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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

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.

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