Tag Archives: Vines

My tropical garden

A tropical garden in Port Townsend, Washington

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Fabulous Florals.’ See more responses here. For this, I’m taking a short jaunt off the island to revisit the first tropical garden I planted. That was in Washington State. Now, I’m aware that Washington State isn’t in the tropics, but I like a challenge.

My goal was to create a garden of hardy tropical-looking plants, with colorful flowers and/or big, bountiful foliage. The first summer, I laid the foundations with three Windmill Palms and a wall of bamboo alongside one fence. Colorful canna lillies and big foliage gave an inkling of what was to come.

The second summer was when the garden took off. Ground covers spread. Vines took off. Pots provided focal points.

And of course, there were those fabulous florals.

One corner of the garden featured a Dicksonia Antarctica tree fern, which was soon joined by a Dicentra Scandens-Golden tears vine, Eccremocarpus scaber – Chilean glory vine, and a Clematis Armandii. There’s less than a month between the second and third photos in the gallery below, and the following summer the area was rampant with color and growth.

But it is Washington State and there are winters and in the winter it can snow. The palms and bamboo bent low under the weight of the snow, but they survived. The tiki torch looked distinctly unhappy with the weather, possibly jealous of those lucky plants that were moved indoors for the winter.

Ipu

A gourd or ipu plant in Hawaii

Ipu is the Hawaiian word for the gourd (Langenaria sacraria). The early Polynesians brought the seeds to Hawaii and also used the hollowed out gourds on the voyage, for storing water, food, and other items, and to bail out the canoes.

These days, the gourds are used to make musical instruments that are used in dances and in chants. The plant is a climbing vine and the gourds are the fruit of this vine.

Tropical foliage

Tropical foliage at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Evergreen.’ See more responses here.

In Hawaii’s mild climate, a few trees, such as plumeria, will shed their leaves for a short while in the depths of our not-so-bitter winter. For the most part though, the island is green year-round, particularly in the wetter parts, which is where these photos were taken.

The trees remain green. The vines which climb the trees are green, and other colors too. The foliage around the trees is green. In short, the landscape is evergreen.

Also posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Trees.’ See more responses here.

Upolu landscape

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Favorite Landscape.’ See more responses here.

When I think of the landscape at Upolu, it includes both the ocean that borders it and the skies above. They are, in my mind, integral to the place. But here, I’ve focussed on the land, a relatively small area of a few square miles where I walk most days. It’s rural, agricultural, and coastal. It’s historic and modern. It’s also a place I never return from feeling disappointed. There’s always something of note that I see or that happens when I’m there.

Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

Flowers at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Fantastic Florals.’ See more offerings here.

This seemed like a good theme to post a few photos, of different colored flowers, from my last visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, back in February.

Top photo: It took me a while to identify this as Petrea volubilis, also known as purple wreath, queen’s wreath, and sandpaper vine, because the long blue parts are actually calices, not petals. The flowers are the smaller darker blue centers most easily seen on the blooms to the left side.

Second Photo: A lavender version of the cattleya maxima orchid was first found in Ecuador in 1777. The yellow stripe down the center of the lip is characteristic of all forms of cattleya maxima, of which this alba variation is one. For more information about the history of cattleya maxima, visit chadwickorchids.com/content/cattleya-maxima.

Third photo: Yellow plume flower (Justicia aurea) is a blaze of color in a sea of green.

Fourth photo: Yes, there are green flowers, including this Anthurium ‘Princess Alexia Jade.’

Bottom: New Guinea Trumpet Vines (Tecomanthe dendrophila) produce a fantastic array of white-tipped pink flowers.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.

Passion vine butterfly on a passion flower

This passion vine butterfly was feeding on passion flowers, but it will feed on many other flowers, too. It gets its name because passion vines are the host plant for the passion vine butterfly’s caterpillar. Those caterpillars spend their days munching leaves, many of which have little yellow bumps on them. The bumps, which can be seen in the photos, are the plants’ way of trying to fool the butterflies into believing that there are already eggs on the leaves and so it’s not a good spot to lay more.

It’s hard to know how effective this ruse is. I’ve seen many butterflies laying eggs on these leaves, but perhaps some are discouraged. Regardless, the caterpillars will move from leaf to leaf while chowing down, but they never seem to defoliate the plant, which is, in any case, a robustly growing vine.