It is time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up Day for November 2010. I have Costus woodsonii to start off my parade this time. It is also known as Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag, French Kiss and Dwarf Cone Ginger. The bloom is a bright red inflorescence that look like luscious lipstick while the real flower is the tiny one with yellow petals just peeking out from its orange bud. Each flower open one by one on different days and lasts only a day. The emerald green foliage reminds me of precious jade and their unusual stems look like spiral canes.
2. I have a beautiful model to practice on my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1. This butterfly has just emerged from its chrysalis. It is drying its wings waiting for a smooth take-off early in the morning.
3. My Etlingera elatior, pink torch ginger blooms posing next to the curvaceous costuses with red lipstick spikes. The pink ginger blooms shoot out directly from the ground because they have underground stems. Costus blooms appear as terminal spikes at the end of spiral stems. Costuses are also known as spiral gingers.
My two ginger plants are partners in my garden but they are worlds apart in character. A case of opposites attract?
“GBBD Nov 2010 and Foliage Follow-Up Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on November 14th, 2010.
4. From left to rignt - Heliconia psittacorum spp, Tibouchina urvilleana (princess flower or glory bush) and Alpinia galanga ginger (aka galangal or lengkuas in Malay). Other common names of galangal include blue ginger in Chinese. We use the ginger in our Asian cooking, e.g. Malay, Indonesian and Thai cuisine. I am growing this ginger plant from some leftover rhizomes. I like the foliage but I have never seen the white alpinia flowers yet. I wonder how it looks like.
Can you differentiate the bracts from the true flowers?
The true flowers have dark green tips.
8. My turmeric ginger plant and lemon grass plant. The leaves have a very mild lemon scent. I use the rhizomes of the Curcuma longa (turmeric) for making turmeric rice with curry chicken and also turmeric fried chicken. The leaves of the turmeric plant is used in making chicken, beef and mutton rendang which is a traditional Malay dish. Well, some kind of winged insects love my turmeric leaves too. When they feast on the leaves, they will make many holes on it. Surprisingly, all the holes are arranged in straight neat rows accross the leaves like sewing patterns!
I use lemon grass in curries, fried chicken and it can also be steeped to make lemon grass and ginger iced tea with honey.
The foliage you see nearby are not weeds but the vegetables such as sweet tapioca leaves and sweet leaves (or cekur manis which is partly hidden from view) and 'hempedu bumi' herbs. Hempedu bumi (Andrographis paniculata) is the most bitter herb in the world but its leaves and roots has many medicinal values.
9. I am trying to grow the common ginger (Zingiber officinale). It takes a a few weeks to almost a month for the shoots to develop when I try to grow from the rhizomes of store bought ginger. The ginger seller at the wet market taught me how to use some old newspapers to wrap the dried rhizomes for a few weeks before planting it on the soil.
10. New shoots has sprouted from the stem cuttings of my mint plant, which came from the leftovers from my cooking process. I use the leaves for garnishing curries and laksa, stir fries or making soup. I also like the mint dipping sauce they serve at Indian restaurants to go with my Naan and Tandoori dishes.
11. My chili flowers have been pollinated and I have some chilies to look forward too. I am waiting for them to turn red before I harvest them. The chilies are grown from the leftover seeds from my cooking process.
12. I think this spring onion is having a change of clothes just as I was taking its picture. Due to space limitations, it is sharing a home with my Murraya paniculata.
13. The variegated foliage of my bougainvilleas. I apply more watering to get more foliage and less watering to get them to flower.
That's all for this month. I hope it will brighten up your day and Cheers!
Thank you to Carol of May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. To participate or view what's blooming in other gardens, visit this link here.
Thank you to Pam of Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up Day. Do visit her link here.