More trees planted

Weather has been bringing rain; perfect time to plant some trees!

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Trunk full of things to plant!

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6 pieces of “Barako” liberica coffee seedlings and 2 saplings of arabica coffee

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A dwarf “Betel Nut” Areca palm planted along the fence

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First grafted rambutan seedling, planted under a coconut tree

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The second grafted Rambutan seedling was planted at the front border in between the Heliconias

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The third grafted Rambutan seedling was planted at the fruit forest which I’m building at the back-portion of the lot.

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This is a Chico tree planted at the fruit forest. Chico is one of my favorite fruits!

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An Arabica coffee seedling planted along the fence

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My second arabica coffee seedling joins the mix in the fruit forest

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A four-foot tall Marang tree planted in the fruit forest. It’s fruit tastes like a cross of Custard Apple, Guyabano, Jackfruit and a little Durian!

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to the left is my friend from Brazil, an Açaí palm tree, growing to its right is a cacao tree (Trinitario variety from Davao) planted a few months ago

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A row of “Barako” liberica coffee seedling planted in the front portion of the plot

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A lone “Barako” liberica coffee seedling adds diversity to the fruit forest

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This grafted Cacao tree (Trinitario variety from Davao) was planted a few months ago. It is being eaten-up by termites.

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View from the hill where my fruit forest stands. This was taken at around 6pm

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My neighbor, Mang Joel, gave me a live chicken! He told me to eat it!

Procrastinating

I feel like I am procrastinating on my weekend farm but I feel that it is necessary to wait.

I am not spending much time in my plot over the past months, perhaps this is allowing me to think things thru.

I was motivated to write again after reading this article: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-procrastination-helped-steve-jobs-become-so-successful-2016-2

At the start of the year, I started a mini-project to bring  my weekend farm closer to my home. I do not have a garden, but I have a window with a small ledge big enough to fit a few plants.

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I brought home some heirloom tomatoes and aji amarillo pepper fruits from Australia.

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My window at the start of the year: The environment was fit to grow pitcher plants. I also have a dwarf banana plant and a pot where I sowed the heirloom tomato seeds.

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My dwarf banana plant and some sprouting tomato seedlings

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More than a month after and a few more additional plants, my window jungle is looking better!

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My heirloom tomatoes have grown taller. I need to thin it out and leave just a few plants so it can fruit.

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My aji amarillo pepper seedlings are alive but growing very slowly.

Planting continues

Over the weekend, I did a few more plantings for my weekend farm.

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a peach/pink Mussaenda philipicca planted in between the heliconia plants

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a dark pink Mussaenda philippica

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a white Mussaenda philippica along the barbed fence

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at the rightmost and the leftmost are cacao seedling planted a few weeks ago, in between are new plantings of Mussaenda philippic and a Lanzones seedling

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a second Lanzones seedling

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from left to right: the third Lanzones seedling, a giant custard apple sapling, and the cacao seedling planted a few weeks ago

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This coffee tree used to be filled with at least 7 species of native orchids. It was stripped bare by orchid bandits a few months ago. I planted clumps of Vanda lamellata on this tree. (Notice how the powder puff tree and the Dracaena multiflora are all growing nicely!)

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This coffee tree used to be filled with Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants and Vanda javierae plants. The orchid thief stripped this tree bare a few months ago, now I’ve planted some Vanda lamellata on it.

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Mang Joel has done a great job of cleaning the area and keeping the weeds from growing tall. The front-half of my weekend farm now looks cleaner. If you look closely, you will already see seedlings of vegetables growing!

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work in progress! The middle portion of my weekend farm is still being prepared by Mang Joel for planting

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Upo (Bottle Gourd) seedling growing on my weekend farm

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corn seedlings sprouting from the ground

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Sitaw (string beans) also sprouting from the ground

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A pleasant surprise. This Phalaenopsis linden grows at the mountain regions of North Luzon at elevations more than 1000 mask. This plant has survived the orchid looters and has been growing in my weekend farm for a year. This is its first blooms in my weekend farm

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flowers of the Phalaenopsis lindenii up close

Going with the Flow

My weekend farm is a meaningful and personal endeavor, which I wish to extend and share to others.

Over the past few months, it became difficult to define progress.

The ability to build structures to protect and cultivate the area meant progress, but I am not able to accomplish these at the moment. Running after these milestones proved to be very difficult and frustrating.

My past two visits at my weekend farm proved to be invigorating. Instead of focusing on achieving milestones, I dropped everything and did the things which I enjoyed doing!

I imagine that once I’ve made my weekend farm more comfortable, I will spend time planting, painting and relaxing.

I realize that I just need to put myself in the flow of things by being creative. Although it may seem like a futile attempt at the moment, I will just continue to visit, plant, and paint. Hopefully as I do these, I get to open myself to opportunities that will allow me to achieve my milestones!

At the moment relaxing in my weekend farm may still be a remote possibility, but this doesn’t stop me from being in the flow things and enjoying how it exists now.

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My first time to do a painting in situ! I brought an easel, a canvas and some acrylic paint.

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Bugs landed on the canvas, and the easel toppled over a few times, this was my finished painting. I’m hoping to paint more and sell them so I can get funds to build on my weekend farm

 

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I visited a sunday market to buy some plants for the fence. This photo shows the heliconia plants for sale.

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BEFORE PLANTING: this is the fenced area along the front of my weekend farm

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AFTER PLANTING: different varieties of Heliconias planted along the fence. I’m not familiar with the varieties and species but I chose different kinds

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A pink heliconia. Its stems are hirsute.

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a red Heliconia caribaea

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a pink heliconia hybrid

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possibly the largest out of all the heliconias I’ve planted. I don’t know what species this is. This could be a hybrid.

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looks like a Heliconia bihai

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I got this dead looking heliconia at a discounted price. I hope it lives.

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I also planted 5 Cacao seedlings. These are the Trinitario varieties. Plant #1 and #2 are in this photo

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Cacao plant #3

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Cacao plant #4

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Cacao plant #5, planted by my friend Timmi

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95% of the Philippine native orchids that I planted were stolen around a month ago. The last remaining Phalaenopsis amabilis plant from Palawan is currently blooming here. It has been growing here for over 6 months now.

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Also one of the last remaining orchids, this Phalaenopsis aphrodite is also blooming but it’s flowers were eaten by insects.

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A fruiting banana plant, I’m hoping I get to harvest this in a few months. This plant is more than 20 feet tall.

Plants this Easter!

Some more plants blooming this Easter. These plants are growing in the lowlands of Metro Manila.

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This Vanda lamellata var remediosae is different from the other remediosae varieties. It has longer and more slender leaves and it has a longer flower spike!

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Same plant pictured above. Vanda lamellata var. remediosae

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Dendrobium anosmum. These normally flower during February, weird weather has caused them to bloom late this year. 

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A Phalaenopsis stuartiana, with small but rounder flowers

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not sure if this is Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica or Phalaenopsis lueddemmaniana or a natural hybrid of the two

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Phalaenopsis bastianii

 

Plants in the city

I have not visited my weekend farm for a long time already; but I would like to share some interesting plants flowering in the lowlands of Manila.

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a clump of Vanda lamellata var. remediosae with four flowering spikes. These are native to the Batanes group of islands, particularly in Calayan Island. At Manila, this plant is placed at an area which gets the most sun.

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I’ve kept this Tillandsia xerographica for a few years already. Once its flowers wither, the plant will die and I expect to get a few juvenile plants from this.

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Not sure about the species but it think this is a Coelogyne marmorata. This is a huge clump of plant; twice bigger than a basketball! It only produces few and small flowers. They still look interesting though.

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My Coelogyne usitana is a small plant with around 3-4 psuedobulbs. (stems) This is a photo of a bud about to open

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Coelogyne usitana flower upside-down. These plants are found in Mindanao

 

The Orchid Thief

I’ve been using an orchid as litmus.

It may not be the best method; and definitely not the most scientific, but this is just for leisure! I’ve planted a lot of Phalaenopsis schilleriana orchids and these continue to give me an indication of the climate in my weekend farm.

Firstly, these plants need to receive enough moisture to survive. For now, I can only visit the farm during my free weekends which means that I’m incapable of watering my plants regularly. Also, I can’t afford a caretaker to live at my plot; hence I’m at the mercy of nature for now. So far, the orchids I have planted have grown roots and a lot of them are actually blooming! Apart from those, I planted fruit trees like cacao and mangosteen and these are growing without watering.

More than that, these orchids gave me an indication of what other crops I can plant. Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants will only bloom in cooler weather. This means that I can try to grow cooler weather crops (at least relative to my location here in the tropics) like more exotic/non-local fruits and vegetables.

These plants have been in my plot for months, and a few plants have just been in flower recently. Apparently, it has caught the attention of a few people who may have chanced upon my area. During my last visit I found that two plants which were in flower have been plucked from the branches. I wasn’t surprised that this happened; but now I realize that my area is too open and some people might think it’s alright to pluck a few plants for them to take.

And so this plant is telling me to do something about it.

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the first plant that was plucked by a stranger… see how the roots got severed and the twine was still there

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during my last visit, this was the photo of the plant which existed on the branch, but now it’s gone, taken home by someone

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Plant number 2 gone… this time the roots were almost cleanly taken out (notice the white stuff on the upper left portion on the right bump on the branch – those are the remains of the attached roots which were plucked)

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This plant is still at the branch and will be in full bloom soon, I’m glad it wasn’t taken by the person who got the other plants

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close-up shot of the flowers

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another plant in bloom

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this Vanda lamellata var remediosae was almost plucked from this coffee tree. I guess the person felt bad that he might be getting too much already :))

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Some newer Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants which I attached to a coffee tree a few weeks ago. These are now showing signs that they’re about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis aphrodite is also about to bloom

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Phalaenopsis amabilis from Palawan also about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis lindenii thrives at a higher elevation, but it is also about to send out flowers

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A newly planted Phalaenopsis stuartiana

It’s interesting that someone has found plants growing on my weekend farm attractive!

I just continue to hope they’ll admire it and not take plants from my weekend farm. Still, I should work on that nice looking bamboo fence already :))

 

 

The first Phalaenopsis plants

I’ve planted several local species of Phalaenopsis.

These are the first ones to flower at my weekend farm.

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Phalaenopsis schilleriana: the common tiger orchid. I planted a lot of these; by next year they will make some trees look like cherry blossoms!

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Phalaenopsis equestris from Quezon – it’s a very small plant, its flower is just a little larger than a pencil eraser. It’s fun to do macro shots with these small things.

 

A new Vanda lamellata variety from Mindoro?

I attached some Vanda lamellata plants to this coffee tree a few months ago and now a lot of them are flowering.

One plant which came from Mindoro looks very distinct.

It definitely does not look like the variety from calayan islands nor the type species.

But it does resemble the variety remediosae and variety boxalli a bit.

I wonder if this could be new.

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The coffee tree where a few Vanda species were attached

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a Vanda lamellata (the normal variety or type species) which had flowers

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This is a strange variety of a Vanda lamellata originating from Mindoro. It does not clearly resemble a Vanda lamellata var. boxalli nor a Vanda lamellata var. remediosae

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close up of the Vanda lamellata from Mindoro. It fragrance was really strong

The first Vanda lamellata

This is the first Vanda lamellata to bloom in the weekend farm!

The plant was a cutting separated from a clump of Vanda lamellata var. remediosae which originated from the Calayan islands in North Luzon.

…the original clump had flowers that looked like the photo below:

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Vanda lamellata var. remediosae from Calayan islands (photo taken at the plant shop)

 

I attached the stem cutting to a coffee tree at the weekend farm around two months ago.

…looking at the blooms, it seems to be more similar to the “boxalli” variety.

perhaps the cold weather made it evolve into a different variety at an instant?

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photo of the buds with an insect taken on Nov 2. (a month ago)

 

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Vanda lamellata var. remediosae. Photo of the flowers yesterday at my weekend farm… flowers already look a bit spent.

I took photos go the same plant yesterday and the plant is really a Vanda lamellata var. remediosae. The photo above (using a camera phone) just made it look like Vanda lamellata var. boxalli. Below are photos using a better camera 

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photo of the same plant, taken yesterday

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It only has a few flowers left