was hard. I basically had to dig all the soil away using a bush knife and gardening trowel before I could cut the suckers free.
With the ones in the sandy soil I just stuck the bush knife in the ground estimating where the connetion was and that was it.
The fully grown branches are about 10 feet tall ... maybe more. I'm going to growing a stip of stands behind the hedge I am growing along the road and maybe another bunch along the boarder between us and the neighbours. But I have already started growing some rattle snake plants there because they grow tightly together and that will be an excellent barrier against their dogs once they get established.

The flowers of the Torch Ginger are excellent for cut flower arrangements because they last for a long time. Also you an cut them early or leave them to grow bigger for different sizes.

This is a mediumish sized flower. I have seen ones twice this size. Personally I think the little one and the medium ones look better.

Felonious Felines and the Gastronomic Idiosyncrasies of Gastropods

I took this photo a while ago. I bought this Lilly from the plant sellers who every now and then appear mysteriously under the pulu (Banyan) trees on Main Beach Road in Apia like mushrooms after the rain. Serriously I asked one of them once, "Do you guys call each other up and plan these appearances or what" and she just laughed.
Anyway since I bought it it has flowered twice and multiplied to the extent that I have been able to I divid it into 10 plants which i transplanted into two big pots. One has recently started to grow a flower bud. Unfortunately due to the size nd location of the pot I think will find it hard to get some nice photos of it. I am thinking of making some sort of portable screen to use as a backdrop so I can take some nice clean shots. I thought of transplanting the plant that is starting to bud but decided against it as I do not want to rish it going into shock and losing the flower. Eventually I would like to see a whole bed of them flowering. Now THAT would be impressive.
I once saw a huge patch of yellow rain lillies flowering on someone's lawn. That was so beautiful. Rain lillies (Zephyranthes) are generally easy to grow here is Samoa. All they need is nice soil decent rain and to be left alone to do their stuff. That means don't walk on them and don't mow them which can be a problem as they look like grass when they are not flowering.
I have lots of pink ones ( Zephyranthes robustus) at the moment in pots as well as in the ground in a couple locations. The yellow ones I have been having problems with.
For some unknown gastropod gastronomic idiosyncrasy the African Snails seem to love them and ONLY them. Even more strange the only way I have been able to safeguard the few I have left was by moving them to a specific location on the patio. Maybe the additional span of concrete to cross is to daunting to these marauders? Strangely they are not at all interested in the pink and white ones. I often find a couple or more suggled into a pot of pink rain lillies to wait out the heat of the day. Why they find the yellow ones delectable and will not even nibble on the pink and white ones is a complete mystery to me.
Aside from the African snails the only other threat to their well being and that of other small plants is my cat Scratchit aka Stupid Cat who for some reason thinks they are perfect for her to curl up on. She has already killed the plants in several pots including two lots of Spathoglottis plicata  a type of ground orchid. Not only did she flatten and kill one pot full of purple ones but she then did the same to the WHITE ones I had managed to get hold of. Not only that but she waited till they had recovered from being transplanted and were starting to get into the whole growing thing before ploking herself on them. When I confront her she alternates between offended dignity and innocent confusion.
I know its her because I have caught her on several occassions climbing out of a pot, yawning, casually stretching and then acting like nothing was wrong. I am sure that a jury would believe her over a score of eye witnesses.
Because of her nefarious activities and to protect the zepheranthes I have had to resort to poking lots of coconut ribs in the pots she favours to discourage her.

Unfortunately for the ground orchids I could not do that. yes I am still annoyed about the white ones especially since I recently found out that they are not all that common and I was just lucky to find the ones I got. Maybe I will be able to track some more down from one of the mysterious plant people that appear under the pulu trees.

And before you think that she is "so cute" lately I discovered that in one pot of zepeheranthes most of the twigs have pulled out and she had obviously lain in it because the plants were squashed. Now as much as I would like to blame my Felonious Feline I suspect some human agency in this. Of course I could be wrong but I find it a little too far-fetched that she would have done it. There were about 15-20 twigs in each pot and since she does not have opposable thumbs she would have had to patiently and carefully use her teeth to methodically extract them one by one. I strongly doubt that she is THAT clever and persistant. At least I hope she is not. Actually I really really hope she is not that clever and devious.