This is how Kellie's Castle look like after the garden makeover and upgrading works. A landscaped tropical colonial garden has been built around the old English manor. Today I shall take you on a tour of the garden and I will also touch on the wildflowers and weeds which I find very interesting but intriguing as well.
This is the first part about the garden.
You can also read my article titled, "Garden Makeover for Kellie's Castle" published by New Straits Times on 22nd June 2013. The link is here.
The generous use of white paint provided a stark contrast to the red roofs, painted brick walls, pillars and tiled flooring. The walkways are stone paved with gaps for grass to grow and rainwater to seep in. Everything looks so bright and cheery now. The grounds are no longer dark and sinister.
The garden is designed by award winning consultant botanist, Dr. Francis Ng and landscaping works was funded by Tourism Malaysia. Before the makeover, architects, historians and experts were consulted. Dr. Ng studied the photographs of the castle taken during William Kellie Smith's time.
After completion of the makeover exercise, the upkeep and maintenance has been handed over to the Batu Gajah District Council early this year. A launching ceremony was held on Sunday, July 7th by our Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. The ceremony was also attended by the state tourism committee chairman Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi.
Kellie's Castle is separated from the main road by these rivers.
Both sides are filled with coconut and oil palm plantations.
There is ample parking space. This is the smaller bridge that links the side road to the new building that houses the ticketing booth, mini theatre, souvenir shops, food stalls and restrooms/washrooms.
The shrubs behind the pergola on the left are Yellow Alders.
On the right is the main bridge that leads to the castle.
The picture above shows a few clumps of the Bidens pilosa, also known as Cobbler’s Peg and Spanish Needle. This plant looks a quite like another common widespread weed, Tridax procumbens or Coat Buttons which is also found here. B. pilosa is taller and prettier with bigger daisy-like flowers. When the flowers wither off, elongated fruits are formed and when dried, they become thin and bristle-like, easily clinging onto animal furs and human clothing.
B. pilosa plants are also called Beggars Ticks because beggars and wanderers pick up these on their clothes and pants as they walk along the roadsides and railroad tracks. Hikers find them irritating hence they are given names like “Ghost Needle Weed” and “Demon Spike Grass”. Spooky coincidence?
After the bridge leads you to fork road. The left side is the main staircase that leads you to the castle. The right path leads you to the stables, guardhouse and servant staircase via the side entrance.
Here's another Yellow Alder bush beside the Eugenia tree. The weird looking tree just beside the castle is the Midnight Horror Tree. Getting more eerie, isn't it?
"Below are the ruins of William Kellie Smith’s guard house and horse stables. William’s horses did well at the races held at the prestigious Kinta Gymkhana Club in Batu Gajah (founded in 1890). His mare, Lassie, won on the first day of the races, and on the second day, HH The Sultan of Perak presented the Sultan’s Cup to WKS when his horse, Popgun, won the second race."
The Angsana tree (right) and Frangipani tree (left) flanking the stairways to the side entrance of the castle. The building on the right is the former Guard House and Stables.
Chinese names: 馬醉草 , 同瓣草 , 鬼點燈
Synonyms: Asystasia coromandeliana, Asystasia intrusa, A. gangetica
Common name: Common Asystasia, Chinese Violet, Ganges Primrose, Creeping Foxglove
Chinese name: 赤边樱草 or 十万错花
In mandarin, 赤边樱草 (chi bian ying cao) means 'violet margin cherry (sakura) grass' and
十万错花 (shi wan cuo hua) means 'a hundred thousand wrong flowers'.
Rumpai jejentik (mosquito larva weed), akar ruas-ruas (segmented roots),
rumput bunga putih (white grass flower), rumput hantu (Ghost Grass),
rumput nyonya (young lady weed), rumput pengorak,
rumput kambing (goat grass), bunga istana (castle flower).
Family: Acanthaceae (Ruelia family)
Origin and native to: India, Africa, Malay Peninsular
Category: Ever-flowering perennial creeper
meaning purple crane flower.
It is listed in the "Alert List for Environmental Weeds" of Australia.