Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Coconut Palm

The coconut palm at center of picture and the oil palm in the background are solitary feather palms.
Location : Zone C

 I have attempted to grow coconuts along the stream and plain areas.  The Coconut palm is the most well-known tropical palm throughout the world. It's green young nuts produce refreshing drink.  The apical bud or palm heart can be eaten raw or prepared into many types of dishes.  For that matter the palm heart is also referred to as palm cabbage.  Before the advent of oil palm its dried kernels (copra) can produce oil for cooking.  There are many other amazing ways all parts of the coconut tree are of economic importance for those able to grow them, especially people staying in tropical climates.  Seafarers helped distribute it among the many islands in the Pacific and Indian ocean, including the Malay archipelago group of islands.  They found that the nuts were an excellent source of food in their travels since the self-contained nut does not leak, dry out or become tainted with salt water.  Nowadays superior varieties of coconuts are planted for their larger fruits, more yield,  more juice, different leaf colours, dwarf habit, and fragrance of the meat and water.
Young coconut palms recently planted along the stream
Location : Zone  F

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today's klikz

Schizostachyum brachycladum - yellow variety native to Borneo or Sarawak

Gardenia jasminoides - Bunga Cina (Malay), Cape Jasmine
Syn : Gardenia augusta, G.florida

View of plane taking off about 1 km away from the park
Location : Zone I

Sunset view from Zone I

Oil Palm geography

Oil palm on hilly landscapes, this one is a spur.
Location : Zone G

Sawit (Malay) - ffb of oil palm
'Fresh Fruit Bunches'

 The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is not a native palm of Sarawak or Borneo.  All the millions of oil palms in South-East Asia are descended from four seedlings planted in the Botanic Gardens of Bogor, Indonesia, in 1848.  It has a long life with the last of the original four toppled over in 1993 at the age of 145 years.  Thus it was initially planted as decorative palms in the gardens.  Much later it was discovered that the oil palm fruits (see inset) were able to produce high quality cooking oil. The introduction of oil palm cultivation in Sarawak brought much prosperity to the  natives people because the crop seemed to enjoy better and better prices as the years go by, due largely to increasing world population that demanded the minimum of cooked vegetables, fishes or other dishes to be served to members of poor families everyday throughout the world.  The Kambatik Park offers many different landscapes or topographies for the cultivation of oil palm.  From hilly areas to rolling landscapes, slopes and valleys, oil palm cultivation creates a beauty of its own.  But when integrated into the native agro-forestry practices its beauty out- class many other commercial crops due to its unique tropical look of a tall feather-like solitary palm, its long economic life, i.e.  20 -25 years and versatility for being able to be planted on many geographical elevations and conditions.
Oil palm along streams
Location : Provinsi Manila, Zone F

Oil palm on plain areas
Location : Provinsi Carpentaria, Zone F

Oil palm on foothills
Location : Zone D

Oil palm on slopes
Location : Zone C

Oil palm on rolling landscapes
Location : Zone A

Oil palm integrated into native agro-forestry practices
Location : Zone C

Oil palm planted at fringe of conserved lowland dipterocarp forest environment
Location : Zone E

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dwarf Senduduk producing first flower

Purple flower of the Senduduk (Malay) - Melastoma malabathricum
This is a dwarf species.

Senduduk (Malay) - Melasoma malabathricum
Family : Melastomataceae - Melastoma family.
Location : Butterfly Garden, Zone C.
Today the Melastoma malabathricum hybrid that I planted a couple of weeks ago have produced its first flower. The flower has five petals in deep purple colours.  The leaves are typical of the Melastoma family with five veins running up the leaf from its base.  This is a dwarf variety and I was told by the vendor in Kuching that it was obtained from a nursery in Thailand.  I have planted it at the Butterfly Garden.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Less is more

 I am a fortunate guy.  The park is my lab for understanding nature in my private time and place.  Living in a lowland dipterocarp forest environment has provided me with the opportunity to internalize the global concerns of global warming, rainforest destruction, disappearing natural wildlife and untoward corporate greed.  For example the capitalist model of massive consumption has brought much destruction of nature.  In oil palm monoculture, whole original forests in Sarawak are stripped to ground zero only to be replanted with a single oil palm crop.  This unimaginative capitalist urge in corporations is largely driven by quantitative results in the name of  maximum profits.   But in the Kambatik philosophy less is more.  Here oil palm is well-integrated into the existing agro-forestry practices that resulted in increased bio-diversity, more value to the land as in potential economic spinoff in eco-tourism.  In particular this concept can uplift Sarawak into the only state in the world to possess a string of  park lands and nature reserves that can sustain itself through oil palm integration.  Imagine the total length of 800 km of Sarawak's country side situated along the trunk road turned into a continuous  band of wildlife, rainforest biodiversity, eco-tourism centers and the longest learning lab in the world.  This is my hope.
Oil-palm integration into native agro-forestry practices...

A pair of Brown -throated Sunbird finds home at the Kambatik Park...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

In Plain Sight - Provinsi Rattan (Part 6)

Partial view of Botanic Island Two, looking north
Location : Provinsi Rattan, Zone E

Botanic Island Two, showing rattan
trailing at the center.
 Of all the Provinsi or Plain areas, the Provinsi Rattan is the most wild in nature.  This is because in the Provinsi are located two Botanic Islands viz Botanic Island Two and Three.  At the Botanic Islands are preserved many forest trees for posterity.   At the inset is a view of Botanic Island Two , looking south.  Both Botanic Islands have rattan growing naturally in them, besides original jungle trees, unique palms, lianas and forest climbers. Presently there is one wild Rambutan tree that is fruiting profusely.  Seen also is a wild forest climber belonging to the Bauhinia species that is flowering in orange glory.  Below are more pictures of the attractions at Provinsi Rattan .....

Provinsi Rattan - home for rattan collection -  7 rattan species are available on site

Botanic Island Two - showing lianas and climbing rattan, at center

Stream at Provisi Rattan
Location : Botanic Island Three

The big tree at center is the wild Rambutan tree
Location : Provinsi Rattan, between Botanic Island Two and Botanic Island Three

Wild rambutan fruits

Colourful Bauhinia spp. climber growing wild over the forest canopy
Location : Botanic Island Two, Zone E

Two Tiongs in action

 The two Tiongs are happy with the nest.  It was just a few days ago that they claimed the tree their temporary home.  In my experience if they were to use the hole in the tree as 'nest', they would normally rent it for about a month's time.  Be as it may, they are most welcomed because it was approximately 6 months ago that a pair of the Tiong Mas (Malay) came to town and stayed there too.  Tiong Mas as the Malays call the Hill Myna bird has bright yellow bare skin patch below the eye.  There is another yellow skin patch just behind the eye across the nape to form a yellow band.  The legs and feet are yellow and the bill reddish orange with a yellow tip.  The entire body is black with unique white wing-patch on primaries.  I observed today the flapping sound of their wings in flight sounded like the muffled sound of a helicopter's propellers.  Tiongs are talkative birds and for that reason are trained as pets to mimic human language.

Note : All pictures above taken today, 26 June'14
Camera : Nikon D5100

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Plain Sight - Provinsi Lady Palm (Part 5)

Provinsi Lady Palm, view looking west

Slender-stemmed palm -
Rhapis excelsa
 The Provinsi Lady Palm is named after the slender-stemmed palm with thick clustering habit.  The Rhapis excelsa grows naturally as an undergrowth palm but is now a popular palm for gardens and parks.  Its leaves are very useful for floral art.  Many nurseries sell them in big pots as ornamentals.  Today there are dwarf varieties of the Lady Palm. As part of the Kambatik garden concept it is advisable to plant the Lady Palm with heliconias.  Having them within arm's length and readily available in our garden will certainly assist us in creative floral art. Below are more pictures of the provinsi Lady Palm....

The heart of Heliconia Valley is located at Provinsi Lady Palm
Location : Zone C, looking north

View looking south

View looking south
Location : Zone D

View looking south

Monday, June 23, 2014

Burnt earth

Add on clayey soil and other organic garden debris on top of the fire
Burnt earth ready for use
 A fallen dead tree that used to be a favourite perch for many birds fell down the other day due to a gust of strong wind.  The log is good burning or fuel material for the making of burnt earth.  By burning the timber we are producing also wood ash.  We have mountains of yellow clayey soils at the park.  These sticky clay are good material for burnt earth.  The sticky clay is put on top of the fire and with other organic garden debris.  Burnt earth cannot be used immediately because of the latent heat present after burning, may kill the plants. It is advisable to use  2-3 weeks after being produced.   Burnt earth sterilises the soil and reduces soil acidity.  Furthermore, it makes soil phosphorous and potash more readily available to plants.  The wood ashes also provide potassium to the soil, though in general our local soils are not seriously deficient in potassium.  On the other hand all local soils are deficient in phosphorous.  
Burnt earth and wood ashes

Today in pictures

Heliconia 'Sexy Pink'
Zone D

Jungle tree fruiting in red
Zone : E

Jungle wilderness
Zone I

Sunset viewed from Zone I

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Creative with the crow

Jungle Crow at Zone I

Crow in silhouette
 The distant loud call of a Jungle Crow rang through the park for a reasonable time to allow me to jungle trek about 300 meters to photoshoot it.  Perching and partly grooming itself on a tall perch it was not really aware of my presence below.  Not able to get a better cu,  I guess I'll be creative with the picture.  Below are three manipulation of the original pictures using overlay and filter effects.  I have used a term to describe photos that are digitally manipulated as 'photo rendart' to mean digital photos that are rendered artistically'..However this word is not yet in the Oxford dictionary....
Crow taken from a distance of 200 meters

Photo rendart by MOOD...

Photo rendart by MOOD...
Photo rendart by MOOD...