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!

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Lunar New Year Garden

I was overjoyed to see this blooming Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) at my fave nursery and instantly fell in love with it. It was the only blooming Jade plant there. Now this lovely houseplant is sitting in my living room. I am learning how to grow a jade plant. I wasn't successful during my previous 2 attempts due to overwatering.

My ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) has been blooming non-stop since early January. Maybe the weather conditions (changeover from rainy to sunny) are just right now. ZZ plants love well drained soil and bright shade like near a window or under the porch. It is actually very easy to grow if water and light conditions are right. Make sure the soil is dry before you water it thoroughly again. I like to use the slow release Japanese humus as fertilizer. It is easier and faster to propagate by dividing the plants and repotting them. Growing from leaves takes a very long time. Once in a while, I will wipe off the dust from the leaves one by one, using a wet cloth or sponge and the leaves will appear shiny and glossy again. During the festive season, we will tie red ribbons and/or gold coins/ornaments on the stems to activate good chi.

I put my ZZ plants, one on each side of my main entrance door.

We can find lots of blooming kalanchoes during this season. This is a double flower type with striking pink. I am also learning to grow kalanchoes this year.

This looks like the single flower kalanchoe with bright red blooms. I am looking for a kalanchoe with yellow flowers now.

My anthuriums are pinkish white.

This is the Torenia fournieri (blue wings or wishbone flower). My brother's neighbour in Ipoh gave it to me. I started with a single blue Torenia. It had bloomed and died and disappeared from my garden with no offspring. Months later, I begin to notice baby plants near the area where I had placed my pot of Torenia plants. I had planted a blue Torenia but now I am pleasantly surprised to find some pink ones too. I have 2 colours now. Ms Neighbour did inform me that she has the blue and pink ones in her garden. When she dug out a seedling and gave it to me, she didn't know what colour the flowers will be.

Now, I am wondering how can a blue flower parent give rise to pink flower plants?

The flowers of my pineapple plant has finished blooming. This is the fruit as I photograph it today. It is not big but from my experience it is about the biggest it can get. I am growing it in a flower pot. I am extra happy whenever my pineapple plant blooms. In Hokkien dialect, pineapple is "ong lai", meaning that good luck is coming. This is the first time it blooms during the lunar new year season, so this fruit is very precious to me.

My curry leaf plant (Murraya koenigii) has also bloomed and borne fruits. Some of the fruits which had earlier dropped to the ground has given rise to a few baby plants. This is a native plant of Sri Lanka and it is easily grown in South East Asia. We grow them in our backyards for the fragrant curry leaves which is used in cooking.
Post publication update:
If you are growing this plant in the temperate climate and have written a post about it, can you please put your link to your post in a comment here?

The links are as follows:
1. Dave's Garden - plant details and comments from temperate zone gardeners
2. Cal's Plant of the Week - Cal Lemp and University of Oklahoma Department of Botany & Microbiology info website. Planting details here.
3. The Exotic Garden by Will Giles, as recommended by Andrea.

I had a pleasant surprise just as I was getting ready to start my prayers on the morning of Lichun Day, 4th Feb. I was overjoyed to see this dendrobium or dove orchid flower. It usually only blooms for one day. There were 6 flowers this time. I have written a post about this orchid here.

This is how the dendrobium looks when viewed from above.

Doesn't it look like a dove?

I have another pleasant surprise during my Lichun prayers. Blastoise, my pet tortoise has stumbled into my living room and positioned himself at the altar of my Earth God. Now he looks like those auspicious tortoise feng shui ornaments that people place at the Earth God altar.

I wonder what he is looking for?

My post today is dedicated to Andrea from the Philippines of Andrea in this Lifetime blog, the first commenter of my previous post on the "Solanum mammosum". Andrea recently used the word 'serendipity' to describe ourselves. We met as strangers in cyberspace and somehow one thing led to another. We corresponded via email and supported each other in blogging and now we are communicating like old friends. The most recent coincidence was quite stunning. She had took time off during a meeting to photograph an unusual plant called the nipple fruit and posted it in her blog. I read her post and bingo! She had just identified the plant that I had earlier drafted a post on but couldn't publish it because I didn't know its name. Is this what we called fate or Yuanfen (缘份) ?

This is my entry for the 1st Blooming Friday of February 2010. The theme this week is "something growing that makes me extra happy right now. Well, well, I am extra happy with all the blooms shown here. 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 here.


  1. Hi Autumn Belle, as usual a lovely and interesting post. It's always fun to see things growing in your garden that can only be grown inside in our clime. Do you think a curry leaf plant would grow in N. Europe? I've been reading about beneficial uses of it as an herb. You probably know all about that. Barbara

  2. Tourenia is one of the things on my 'want' list.
    Aren't they gorgeous? I think it's one of the few flowers I can honestly say I'm in love with.

  3. Yay! Anthuriums!

    Curry-leaf plant is a Murraya species, yes?

  4. Hi, Good Morning and Warm Wishes.

    Babara, I am not sure about growing the curry leaf tree in temperate zones but I have updated my post. I hope somebody who is growing it under such climate can link to me. I'll let you know of any positive outcomes.

    Tina, Tourenia grows like a wild flower/weed in our climate. I like the flowers very much too. I am so happy I am rewarded with blue and pink flowers and they do look pretty when mixed and planted in a pot. This is what I want to do next when I get more seedlings. They seem to sprout out quite easily now.

    Mr Subjunctive, my curry leaf plant is Murraya koenigii. I have updated my post to include this name and a link to my previous post on curry leaf tree. I used to confused it with the curry tree. One extra word really makes a lot of difference. The anthurium is the result of my 6-year efforts. I am in the process of propagating a few baby plants.

  5. Hello Autumn Belle,

    Such a beautiful garden filled with beautiful plants, many that I have never seen before. I love the Wishbone Flower. I wish they were available here. Very funny about your tortoise ;^)

  6. Hello Autumn Belle, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your comment. Of course, I wanted to return the visit and I am amazed at the type of plants which grow in your part of the world! Just wonderful. Best wishes from Germany, Andrea

  7. I smile when seeing those fruits of your curry leaf plant.

    They resemble my grapes which are now purple in colour.

    Their skin are thicks, and are sour.

    They are best eaten together with grapes from supermarket.

  8. The flowering Jade plant is beautiful! Have a happy weekend!

  9. Good morning Autumn Belle and your blog-friends , it certainly is such a delight to be described so well in your post. The links you painstakingly do have already born fruits. The dedication however is anticipated because i realized i posted first. Yes, things have been going on fast not only in cyberspace but also in consciousness, in thoughts. We have certainly connected in consciousness, and that is great! I am grateful for all these connections, it is a subtle way of spreading love accross humanity and the world. Congratulations to ourselves. haha!

    Regarding Barbara's query above, i would like to suggest a link which might help you and other temperate gardeners. I "serendipitously" (again) stumbled on this link yesterday, about tropical plants being successfully and lushly grown in temperate climates. Mr Will Giles is an expert and also has some books, one of which is "Subtropical Plants in Tropical Climate. He has photos which are really wonderful and exotic in those parts of the world.

    Thank you very much Autumn Belle. Now i ran out of posts to link to you. Happy New Year, Kung Hei Fat Choi!

  10. Good luck in finding the various colours of the kalanchoes - I saw they were selling it in Giant Supermarket.

    Your wishbone flower look gorgeous, I notice there are a lot of babies there. Do take care of mealy bugs - they are the cause of my dead/dying Tourenia.

    I remember a gardener mentioned to cut the crown of the pineapple as that will increase the size of the fruit. You can re-propagate the crown for a new plant. And a new crown will appear from the existing plant with the right size.

    I thought the curry leaf fruits are poisonous?

  11. Yeah I've got one pot of ZZ at home given by a buddy friend and just like yours being blooming lately. Oh your pet Blastoise wanna yam char (drink tea) lah. lol

    Nice photos of greens and love the Murraya koenigii) plant with the fruits in the centre and the leaves all spread out. You've got lots of blooming going on looks like a great year coming your way.. TQ

  12. It looks like you are completely surrounded by plants and flowers in your home Autumn Belle :) The dendrobium flower is just so dainty and deliate - magnificent!
    I am very taken with the wishbone flower too, the colours of the flowers are lovely.

  13. Gosh you have such nice flowers and plants. I love plants and you inspired me to grow more in my otherwise small apartment.

  14. Looks like you are so ready for the CNY celebration! Everything is blooming nicely at your garden especially your pineapple. I like the kalanchoes you have. They certainly brighten up your home well. The torenias can never dissappear! They will keep coming back :-D Btw, your ze ze is a good performer! Mine has stopped flowering already.

  15. Beautiful pictures of beautiful plants and flowers. Have a nice week end and thank you for sharing!

  16. You're flowers are beautiful!
    A nice Blooming Friday....Luna

  17. Oh my goodness, I am in love with Blastoise! I think he is the perfect addition to your altar, on so many levels. The flowers are all wonderful, good deal on the torenias. The orchid is exquisite, six blooms are wonderful. Will you eat the pineapple?


  18. This is a lot of beautiful stuff going on in your gardens/house. Just lovely. The torenia takes over here..popping up all colors. My daughter has a red-footed cool!

  19. Noelle, I hope I can propagate more wishbone flowers because I think they will look very pretty when a lot are grouped together.

    Andrea, Lillebeth, Luna welcome to My Nice Garden. I’m glad you like our tropical plants here.

    Rainfield, I must warn you that the seeds from the curry leaf plant is poisonous. Please do not eat it eventhough they look like berries.

    Lotusleaf. This is the first time I get to photograph Jade plant flowers at close up.

    Andrea, the words are all sincerely penned out as I thought them to be. Let’s toast to your friendship, “Bottoms-up!, Yum Seng!”
    Thank you very much for the link. I have updated my post accordingly. TQVM for the Kung Hei Fat Choi wishes too.

    James, mealy bugs are my most dreaded enemy. They always spoil my day, so I have a chili-garlic spray ready at all times. I definitely would like to try your method of cutting the crown off the pineapple but I will postpone the experiment to after the CNY season, just in case it backfire on me and out goes my good luck. During this 2 weeks, I will be very superstitious, I guess. And yes, I heard that the seeds of the curry leaf fruits are poisonous.

    Bananaz, your ZZ plant is blooming? Hey, good luck is coming to you! As for Blastoise, I’m not sure he wants to yam char or yum seng because I have served out tea and wine. TQVM for your good luck wishes.

    Gippslandgardener, yes the dendrobium flower is actually quite tiny and delicate. It is only around 2cm in length.

    Stumpbo, I really hope I can inspire you to grow more greens in your apartment. Do post it in your blog for us to view. You can even grow a few plants in one container or grow more houseplants like the jade plant, money plant in your apartment.

    Stephanie, the pink kalanchoe is very striking and my ZZ just started blooming not long ago. Maybe it like the current weather conditions.

    Frances, usually I will first tie a red ribbon around the pineapple fruit to usher in some good luck. Later I’ll cut it and offer it for prayers. It is small, so I wonder if it has enough flesh for me to eat, haha!

    Darla, Wow! a red footed tortoise. That's fun!

  20. Thank you! A million thank you's!
    I have had a ZZ plant for five years and never knew the name. My husband gave it to me as a gift and I have been so happy with it. I am glad you did a post about it. I love all your photos, just splendid!
    Thanks again... Autumn Belle !


  21. Hey Autumn Belle! We have a few plants in common..the jade, the ZZ and that coral/red kalanchoe! :) Though my jade and ZZ plants have never bloomed!
    That pineapple is a show stealer...beautiful! Hmmm...wonder what prayers your pet turtle is offering :)

  22. What a beautiful post! I loved seeing your flowers. I'm glad I'm not the only one that kills Jade plants :) Someone once told me they were impossible to kill. Good luck with your pretty new one.
    I love your tortoise, he looks perfect on your altar!

  23. Your plants sure look hale and hearty!! You certainly are a skilful, dedicated gardener. My garden is in quite a mess now - workers round the garden doing house improvements.

  24. Your flowers are beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing them. Love the anthuriums and the pineapple. How cute is your tortoise?

  25. Autumn Belle, I had no idea that Jade plants could bloom. That is gorgeous! -Jean

  26. Thanks for sharing your lovley pictures :)

  27. I love your post. The pictures are pretty, the words very informative and the tortoise is so cool. Thanks for sharing your part of the world.

  28. You've got so many beautiful plants on display today - many of them we grow as potted houseplants here in Sweden. But the one that caught my eye is the pineapple - such an ornamental fruit!
    Happy Blooming Friday!

  29. Your Pineapple is a beautiful colour. Although I have had my Jade plant for 20 years it has only flowered once. I wish I knew why!
    Enjoy your weekend.

  30. aloha,

    what pretty blooms you have today and soo lucky your jade is blooming also...all the colors are amazing...have a great friday and weekend!

  31. All of these flowers are so beautiful! Among them, my favorites are the jade plant, the wishbone, and the dove orchid.

  32. I've never seen Jade Plant flowers before, they are so pretty. I love going to nursery just before the CNY, just to see unusual plants/flowers they sell .

  33. Rosey, this is my second post about the ZZ plant. It first appear under my “Auspicious Plants for the CNY” post. This plant looks like ancient Chinese coins hanging from the stem, so your darling has given you a money plant. When the plant grows, it will look as if ‘money is growing from the tree’. How nice, if only I can pluck money from my tree! LOL.

    Lynn, when I started to grow ZZ plant, it didn’t flower. I think, if you can get the light, heat and water conditions right, it will flower. I find that it is easier to handle the ZZ than the jade.

    Catherine, Frankly speaking, I have never successfully grown a ZZ plant for more than a few months, so don’t mention about the flowering stage. So this year, I’m going to treat it like a cactus and be stingy with the water.

    Sunshine Girl, I try to make my garden look green and lively to welcome the lunar new year. Like my father used to say, prosperity comes when flowers bloom. If you are doing house improvements, it is also a good sign of progress. Yay!

    Raingardener, maybe tortoise is attracted by all the festive atmosphere in my home and wants to join in too.

    Jean, as I know, it is not easy to get the jade plant to bloom. I wonder how the nursery owners do it.

    Monica, Maureen welcome to My Nice Garden! Do visit again.

    Katarina, I too am most happy to see my pineapple plant bloom. In local Hokkien dialect , pineapple is pronounced as ‘ong lai’, meaning good luck is coming. That’s one reason we plant a pineapple plant at home. Some people will bet more on the lottery when their pineapple plant blooms.

    Easygardener, your jade plant has flowered once. That’s great! Do let me know when you discover the secret.

    Noel, Deb, thank you very much for the nice comments. Happy Weekend to you!

    Jama, that’s what I like to do to. I never cease to be amazed by how creative the sellers can get. A new auspicious name can certainly give value to an otherwise common plant.

  34. my jade bloomed this fall...I was so excited!!! My ZZ is going along well is about 4 years old now...and going strong. They are really hard to
    your photos are lovely girl...thanks so much for sharing so many beautiful photos!!!

  35. Thank you dear Autumn Belle for being in cyberspace and showing me all those lovely tropical flowers to warm up my freezing Scandinavian soul. I love all the pictures! That warm red, you pineapple, everything.., and I adore your little turtle :)

  36. This is my first visit here and already you've taught me a lot! I'm very enamored of that pineapple plant, and the others are so lovely. Also I didn't know about Blooming Friday, so I took note of that. Thank you!

  37. Autumn Belle I love your photo of the dendrobium dove orchid!! So Lovely!! Your pineapple looks great too and the colors in your last photo are so warm and lively... no wonder your turtle is attracted to the scene... I am sure there must be some other thing enticing him on. ;>)

  38. I was just thinking, hmmmm, I wonder that that tortoise shell symbolizes!! ha ha ha!

    All your plants look so well-cared for and happy. I think I remember when you posted about your pineapple a while ago. It looks so cool!

  39. Your post makes me miss all my plants I had in Singapore. My friend has two big ZZ plants.

    Happy CNY

  40. I too like n grow Jades, however its the first time i have ever seen a blooming jade. Beautiful snaps! The pineapple plant looks good. Thx for sharing n inspiring.

  41. Autumn Belle have you a photo of your zammy in flower - maybe you have one on the blog already and I have not noticed it but I really never knew that they had flowers - I really like those plants. Wonderful exotic blooms as usual - I love looking at all of these beauties.

  42. First, the new theme of falling flowers is just awesome and i am really amazed. Second, this is a really informative post. Its great to see you are growing such big pineapple in a container. All other blossoms are lovely as well.

  43. I was about to say you can give this Dendrobium away, but after reading your older post, i cannot say that anymore. This means so much to you, it has been a very important symbol! The new photo is definitely more vigorous than the older one. Although i am not familiar with this species, Dendro needs full sun, meaning morning till sunset. I am sure the big stem will eventually give more flowers if you will give good sunlight, higher humidity-meaning more water available in the atmosphere throughout the day. After giving the 2 requirements, you can give weekly dose of Potasium fertilizers or those with more K, e.g. 15-15-30, or 0-0-15/45. The last one is the K. It looks yellowish so probably it is not receiving full sun.

    Those stems with already many roots can now be transfered to other containers. Bigger containers are needed so they will not be crowded, as in the photo from above, those stems on the left needs to be cut and transfered. Your old pot is already small for them.

  44. Howcome I missed your first photo of the blooming jade plant? So nice. TQ

  45. Oh, Autumn Belle, this was such a lovely post! The tortoise coming to your altar made me smile. Maybe he wanted to bring you good fortune, or just make you smile before beginning your prayers.

    That pineapple is amazing. I didn't know that was how they look growing, and the thought that it is growing in a pot... wow!

    And yes, your lovely orchid does look like a dove. Perhaps it is a sign of peace, that bountiful flowering. (The dove is a symbol of peace for us.) We can always hope; right?

  46. Hi Autumn Belle, I am especially excited to see your pineapple. You have a wonderful variety of plants, fruits and's been way too long since I've visited! Yes, I would love you to participate in my sustainable living project...I'm just not sure you could qualify for the giveaway. If you don't mind that part, please DO share a couple of your green-living practices. I know you have MANY;-)

  47. What a cheery post for this dreary morning, Autumn Belle. You are indeed blessed to be surrounded with such vibrant color and your handsome tortoise, Blastoise.

  48. Tootsie, please please tell me how to make the jade plant bloom? To tell you the truth, none of the jade plants has survived long under my hands yet! 

    Mia, actually I would love to freeze in Scandinavia. How I envy you too.

    Brenda, Blooming Friday is fun, thanks to Katarina. Do join us every Friday and participate.

    Carol, nowadays my tortoise is getting very daring. He is not afraid of me anymore.

    Wendy, I think tortoise is joining in the fun with the family!

    Ann, I like ZZ plants with fat big stems too. They look extra auspicious when they are big and juicy.

    Radhika, I have seen a big, blooming bonsai Jade plant that was selling for a few hundred dollars. It was really lovely.

    Rosie, I think the ZZ flower look like a miniature corn.

    Khabbab, you can have falling flowers too. The widget is at the bottom of my sidebar. This pineapple is not big but it is the biggest I had so far. I am indeed growing it in a flower pot.

    Andrea, thank you very much for dropping by my blog to advise me on how to care for this dendrobium, in answering to a question I left in your blog. This dendrobium is indeed very precious. It is a living memory of my mum. I was extremely happy when it bloomed on Lichun day and 6 is a lucky number for me.

    Bananaz, welcome back! Haha! You have missed my treasure the first time, but never mind, it is still here waiting for you.

    Denise, welcome to My Nice Garden and thank you very much for your nice words.

    Meredith, you should have seen tortoise when he stretched out his neck looking for something. I never knew it was so long. And he can walk very fast too!

  49. love that miniature pineapple


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