Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dombeya cacuminum

The lovely pendant flowers of Dombeya cacuminum are pollinated by bats and drip nectar.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spotted Boxfish tete a tete

Spotted Boxfish, Ostracion melealgris, female. The water was a little murky due to the wave action (imagine being swept back and forth while you try to shoot pictures); however, this little fish came right up to say hello.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo variety intermedia, on the wing near Julian in the fall. This turkey was lucky enough to be born wild rather than in the queue for my oven. Families of wild turkeys will walk along the roads and foot paths in small flocks, making for good photo opportunities. As opposed to domestic turkeys that have been line bred for size, wild turkeys are relatively sleek and fast.

I hope this Thankgiving finds you all in good cheer, sharing even better food with great company.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fall Comes A Little Later in San Diego

The last hurrah for the season for my persimmon tree. Well, the old Fuyu persimmon tree did a magnificent performance this year, having fruit for the very first time. The fruit were totally huge and sugar-sweet (so not on the diet)! However, the cold weather is finally here and the leaves are about to drop for the Winter. I really enjoyed the color show it put on so I figured I'd share.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laelia anceps 'SVO' HCC/AOS

Laelia anceps 'SVO' HCC/AOS. These are native to Mexico and actually grow outside quite nicely here in San Diego. I even have one growing on a tree in the front yard! However, this beauty was purchased from Fred Clarke, one of the nation's best orchid growers, at Sunset Valley Orchids. The flowers on this Laelia anceps are absolutely huge and float on 2 foot stems!

Lc. Miss Wonderful 'Arnilicious' AM/AOS

Lc. Miss Wonderful 'Arnilicious' AM/AOS. The parents are Lc. Mari's Song x Laelia anceps. Hot off the press. 80 pts. Three nice sized flowers on a long arching stem with color that just jumps out and grabs you. Better yet, this plant likes the dry corner of the greenhouse, virtually thriving on neglect! What more could you ask for?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Search for the Black Orchid

Cymbidium Kiwi Midnight 'Geyserland' FCC/AOS. Black is one of the rarest colors in the orchid kingdom. This Cymbidium gets close with a deep, sparklng, chocolate-burgundy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Phalaenopsis bellina variety coerulea

Phalaenopsis bellina variety coerulea. A rare "blue" varient of the wonderfully fragrant Phal. bellina. These grow hot and humid in their native Borneo. While the typical Phalaenopsis you find in your grocery store have absolutely no fragrance, these lovely phalaenopsis have the frangrance of fruit loops!

You say you want one?!! This came from Randy Tajima at E-Orchids Online. Thanks Randy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stanhopea jenischiana

Stanhopea jenischiana. These orchids have sweetly fragrant, pendant flower spikes that go down through the media and are, thus, best grown in hanging baskets. They are native to Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru at around 2500-4500 ft. It's hard to nail down the fragrance but, as best I can describe, it smells like a combination of sugar, vanilla and fruit...or maybe somewhat like a creamsicle.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Toothy Grin

Crocodile, Osaka Aquarium. How do you know it's a croc and not an alligator? An alligator's lower teeth fit under the top jaw, the top jaw overlapping over the lower jaw. A croc's jaws are both about the same size, allowing some of their lower teeth to extend out over the upper jaw, particularly the large fourth tooth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Black Angel

A black angelfish with glowing red eyes! Stunning in a slightly spooky-eerie kind of way. These fish originate in the Amazon basin.

The Amazing Bulbophyllums

Bulbophyllum Betty Kelpecz. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Bulbophyllums are amazing orchids that come in all sorts of wild colors and shapes, many with moving labellums (lips) and somewhat rank fragrance (pollinated by flies).

Monday, November 08, 2010

Blue Cattleyas

Lc. Mini Purple x C. Portiata. The "blue cattleyas" are typically denoted by the variety coerulea. They are not a true blue, that color being extremely rare (a.k.a. largely non-existent) in orcids. Instead, they are a purplish-lavender as seen here. The coerulea coloration is also rather rare and often does not breed true. This clone had upright sprays of wonderfully fragrant flowers.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rose after the Rain

A rose with rain drops still glistening in the sun.

Fun Rose facts:
* The word rose derives from Latin, rosa and from Greek ρόδιόν rhodion.
* Attar of rose is steam-extracted rose petal oil used in perfume and also in cooking
* French rose syrup is also made from rose petal extract.
* Rose hips (the seed pod of the rose) are high in vitamin C and are used in vitamins, preserves, tea and makeup

Friday, November 05, 2010

What Pollinates a Snapdragon?

Yellow Snapdragon at Armstrong Nursery.

Southern California fall colors (grin)... However does a bee get into a snapdragon? It doesn't. Apparently, snapdragons are pollinated by bumblebees that either power through the opening or chew through the side of the flower. Honeybees are pretty much locked out.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fall in San Diego

Monarch Butterfly enjoying the bountiful flowers at Armstrong Nursery. It's getting a little late in the season so the butterflies are a little weather-beaten but still beautiful to watch. The mechanics had the car for an oil change which turned into a brake job, an extra hour or two of waiting and a hundred or two of extra cash. So, in the interim, I walked over to the Soup Plantation for some lunch and a quick jog over to Armstrong. The flowers were still in bloom and the butterflies were still bountiful. It seems that, outside of a few rain drops on the roses, not much changes in Southern California in late October.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Jerusalem Cricket

Mahogany Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus n. sp. "mahogany". I find these HUGE (just short of 2 inches) crickets out of their normal underground habitats when it's been raining for a few days and really damp out. I suspect, they come up to dry off a bit. These guys are scavengers, feasting on rotting matter, dead animals and plant roots, aerating the soil while they scavenge. They are favored snacks for bats, skunks, foxes and other nocturnal predators. There are many species of these seldom seen, docile, subterranean creatures, many of which are from California. Think of them as ...ahem...earthworms with more character!