Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Garden leaves

Good morning Shrike

Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) broadcasting its sharp cracking call over the neighbourhood.

View of the Shrike from
 the  front garden
 The much-awaited bird came close to the garden this morning.  After hearing its call, I came out to the garden to locate its where about. Its sharp cracking call alerted me to its location.  Perching on an electric cable at the edge of the garden, its eyes were intent on the ground below probably sighting its prey.  It came in a party of three and when they re-grouped, their calls reverberated over the neighbourhood in joyful chorus.  This bird is peculiarly seen in Kuching and I find it rather difficult to see them in Bintulu.

The garden palms

The Carpentaria palm heavily fruiting at the front side garden. At right, partly seen is the Pinang Lakka

Sea Cycas or Cycas rumphii
 The Malaysian garden is nothing without palms of which the Pinang Lakka or Red-Sealing Wax palm (Cyrtostachys renda) is queen of them all. The Kuching garden is sufficiently covered at many spaces with this palm and many others as well.  A well-deserved palm to be planted in any Malaysian garden is the Sea Cycas (Cycas rumphii) which exhibit rigid feather-like leaves.  It grows well at coastal locations in Sarawak.  At the front porch is located the Butterfly Palm, variously called as Golden  Cane Palm, or simply Yellow palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens).  This palm is appealing for its slender leaves and stems that bend gently in the breeze.  A recent  import to the garden is the Foxtail palm ( Wodyetia bifurcata) which is somehow famed for its pretty  'fox-like' tail fronds, planted initially from seeds I collected from friends.  The three specimens in the garden are growing well and are about twice the human height already.  Finally is the planting list of palm species in garden here is the Coconut palm which every human in this planet is familiar with,  I planted the tree mainly for its fruits which are just starting to form after the flowering last month.  Truly I really enjoy the garden for its palms.
At left are the fruits of the Carpentaria palm and at right the attractive leaf sheaths or crown shafts of the Pinang Lakka.

At left is the Golden Cane Palm (Chrysalidocapus lutescens) with slender leaves and stems

A row of Foxtail palm planted closer to the house, with tall Carpentaria palm in the background. 

A collection of sorts with the Butterfly palm at left and the Pinang Lakka at right.

The Coconut palm at the side garden.  The picture is taken today when I did some 'smoking' to the garden.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Strong wings and an outstanding white breast

White-breasted Woodswallow

 This morning I feel strong because of a bird.  I have seen the White-breasted Woodswallow in many towns throughout Sarawak, preferring the overhead electric supply lines as their favourite perch. Its  stout body  is an icon of strength and agility.  I saw one perching next to the side garden this morning and for a brief moment did not notice my presence.  A small group of three were about the garden area and nearby electric posts to prey on insects.  At one occasion I noticed one of them making sorties to the ground and even rested on the lawn hopping and chasing the insects. I love these birds for their swift wings, grey body and an outstanding white breast.  Being swallows their flights are exceptionally acrobatic, targeted and pleasant to watch.  This bird now is very commonly seen at this housing estate and for that reason I have no qualms to include it in the list of common garden birds of Sarawak.

For a moment the bird was oblivious to my presence below.

The Great Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa) flowering well in the garden this morning.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Whites in the garden

Spider Lily - Hymenocallis littoralis
Back garden, 15 Aug'16

Spider Lily - Hymenocallis littoralis
White Cempaka - Michelia alba

White Cempaka - Michelia alba
White frangipani ( Plumeria obtusa)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Some garden close-ups

( All images taken using Nikon D5100, August'16)

Bright purple covers

Seribu Bahasa (Berawan) - Centratherum punctatum, grown as cover

 I have been experimenting with the Seribu Bahasa as a cover plant in Bintulu as well as in Kuching.  At both places the result were pleasing.  Here at Kambatik garden, I find today that the plant grown in a small mass looks  very healthy and flowering well.  The bright purple flowers attract the Eggfly butterfly.  The ethnic Berawan people of Sarawak call this plant 'Seribu Bahasa'.  I saw the plant growing wild initially  at the Kambatik Park in Bintulu from which I got the initial stock for propagation purposes and brought some to Kuching.  My planning for the Kuching garden is therefore to plant more of this species for covers and skirting since the plant seems to manage well in open sun and semi-shade locations.

Grow them in small masses and feed them well to obtain abundance of flowers