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.....!

Notice Board

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

GBBD Nov 2010 and Foliage Follow-Up Day

It is time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up Day for November 2010. I have Costus woodsonii to start off my parade this time. It is also known as Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag, French Kiss and Dwarf Cone Ginger.  The bloom is a bright red inflorescence that look like luscious lipstick while the real flower is the tiny one with yellow petals just peeking out from its orange bud. Each flower open one by one on different days and lasts only a day. The emerald green foliage reminds me of precious jade and their unusual stems look like spiral canes.

2. I have a beautiful model to practice on my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1. This butterfly has just emerged from its chrysalis. It is drying its wings waiting for a smooth take-off early in the morning.

3. My Etlingera elatior, pink torch ginger blooms posing next to the curvaceous costuses with red lipstick spikes. The pink ginger blooms shoot out directly from the ground because they have underground stems. Costus blooms appear as terminal spikes at the end of spiral stems. Costuses are also known as spiral gingers.

My two ginger plants are partners in my garden but they are worlds apart in character. A case of opposites attract?

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

4. From left to rignt - Heliconia psittacorum spp, Tibouchina urvilleana (princess flower or glory bush) and Alpinia galanga ginger (aka galangal or lengkuas in Malay). Other common names of galangal include blue ginger in Chinese. We use the ginger in our Asian cooking, e.g. Malay, Indonesian and Thai cuisine. I am growing this ginger plant from some leftover rhizomes. I like the foliage but I have never seen the white alpinia flowers yet. I wonder how it looks like.

5. A closeup of my princess, the Tibouchina urvilleana. I grow it in a flower pot. The bush will be much bigger if you grow it on the ground.

6. My Heliconia psittacorum 'Andromeda' have bright orange flowers with a dark green tip. The bracts are red in colour. H. psittacorum is also known as Parrot's Beak or Parakeet Flower.

7. My orange yellow Heliconia psittacorum which looks like the cultivar 'Choconiana'.

Can you differentiate the bracts from the true flowers?
The true flowers have dark green tips.

8. My turmeric ginger plant and lemon grass plant. The leaves have a very mild lemon scent. I use the rhizomes of the Curcuma longa (turmeric) for making turmeric rice with curry chicken and also turmeric fried chicken. The leaves of the turmeric plant is used in making chicken, beef and mutton rendang which is a traditional Malay dish. Well, some kind of winged insects love my turmeric leaves too. When they feast on the leaves, they will make many holes on it. Surprisingly, all the holes are arranged in straight neat rows accross the leaves like sewing patterns!

I use lemon grass in curries, fried chicken and it can also be steeped to make lemon grass and ginger iced tea with honey.

The foliage you see nearby are not weeds but the vegetables such as sweet tapioca leaves and sweet leaves (or cekur manis which is partly hidden from view) and 'hempedu bumi' herbs. Hempedu bumi (Andrographis paniculata) is the most bitter herb in the world but its leaves and roots has many medicinal values.

9. I am trying to grow the common ginger (Zingiber officinale). It takes a a few weeks to almost a month for the shoots to develop when I try to grow from the rhizomes of store bought ginger. The ginger seller at the wet market taught me how to use some old newspapers to wrap the dried rhizomes for a few weeks before planting it on the soil.

10. New shoots has sprouted from the stem cuttings of my mint plant, which came from the leftovers from my cooking process. I use the leaves for garnishing curries and laksa, stir fries or making soup. I also like the mint dipping sauce they serve at Indian restaurants to go with my Naan and Tandoori dishes.

11. My chili flowers have been pollinated and I have some chilies to look forward too. I am waiting for them to turn red before I harvest them. The chilies are grown from the leftover seeds from my cooking process.

12. I think this spring onion is having a change of clothes just as I was taking its picture. Due to space limitations, it is sharing a home with my Murraya paniculata.

13. The variegated foliage of my bougainvilleas. I apply more watering to get more foliage and less watering to get them to flower.

That's all for this month. I hope it will brighten up your day and Cheers!

This is my entry for Today's Flowers # 119, 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.

Thank you to Carol of May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. To participate or view what's blooming in other gardens, visit this link here.

Thank you to Pam of Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up Day. Do visit her link here.


  1. I hope all my herbs will grow as beautiful as yours (turmeric, ginger,galangal and others). Still not warm enough for them to sprout here. Have a nice weekend.

  2. Your bloom day is wonderful. Gorgeous photos.

  3. Another fabulous GBBD post, Autumnbelle. I'm envious of your Costus and Etlingera bed ... that's a great combination.

    I'm waiting on my Alpinia flowers too ... haven't seen them yet! Maybe ours will flower at the same time.

    Tibouchina is one plant I've always wanted and your photo has convinced me it needs to be on top of my wish list.

  4. A very beautiful garden, to be sure. Thank you!

  5. You must have a very lovely garden with so much flowers and herbs. When I see those pink ginger flowers, all I could think is the chinese rojak! unfortunately here, sometimes the rojak seller will omit this.

  6. What a great post! I need to try some store bought ginger. I do have lemon grass. Do you use the leaves or the roots?

    Thank you for sharing your lovely bloomers, and info on cooking.


  7. Hi, Autumn Belle, Beautiful photos of your garden in Autumn and all other seasons!

  8. your shots are beautiful and let me think about the life...I find feeling here..congrats
    have a nice day, dear

  9. Diana, this is the first time I am growing tumeric, ginger and galangal. Everyday, I will go very near to the tumeric leaves to absorb their faint scent and it does smell like lemang!

    Gardenwalk Gardentalk, Sandy Carlson.
    Thank you very much for the nice comments.

    Bernie, I found from the internet that the Alpinia galanga flowers should be white. I am growing the tibouchina in a flowerpot, otherwise the bush will be bigger.

    Jama, the wonderful thing about the Etlingera is that the whole plant, flowers, stems and leaves smell like bunga kantan!

    Flowerlady, we only use the stems of the lemon grass for cooking and making drinks, i.e. the portion nearest to the base. The leaves are not used.

    One, one thing about our neverending summers is that our garden never rest, haha!

    Grace Olsson, I hope you have a wonderful time in Brazil.

  10. A beautiful, informative and interesting post.
    Thank you

  11. I continue to appreciate your ability to grow so many plants in pots- and grow them well. The pink flowered ginger in one of the first photos is gorgeous.

  12. your garden is a slice of paradise. lovely blooms! i have lemon grass in a's been with me for years and part of my "mobile garden" when i moved to a new apartment.:p

  13. What a beautiful piece of heaven! Gorgeous.

  14. que página linda e colorida com belas flores e a natureza deslumbrante!!!

  15. Oh I love your garden stories Autumn Belle! What a precious keeper!

    And you're right! My flower is a Panama Rose. I googled it and it looks exactly like the flower I saw! Thank you!

  16. Nice blooms in your garden! 3rd photo, is that bunga kantan? I hope I can buy one in Sg Buloh.Your tumric looking so healty, so far I have no success in growing them yet.

  17. Hi Autumn Belle...

    Really nice post. So many varieties and healthy plants. Wonderful stories as well.

  18. WOW! So many beautiful plants! Your garden must be so beautiful!

  19. Love your plants! I love the tumeric leaves, been trying to grow them lately, but the last couple of times the roots rotted in the soil! Now waiting for the latest one to sprout! The picture of the spring onions is very cute, never seen them like this before!

  20. Very nice post, Autumn Belle. There is so much going on in your garden this month. Excellent gardening!

    BTW, great job on your butterfly capture.

  21. wow, what an amazing collection you have shown us - from the fascinating flowers to the edible!

    I think the first photo looks like it's sticking its tongue out at us.

  22. I've always loved the color of Tibouchina! L

  23. Lovely photos. The plants are beautiful and so interesting for someone from a colder climate. The butterfly is lovely.
    Beef rendang and lemongrass chicken are two of my favourite takeaway meals.

  24. Hi Autumn Belle, I see you've made your camera decision and are already taking lovely photos with it. I love the first photo - French Kiss.

  25. Wonderful Post, Autumn Belle! I have been hunting for that pink torch ginger, but haven't been successful in getting a rhisome to plant. Thanks for the tip on how to grow ginger.

  26. The pink gingers are wonderful!!

  27. It would be fun to be in the business of naming flowers and lipstick and paint colors. I like all the new trendy names for a common color; red.
    Your ginger is spectacular!

  28. I didn't know there are so many different types of ginger. I buy lemon grass at the supermarket to make my Asian dishes. I buy powdered tumeric as well. your tumeric plant is amazing. I have never seem one before. .

  29. This is a wonderful series of photos. So many beautiful flowers, and wonderful vibrant colors.

  30. JJ, Iowa Gardening Woman, Miriam Luiza, Welcome to My Nice Garden. Thank you very much for your visits and nice comments.

    Patty, growing flowers in pots saves a lot of space, hence I can grow more varieties of plants in my small garden.

    Luna, you are so right. Container gardens are like mobile gardens. My precious plants in pots has moved house with me twice and some came from faraway places.

    Lui, I hope I got the right name for your lovely flower.

    P3Chandan, Yes! It is bunga kantan. To plant bunga kantan, you need to get the rhizomes from somebody e.g. neighbour or friend who is growing this plant. You can try asking the seller at the wet market or pasar tani and ask the nursery people. You have to ask because they do usually do not display such plants at the nurseries. If you come down to Klang, do bring along your maid. You can dig my garden for the rhizomes ;-)

    Orchid de dangau. Our little country has many useful and exotic native plants. My aim is for a truly Malaysian garden style.

    Malar, glad you like my ‘rojak’ garden.

    Kitchen Flavours, it takes quite some time for the tumeric rhizomes to shoot. You need to cover the rhizomes with soil and only water it when the soil is dry, otherwise it will rot.

    Bom, butterflies treat my garden as a birthing centre. If I improve on my skills at raising caterpillars, I will convert my garden into a butterfly maternity centre, lol.

    Wendy, I am smiling about ‘sticking a tongue at us’. The plant sellers call this plant “Hung Wan Tong Tow” in Cantonese, meaning ‘arrival of good fortune’

    LC, yes, Tibouchina flowers are as lovely as a princess. They can be easily propagated by stem cuttings.

    Mac, I am surprised that you can easily get takeaway beef rending and lemongrass chicken in Australia!

    Barbara, the costus blooms lasts for ages and most of the time, it looks as though the plant is flowering non-stop. I like the name French Kiss too.

    Lotusleaf, in Malaysia, the pink torch ginger grows wild in the jungles and empty land. If you bring them into your garden, I would like to caution you that some people find them invasive with their roots everywhere.

    Darla, I’m so glad you like my pink gingers too. I have sacrificed a lot of space for my beloved torch gingers but I think they are really special.

    Rosey, gingers are native plants here, so they are very easy to grow. Yeah, I too am fascinated with how names of lipsticks colours and plants are intertwined to the extend I wonder which came from which.

    Melanie, it is less messy and more convenient to use powdered tumeric. I often get my fingers and nails dyed yellow when I handle the raw ginger. However, the aroma and taste of cooked pounded fresh ginger is quite different from powder seasoning. I can chew on it and enjoy their subtle flavour in my mouth.

    I hope that my Malaysian readers will be encouraged to grow more native plants in their gardens. Many of our native plants are useful, edible and have many medicinal properties.

  31. Denise, thank you very much for hosting Today's Flowes and for your delightful comments.

  32. Dear Autumn Belle, your post pleases the eyes and the tongue at the same time! Eszter

  33. Great post...that Tibouchina is a stunner!

  34. I can see how you treasure every single inch of land in your garden :) I wanna thank you for your comment on my post on Sunflower seeds, i definitely have learned a lot from you. Thank you so much!

  35. Such lovely tropical blooms, Autumn Belle! But I must say I'm intrigued by all the edibles you grow--having fresh ginger and other herbs to add to your cooking sounds wonderful. Happy Bloom Day!

  36. Yum, your foliage picks for this month look tasty! I love that pretty variegated bougainvillea too. Thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up.

  37. Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Such wonderful photos and luscious foilage and plants you have! And the butterfly! What a perfect model! Just beautiful.

  38. You have an amazing collection of gingers. Love the blooms and your images are fantastic! Even that heliconia is new to me. Love the tips with the touches of green. All your plants look healthy and happy!:) A pleasure to visit you~always!!

  39. Hi Autumn Belle, just joined Blotanical, at last, but fidgeting where to open the blogs. I cant also seem to know how to enter my favorite blogs, etc. BTW, you really have lots of followers, imagine just posted and already have 37 ahead of me. Did you realize someone posted as Elaine, hahaha! Was that a flip or memory gap! Your Panasonic is doing great, they said it is the equivalent of Olympus.

  40. You sure will be smelling lemang from juadah raya. I made a link to your blog from my recent post:).

  41. You have so many beautiful plants in your garden! It's also fun to learn that you grow so many types of herbs too.


Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

Note: If you are unable to comment on my latest post, click on the post title to reopen the post and try writing your comments again. Comments under "Anonymous" will be automatically treated as spam if no name is included.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin