Category Archives: Action

Pictures which are focused on some singular activity

Photos from Aripo Valley

The Aripo Valley is like a guardian of the northern range in Trinidad, and in many ways is a significant stop on your way to the main mountain peak, El Cerro del Aripo. Any time I visit the island, I make an effort to do some exploration within the area.  These photos demonstrate my love affair with nature especially as described in these tropical habitats.

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Trees are always fascinating, and become much more so  when you encounter and experience the intricate going ons of the tropical jungle.  Lianas which are very prevalent are more than a curious surprise. Trying to work out where vines start or end is quite difficult.  Also interesting, at this level, is the way most other plants manage to survive without being intimidated by the numerous vines.

 

The ginger flowers and heliconias are always conspicuous in this setting, as the climate and humidity makes it easy for them to flourish.  It is not a valley that orchids and bromeliads  show off their bloom in great abundance, but the species are there to be observed.  Of course, the birds are everywhere, and without compromise make their music for us to hear.  Sometimes I feel ashamed that I am not able to identify the species as they flutter around.  But, I do know the humming birds,  and that’s a start.  Below, two photos from the Asa Wright Centre, which is great introduction to the Aripo Valley.

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February 28: Frozen

Sometimes the elements get the better of us.   It is almost the start of March, and I am returning from my Brazilian holiday, and literally flew into a snowstorm. London was very cold, and I was absolutely unprepared for this extreme kind of weather.  At Miami Airport where I usually make the connection,  I had inadvertently left my only coat which would have insulated me somewhat,  from the freezing weather.  I decided to tough it  out, and avoided committing myself to any quick or hasty purchase to solve the situation.   Somehow I managed to make my way home in spite of the many stated delays of the usually reasonable  London Underground, as the snow pelted down around me.

Once inside, there was the usual chaos, and placing my case to one side, I headed to open the back door, to survey the damage. Unusually for London the snow was building, my two greenhouses appeared fine, but all the transient plants which were haphazardly placed close to the house for protection were enveloped with snow.  Normally, there would be a corrugated plastic covering to prevent any real damage, but today most of it had been blown away by the wind.

You must appreciate that I am a plant lover, and also a plant seller; and it is very important to prevent further damage as the weather prediction had offered minus five Centigrade by evening time.  Some quick action was needed to avoid total destruction as far as the outdoor collection is concerned. Yet the snow kept falling.  A quick investigation of my greenhouse confirmed that I was right, and that most of the plants inside were in a good order.  Surveying the freeze outside, and noting the frozen tap,  it was the group that were outdoors that posed the problem. Using layers of plastic bubble I tried to add extra cover on some of the plants to prevent further damage from evening lows, even though I fared the worst.

Preparing for winter is not a very easy task for us plant lovers, and it often takes a certain degree of subtlety, as you want to avoid dragging all your specimens in a dark basement in the middle of October. At the same time, you also have to utilize as much of the good weather that is possible and that is the reason we always take a few risks.  Also, timing is very important, as on numerous occasions, you may fail because of this.  To put it bluntly sometimes you are ill-prepared when it  is absolutely necessary to be on focus, or simply be present.  This is one of these occasions, and the photos say it all.  Of course,  later after the thaw,  I will insist on new arrangements in place which must prevent the same things happening again.  But it does not always work, as nature has a way of subverting life when you least expect it.

Winston

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