Count Your Blessings!
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!
COUNT THE GARDEN BY THE FLOWERS, NEVER BY THE LEAVES THAT FALL.
COUNT YOUR LIFE WITH SMILES AND NOT THE TEARS THAT ROLL.
..... Author unknown.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Today, I would like to invite you on a trip to Port Dickson and explore a garden by the beach.
Port Dickson aka PD, is a coastal town located 80 km or about an hour's drive by car from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city. It is a holiday and leisure destination for tourists as well as locals. PD was founded by Sir Frederick Dickson during the 1880's colonial era as a deep seawater port. When PD failed to live up to its expectations as a busy performing port, it was later developed into a seaside resort, frequented by the British and the local people.
Today, we are visiting The Legend Water Chalets resort and I'll be showing you around the gardens there.
This is a Hymenocallis speciosa or the common Spider Lily. I think it is called the bunga bakung here. It is an amazing plant that is very useful in landscaping. It is a herbaceous perennial that flowers the whole year through. I'm sure many of you have seen this plant before. It has long glossy leaves and pure white flowers. Does it remind you of spidey and perhaps Little Miss Muffet too? The resort here uses this spider lily as a border plant surrounding its signage near the main entrance to the lobby.
The botanical name of this vine with bright yellow flowers is Tristellateia australasiae (Maiden's Jealousy). Its common names include Shower of Gold, Vining Galphimia or Vining Milkweed
It is a vigorous climber. Each flower has 5 petals and red stamens. Leaves are ovate to lance-shaped and has a lush green colour. The flowers bloom in clusters of up to 30 flowers. Native to South East Asia, it is a woody, evergreen vine that flowers the whole year through.
Here, this shower of gold climber is planted on the ground and trained to sprawl beautifully on a trelis next to the wall of this buiding that houses the gym and sports room. Sharing the same space with it, we also have the Sansevieria Trifasciata aka Snake plant aka Mother-in-law's tongue. We also call it the Lidah Jin meaning genie's tongue. Which name do you prefer, the genie's tongue or a mother-in-law's tongue?
|Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrilii)|
The people working here tells me that this is the Areca nut. Areca nut, also known as the pinang or betel nut is the fruit of the Areca Catechu tree, a species of palms that grows in South Asia and the tropical Pacific.
If it is pinang, then I have a story to tell you. In the old days, slices of the areca nut is wraped in betel leaves and chewed for its mild stimulant effect. Lime and sometimes other spices like clove and cardamon or even a tobacco leaf or two are added to the wrap. This method of chewing blackens the teeth and stains the mouth deep red. The red saliva is spit out and we used to see this red slime staining our roads and floors. Chewing of the areca nut is a tradition that dates back to thousands of years. This ritual used to be pratised widely by the local people but now it is no longer popular among the younger generation.
There is a malay proverb, "bagai pinang dibelah dua" which can be translated to "like an areca nut cut into half". It is used to denote newly weds who are very compatible with each other.
Updated on 28 Oct 2011 - The tree above is Adonidia merrillii, synonym Veitchia merrillii, common name Manila Palm or Chrismas Palm.
Along the path that leads to the beach, you will come across this beautiful Thunbergia Grandiflora, growing vibrantly along the fencing. It is a giant vine with cascading pale lilac flowers and large green leathery leaves. Native to India, this plant is also known as the trumpet vine or Bengal clock vine.
This signage says that turtles come here to PD beach during the egg laying season from February - June. Glory Beach Resort is just next door to The Lengend Water Chalets Resort.
This time, I was very excited to see a flock of Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis Panayensis) feeding on some oil palm fruits. I think they are having a buffet breakfast just like the one I had at the resort cafe.
|Urapteroides astheniata (Uraniidae)|
Updated on 10th March 2011. The above moth is Urapteroides astheniata (Uraniidae).
Sources: Wikipedia, Moths of Borneo and Moths of Australia.
Updated: The fruits of Scaevola taccada are white when ripe.
This picture shows the fan-like flowers of the same plant. The white creature above was resting on the leaves of this plant.
Scientific name: Scaevola taccada
Finally, to complete the day, I wish to show you this photograph of the beautiful sunset that I had captured from my hotel room balcony.
This is also my entry for Today's Flowers #59. To view other posts around the world, click here.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Look! My plant is fruiting now. This is a pomegranate bloom. Isn't this a pretty flower? I'm having some problem with its colour. Bright orange or striking red, it looks the same to me. I think I am having some problems with the rods and cones in my eyes. I have seen some smaller versions that have lots of double blooms but without fruits at the nursery. These will be suitable as ornamental house plants.
This is a spent flower. If pollinated and if it doesn't drop off, it will develop into a fruit.
This is a successful one. I think it looks like a bell or maybe a lady's skirt.
My grandmother story.
Our family has a great attachment to the pomegranate tree. Many years ago, grandma planted a beautiful pomengranate tree in front of this Ho Sin Ku temple. Ho Sin Ku is the only lady fairy among the Eight Immortals. The tree grew to more than 10 ft tall and bore a lot of fruits and flowers. It brought a lot of happiness to our household. Grandma was hoping that it will bring forth good descendents luck that translates to many gransons for her. So she was especially fond of this tree. I remember the evenings spent tending to her many plants and this was her favourite. We used cow manure (we call it cow dung) collected from the droppings from the cows that roamed the temple grounds. I have spent many evenings and mornings listening to her Monkey God stories and her childhood in China.
Born in Fusan, she married grandpa when she was still a teenager. As it was an arranged (match-make) marriage and grandpa was in Malaya on the auspicious day of marriage, she had a live rooster dressed as the groom to accompany her during the marriage ceremony in Kwantung (Canton), China. Yes, that was how she performed the tea ceremony and prayers to the ancestors on the day of the marriage. She saw grandpa for the first time when she arrived in Malaya by sea. She was extremely glad that grandpa did not have any disability, was tall and looked quite handsome!
One year, she lost the tender for this temple and had to move out. The new caretaker, cut off the tree and removed everything, tree, stumps, roots and all. When she found out about this later, grandma was extremely angry and heartbroken. It was like a grenade that exploded in her face. She tried to replant new ones but things were never the same again. Later, she gave up completely and switched to pomelo trees instead.
After her death, we never had any more pomegranate trees, not until when I moved house. Dad found a reason to plant pomegranate again. For dad it was to remember grandma while for me, it was for my dad who has since passed on.
I think plants do make people do the strangest things.
This is my entry for Blooming Friday Week 4. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. This week's theme is ' your favourite wildflower or a beauty you'd like to share'. This week my beauty is the Promegranate Flower.
To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I would like to say thank you very much to readers of my blog, "My Nice Garden" for nominating me and my blog for the following 2009 Blotanical Awards categories:
1. Best Native Plants Blog
2. Best Asian Blog
3. Best Commenter Award
I am indeed greatly honoured to have made it to the top 5 finalist and for this I am very grateful to all blotanists who have nominated me. I wish to thank Mr Stuart and his team for doing all the hard work so that we can enjoy the benefits.
Before I end this post, I wish to add this. Actually my favourite topic is Native Plants. I guess I have just 'scrapped through' and made it to the final, maybe I almost didn't make it. If you wish to know what I have already written under native plants, please click on the label "native plants" under archive by label in the sidebar or you may also do a search on the top side bar. If you have any suggestions on how I can improve in this category or other examples you wish to know about South East Asia / Malaysia's native plants, do let me know.
Being an Asian blogger, I am indeed honoured to be selected to the finals.
Regarding best commenter award, I have never expected to make it. So this is a pleasant surprise and great encouragement for me.
Finally, to those who have made it to the finals, this is what I wish to say:
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
|1. Fragrant Pandan|
Common name: Fragrant Pandan, Screwpine
Chinese name:七葉蘭 (qi ye lan - seven leafed orchid)
Malay name: Pandan Wangi
Synonym: Pandanus odorus, Pandanus latifolius
Origin: Moluccas, Indonesia
|2. A bundle of Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves|
Well, if you don't grow it, you can also buy it from any wet markets or hypermarkets here. They sell in bundles like this. This one is sold by a farmer who grows her own organic vegetables. It costs only RM 50 cents. Also, if you do not grow this plant inside your house compound but plant it somewhere outside your home, it is a free for all thing. Other people may be tempted to cut off a portion of the leaves. Maybe they won't ask if you are not looking. Afterall, it is an emergency! They need it to cook a great main dish and desserts to satisfy loved ones.
|3. My pandan plant|
How to grow the pandan plant?
If I want to grow this plant, I don't go to the nursery. I will go to the market and tell the seller that I wish to grow it. The kind seller will select a stalk that has tiny roots at the base. Then I can go back home to root it by putting it in a container of water and let it stand for a few days until roots appear. Thereafter I will plant it in the well-drained soil.
Special note for those growing pandan in cooler climates
Pandanus amaryllifolius, being a tropical plant loves the warm and humid conditions. It is advisable to plant pandan in a container because it can't survive the cold and frost. You have to bring it indoors or place it in a greenhouse during the winter months and reduce the watering. Do not wet the leaves as the water droplets may freeze and damage the plant or the dampness may lead to rotting.
We use the leaves mainly for cooking. Just like you have the essence/extract of vanilla beans for western cooking, we have the pandan leaves. For example, we can tie a few leaves together into a knot and cook it together with our pot of rice. It gives the rice a sweet, tasty aroma. It also adds a distinctly good flavour to the rice. It is a must have for cooking 'nasi lemak' or coconut flavoured rice. The leaves are not eaten but discarded after the cooking process.
|5. Pandan flavoured bun|
1. In the picture above, our local baker has used pandan leaves to line this curry chicken bun.
Can you grow it in your area?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Here are four friends. Usually the bi-colour ones outnumber the whites.
This is my marigold. Their heads are getting too large for their own good. They are now suffering from droopy head syndrome.
This time the cape honeysuckles are not blooming in big numbers. Maybe its because I have trimmed it almost bald. But I like this solo picture.
Finally, my bunga kantan, the torch ginger. I didn't cook it, so now it has opened up all its petals and showing me how happy it is.
This is my entry for Blooming Friday. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.