Saturday, January 29, 2011

Second chance of life

My plants do die on me, due to my own neglect sometimes. Too busy, no time, no mood or just plain LAZY...thats no excuse! Then comes the guilt and remorse of loosing your once beautiful healthy plant to wilting, dried up, lifeless stumps, gone, kapuutt! Well, those were my lazy, I-have-too-many-things-to-do-days...still have the reminder...a dried up pot of fern! The rest of those pitiful plants, have died and gone to heaven...May they rest in peace!
Look at this pitiful completely dried up fern, at that time, there was not even a single green shoot or stem left. But I was not going to give up on this once lovely fern, so I cut all the top part
and left it under my mengkudu tree - my plant 'hospital'. Guilt and remorse kept me watering it everyday without fail hoping that it would grow back.

For months, there was no sign of the thing coming to life, still I kept pouring water over it. Then after a bout of rainy days, slowly I saw some curly little green things coming out....the fern finally unfurling its lovely green leaves! Iwas overjoyed!

That was almost a year ago, my pet fern slowly becoming healthy again, though I did not for once ever fertilised it, not even re-potted it...just plain water, water and water it! the once dried up fern was given a second chance in life and coming back with vigour to grace my pergola. Never again will I neglect you my little pet fern!

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 2011 Garden Bouquet - Outside the Box

I love to be the receiving end of a bouquet of flowers anytime! And I dont mind giving a lovely one to anyone too for birthdays, anniversaries, or just to say...have a nice day! It doesn't have to be expensive, florist-bought bouquet. Just take a bunch of garden flowers and present it to someone who needs a cheering up, its so much more meaningful because it comes from your heart and your own home-grown flowers!
Today Im presenting you with a naturally created 'bouquet' of plants from my own garden...

In this urn, the lovely purple bloom of water hyacinth (Echhornia Crassipes) is grown together with the water orchids (Echinodorus Cordifolus Ovalis), and the strands of Chinese money plant (Epipremmum Aureum - variegated) stragically planted to make a cascading, trailing effect to soften the erect taller stems of the water orchids!
Thanks to Noelle of Ramblings From a Desert Garden where there's a bouquet for every month of the year to be displayed to make your day a lovely one!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A garden of fungi

While laying out new bricks for my new vegetable beds, I have to lift all the old wooden beams that used to be the border. Lol! what a surprise...I have my own collections of fungi in my garden! Actually 5 types of different looking fungi growing out of the wooden beams.
these caught my eyes first as they are a bright orange colour

I love these as they are as white and fluffy as a cottonball and soft to the touch, very delicate...

these are more common as I used to collect them from old tree stumps in my kampung
when I was a kid and they are sometimes sold in our local morning market
to be eaten as part of a mixed vegetables dish cooked in coconut milk

these are different from the 2nd photo as they are hard, not soft and fluffy

these too are commonly seen on old tree trunk

Since stumbling on these lovely fungi, I keep a look out for more new ones though I could not identify their names or species. I think they are lovely and are part of the flora and fauna in my garden.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Seed Week" - Alternatives

I happened to remember this : "Seed sowing is the first step towards gardening.".....though I just can't recall the blogger's name who wrote that phrase.
The irony is, most of my garden plants did not originate from me sowing seeds, or collecting, saving or even buying seeds. least not until last October, when I started my small vegetable patch. I bought them fresh from the local wet market or Tesco as part of my groceries, emptied out the seeds and threw them away in planter boxes. My first seeds were cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, chillies, eggplant, capsicum and lady's finger (okra). Then I had seeds buying spree at MAHA 2010 and of course some given by Bangchik (My Little Vegetable Garden), Diana (Malay-Kadazan Girl) and Malar (My Little Garden). Majority of my garden plants came from seedlings bought from nurseries, DIY stem propagation, root propagation, rhizomes, tubers and just about any part of the plant that can be grown. So these are alternatives to seed sowing in gardening! Lets have a look at some of these that I have done in my own garden.
growing tumeric using rhizomes, I use tumeric leaves in cooking rendang

so seed sowing is the start of my vegetable garden this year... corriander, pak choy, sweet corn, sweet peas, french bean, okra, Japanese cucumber, kale, lettuce...

Thai basil and celery using stem and root cuttings

Im very impatient with seeds. You sow the seeds then you wait, and wait, and wait...sometimes might be forever, or nothing at all....just to see the tiny green dots coming out.

I grow my onion like this, solely for the leaves in ganishing my soup, stew, omelette, fried rice, noodles...

growing pandan using their roots submerge in water first until they start rooting, of course you can plant them direct into the soil

my spider plant with lots of baby spiders dangling, so just cut one and put it in soil

stem propagation - rosemary

stem propagation - thyme

as explained in my previous post here, blackberry propagation by stem or nodes

see how the node has grown from the plastic bag and planted into the soil

this was the start of my stem propagation - grape seedlings

also mulberry seedlings

recently I learnt something new...grafting, taught by a friendly nursery boy who was not stingy in parting his knowledge to me

tapioca (ubi kayu) stems propagation

growing caladium tricolor by tuber

growing mint by rooting the stems first in water

propagated the frangipani stems recently - pink/white bloom

finally the balsam seeds given by Malar just thrown randomly among portulucas and coleus

I find that I get the same thrill and satisfaction in growing those plants whether by seeds or otherwise. The anticipation of seeing the seeds, stems, rhizomes, tubers, or roots continuing their life growing into healthy plants is so exciting and you feel very sad if they don't.
Take a peek at Diana's garden at Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls and learnt something interesting about her own garden seeds during the "Seed Week".
Continue with the above phrase : " Gardening is a beautiful habit and hobby as it gives content to the heart and peace in the mind".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

World Garden Carnival Jan 2011

Its time again for the Blog Carnival hosted by Fer of My Little Garden in Japan! This time it is called World Garden Carnival and the theme is New Year Gardening Resolutions. I have so many plans for my small garden and what more auspicious time to implement it than this new year 2011! Maybe not all at one go...I will do them in stages, since it will involve a lot of physical work. Im a lone gardener at home, it will be quite a task to do them alone, a back-breaking job indeed!

This year Im making new raised beds for my new vegetables. I have started yesterday since it was a gloomy Sunday and quite cool to work. Im going to plant my greens here like Pak Choy, Amaranth, coriander, lettuce and many more. I have sown the seeds and waiting for them to germinate to transplant them in this new bed. Im soo excited to see my new beds with greens this year!

This is only the first bed...30 bags of soils went into making it!

More beds coming up soon..those recycled plastics bags were placed there to kill the weeds. Right at the end there, is my mengkudu tree where there will be another project in my plan.

4 pumpkin seedlings were planted right at the end of the bed, so that when they grow, their trailing plants will have plenty of space on the grass next to it and dont get entangled with other plants on the bed. Another 3 seedling were placed near the pergola. I want to train them to climb the pergola as shown in Laman Sayur @ MAHA 2010 in Segalanya Tentang Tumbuhan blog where gourds and luffa were trained to climb the pergola. It was really amazing to see them!

my plant 'hospital' will be spruced up a bit...

Under my mengkudu tree where its shady, I placed my plants that need to recuperate from either my neglect or some other ailments they suffer. Tough some plants do need a shady place since they are quite delicate like my begonia, blackberry, rosemary, thyme. stevia etc. After seeing Go Away Im Gardening, Amy's rock garden under a shady tree, I would like to do the same under the mengkudu tree. I have a lot of river rocks accumulated since I started my gardening which were placed outside the fence as a border, which will go nicely into making my new rock garden. As a third project, those rocks will be replaced by new bricks as a border and a new raised flower bed will emerge elsewhere, to replace an old one. Thats about all for now, probably I will be implementing some other things as the year goes by....if I dont break my back first by all those physical things I have to do!
Anyway, why not take a look at Fer's blog and see what he and other bloggers around the world are doing for their new year gardening resolutions, you might get some ideas for your own garden. Or why not join this Carnival and post us your new year plans to improve your garden! Happy Gardening!

Friday, January 14, 2011

GBBD January 2011

Its been raining almost everyday here either that or the days are gloomy with dark clouds overhead. But luckily my garden has a fair share of its flowers still blooming for the Garden Bloggers' Blooming Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens every middle of the month.
these are white senduduk (tibouchina urvilleana), seldom see this colour...I was excited and luckily I took the photos when they were just about to open up, then they dropped off after a very heavy rain that evening!

my recently planted single layer portulucas have started to bloom, since then I have acquired other colours and double layered ones too

not sure of what flower bud this is...

then it blooms..looks like an orchid but the leaves look like something else..
thanks to Bernie this is called Yellow Walking Iris ( Neomarica Longifolia)

white plumeria blooming, the cuttings given by my sister

dark pink of mandevilla

the rain did not deter these flowers, Brunfelsia (thanks to Bernie), to bloom although they look so delicate, in fact they seem to love the rain and flower profusely!

pink/orangey blooms of Impatiens

Although the rainy season had reaked havoc in some places like our east coast areas and Queensland in Australia, and did some damage to our plants in the garden, the emergence of a small tiny bud will cheer us up a bit. Lets move DownUnder to look at Bush Bernie's Garden Blog for more varieties of tropical blooms.

Blooming Friday - Patterns in your garden

In nature you can find work of arts in the veins, colours, shapes, patterns, grooves of leaves, flowers, bark of trees and branches, even the shadows and sunlight leave a pattern, to mention a few. Today's theme for Blooming Friday is Pattern hosted by Katarina of Roses and Stuff.

chrysanthemum in three different colours looks outstanding

shape and grooves of fern leaf - imagine the pattern on a porcelain dinner set or a silk skarf

pattern of the water hyacinth looks like peacock feather with a yellow orangy 'eye' against blue on top of light purple background

a palm tree with bunches of its fruits hanging down in arches

a dark magenta on white petunia

the caladium tricolor in blotches of white spots on green with red centre veins is like a stylised leaves you find in batek painting

The garden is really an inspiration where you can have the best and unique work of arts by nature. It strikes our senses visually, sometimes without us realising it and taking it for granted that it will be there forever. Come have a peek at other worldly patterns in Roses and Stuff. Have a good weekend gardening!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cute tiny miniatures

Nowadays, nurseries have come out with new versions and hybrids of a lot of flowers not only for orchids. Look at these two blooms, same type of flowers but different version. They are both morning glory, one is the normal size, while the other is a tiny miniature! Could not resist buying the plant last Hari Raya, although I have the normal one growing wild on my fence, as the tiny mini blooms look so cute and adorable.

compare the size..normal and miniature

so tiny and cute

Some features are a bit different though between the two. The normal size morning glory the flower form a long tube so that the stamens are concealed inside the tube. The bees, the main polinators, will have to go half way inside, in order to pollinate the flowers or collect the nectar. While the miniatures, the stamens are right outside the petals and I think the bees are definitely bigger than the flower!

see the tiny plant, all balled up in a small pot for hanging

However, both flowers will only last for 2 days the most, will change to pinkish/light purple around the edges, close off their petals and drop off. In order to have lasting blooms on the plant, they have to be 'deadhead' just like petunia, in order for new buds to form. To maintain the overall structure of the plant, you have to make sure the creeper entwine each other and form into a ball. What else the nurseries will come out with next!