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!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where Am I Planted?

Once upon a time, in a land far far away in Malaysia, lives Autumn Belle of My Nice Garden. Do you know where on Earth that place is ?

This post is inspired by Ms Janie of An Obsessive/Compulsive Plant Collector. In her post titled, "Where Are YOU Planted?" dated 2nd Nov 2009, she posted about where in the world she lived. Since we are in a global community with thousands of garden bloggers, she suggested a blog-a-rama where we were to post about where we live, and link back to the original poster so everybody could read what everybody had to say. I think this is a brilliant idea. Since this is the begining of the year, I might as well tell you my exact whereabouts.

I come from Malaysia, a country in the region of South East Asia. Our immediate neighbours are Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Geographically speaking, Malaysia is located just above the Equator at 2 degree 30' North latitude and 112 degree 30' East longitude.

We have tropical weather influenced by the monsoon climate which comes twice a year, the wettest season being in the months of Dec -Feb. Our annual rainfall is 2 670 mm, so you can expect to find vast areas of tropical rainforests in the hilly regions.

Temperatures average around 23 - 33 degrees Celcius. Humidity is more than 80%.

Overall our climate is warm and sunny during the day and cool at night all year round with occassional rain in the evenings. Four seasons? No way! Malaysia is a land of everlasting summers and evergreen rainforests.

Malaysia is made up of 13 states and 3 Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan). Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia while Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia and the seat of the Federal Government. Our country is ruled by an elected monarchy and the head of government is the Prime Minister. Malaysia is separated by the South China Sea into 2 regions; West Malaysia (aka Peninsular Malaysia) and East Malaysia (formerly Borneo).

Summary of some useful facts:

Time Zone: Universal Time (GMT) + 8 hours.

Estimated Population: 29 million in 2009
Composition: 50% Malays and Indigeneous people, 23% Chinese, 7% Indians and 20% of other ethnic groups.

Official language: Malay

Official religion: Muslim.
We are free to practice our own faiths, e.g. Buddhism, Toaism, Hinduism, Sikkhism, Christianity, etc.

Official currency: Ringgit Malaysia (approx. 1 USD = 3.50 RM and 1 Euro = 4.92 RM)

The fomer British colonies in Peninsular Malaysia achieved independence on 31st Aug 1957. With the addition of Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia existed as a unified state with effect from 16 Sept 1963.

I live in the city of Klang in Selangor state which is about 32km west of Kuala Lumpur. Klang has a population of about 1 million and is the 4th largest city in Malaysia. Klang probably obtained its name from the Klang River which runs through the town. The entire geographical area in the immediate vicinity of the Klang river which begins at Kuala Lumpur and run all the way to Port Klang is known as the Klang Valley.

Klang city is the royal capital of Selangor. Klang's history dates back to the bronze age. It first started as a territory under the Malacca sultanate which later fell to the Portugese, then to Dutch and the British. Selangor state's prosperity started with the booming tin and rubber industry during the 18th century which also attracted a lot of Chinese immigrants. Today, Selangor has the latest facilities, infrastructure, business complexes, shopping centres and industrial areas. It is the most developed and the richest state of Malaysia. With a population of 5 million in 2008, it is Malaysia's most populous state.

Now, Autumn Belle's home and garden plot is situated on the plains or flat land in the southern region of Klang city.

Before photo. Front portion: 10 ft by 18 ft
The soil was full of construction waste and debri, sand and gravel. We covered it with course sand, followed by a few layers of black soil.

After photo.
This is the main section of my 'laboratory' where I experimented with many different plants and also my 'studio' for photo shoots. This area is quite sunny, so I plant mostly flowering shrubs, perrenials and annuals.

Before photo: The side and back portion, area maximum 5 ft (varies fr 2 - 5 ft) by 55 ft.
This area is quite narrow, therefore I don't have much room to play about.

After photo.
Most of the plants are in containers. Even trees and shrubs are planted in containers. My hibiscus plants seem to be growing well like a small tree eventhough it is planted in a container. I am not so lucky with my chempaka tree which has not flowered yet eventhough it was blooming in a small plastic bag when I bought it at the local nursery. (Update: My cempaka tree in a pot has started to flower in 2012! I am ecstatic because I am growing this 40ft tree in a flower pot).

Garden Theme
I'd like to describe my garden as DIY, experimental and naturalistic or "rojak", after a very tasty Malaysian salad dish. This rojak dish is actually a mix of raw local fruits topped with spicy peanut sauce. I grow many native plants in my garden which is kept free of harmful chemicals and pesticides. My garden is wildlife friendly. It is like a resort cum maternity home for birds and butterflies. Birds come to my garden every evening to bath and butterflies are free to lay eggs and hatch their caterpillars here. My garden is also a garden of love and memories. Many plants in my garden has a story to tell.

I have many different plants, perhaps one plant of each type to satisfy my curiosity and also because I love variety. I can't settle for a few types, I want to try many many types. Herbs and vegetables are planted from this point onward towards the back of my house. Now many of my babies have grown into teenagers and young adults, each having their own characters. My green family is the source of my daily happiness and joy.

As you can see here, I have a lot of work to do. My garden is getting unkempt and dull looking. The current rainy season which brings rain and little sunshine almost every day didn't help much either. I need to spruce things up before the Chinese New Year in February.

This post is dedicated to Keats the Sunshine Girl, the first commenter for my very first post of 2010. She is a person I admire very much for her many voluntary social work and storytelling abilities. She is currently participating in the Blog4FT Contest. Do vote for her when you visit her blog.


  1. It is wonderful to see where you live Autumn Belle! Wow! What a transformation is there in your Before and After shots! Lush and lovely is your green family.

  2. You do have a very beautiful garden,with lots of greenery!

  3. I enjoyed reading about Malaysia, don't really know that much of the Asian countries. Your Garden look wonderful. Those small 'ditches' around your garden, are they to keep all the water from rain away, or is it part of some kind of pond?

  4. Oh wow, your garden is beautiful, Autumn Belle! And looks like a good neighborhood you've got there! I was in Malaysia last July 2009, lovely weather and much greenery. We enjoyed our stay a lot! We frequented the Botanical gardens with so many wonderful flowers, some of which I have seen only for the first time. I would have paid a visit to your garden had I known you then! :)

  5. Thanks for sharing more information about yourself and where you reside. I thought it was very interesting. You are such a great gardener!

  6. Hi Autumn Belle

    Thanks for giving me a little look your beautiful garden. Before I read this I knew very little about Malaysia.

  7. I love those before and after photos. You have done great job. It looks beautiful.

  8. Autumn Belle, love your photos and while I knew where you were, I didn't know much about your homeland so this was a learning experience for me. Now I know so much more about you.


  9. Hi Belle.... nice plot you have there. I am dreaming of having 5 acre property, with a little stream cutting across..... a house, an orchard, flowers, chicken, ducks, .... yeah, .. ~bangchik

  10. Hello Autumn Belle,

    I found your post so interesting. I love to travel and have not been fortunate enough to travel to Malaysia. I have been to Hong Kong, which is as close to the equator I have been. Your before and after photos are very impressive. I love the way your gardens look. Thank you for sharing with us your part of the world.

  11. What a wonderful post! I learned a lot, and I especially loved those before and after pics of your garden. You've done such a good job with the space you have :)

  12. Hi Autumn Belle, Happy New Year. I am back to blogging and commenting again after 10 days of hibernation.

    That was a very nice and honest blog there! I am familiar with confined gardens because of limited spaces but i seem to pity you, for that space is too limited for the great love for plants you have. But you are doing well and the love for planting and tending them still manifested in your blooms. You already have a big house there, but i wish you to have a big mansion and lots of yards for your creativity to find more expressions. hehehe.

  13. Happy New Year to you & your family Belle.
    Wow, I get to see your overall garden, I can imagine now where all your plants are located in your garden.
    Hope you manage to transform it again for the coming Chinese New Year.
    Tips: if you do not have the time to prune & trim all those unkempt ones, do get the angpows and make them into fish or swans and hang on them.
    A little red & gold will definitely transform your garden into an enchanted one!

  14. Wow your garden look so nice 'after'. It is wonderful to see how you transformed your garden. I like those little steps on the grass. I am sure this 'lab' will give you much joy and fun all year round. Happy blogging and gardening 2010!

  15. Hi Autumn Belle, your love for plants can only turn them into lovely things!You have a lovely blog here and you're always sharing this love. Keep gardening and enjoy as you grow.

    Thanks ever so much for this dedication. Am truly honoured, my friend. We all leave our footprints behind one way or another and am humbled to do so too:)

  16. Carol, Jama, Rosey, Leavesnbloom, Vrtlarica, Poetic Shutterbug, Noelle, Meredith, Stephanie, thank you very much for the encouraging comments. I am quite sure, my amateur DIY, unkempt looking garden is actually not that ok, but I still like hearing your nice words.

    Mia, actually the ‘ditches’ you see are the drains that were constructed by the housing developer to channel away rainwater. I think they are not of much use because we already have underground drainage. When I have enough funds to renovate my porch and the surrounding compound, I want to cover/hide them with floor tiles. Meanwhile, I gotta bear with the ‘eyesore’, LOL.

    Tes, welcome to My Nice Garden. Glad to know that you have just visited Malaysia recently and enjoyed your stay here. However, my garden is like a jungle when compared to the Botanical gardens, ha ha.

    Bangchik, that is what I wish for too, a farm style or zen/resort style garden. Additionally, I want a pond big enough to ride a boat in my garden too. Greedy, hah?

    Andrea, I was wondering where were you. I hope you have rested well during the 10 days hibernation because I know you are always very busy when work resumes. I really feel relaxed when in the garden. Yes, my plot is limited, so thank you very much for your good wishes. I hope these wishes can come true one day.

    James, the daily rain has actually interfered with my gardening. I can’t fertilize much and can’t seem to keep up with the weeding part. Some plants have been pruned hard, so they look quite bare and bald now. Yes, red and gold are definitely auspicious colours.

    Sunshine Girl, my garden needs more sunshine now. I’m glad you stopped by to beam energy rays to my gardening blog.

  17. Thanks for all the info. You have worked a miracle on your plot of land. Congratulations.

  18. wow, it transformed to a very pretty garden!

    happy new year!!

  19. You never cease to amaze me Autumn Belle. I loved reading about your country and how you started your garden. I am very pleased to know you too.

  20. Those "before-and-after" photos are out of this world. You could write a book on city gardens. It looks beautiful. But I haven't may already have! What do you use for inspiration - where do you get your ideas?

  21. Belle, I feel honored to visit your beautiful garden and learn about your homeland. Your before and after pictures are very impressive. Wonderful post. Pamela x

  22. Wow ... love the transformation.

  23. oh Autumn, this is just gorgeous!!! You've turned your property into a tropical paradise!! I love how the garden is so lush and beautiful. THe narrow space is so nice too. When I saw the first pic, I was just so excited to see what you'd done. I LOVE the use of all the containers. You must tend to those container plants so meticulously. It looks like you've maximized the space so creatively. It's gorgeous.

  24. Loved this post!! Your 'before' and 'after' pictures are amazing. What a transformation! And I like your collection of plants. Great reading about Malaysia and about Klang.

  25. I love those before and after shots. What a nice green thumb you have!

  26. Well done, Autumn Belle! This was most interesting and informative. Always summer sounds pretty nice about now with our own temps not to get above freezing for several days and snow in the forecast. You have done an excellent job using every inch, or meter of land too. I love those black stone stepping rounds! :-)

  27. Donna, Ayie, Helen, Mary Anne, Pam, Blossom, Wendy, Kanak, Frances. Thank you very much for the nice, encouraging words. Actually, I think my garden looks like a mess as compared to your beautiful well kempt ones. Nevertheless, I am so happy and thick skinned, so I appreciate your nice words very much!

    Regarding the round stones, it is my amateur efforts to put a meandering fengshui path to my inner garden. It leads to a bamboo plant (literally to attract the mythical phoenix). My family members like to walk barefoot on the stones for foot reflexology.

    The pepples are arranged in zig zag at the border corners near the wall because I wanted to create a 'dragon' with many blooming plants and foliage. I have a water fountain with koi fishes near the entrance to my house main door.

  28. Thanks Autumn Belle, Just joined your blog. An Amateur gardener,I too have a small plot of land in front of my house. Kindly advice me the various nurseries near Bangsar for me to learn and start off.
    Thank You, Dr.Gunasagaran.

    1. Dr. Gunasegaran, Welcome to my blog. To get details of nurseries, you can visit the following link:

      or join my facebook gardening group

  29. I am glad to have met you in the blogging world, Autumn Belle. You were the one who inspired me to start a garden in my balcony ..and now, I have a thriving jungle which I love so much! ^.^

    1. Sharon, thank you very much for the kind words! So glad you have a lovely garden now. I'm so happy for you and am inspired too!

  30. How wonderful it is to see your before and after photos of your garden. Just look at all that beauty you have created. Lovely.


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