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, August 6, 2010

Coffee From The Rooftop

The Arabica Coffee plants are blooming from the rooftop of 1-Utama shopping complex now, probably after a rainy spell. A nice sweet fragrance fills the air. The flowers look and smell like jasmines. There are clusters of them along the length of the branches.

Have you ever seen a coffee flower?

At The Secret Garden of 1-Utama, there is a kitchen garden where fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, rice, tea and coffee plants are grown.

A row of healthy coffee plants.

"Coffee From The Rooftop”,a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on August 6th, 2010.

The leaves are dark green and oval shaped. Flower buds appear from the leaf bases and last for only a few days after which fruits develop in the form of green berries.

Scientific name: Coffee arabica
Common name: Arabica Coffee
Family: Rubiaceae
Origin: Ethiopia

The species is native to the mountains of Yemen in Saudi Arabia, hence its name. It is also indigeneous to Ethiopia and Sudan.

I had thought that coffee comes from beans in pods that hangs from trees. Now I know that coffee is produced from berries and coffee plants are shrubs and not trees. It is also a tropical plant that grows best in the cool highlands where temperature hover around 20C.

It takes about 7 months for the Arabica berries to reach the optimum level of ripeness. The berries change from green to yellow to light red and finally a glossy deep red as it ripens. The riped fruits are called "cherries".

It is interesting to know that my favourite drink comes from these beautiful cherries.

The Secret Garden of 1-Utama is my living encyclopedia of garden plants. Ever since the first day I stepped into the lift that took me to this wonderful place, I have learnt a lot about many different types of plants. Here is a garden where flowers bloom throughout the year in all colours of the rainbow; a place where magic comes to life. Everytime I visited, new flowers open and speak to me. Each live specimen tells a story that educates and enlightens me. Some have strange scientific names that I can't even pronounce properly while others have very ordinary names but unexpectedly gorgeous blooms. So many specimens, so much that I can learn from this mini 'botanic garden'.

Below is a picture I took recently of the extraordinary scientist, botanist, forester, plant explorer and walking dictionary that I had the privelege to meet. He has green fingers and the Midas touch in gardening where anything and everything he cultivates, turn into gorgeous blooms and luscious plants.

Once he remarked that Malaysia is an equatorial country with everlasting summers and no harsh winters, so we should be growing flowers and having gardens that bloom the whole year through. But many of us started with flowers and ended up growing only 'leaves'. How true!

I am greatly inspired by his passion and vision in gardening.

Dr. Francis S.P. Ng is the consultant botanist of The Secret Garden of 1-Utama. He has many years of experience in plant exploration and scientific research while attached to The Forest Research Institude of Malaysia (FRIM), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, and  the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia. Dr. Ng has an extensive knowledge of thousands of species of tropical plants in our region. Recently he was the recipient of the David Fairchild Award for botanical exploration 2009 which is a timely recognition for his contribution to plant conservation.

Dr. Ng writes a blog, "Tropical Gardening" which you can visit here. As he is still actively involved in consulting, lecturing and writing, the blog posts may be few and far between. The Secret Garden of 1-Utama which I often feature here in my blog is only one of the many projects he consults.

picture courtesy of MPH Bookstore

I just found out that Dr. Ng's latest book is now available in soft cover edition at MPH outlets. For details, click on MPH's website here. I have a copy of the hard cover edition with 360 pages and I find that it contains a lot of information about the plants of Malaysia and the tropical rainforest. It is fully illustrated with a pictorial guide to 1,000 types of ornamental plants. Certainly a great reference book to look up tropical plant names and profiles.

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday. To view what others have for FF, click here.
This is also my entry for Today's Flowers # 105. Please visit here.


  1. Dear Autumn Belle, How delicious, and how different, this looks. The white flowers are lovely - so cool and refreshing.

  2. Hello AutumnBelle

    I know this plant - its sold here as a houseplant - sometimes even in cute little coffe pots. Its so thirsty and quite hard to look after in the house. I've never ever seen the lovely white flowers before. I'm sure its much easier to look after up in the wonderful gardens you let us have a little glimpse of every week.

  3. Coffee plants grow in Birmingham Botanical Garden's Conservatory, near where I live. It is an interesting plant with an interesting history. Your photos are beautiful!

  4. This year my Coffee Arabica plant has not flowered at all. Perhaps I'll have to wait a little more. Thanks for a very interesting post.

  5. Hi Autumn Belle, I've been talking about growing coffee plant. Now, I'll purposely make a trip to check out this place. Thank you for sharing.

  6. You know what, i've long been contemplating on posting coffee photos because i seem like posting these days those with scents. However, i wonder why it has always slipped. I really love its scent, and the red berries are also lovely. We have many coffee plants in my province though not properly tended. There are many varieties though.

    BTW, how much is that book by Dr Ng, i wonder if i can purchase that one. It would be a treasure to have. thanks.

  7. I never knew that 1-utama has a garden. I like to see it next time balik kampung visit.

  8. That is a very interesting post...and lovely photos!

  9. I've never seen a coffee plant before. Therefore, this is my first. I know there's coffee plantations in Tenom, Sabah - hence the famous Tenom Coffee, which I bought in kilos the last time I went to Sabah. Never been to Tenom though. Now, kinda think that it would've been an awesome experience to see a plantation full of this beautiful plant. Thanks very much for sharing with me your wonderful photos. It's an experience of its own.

  10. Coffee looks lovely...the blooms are beautiful and the beans are very exotic looking. Thank you for introducing us to your friend. I'm going to check out his blog.

  11. No, I've never seen coffee blooms! Wow! They are lovely and elegant. Now, I will like my coffee even more!

  12. Cool! I too, thought coffee came from a bean pod. It has very beautiful blossoms.
    I am in need of some liquid refreshment right about now. I will take you up on your tea offer. :)


  13. This is the first time I've ever seen coffee bean blooms. Thanks for the info and lovely photos.

  14. Coffee at rooftop. We come across a few entrepreneurs who think that having restaurants on rooftop as novel idea.... The plants do look good in any garden..., with red berry-like fruits.

  15. plants in the city and on a rooftop too! My auntie used to plant them around the sprawling compound of my grandma's house in Sitiawan n the coffee beans were taken elsewhere to be processed. I must check out that Secret Garden soon...Thanks for sharing the secret!

  16. I've never seen a coffee flower...thanks so much for sharing them.

  17. Edith, Rosie, Deb, Lotusleaf, One, Andrea, Malay-Kadazan girl, Millie, Rough-Rosa, Kimberly, Tatyana, Rosey, Poetic Shutterbug, Bangchik, P3Chandan, Erin, Aaron.

    Thank you very much for the visit and nice comments. I am so eager to tell you all how lucky I am to be able to enjoy these lovely flowers, thanks to the efforts of this learned botanist.

    Andrea, the book cost RM 89.90.

  18. Great photos, Autumn Belle! We used to grow Coffee in my childhood garden and its fragrant flowers still linger in my memory. I loved seeing the berries turn bright red and though I didn't drink coffe then it was still quite fascinating to see those berries being sundried and processed. Wonderful!

  19. Hi Autumn Belle, although I've seen coffee plants, I've never really observed them. The blooms and the berries are most beautiful. The Secret garden of 1-Utama has been a source of delight and knowledge to many of us who read your very informative blog. Thank you for sharing the 'gems' from this magical place.

  20. I picked 3 hearts for you in Blotanicals. Wonder if you can view it. There are some technical error for me and I cannot view certain stuff.

  21. Wow, I have been to the gardens at 1U, but never knew that there are coffee plants growing there. And imagine such a small berry takes 7 months to ripen. Thanks Autumn Belle, for all this info. I will have to keep my eyes open for this coffee plant (I'm a coffee freak too!), when I'm in 1U next!

  22. Wow. nice garden. Not to this extent but also in a smaller scale garden creation expierience is found too.

  23. Hi Autumn Belle, thanks for taking us to your secret garden again. Of course there had to be a master gardener behind it all, and now we've met him, too. I think of you whenever I look at the hibiscus on our patio - unfortunately not blooming this summer. A case of growing leaves and not blossoms, I guess. Barbara

  24. fabulous photos! my grandmother had a few coffee trees in her backyard, the flowers are fragrant and i enjoyed picking the ripe beans.

  25. Wonderful post and series of photos. I've seen coffee plants in Costa Rica but not the flowers.

  26. I had never thought of a coffee plant flowering but, of course, it must!
    Really enjoyed your photos today and the post is very informative.
    Does the flower smell of coffee?

  27. very interesting information on coffee - i've never grown it b/c of my climate so I didn't know how nice the trees area - and a beautiful bloom too.

  28. Thank you so much for this great post. You cannot imagine how much i enjoyed it.
    I'm a passionate coffee lover and had no idea coffee flowers are this gorgeous. Im also happy to know my coffee comes from these lovely cherries.
    And you are lucky to have visited this stunning garden.

    Greetings from Macedonia,

  29. Fun post and beautiful photos ~ as usual!

  30. Thank you for sharing this with us. i have never seen a coffee plant, how much more its flower. Very interesting! :)

  31. they are beautiful!!! thanks for the info...I didn't know most of this before today!

  32. oh, that's coffee beans?? i've never seen the fresh beans before.. so do you roast and blend you own coffee?? hehe.. :)

  33. Coffee bean's flower is white? and it's berries are red? This is totally new information for me! I guess the garden is heaven for plant lovers!
    Thanks for sharing information!

  34. interesting - a beautiful plant. I've seen a few close up photos of the different stages - maybe in a Starbucks ad or something, but it's really cool to see the entire plant.

  35. i never thought coffee flowers are that pretty!

  36. OMG!
    Wish I could grow some in my garden too.
    Have you tasted those cherries?
    Are they tasty?
    Are those flowers smell like coffee too??


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