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.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Funtoystic Christmas and Farewell 2010 !

This is my last post for 2010. 
Thank you very much for your visits, comments, encouragement and support.

The pictures are from the Mid Valley Megamall shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur. Their theme for Chirstmas 2010 is 'Have a Funtoystic Christmas'. I have also selected some quotations which I hope will motivate and inspire you just as they had done the same to me.

This is my 201st post, 236 followers, 90 000 clicks and 4,836 comments after 1.5 years of active blogging. TQVM (thank you very much) to my blogging friends!

May your 2010 Christmas be as magical as you'd like it to be
May all your wishes come true!

"From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another.
The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other".
- Emily Matthews

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but everyone can start today and make a new ending"
..... Maria Robinson 

"The difference between school and life?
In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.
In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.
..... Tom Bodett

" I expect to pass through life but once.
If therefore, there be any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,
let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it,
as I shall not pass this way again."
..... William Penn

"Health is the greatest gift,
contentment the greatest wealth,
faithfulness the best relationship".
..... Buddha

"Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love,
of kindness, of understanding, of peace.
Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God
- the rest will be given".
..... Mother Teresa

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."
..... Shirley Temple

Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
Do you still want your children to believe in Santa Claus?
Do you have a special Santa Claus story to share with me?

My greatest Santa shocker was the song, "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus last night!" As a little kid, I really didn't want my mom kissing anyone else except my dad, not even Santa!

Until then, see you in 2011!
Autumn Belle

Selamat Hari Natal, Selamat Tahun Baru ! 
Gesëende Kersfees! Gelukkige nuwe jaar!
聖誕節快樂, 新年快乐, shèng dàn jié  kuài lè, xin nian kuai le! 
Naye Varsha Ki Shubhkamanyen!
Maligayang Pasko, Manigong bagong taon!
Ein glückliches neues Jahr!
Buon Natale e próspero ano novo!
あけましておめでとうございます, Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu!


Thank you very much for visiting. It's the start of another decade! Let's count down to 2011 .....
1. Lona, 2. Rainfield, 3. Diana (EE), 3A. Missy, 5. Lotusleaf, 6. Malar, 7. Wendy, 8. Aaron, 9. Andrea, 10. Milka, 11. Asha, 12. Diane AZ, 13. One, 13A. Bananaz, 15. Diana (Di), 16. Deborah, 17. P3Chandan, 18. M.Kate, 19. James, 20. Carol, 21. Life's Highway, 22. Flower Lady, 23. Tanya, 23A. Donna (GWGT), 25. John & Jacq, 26. Meredehuit, 27. Bom, 28. Titania, 29. Helen, 30. Evelyn, 31. Reanaclaire, 32. Kitchen Flavours, 33. Lynn, 33A. Birgit, 35. Kanak, 36. Babara, 37. Dona, 38. Arati, 39. Beth, 39A. Ayie, 39B. Theanne, 39C. Life Ramblings, 39D. Miriam Luiza, 39E. Klaraau01, 39F. Orchid de dangau, 39G. Carla, 39F. Fer, 39G. Meems, 39H. Jean,  50. Mike, 51. Rosey, 52. Vetsy,  53. Rainfield

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GBBD Dec 2010 and Foliage Follow Up Day

Firstly, I would like to thank you very much for all the warm wishes and nice comments that you have left in my previous post. During my blog break, I had gone on an inland auto trip up North to Penang Island with my family. We went to revisit and dine at some of the favourite places that we used to frequent a long time ago. And yes, it did bring back a lot of special memories and cherished moments. Some places were those that I had been to as a kid, now I am bringing my kids there. Soon, my kids will have kids of their own and will bring their kids to the same places and tell them about their childhood with grandma/grandpa and Que Sera Sera, What will be, will be .....

It is funny to look back at my old pictures and compare how much or little each of us have changed, agewise and also physically. Those were pictures taken at the same spot, same location but at different times of our lives. I hope that you too would have many memorable moments with your loved ones during this holiday and festive season. For rememberance, my 'adventures' which centre around food and herritage buildings will be detailed in my Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog. Do visit when you have time. My trip to the Butterfly Farm will be posted here soon.

For this month's Blogger's Bloom Day, I have my second generation gomphrena which is grown from home saved seeds. They are grown up now and the first button flowers are begining to appear.

Wendy of Greenish Thumb blog has given me many many seeds. I have sown the marigolds but they seem to be growing very very slowly. This is how it looks after more than one month. Maybe the marigolds having time/jet lag due to their biological clock showing it is winter (in the USA). I think most likely the fault is with the gardener that is ME!, for their lack of growth. Actually, I have put them under the full sun and given them fertilizers too.

Oh dear, Wendy, I'm so sorry with this outcome. What else can I do ?

Another surprise from the marigold container is I got this attractive miniature yellow flowers. They are only about 6 inches tall, very slender and delicate. I think the flowers are really lovely and sweet.

I have taken some cuttings from my Angelonia plants and they are growing well.

They are starting to bloom now.

“GBBD Dec 2010 and Foliage Follow Up Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on December 14th, 2010.

This Costus woodsonii is my favourite plant at the moment. I love its lipstick blooms that seem to last for ages and its delicate yellow flowers that appear one by one from the spike. While prunning away the dead stalks, I accidently grabbed a good one and chopped if off! My heart nearly stopped when I found myself holding a cut-off juicy green stalk with the most beautiful jade green leaves. I have just decapitated a stalk that is going to bloom soon. Oh dear oh dear, luckily I'm not a surgeon, otherwise I could have cut off the patient's wrong leg!

Before I went for holiday, the hydrangea flower head was as large as a soccer ball. After I came back half the head has dried up. Why? This is because I placed it in the wrong location. There were some changes in the direction of the sunshine this month and my east area which used to have dappled light actualy has become quite sunny now.

These two partners are behaving well. My pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) is having a baby (plantlett) now. It's top was getting too heavy for its own good, so I moved my potted Murraya paniculata plant near it to provide support. My Murraya plant has grown a lot of foliage. Sometime ago, it was quite bald and completely overshadowed by the invading torenia which has since finished blooming and passed on.

These guys seem to be treating my garden like their holiday resort. They are lining up all in a row and I bet they are up to no good!

Caution: the next picture may be visually offensive, hence parental guidance is needed (PG13).

This fly couple also think that My Nice Garden is a Bug Hotel. The bugs do love my Ti-plant, don't they?

My grateful thanks to May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Her link is here.
My grateful thanks to Pam of Digging blog for hosting Foliage Follow-up Day. Her link is here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Blog Break

Dear friends,

I will be having a short blog break as my wedding anniversary is drawing near. There will be no more posting this week. I am thinking of going somewhere near for a holiday to celebrate our 23 years together as a family.

How did you spend your last wedding anniversary?

Until then, wishing you a great week ahead and if time permits, I'll be popping by to view your festive posts.

Autumn Belle.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poinsettias, The Christmas Flowers

Every year during the season of Christmas, we can find poinsettias everywhere we go. I really like their vibrant colours of vermillion, green and gold. In our local Malay language, we call them 'bunga krismas' meaning Christmas flowers. In Chinese, it is called "yī pǐn hóng" (一品紅).

What you do call it in your language?

When I see poinsettias at our local nurseries, I can't resist the temptation to buy one to take home. From then on, I will be busy looking after its needs, admiring it everyday, watering it and trying to make it last the whole season and thereafter, hoping that the leaves will turn from red to green very very slowly. Each time a leaf drop off, my heart will miss a beat.

I use it as a decoration for my living room. I have placed my poinsettia near the windowsill, to get some sunlight. I know that poinsettias are native to Mexico, and they are known as 'nochebuena' in Mexican language. I would like to dedicate this post to Fer, from whom I learnt its Mexican name. His post about nochebuena, his favourite plant is here.

Now, if you have some poinsettia tips do let me know! 

During my shopping trips at the nurseries, I also found some garden ornaments that I like. Here's a pair of mandarin ducks and some toadstools. Toadstool or mushrooms? I like 'toadstool', meaning stools for toads, haha!

By the way, those green leaves are not fakes but those of my Calathea makoyana plant.

I also see a lot of poinsettias at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, a shopping centre. The theme this year is 'Christmas Enchantments'.

The whole Christmas tree above is decorated with red poinsettias.

“Poinsettias, The Christmas Flowers”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on December 2nd, 2010.

A pair of giant baubles sitting on a bed of red poinsettias.

This Crystal Fountain is also surrounded by a sea of poinsettias. You can throw a coin and make a wish. At the same time, the coin will contribute towards charity.

Now, what do you call this - a bowl, a planter box or a torch?

Can real poinsettias survive and bloom in the snow? 
Do you think Santa's reindeers look nice with poinsettia garlands?

These are white poinsettias. Have you seen the real white ones? Have you seen poinsettias in other colours?

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver".
..... Maya Angelou

If you remember my post last month about my first Google Adsense money, here's where my money had gone to. This is Hospice Klang, a centre providing Palliative Care and assistance.

Until then, wishing you a great week ahead!

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday. Tootsie has an urgent message/appeal today. Do visit her here.

This is also my entry for Blooming Friday, the theme this week is "On The Windowsill", thanks to Katarina of Roses & Stuff, her link is here.

Beth of Food As Art blog is having a Poinsettia Party. So what are you waiting for? Do join in the fun, her link is here

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My First Scarlet Passion Flower

Today, I am delighted to show you my first bloom of scarlet passion flower (Passiflora coccinea).  When I first saw this passion flower at The Secret Garden of 1-Utama, it was love at first sight. The plant was blooming profusely on a huge pergola. There were so many blooms and buds, indeed a sight to behold. My first post on the scarlet passion flower is here.

Botanical name: Passiflora coccinea
Common name: Scarlet Passion Flower
Family: Oxalidaceae
Origin: Tropical America

I tried to grow one at home but my first seedling died after lying dormant for some time. I should have known better when it didn't grow at all for more than 3 months despite all the care that I had given. It was not until I saw Aaron's plant that I realised mine is a goner. His was growing fast. Perhaps somethings are not meant to be, just like in real life relationships, passion without love may lead to nowhere.

When I went to the nursery where I bought this plant to complain about this, they told me that there will not be any refund or replacements for plants that died in my hands.  Undeterred and still very determined to grow a passion flower in my garden, I purchased a second seedling. This one survived and now it is blooming. I am smiling.

“My First Scarlett Passion Flower”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on November 28th, 2010.

This is the unopened bud. The flower lasts only a day. By sundown, the flower closes and appear like a bud again. The next day, it dries up and fades away.

Another view of the vine spreading over my wall fencing. Like many attractive red flowers, there is no scent.

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
..... Benjamin Franklin

This is my entry for Today's Flowers # 121, a meme which opens every Sunday, 2pm GMT. My grateful thanks to Today's Flowers team members; Luiz Santili Jr, Denise in Virginia, Laerte Pupo and Sandy Carlson. To participate and view other gorgeous flowers around the world, click here.

This is my favourite flower this month, so I am joining in the Blog Carnival at Fer's, the link is here.

I think this flower is Hot, Loud and Proud, so I am also joining Noel at his meme # 9, the link is here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kesidang for A Touch of White.

This is Vallaris glabra. You call it bread flowers in the west. We call it Kesidang in Malaysia. It is the state flower of Malacca, the historical state of Malaysia. This is my second post about the kesidang. My first detailed post about this plant is here.

I first met Kesidang at the Secret Garden of 1-Utama. It was a small plant but many visitors stopped to admire this plant. They were surprised to find Kesidang there. Then I met Kesidang again at the Hibiscus Garden of Kuala Lumpur. This time, it was spread over a huge pergola and it was blooming profusely.

“Kesidang for A Touch of White”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on November 25th, 2010.

The most wonderful thing about this plant is its fragrance. To me, it smells like cooked fragrant rice, pandan and nasi lemak. Many people say it look and smell like slightly burnt rice crusts. These are Kesidang flower buds and they do look like rice grains, don't they?

The flowers are tiny but they are beautiful and they look like splendid little stars. I have fallen in love with the Kesidang at the Hibiscus Garden of Kuala Lumpur, so I searched high and low for this plant. Finally, I found it and today it is growing happily in a flower pot in my garden. As this is a vine, it needs support when it is growing, so I have placed the plant near to the wall fencing.

The fragrance of the kesidang flowers is more pronounced in the mornings and evenings at the hour of sunrise and sundown. A whiff of pandan fills the air whenever I walk by, reminding me of the flavourful aroma of mom's cooking when I was young.

Little flowers, so pretty and sweet, pure and white as cream.

The kesidang plant was very popular a long long time ago, now its grandeur may be lost because people do not grow it any more. I have never regretted living together with my kesidang.

Lastly, to all my friends in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday, thank you very much to Tootsie for hosting Fertilizer Friday here.
This is also my entry for Blooming Friday, the theme today is "A Touch of White". Thank you very much to Katarina at Roses and Stuff, her link is here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Arfah's Garden

Arfah is a young Malaysian lady who maintains a home garden in the city of Kuala Lumpur where she lives.  She first wrote to me with a query about the Mickey Mouse Plant. She has also sent me some pictures of her lovely garden. I am really touched by her sincerity and with her kind permission, I am delighted to share her pride and joy with you today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Heliconia collinsiana x H. bourgaeana cv. 'Pedro Ortiz' (Hot Pink)

This heliconia cultivar named "Pedro Ortiz" (Hot Pink) was exhibited at Floria 2010. It is thought to be a natural hybrid between pendant Heliconia collinsiana and the erect Heliconia bourgaeana.

Notice how its inflorescence neither points up nor hangs down but is formed in a somewhat twisted shape or 'intermediate' manner.

Heliconia collinsiana x H. bourgaeana cv. 'Petro Ortiz' (Hot Pink)”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on November 19th, 2010.

Scientific name: Heliconia collinsiana x bourgaeana "Pedro Ortiz"
Family: Heliconiaceae
Order: Zingiberale

With such a lovely silhouette, it no doubt lives up to its exotic, sexy name of Pedro Ortiz "Hot Pink".  The leaves are large, lush and green. The plants can reach a height of 6-8 ft.
Well, they are beautiful and voluptuous, aren't they? 
The bracts are a solid red in colour. It has a red rachis while the sepals are golden yellow.
The tiny true flowers are yellow too.
I have never seen this cultivar in a home garden and I wonder if anyone is growing it.

Now that you have seen a few versions of heliconias, which do you like best - H. chartacea Sexy Pink, Bright Red-Yellow H. rostrata or this Pedro Ortiz Hot Pink?

The theme for this week's Blooming Friday is "Dream". So I wish you sweet dreams tonight and maybe you can visit the exotic world of heliconias again in dreamland.

This is my entry for Blooming Friday, 3rd week of November 2010. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.

This is also my entry for Fertilizer Friday. My grateful thanks to Tootsie at Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, visit


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