January 2021

It was nice to get back to the refuge after more than a month of being away! The cold wind was blowing and the trees were growing!

We bought two Bagawak Morado trees in October 2019. One died and the other two are flowering! This one is beside the pump house of the swimming pool. The other one is near the nursery. The one near the nursery was reduced to a stump when it got eaten by an insect, but managed to grow back and flower.

I missed the flowers of the Alibangbang (Bauhinina malabarica). The trees are now full of immature seed pods. I plan to collect them when the seeds are ripe so I can share with other people who want to plant this native tree. The Alibangbang tree that is usually planted in subdivisions is Hong Kong Bauhina, the one with showy pink flowers.

It can get tall! How can I collect all those pods?

Our Tibig tree near the old cement bridge is covered in fruits. It doesn’t seem that popular with the birds though. There was a mucuna species of vine, most likely Mucuna pruriens growing near it. At first glance Ithought it was a Jade vine! One of our birthday trees flowered for the first time, Sterculia rubiginosa. We bought that tree in 2014. We planted Bayag Usa in July 2020 and it is flowering already!

These are Bignay wildings from the trees in our Alabang house. I collected most of them from a very neglected plant box that’s on top of the water pump housing. The soil in that plant box used to be very hard and dry. During the lockdown, I put a lot of dry leaves on top of the soil, planted some Lemon Lime Philodendron cuttings, and watered the plant box frequently. I was happy to find so manyBignay wildings growing in the plant box! Unlike the ones I harvested and planted straight from the fruit. Very few of those germinated. Maybe just one or two!

Bignay wildings collected from the garden in Alabang

This is the plant box where I collected most of the Bignay seedlings. There are more of them growing!

6 thoughts on “January 2021”

  1. Hi Sylvia, it’s so nice to see your seedlings grow and I always enjoy seeing your new paintings and drawings.
    I have questions:
    1) What does your lemon lime philodendron look like?
    2) What watercolor paints do you recommend for beginners like me? I could not find the ones you had in your travel kit article.


    1. Hi Arlene! I added pictures of the plant box. The lemon lime philo has big leaves! I wanted it to grow and drape over the plant box but it’s not doing that yet.
      For watercolor, I highly recommend the “split primary palette” of Kateri Ewing. You only use 6 colors very pure colors that mix well together. The colors are hansa yellow, new gamboge, quinacridone rose, transparent pyrol orange, phthalo blue, french ultramarine blue. I took her class Craftsy/Bluprint where she explains how to use the colors. I also took her beginner watercolor class. Both classes were very good!

      1. Sylvia, Thanks for the plant box pics and the recommendation for watercolor. I will try Kateri’s classes on youtube first. This is a new hobby for me during this pandemic. I have taken a few free short classes from our local library using a small ZIG transparent watercolor palette and ZIG Clean Color brush pens. I definitely need to learn how to draw better and practice more. It is a relaxing process.

        BTW, I bought a new book from a museum called “Ladies Drawing Night,” and was pleasantly surprised to see your daughter featured in one of the chapters along with her friends making a set of shared paintings. Fun!

  2. Hi! I came across your blog and was quite impressed! I am on the verge of starting a farm based on permaculture principles. I don’t have much experience about trees etc.. Will you be open to educate me about native trees? Wanted to forest the area. To start with, do you have suggestions of pioneer trees that would be suitable to line perimeters of a property? Would appreciate sources/nurseries of such trees. Thank you.

  3. Hello Sylvia and Tonji,
    it is nice that people like you care for nature and how you care for our birds.
    On your page I found a wonderful photo of the Canarium luzonicum that I would love to use in a book about smoking. Is there a way I could use your photo?
    My wife would be very happy, because it is her heart project with this book to bring people closer to smoking and thus the power of plants.
    Thanks for your answer! Greetings

  4. Hi Sylvia! Nice to read your blog again. Such wonderful read as always. May I ask if you still have a seedlings of your bauhinia malabrica? I was given one by a PNTE co- member but died during transplant. Thanks!

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