|Ornamental pineapple plants - Ananas bracteatus 'Striatus' (nanas merah)|
This is Part 2 of my visit to Ah Chui Nursery. I am preparing this fun post for general knowlege and I hope you learn something about our culture. I myself learnt new things as I was preparing for this post.
The above is a picture of ornamental pineapple plants bearing fruits. If you look closely, you'll notice that the pots are covered with gold wrapping. There are also no thorns on their leaves. The pineapple is called "ong lai" in Hokkien dialect which translate to mean the arrival of good fortune.
Sometimes, bromeliads such as guzmanias are used for the same purpose. Guzmanias are nicknamed "pineapple flowers" in Chinese.
Pussy Willows (Salix caprea) grown in pots. They signify the arrival of prosperity and growth in prosperity. We grow them for their catkin flowers. You can buy those with lots of unopened buds and place them in the coolest area of your home, e.g. under the shelter of the porch or verandah. The silky soft blooms are silvery grey in colour. The blooms elongate as the tiny flowers open in cylindrical clusters but they don't seem to have any petals at all.
Pussy willows are called "Yin liu" (银柳) in Chinese which sounds like money flowing in. They are also sold as cut stems tied in bundles. We can place the stalks in beautiful porcelain vases and decorate them with auspicious ornaments to turn them into mythical money plants.
We want the pussy willows to bloom and send out green shoots as an indication that spring has arrived.
|Mini pot of mandarin orange plant|
This is a mini potted mandarin orange (tangerine) plant. The fruits look like gold nuggets. Notice that the leaves are allowed to grow upwards and not pruned off at the top, perhaps to denote rising succcess ( 歩歩高升 or bu bu gao sheng) ?
“Buying Plants and Flowers For Chinese New Year 2011”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on Jan 21st, 2011.
|Cherry Chilli - Solanum pseudocapsicum|
|Ornamental red chili (Capsicum annuum)|
These jade plants (Crassula ovata) are symbols of wealth and abundance. They are also called money plants as the leaves resemble precious jade.
|Kalanchoe pinnata (Setawar Kampung)|
This looks like a Kalanchoe pinnata or Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi?
Do you remember our school days when we would use a leaf as a bookmark? We called this "Lock Day Sung Kan" (Roots will grow out when leaf touches the ground). Kalanchoe pinnata is called Setawar Kampung in Malay.
Kalanchoe is a genus with hundreds of species, the most common here being Kalanchoe blossfeldiana with masses of tiny star shaped flowers in red, purple, orange, yellow and white.
Kalanchoes are called "wan zi qian hong" ( 万紫千红 - million purple thousand red) which translates to an abundance of wealth and prosperity. In Cantonese, 'zi' for purple colour also sounds like money (银纸 - ngan zhi) and son (子 -zi). The pronunciation of "wan zi qian hong" also rhymes with "a million offsprings, a thousand fame and honour".
Azalea is called 映山红 (ying shan hong) or 满山红 (man shan hong) which means a mountain of red.
Azalea is the symbol of happiness, harmony and balance in life. It is used to foster and strenghten relationships. Azaleas are warm temperate plants that bloom in spring and the flowers last a few weeks. They like the shade and acidic soil. Choose one that has lots of unopened buds but before that you need to view 1 or 2 opened blooms to choose the colours that you like, e.g. pink, red or white and pink. However, as the new year day draws near, you can choose those partially open ones. It takes about 2 weeks for azalea buds to open fully, otherwise your plant may only start blooming after the first 15 days.
You will notice that during the Chinese New Year season, some temperate plants like narcissus, hyacinths, azaleas, chrysanthemums, pussy willows are brought into our warm equatorial country of Malaysia. For cut flowers, we can find many varieties of the scented and lovely asiatic lilies or star gazer lilies too. This is the time to try them out. I do enjoy my once a year love affair with these gorgeous temperate plants, even though they do not last long.
Do you wonder why the gorgeous roses are not the highlight of this season? It is because most of them have thorns which is regarded as poison arrows which we wish to avoid.
Always remember, you do not need to overspend. Many choices are availble to suit your budget. It is not advisable to spend lots of money on a new plant with an auspicious sounding name invented by the growers. What's the use if we are not familiar with the new plant and it dies soon under our care. Even if you do not buy any, it is important to keep your plants alive and healthy, the garden lush and green.
Just to let you know, I have purchased 2 calamondin lime trees, a pot of budding pussy willow, a Kalanchoe, a flowering jade plant, 2 pots of azaleas and a bunch of lucky bamboos. I intent to buy some chrysanthemums as the New Year Day draws near.