Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Blooming Friday - Week 2

This is Blooming Friday again. Today I will show you what I have blooming in my urban garden. Due to space limitations, many of my plants are in containers. I'm trying to grow a chempaka tree in a flower pot. My hibiscus shrubs and pomelo tree are grown in pots too. Only a few priveleged ones get to grow directly from the soil in the ground.

This is my one and only water lily plant. I has not stopped blooming since the day I bought it from the nursery. The boss selected the plant for me. She look for one with many shoots and buds growing from the bottom. She told me that it is important to put it in a place with the full sun and the plant must always be submerged in water.

If my observations are correct, the flower seem to open in the morning when the sun is shining and closes in the late evenings. It does this 2 times before the flower withers off. This picture above shows the flower when it opened on the first day.

This is the flower on the second day. It looks a bit different, especially in the centre. The petals are lighter in colour.

Usually water lily leaves are round with wavy edges but this one is split into 3, as though it has been cut by a special art & craft zig-zag scissors. This is the first time I see such as lily leaf and I didn't cut it like that.

This one looks like a verbena plant. I bought 2 of them thinking it was a lantana! Only one survived. The other one was blooming profusely before all the leaves dropped off and died.

This is my bunga kantan, the torch ginger flower. Many times, I was very tempted to use it as cut flowers to decorate my home but it ended up in my pot of tom-yam or asam laksa noodles. I usually use the unopened bud like the one on the right for cooking. If the bud is left to open to the stage like the one on the left, I'll leave it alone to let it beautify my garden. It looks like a pink lotus when opened further which is quite pretty.

This is the same chrysanthemum plant I bought for Chinese New Year in late January 2009. At that time it was in full bloom, the flowers almost twice as big. Usually, these types of plants do not last long and will die off just after the celebration is over. At least, that was what would usually happen to mine. But this time, it survived and I have 2 flowers with many buds. It should be purple in colour.

This chrysanthemum looks more white than purple.

Katarina asked us whether we have almost lost and recovered a beloved plant. Yes, this is the dendrobium left behind by my late mum. It was all dried up and dying when I took it back with me. Now it has multiplied to 2. Shy to say, this solo bloom is the best I could get at the moment. There are no tell-tale signs of flowering. One day the bloom just appeared and it lasted less than a day.

My adenium (desert rose?) is starting to form buds. This plant also nearly died due to the wet season. I moved it to a sunny place but shielded from the rain. Now it is growing more and larger leaves.

This looks like portulaca judging by the succelent leaves. I saw a whole bunch of it in a hanging flower pot. It was for sale at quite an expensive price, so I beg the nursery owner to give me a few cuttings. After some persuasion and sweet words, she plucked off 2 main branches and gave them to me. When I reached home, I cut them into 3 - 4 inch lengths and planted it on the soil. Now it is starting to bloom. The main colour is yellow interspersed with red in the flower centre.

This is my portulacas planted by 'pluck and plant' method from the mother plant that I bought from the nursery. I planted two plants of different colours in the same pot and this is what I get. I have never planted any portulacas from seeds.

This white portulaca was very happy to pose for me. Its petals are very thin and fragile.

This is supposed to be a yellow hibiscus. I bought this at a nursery along the highway somewhere in Sungai Buloh. The owner told me she 'maried' the plant herself, meaning she crossbreed them. She assured me that it was a yellow one. From the look of the bud, I had to agree with her. After all she only charged me RM 5.00.

Look what I got. It is a fat big red hibiscus flower with yellow at the edge of the petals and the centre stamens. The stigma which is orange reminds me of the ebiko in Japanese sushi. The red colour is very striking so I said to myself, OK, I can forgo the yellow one now.
So here ends the story of my flower parade. Hope you have enjoyed my post and do have a wonderful weekend!

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.


  1. Wow Autumn Belle! so many beautiful blooms you have. Now I am sure your weekend is going to be a wonderful one. I like the portulacas that you have. Have a great weekend!

  2. What gorgeous blooms, Autumn Belle! You must have the best boss in the world, buying you waterlillies! It is a very pretty colour.
    I love that torch ginger. I wish I had bought a plant when I came to Malaysia earlier this year. I just cant seem to find it here in Mumbai.
    I think the rain you've been getting is the reason why your dendrobium bloomed . It usually does that when the temperature drops. Dont worry, as the plant matures you'll get many more blooms. I see a lot of keikis with roots on the cane. Leave them as they are and you'll get a fuller plant and many more flowering canes in a couple of years.

  3. I should warn you about chempaka in flower pot.... That tree is meant to grow tall with sweet smelling flowers. Oh well... we can also be creative and treat it BONSAI way ..... Good Luck ~bangchik

  4. Autumn Belle, thnks ever so much for sharing your flower parade! I'm amazed by the beauties of your garden. It's fascinating that beautiful flowers like the Torch Ginger could be used as spices...this was quite new to me!
    I also think your water lily is outstanding! The flowers are so pretty and the foliage so decorative! What a plant!
    Happy Blooming Friday!

  5. Torch Ginger Flower, I can only daydream about it but so beautiful!! as are the rest as well :)

  6. What lovely, wonderful blooms.

    Terima kasih for sharing them with us.


  7. For a small garden you have so much to share. The photos are beautiful! I'd completely forgotten about blooming Friday.

  8. Your blooming friday blooms are delectable! Your blog is such great eye-candy for me. Things are getting pretty brown around here.

  9. wow what an exquisite post. i love waterlily and chrysanthemum. i have same water lily as yours. and it is vivap as well as yours.

    you know, i am sorta jealous about the chrysanthemums. although we grow lots of mums as spring annuals, none is like yours. people tend to like triple petals mums. i like portulacas too. they are one of few summer annuals which bear our intense summer heat.

  10. Stephanie, thank you for the nice comments. One of the reasons I grow flowers is because I like to photograph them. How wonderful to be able to store these pictures online and write a post about them in a blog.

    Sunita, it is nice to see you here again. The boss is actually the nursery owner and I am buying water lilies from her :) Actually the torch ginger is grown from a root sucker. They don’t sell it at the nurseries here too. I got it from a neighbour in Ipoh who dug out the sucker for me. Only the cut flowers are sold at the market. Thank you for your useful advice on the dendrobium.

    Bangchik, when I bought the chempaka as a seedling, it was already flowering and I love the fragrance. So I planted it in a big pot. The nursery owner told me it was just a small tree. One day, I saw a real chempaka plant at a cemetery and it was 2 storeys tall with its branches spread across almost 10 ft! So much for the nursery fella’s advice. I am still waiting for it to flower.

    Katarina, thank you very much for your visit and kind comments. This ginger flower gives out an aromatic fragrance which adds flavour to soups and curries. The stems and leaves are also fragrant. Happy Blooming Friday to you too.

    Mia, torch ginger is nice to see and also nice to eat.

    Flower Lady, thanks for the compliments and I like the terima kasih. How sweet of you :)
    Mary Delle. Thanks for the compliments and Happy Blooming Friday.

    Rosey, I’m glad you enjoyed the blooms too. I’m looking forward to your posts on golden and red autumn leaves since you are already experiencing the fall season now.

    Muhammad, how nice to have all the four seasons. You are so good with flowers.

  11. Hi Autumn Belle

    I love your garden plants very much. I used to have a portulacas in different colour but most of the time the birds eat up all the flowers when it started to bloom. Good snapshots.

  12. What a lovely hibiscus. I happen to love them...hard to find very many hardy varieties for our cold winters though. I also like your lilies...I would love to have some water plants...I have never got around to building any water features yet.

  13. That ginger lily is really nice. Does it have a ginger flavor? My parents use an orange flower in soups and things like that. I originally thought it was a nasturtium, but I don't think so. They use the bloom unopened as well. I didn't know most of your plants were in containers. It must take a lot of time and care to keep those plants tended to. Everything I have in my containers usually does from neglect!

  14. Wow, that ginger flower is so exciting and unusual. What fantastic floral beauty throughout your garden.

  15. You have a lot of beautiful flowers! I love your purple water lily and the torch ginger flower. Those moss rose flowers are so pretty. I especially like the pink-and-white ones.

  16. The blooms are great, but how could you eat that beauty?

  17. What a different garden-life we have! Do you really eat that beautiful "bunga"? Have a nice week.

  18. I like that portucalas. Perhaps I will try to find one soon. Really like the colors. and you do have bunga kantan..mine just planted and I think it will take some time to bear flowers.

  19. June Art Studio, welcome to my blog. I’m glad to share this wonderful gardening adventure with you. I’m sorry to hear about your portulacas. Luckily the birds that visit my garden have given them a miss. I hope they never find out how great portulacas tastes!

    GardenMom. Hibiscus are our native plants. So you can find many varieties here. You need a bright sunny place for the water lilies. They can grow in a pail. I have a water fountain in a shaded area, therefore I cannot put water lilies there. Otherwise, the water lilies will definitely beautify my fountain.

    Wendy, the bunga kantan doesn’t really have a ginger taste. It has a light, but nice aromatic smell. I guess it is used to enhance our sense of smell. If you happen to eat asam laksa, asam fish head or certain tom yam, perhaps you’ll know how it smells like if the cook uses this flower. Not all of them do. It is very easy to grow bunga kantan but you need a lot of space because the plant is quite huge. I have included a link in this post, just on the bunga kantan word in the first paragraph and you’ll be redirected to my earlier post about it. I’m still wondering what is the orange flower your parents uses. Do give me a thinker if you find out.

    Poetic Shutterbug, Sweet Bay. Thank you for the lovely comments.

    Tatyana, and Lillebeth, the bunga kantan is a native plant here. They are found in abundance especially in the rural and suburban areas. We plant them at home to use the flowers in cooking, mainly for its aromatic fragrance. We will boil the flowers together with other ingredients to make the dish, then the boiled flowers are discarded. Lately, there are some words going around about the goodness of bunga kantan, so some of us are chopping up the flower in fine pieces and use it in our cooking. Here, we will consume the flower when we drink the soup or take some of the gravy.

  20. I saw your blog when i googled on a flower, and stayed here for a long time. It is relaxing viewing your blog.

    I am particularly interested in cooking the young, unopened torch ginger. How do you do that please? I would like to try it. Thank you.

    By the way, if you don't mind, i would like to suggest that scientific names (or Latin names) are written with a capital letter for the first word (Genus) and small letter for the second word (species). It is nice if all plants have scientific names because they have a lot of common names, so confusing. Thanks.

  21. Andrea,

    I am delighted to hear that you like my blog. I have just started active blogging about 4 months ago. I am still a point and shoot camera, so I have a lot of learning to do.

    We cut off the ginger flower from the ground and we eat only the flower, not the leaves. This ginger flower grows directly from the ground, not from a stem. Special isn’t it? Maybe that’s why its called a torch ginger. We use a knife to bang on the flower or crush it to release the juice and we use it for cooking tom yam soup or other sour assam curry fish, or asam laksa. Some people finely chop the flowers and use it to cook the above soups. When it is finely chopped, it is easy to eat the flowers. You can try this online recipe link of Just search for tom yam and assam laksa recipes. This author doesn’t use ginger flower but you can add the ginger flower as an extra ingredient. That’s what we do.

    Regarding the scientific names of plants, I’m sorry to have confused you. I myself am not very clear about this. I agree with your suggestion and next time, I’ll try to stick to this method. Until then, Cheers and Happy Blogging!

    I have also sent this message by email to you. Hope you have received it.

  22. Yes, thank you so much for the very prompt reply. I actually see that torch ginger here but i still dont have it at home. I really dont intend to plant it because it easily becomes a 'forest'. But maybe i can try the recipe if i can find the young unopened flower on the roadsides in one mountain near the univesity. Thanks also for the link of the recipe. I know tha 'tom yam' in Thailand but didn't know you also have the same term in Malaysia.
    I know we have a lot of common terms and customs, e.g. payong, manok. I stayed with my friend in UKebangsaanM during my stay in KL and her daughter even drove us to Genting Highlands, stayed there for a day. We also visited the Butterfly house in KL and a lot more tourist areas.

    I will always be visiting your blog from now on. I am not diligent now on blogging, unlike in the beginning.


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