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 30, 2011

'Mei Hua' Plum Blossoms for Chinese New Year 2011

Artificial plum/cherry blossom flowers at a store in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.

There is a special flower that we associate with the Chinese New Year that no matter where we are and what our climate zone, you will find them in almost every home during the festive season. Just like poinsettias are for Christmas, plum blossoms are important for Chinese New Year.

Have you seen the real plum blossoms?

As I live in tropical equatorial Malaysia, I have never seen real plum blossoms. Every year I use artificial ones to decorate my home during this occassion. I just found out that there are real blossoms on display at Sunway Pyramid shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia! So, I'm really excited and I shall be dashing over there as soon as I am free because I wanna see, touch and smell for the very first time what the real plum blossoms are like. I can hardly wait for this to happen.

Pink plum blossoms

In my previous post here, I posted about my wish to see plum blossoms this new year. I am so very happy to have the pictures of these lovely flowers in my blog post today.

The pink blossoms pictured here are published with permission from Lynn Rogers at 'From Lynn's Garden' blog in her post on 19 Jan 2011, titled, "Plants for Winter Blooms".   I  was doing a google search for blooming plum blossoms. It was my first visit to her blog and when I left a comment in her post, she replied to me with 3 photos attached! This just shows what a wonderful person she is and how lucky I am.

The flowers are blooming in her garden in Arkansas, USA now. Lynn, thank you so very much for this delight.

White plum blossoms

Coincidentally, Prof Lrong Lim of Potager Y in Japan blog, wrote a post titled, "Japan Plum Flowers, Winter Roses" on 23 Jan 2011 with a picture of the white plum blossoms. Now, with his kind permission, I am able to publish this photo in my blog. These flowers are blooming in the garden of Lrong in Japan now. Prof, my very grateful thanks to you and your lovely wife, Y, for this delight.

So you see, it is 'double happiness' for me!

Guess what? They really bloom in winter where everthing else appear 'dead and gloomy' and in the absence of any green leaves or shoots. In fact, the flowers appear before the leaves. They are so many pretty blooms against the bare branches, such a beautiful scene. I wonder, how they'll look when covered with snow.

Have you seen snow/frost on the flowers?

Scientific name: Prunus mume
Common names: Chinese plum or mei hua (梅花), Japanese apricot (ume), Korean maesil
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: China

“Mei Hua Plum Blossoms for Chinese New Year 2011”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 30th, 2011.

I understand that Prunus mume is grown more for their flowers than the fruits. Based on my google search, these are the information I obtained:

  1. They bloom in late January to early February.
  2. Plum blossom festivals are held at certain cities in China, Japan and Korea.
  3. There are some ancient trees in Hubei, China aged more than 1,600 years old that are still flowering
You can find plum blossoms depicted in poetry and art as in silk paintings, calligraphy, embroidery, in traditional garments such as kimono, cheongsam and in jewellery.

Plum blossoms are symbols of nobility, beauty, courage, resilience, longevity and hope. They also represent strength in adversity, e.g. people who excel when faced with difficulties or find opportunities in the presence of threats. Though plum trees bloom in winter, they are regarded as a harbinger of spring.

So, what's the difference between cherry, plum and peach blossoms? It is the fruits produced of course and they have different blooming periods.  Cherry trees (Prunus serralate) or Sakura bloom in late March for about 2 weeks. The cherry fruits that we eat comes from another species Prunus avium. Peach trees (Prunus persica) bloom in early spring.

They all belong to the Rosaceae or rose family of flowering plants. The cherry, plum and peach blossoms look quite similar, hence they are sometimes collectively called 'cherry blossoms'.  I used to be confused over this classification.

For feng shui believers, peach blossoms (flower of romance) and peonies (flower of lust and passion) are used to enhance love, affection and relationship luck while plum blossoms are for nobility, longevity, achievement and strength. Hence, their applications are different eventhough all 3 relates to beauty. It is important that they know the differences between the different flowers in order to apply the principles correctly.

For a picture of the real peony flower, please visit Beth's Plant Postings blog here.
For a picture of peach blossoms, please visit Ami's Southeast Florida Garden Evolvement blog here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Buying Auspicious Indoor Plants for Chinese New Year 2011

Chinese New Year Bonsai

This post  is about the various types of auspicious indoor plants we can decorate our homes with. Those of you who live in high rise apartments and rented homes with little gardening space will find it useful. Anyway, for those of us who have outdoor gardens, many of us like to decorate our living rooms with live plants to transform our interiors into instant 'blooming' gardens. With a little imagination, tiny office spaces turn into pretty table-top/miniature gardens.

This is the 3rd and final post about the plants at Ah Chui Nursery.

Chinese New Year Bonsai

A bonsai decorated with ribbons, mini lanterns and ornaments with auspicious words, all in colours of red and gold. Potted bonsais like these resemble the pine trees you see in Chinese art and calligraphy and pine trees symbolise longevity.

Besides being a spring festival, the Chinese New Year Day which falls on the first day of the first lunar month of the Chinese Calendar also marks the changeover of luck for the better. We have an ancient legend where a monster 'Nien' used to terrorised the people on New Year Eve. The nien was successfully overcomed and chased away with very loud noise and the colour red which it hated. So, that is why Chinese New Year is often celebrated with loud noise created by the sound of firecrackers and beating of drums and cymbals.  During this season, we also go 'over-the-top' with the colour red.

Just like you make new year resolutions, we'd like to look at our new year with renewed hopes and aspirations.

“Buying Auspicious Indoor Plants for Chinese New Year 2011”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 26th, 2011.

Lucky Bamboo
Bamboo is a symbol of longevity, endurance and protection. Bamboo plants stay evergreen throughout the coldest winter to the hottest summer and they live through all the 4 seasons. They can weather the storm and return to life. Under strong winds, they do not break easily but could bend with the flow. They spring back up when calm returns.

The lucky bamboos I bought from this nursery last year is still thriving in a jar of water until today. Usually they only last a few months when grown indoors in small vases.

Lucky Bamboo
A lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) twisted into spiral shapes with a bird on top. The leaves grow upwards and the bamboo are arranged in a rising hierarchy symbolising personal advancement. We believe that birds bring good news and wonderful opportunities for success and advancement. Some people are very particular on their placements in the home, i.e. whether they want the birds to fly in or fly out.

Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo in mini ports with hanging red packets and gold ingots resting on gravel. Can you see the rows of dangling miniature gold ingots hanging from the red ribbons? The pot is shaped like a peach, the fruit of longevity and immortality.

You can also find lucky bamboos at the hypermarkets like Jaya Jusco, Ikea, Carrefour, Giant and Tesco.

Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboos are also called ribbon plants or Belgian evergreens. The spiral ones are called 'dragon bamboo' while the one in the centre is 'lotus bamboo'. The spirals represents a change of luck for the better.

These are flower pots with auspicious drawings. The leaves are allowed to grow upwards to symbolise a successful climb to the top.

We have bamboos in our homes, potted or grown on the ground and even in paintings to bring good health and longevity for our aged parents and also the patriach (breadwinner) of the family. A potted bamboo plant in the office attracts good luck and 'staying power' in our work and career.

These look like Pachira aquatica plants. Pachira aquatica are also known as Malabar chestnut, money tree, Guiana chestnut, provision tree or saba nut. In Chinese it is 馬拉巴栗 (malabali). It's auspicious CNY name is "money tree" (發財樹 fācái shù) or "US Dollar Tree".

This plant thrives well indoors, even under artificial lighting and when looked after well, they bear showy yellow flowers that open at night and produces nuts that are edible. Their palmate leaves which are 5-7 lobed are considered auspicious.

I have a similar one in my garden. It was given to my by my late father who told me that mine was 2-3 trees knotted together to signify a closely knitted family. He also told me that 2 trees can be joined together to symbolise very loving/close partnership as in husband-wife relationships. It is only recently that I found out that this tree is also used as a money tree.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, the ZZ plant
A ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) with hanging God of Prosperity and 'fu' ornaments. 'Fu' signifies the blessings from heaven. The ZZ plant is also known as the Zanzibar gem, Jian Qian Shu (“金钱树”) or gold coin plant) or fortune plant. It is used as a money plant because its leaves resemble a string of ancient Chinese coins which is very auspicious. I have been growing mine in the porch for years and each stalk of leaves last for months, some even as long as a year!

 This planter box is loaded with gold ingots, strings of gold coins and even a golden pineapple. The name of this plant is Euodia ridleyi, common name Evodia. The green leaves turn a golden yellow when exposed to the sun. Its auspicious name is "A bucket of gold" (一桶黄金 or yi tong huang jin).

As you can observe by now, flowers and plants play an important role in our new year celebrations:
  1. We buy live plants and flowers to grow in our outdoor garden
  2. We buy live plants and flowers to decorate our home interiors
  3. We buy artificial plants and flowers for interior decor, and each type of plant/flowers has a special meaning
  4. We use flowers for prayers and cleansing rituals
  5. We visit flower markets on New Year eve

Finally, a million apologies to my friends and commenters if I have not visited you yet as I am currently very busy with my festive preparations, e.g. cleaning, decorating, prayers...

I wonder what are the popular Chinese New Year plants in your respective countries?

Thank you very much for visiting My Nice Garden.

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday, thanks to Tootsie of Tootsie Time, the link is here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Buying Plants and Flowers for Chinese New Year 2011

Ornamental pineapple plants - Ananas bracteatus 'Striatus' (nanas merah)
Chinese New Year is a spring festival (春节). Flowers and plants are significant during this season as they represent the joy of reawakening of nature after the long winter gloom. Live plants signify rebirth and new growth and first we must have flowers before the fruits can form. Therefore, when plants in our garden start to bloom and bear fruits, we believe that it is a good sign that our efforts will bring forth rewards. We have a saying "Hua Kai Fu Gui (花开富貴)", meaning, "When Flowers Bloom, There is Prosperity", hence we fill our gardens with blooming plants and decorate our homes with auspicious flowers like the lotus, chrysanthemums, peonies, orchids and plum blossoms.

This is Part 2 of my visit to Ah Chui Nursery. I am preparing this fun post for general knowlege and I hope you learn something about our culture. I myself learnt new things as I was preparing for this post.

The above is a picture of ornamental pineapple plants bearing fruits. If you look closely, you'll notice that the pots are covered with gold wrapping. There are also no thorns on their leaves. The pineapple is called "ong lai" in Hokkien dialect which translate to mean the arrival of good fortune.

Sometimes, bromeliads such as guzmanias are used for the same purpose. Guzmanias are nicknamed "pineapple flowers" in Chinese.

Poted pussy willows
These are Pussy Willows (Salix caprea) grown in pots. They signify the arrival of prosperity and growth in prosperity. We grow them for their catkin flowers. You can buy those with lots of unopened buds and place them in the coolest area of your home, e.g. under the shelter of the porch or verandah. The silky soft blooms are silvery grey in colour. The blooms elongate as the tiny flowers open in cylindrical clusters but they don't seem to have any petals at all.

Pussy willows are called "Yin liu" (银柳) in Chinese which sounds like money flowing in. They are also sold as cut stems tied in bundles. We can place the stalks in beautiful porcelain vases and decorate them with auspicious ornaments to turn them into mythical money plants.

We want the pussy willows to bloom and send out green shoots as an indication that spring has arrived.

Mini pot of mandarin orange plant

This is a mini potted mandarin orange (tangerine) plant. The fruits look like gold nuggets. Notice that the leaves are allowed to grow upwards and not pruned off at the top, perhaps to denote rising succcess ( 歩歩高升  or bu bu gao sheng) ?

“Buying Plants and Flowers For Chinese New Year 2011”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on Jan 21st, 2011.

Cherry Chilli - Solanum pseudocapsicum
This is Solanum pseudocapsicum which we call the cherry chilli plant. Its other common name is Christmas cherry, winter cherry or Jerusalem cherry. The fruits which are inedible and poisonous, changes colour from pale green to yellow to orange to red which make them look like precious gems of jade, gold and rubies.

Ornamental red chili (Capsicum annuum)

These are ornamental chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum) plants. The fruits are firery red when ripe. Red is the colour of prosperity and happiness. Chilli is 'la jiao' (辣椒). 'Jiao' sounds like 'zhao' in the New Year wishes for wealth and prosperity 'zhao cai jin bao' ( 招财进宝), so it is used to ursher in wealth and prosperity.

Jade Plants

These jade plants (Crassula ovata) are symbols of wealth and abundance. They are also called money plants as the leaves resemble precious jade.

Kalanchoe pinnata (Setawar Kampung)

This looks like a Kalanchoe pinnata or Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi?
Do you remember our school days when we would use a leaf as a bookmark? We called this "Lock Day Sung Kan" (Roots will grow out when leaf touches the ground). Kalanchoe pinnata is called Setawar Kampung in Malay.

Kalanchoe is a genus with hundreds of species, the most common here being Kalanchoe blossfeldiana with masses of tiny star shaped flowers in red, purple, orange, yellow and white.

In temperate countries, Kalanchoes bloom in late winter / early spring.

Kalanchoes are called "wan zi qian hong" (  - million purple thousand red) which translates to an abundance of wealth and prosperity. In Cantonese, 'zi' for purple colour also sounds like money (银纸 - ngan zhi) and son (子 -zi). The pronunciation of "wan zi qian hong" also rhymes with "a million offsprings, a thousand fame and honour".


Azalea is called  映山红 (ying shan hong) or 满山红 (man shan hong) which means a mountain of red.

Azalea is the symbol of happiness, harmony and balance in life. It is used to foster and strenghten relationships. Azaleas are warm temperate plants that bloom in spring and the flowers last a few weeks. They like the shade and acidic soil. Choose one that has lots of unopened buds but before that you need to view 1 or 2 opened blooms to choose the colours that you like, e.g. pink, red or white and pink. However, as the new year day draws near, you can choose those partially open ones. It takes about 2 weeks for azalea buds to open fully, otherwise your plant may only start blooming after the first 15 days.

You will  notice that during the Chinese New Year season, some temperate plants like narcissus, hyacinths, azaleas, chrysanthemums, pussy willows are brought into our warm equatorial country of Malaysia. For cut flowers, we can find many varieties of the scented and lovely asiatic lilies or star gazer lilies too. This is the time to try them out. I do enjoy my once a year love affair with these gorgeous temperate plants, even though they do not last long.

Do you wonder why the gorgeous roses are not the highlight of this season? It is because most of them have thorns which is regarded as poison arrows which we wish to avoid.

Always remember, you do not need to overspend. Many choices are availble to suit your budget. It is not advisable to spend lots of money on a new plant with an auspicious sounding name invented by the growers. What's the use if we are not familiar with the new plant and it dies soon under our care. Even if you do not buy any, it is important to keep your plants alive and healthy, the garden lush and green.

Just to let you know, I have purchased 2 calamondin lime trees, a pot of budding pussy willow, a Kalanchoe, a flowering jade plant, 2 pots of azaleas and a bunch of lucky bamboos. I intent to buy some chrysanthemums as the New Year Day draws near.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buying Citrus Lime Trees for Chinese New Year

Tangerine tree
The Chinese New Year falls on February 3rd, 2011 which is equivalent to the first day of the first month according to the Lunar Calendar. This is a Spring Festival and it is the most important one. Many of us are busy making preparations, decluttering, spring cleaning, baking and decorating our homes to welcome the Year of the Rabbit 2011 and say bye-bye to the Tiger, another Chinese Zodiac Animal sign.

Just like you have Christmas trees for Christmas, we have the citrus lime trees. Eventhough the meaning may be different, both play an important role in our festive celebrations. We buy auspicious citrus lime trees to decorate our homes for good fortune and prosperity, also hoping that they will bring us lots of money luck. We usually buy them in pairs and place them near entrances for the multiplier effect. How nice if good luck and prosperity comes in multiple doses and superlative figures!

A few days ago, I visited Ah Chui Nursery to shop for citrus limes and other auspicious plants. Some readers have written to me asking about where to get the plants at reasonable prices, so I have provided the contact information and location map in My Garden Directory. You can click on the links provided to check them out. Please take note that this information is provided on a personal basis, i.e. honestly in my humble opinion, therefore you may not agree with me. I am not being paid anything for this.

Tangerine Tree
The above 2 pictures are live tangerine trees.  This looks like a pot fully laden with gold nuggets! Now, that's what I call 'over the top'.

Live tangerine trees can cost from RM 88, 198, 1688 up to RM 8,888 depending on the height of the tree, size and abundance of fruits.

These plants have been made to bloom perfectly and the fruits are neatly held in place by wires or strings. If we like, we can request them to add some red and gold ribbons and auspicious ornaments. Alternatively we can decorate it ourselves just like how you decorate the Christmas trees. Can you see those leaves jutting out on top? I think it is to symbolize 'growing and rising' prosperity.

Mandarin oranges are called 'kum' meaning gold (金) in Chinese. Citrus limes like calamondin, tangerines and kumquat are called 'kat' (吉) meaning 'auspicious'.

Tangerines (Citrus tangerina) and mandarin oranges (Citrus retuculata) look alike but with some differences.To find out the difference between tangerine and mandarin oranges, you can visit this link at eHow.

“Buying Citrus Lime Trees for Chinese New Year”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 17th, 2010.

Dragon Lime = Blessings from Heavan
This is called 'loong tam kat' (龙胆吉) or Dragon Lime in Chinese. It has a larger orange-yellow fruit that is oblong in shape but the flesh is coarse, less juicy and doesn't taste as nice. Mind you, this type is much more expensive than the calamondin type. After all, the dragon is a celestial figure, hence it is hoped that good luck and fortune will come from heaven.

This is a picture of a citrus lime tree decorated with auspicious red/gold ribbons.

Kumquats - Golden Auspice
Kumquats (Citrus japonica) are native to South Asia and Asia-Pacific. Kumquat (金吉) is a combinition of 2 fave Chinese words i.e. 'gold' and 'auspicious', hence it is regarded as extra auspicious. In short it means 'golden auspice'.

The edible fruits are either oval or round and looks like miniature oranges. Cantonese people e.g. in Hong Kong and China preserved them in brine as a cure for sore throat.

Calamansi (kat cai, limau kasturi, calamondin) = Four Seasons Lime for Everlasting Prosperity
This is Citrus x microcarpa, also called calamansi, calamondin or limau kasturi. Calamansi is thought to be a hybrid between the kumquat (C. japonica) and the mandarin/tangerine (C.reticulata). This is the cheapest and most common type.

It is commonly called 'kat cai' (吉子) meaning small auspice but during Chinese New Year season, nurseries give them a special name called, 'Four Seasons Lime (四季吉).' Therefore, the 'small auspice' takes on a whole new meaning, and it becomes 'never-ending prosperity'!.

When buying the citrus lime plants choose those plants which have healthy green leaves and laden with lots of semi-ripe fruits. Since it is still 2.5 weeks to the new year, you can select one with green fruits just like the picture above. Do not buy those with fully riped fruits and almost barren of leaves as we do not want the fruits to drop off one by one even before the season is over, or worse still if the plant dies during the first 15 days of Chinese New Year. Usually the prices will depend on the quality, type and size of the tree. Some potted trees are more than 6 ft tall.

The picture above is a comparison between the Dragon Lime (left) and calamansi (right).
See the difference?

To experience Chinese New Year with me in Malaysia, you are welcome to visit my 'Virtual Open House' at My Nice Garden Facebook Page which is accessible from my sidebar where I shall be updating it regularly. Open House is a unique Malaysian tradition whereby during major festivals, we open our doors to welcome our friends, relatives and even strangers (friends of friends) to our homes to savour our homemade food and experience our culture and traditions. We do it for Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Raya and all major festivals, the host is usually the person who is celebrating the occasion.

My NST Article, Gold Nuggets in a Pot dated 8 Jan 2011 - click here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jan 2011 GBBD and Foliage Follow-Up - My Roses

Currently, I have 3 pots of roses in my garden. Yes, 3 pots with 5 colours. How?

This pot contains 3 rose plants in 3 different colours, i.e. orange, light pink and dark pink. It was already like this when I bought it from the nursery. For the other 2 pots, one is a yellow rose while another is a miniature and of pale purple colour.

“Jan 2011 GBBD and Foliage Follow-Up - My Roses”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 14th, 2010.

I have created a Table of Contents under the 'Archives' Page on my top menu. It contains a list of all the titles I have posted since I started blogging. It is listed in chronological order and sorted by date. You can also create a 'Sitemap' showing your posts according to groupings, just like the 'Label' Gadget by Blogger. I learnt how to do this from Jacqueline at Jacq’s Blogger Tips*. Her link is here*. Jacq is also a Blotanical member.
Do visit her blog to find out more. She has posted many wonderful blogging tips that are very useful for non-tech savy gardeners like me.

As you already know, I have created a Facebook for Autumn Belle. I am still in the learning stage with not much activity. Last year (I think), I also signed up for Twitter but I hardly use it because I have nothing to tweet.

I have also created a Facebook Page for My Nice Garden. I understand that we can post an unlimited number of photos there. How true is it, I really don't know. The benefit is that we can interact faster and have a 2-way communication with our 'Friends' on Facebook. It is good to keep up with changes in technology.

You can view the My Nice Garden Page which is at the sidebar. If you like my page you can click 'Like' overthere.

As I don't have time to play games at Facebook, please accept my sincere apologies if you have sent any invitations or requests for games stuff and I have not yet responded. I don't even know how to play games there.

When I received my first rose from my darling, (once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a place far far away.....), I didn't want to throw it away long after it had withered. The petals didn't last long but I could keep the dried up leaves as a bookmark. Now that there are many new methods for crafting, I wonder what are the options or best method to preserve these gifted roses for rememberance. Maybe the easiest way is still the digital form.

Do you keep the roses given by your loved ones or do you throw them away after they have wilted?

Now, this post I am linking to a few memes to support my blogger friends.
1. Fertilizer Friday - Tootsie at Tootsie, her link is here *.
2. Blooming Friday - Katarina at Roses and Stuff, her link is here *, the theme is "Pattern" (see my first picture)
3. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of every month at May Dreams Garden, the link is here.
4. Foliage Follow-Up Day - Pam at Digging

Wishing everyone a rosy weekend and Happy Ponggal * Festival to my Hindu friends!

Autumn Belle

* You can click on the links provided for further information.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bringing Up Babies and a 11111 Affair

This is the jewel of My Nice Garden and my beloved Cattleya. It was given to me by my late dad, an orchid hobbyist. It is an offspring from the only orchid left in his collection. The mother plant is with my brother in Ipoh. My orchid flowered for the first time in 2007, then again in 2008 and 2009. Last year it became dormant after I cut off some of its leaves which were infected by some black spot disease. There were no blooms in 2010.

My first ever post when I became a blogger is about this orchid. It is the plant that started the inspiration for My Nice Garden, the blog as well as my own home garden.

I observe that it is currently busy producing babies and offshoots. I am thinking of repotting the baby plants but I'm not sure when is the best time to do so.

I have been observing my potted pineapple plant lately. It is now about 2 years old. I was wondering when it will start to bloom. A few days ago, I have fed it with a dilute solution of bloom inducing fertilizer but nothing happened. So I put the leftover peels of one ripe apple at the base of the leaves, hoping that the ethylene gas released will stimulate it to bloom. Well, maybe it is a coincidence, but the next day, I notice this teeny weeny baby popping out from the plant. This is my second successful attempt using the ripe apple peel method.

This pineapple plant was grown from a store bought pineapple that I had used for prayers. The crown had multiple suckles. After I planted the crown, a total of 7 plants grew up in the same pot. Earlier on, the seller had told me that this type of pineapple is called 'Seven Sisters' pineapples. Actually I was very greedy because I was hoping to get 7 pineapples all at the same time!

I am very very happy whenever I see my pineapple plant bloom. It is very meaningful and auspicious to have it bloom and bear fruit during the Lunar New Year. In Chinese, pineapple is called 'ong lai' meaning 'the arrival of good fortune'.

This is my post about how to grow pineapples from store bought ones.

“Bringing Up Babies and a 1111 Affair”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 11th, 2011.

Last week, Mr Postman delivered 2 parcels on the same day. They are seeds from my blogger buddies in Malaysia. My little helpers are very excited to see my new year presents and they are jumping with joy. Thank you very much to Malar and One!

Yay, yay, yay! Now, I have enough seeds to last the whole year through.  Looks like there will be more edibles in my garden this year.

I shall sow some seeds during the first 15 days of Lunar New Year, to simulate the arrival of spring that signifies new life and new growth.

When I prepared the soil for this batch of seedlings, I didn't put any plant label on the pot. Now I cannot remember what it is and I have learnt my lesson that it doesn't pay to be a 'smart alec'. I think it looks like gomphrena.

This marigold from Wendy in USA is begining to bear flowers after more than 2 months of growing.  Yay! "Fa Kai Fu Gui' = when flower blooms, prosperity comes!
Thank you very much, Wendy.

This is my Angelonia biflora rose pink. It is actually very easy to propagate more plants with stem cuttings. The cuttings are placed on the same pot to make the plant more compact and bushy. New shoots had developed from some of the cuttings. Flowers are produced quite fast too.

My hydrangea has started to bloom again. The previous flower head dried up prematurely due to overexposure to sunlight while I was holidaying away from home.

Today is 11.1.11
Autumn Belle  wishes everyone A Year of Abundance and Great Productivity!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Present, A Hidden Message and A Wish

Last Christmas, I was extremely delighted to receive these home saved seeds from Diana of Kebun Malay Kadazan Girls. Oh wow! Seeds from Southern Australia. My old desktop buddies; Little Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon and Luna-P are very excited to see my presents.

I have germinated some red onion seeds. They are about a week old but they look so thin and fragile. I am very worried that they will collapse from my constant gaze. This is the first time I am growing onions from seeds. I only know how to grow them from store purchased bulbs. Hopefully I get to taste it soon.

A Present, A Hidden Message and A Wish”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 6th, 2011.

This beautiful lady Gerbera Daisy was winking seductively at me when I passed by the supermarket section. It didn't take long before it sat on my trolley and followed me all the way home. I should have known better.

That was December last year. I put her on my window sill and I thought that the 3 daisies will enjoy the company of the 3 mushrooms stools. However, in 3 days time the daisies left me for good, leaving behind only the 3 stooges of mushrooms, as hard as concrete. Thinking positively, I conclude that Ms Daisy has this hidden message for me, somethings are not meant to be, so I gotta move on with life.

Now that the days are getting longer after the Winter Solstice and we are already 1 week into the new year, I am preparing to welcome the Lunar New Year which falls on February 3rd.  The most beloved of flowers during this season are the Plum Blossoms (Prunus mume aka Japanese apricot aka Chinese plums) and Peonies. Plum Blossoms are the flowers of winter and peonies are flowers of spring. I have never seen the real ones.

Are you growing the Prunus mume and is it blooming now? Please let me know as I'd like to view a picture of real Plum Blossoms. This is my new year wish. Oh, how I wish I can see plum blossoms in the snow!

I am delighted to get a view of the Prunus mume which is blooming now in at the following sites:

  1. Chai in Japan - white flowers on Jan 5th, 2011
  2. Colin Blogs in Santa Rosa, USA - white flowers on Jan 4th, 2011
  3. From Lynns Garden in Arkansas, USA - pink flowers in bloom on Jan 19th, 2011
This is so special. Thank you so much !

Since I don't have real peonies, I shall make do with this Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) blooming in my garden.  It is very tiny, perhaps 2-3cm diameter.

Until then, Cheers!
Autumn Belle

I'm joining the first Fertilizer Friday for 2011 at Tootsie Time here.


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