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!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Common Malaysian Butterflies - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 2

The Penang Butterfly Farm in Teluk Bahang, Penang Island is home to 3,000 living specimens of over 50 species of rare and exotic butterflies, frogs, scorpions and other insects. Some of the features here include a lily pond, rock garden, tunnel, bubbling mud pool and artificial waterfalls. There is also a garden enclosure, breeding area, laboratory, exhibition area, souvenir shop and information centre, e.g. The Museum of Asian Artefacts which houses an Insect Museum, an Art Gallery and a Gallery of Asian Artefacts.

“Common Malaysian Butterflies - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 2”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on February 26th, 2011.

The following are some of the pictures of Malaysian butterflies that I took during my visit on 9th December 2010.  As soon as I know their correct scientific names, I shall update this post accordingly. Meanwhile, anyone can make a guess. Your help shall be greatly appreciated.

Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita / Precis iphita)

Batik Lacewings (Cethosia biblis) butterflies at bottom
and Great Egg Fly (Hypolimnas bolina) on top.

Thank you very much, Andrea for getting the Hypolimnas bolina right!

3. Sexy lady clad in a batik sarong - a Batik Lacewing (Cethosia biblis)

4. The colour of autumn leaves - New Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)

5. Love is in the air for this pair of New Lacewings (Cethosia cyane).
The female is paler in colour compared to the male.

6. Yellow Birdwing aka Common Birdwing (Troides helena)
this beautiful orange-red flower is the zebra plant (Sanchezia speciosa)

Thank you very much to Lotus Leaf who successfully identified the plant!

7. Yellow Glassy Tiger - Parantica aspasia

8.  A female New Lacewing - Cethosia cyane

9. This is the same gal as no. 8 but in a different pose.

10. Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida)

11. Dark Blue Tiger - Tirumala septentrionis
feeding on the flowers of Chinese knotweed (Polygonum chinensis)

12. Blue Glassy Tiger (Parantica agleoides)
This one has something extra at the tip of its abdomen.
I wonder what is this thingy for - laying eggs?
Well, one thing's for sure, it is not for hitting golf balls!

* Answer:*
The structure is actually called a hair-pencils. Male butterflies in that family (Danaidae) will have the a pair hair-pencils hide inside the abdomen. they will only show it during courtship (to brush the scent from scent scale on the hindwing to attract female) or threaten (the hair-pencils will emit strong odor scare off the enemy).

I am amazed by the many varieties of live butterflies I can see here. All the photos were taken without using the camera's flash lights. It was indeed a great learning experience for me. I hope you have learnt something too.

My next post is - Pupa Station.

*This post has been updated on Mar 2nd, 2011 with the correct scientific names of the butterflies.
My grateful thanks to Mr Andy Loke, staff of Penang Butterfly Farm for helping me identify all the above butterflies and explanation about the hair-pencil.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

White Bat Lily, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 1

Tacca integrifolia

During my visit to Penang Butterfly Farm in December 2010, I came accross this very unique plant that has bat-shaped flowers and long flowing 'whiskers'. The plant I photographed here is a white bat lily flower. It has several white bracts lined with purple veins above the cluster of purplish black flowers. The leaves look like those of peace lilies.

The words, bizzare, extraordinary, rare flora, exotic and alien have been used to describe it and many are mesmerized by it while some others have even fallen in love with this unusual plant.

This plant can be found deep in our Malaysian jungles. Tiger Whiskers is a good environmental indicator since it is very sensitive to environmental changes and will not thrive in areas where there is pollution.

“Bat Lily, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower - Penang Butterfly Farm Part 1”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on 25th February 2011.

Tacca integrifolia

Scientific name: Tacca integrifolia
Common name: Bat Lily, Bat Flower, Tiger Whiskers, Devil's Flower

Chinese name: 丝蒟蒻薯 si xu ju ruo shu (Source: Flora of China, here)
Malay name: Misai harimau, janggut adam, belimbing tanah, keladi murai, kelemoyang air (refer here).

Family: Discoreaceae / Taccaceae (yam family)
Origin: Southeast Asia e.g. Malaysia

Tacca integrifolia

The whiskers can be as long as 28 inches. The bat-shaped flowers are as wide as 12 inches across. The plant is about 4ft tall. Propagation is by division and from seeds but seed germination may take 8-12 weeks.

Tacca integrifolia

Additional notes, extracts from the book, "Tropical Exotics" by Horace Freestone Clay, James C. Hubbard, Rick Golt:
 - a jungle plant that grows best in shaded garden retreats where its large leaves are protected from damage by wind, rain or falling debris. The flowers are striking, once seen, they are not forgotten. Tacca is the vernacular name for a number of species native to the Malaysian archipelago-peninsular.

Additional information from University of Florida can be found here.

Tacca integrifolia

Anyone growing this plant in your garden?

My next post will be about the butterflies which are the star attraction at Penang Butterfly Farm, their website is here.

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Tootsie at Tootsietime, here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb 2011 GBBD

Catharanthus roseus, torenia, yesterday-today-tomorrow, blue daze
Here's my flower parade for February 2011 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

My pale lavender coloured Catharanthus roseus (vinca/periwinkle) looks like a mixed breed. The plant had sprouted from seeds scartered naturally on the ground. My YTT plant was subjected to some harsh prunning last month and it is responding well to treatment, flowering in clusters now.

A torenia plant has anchored itself on my potted hibiscus plant. It is blooming profusely now.
Can you see a garden visitor on the blue torenia?

Azaleas, adenium, bougainvillea
The azaleas are still blooming after 2 weeks. My desert rose has just started with a single flower.

Cape honeysuckle, lantana, citrus lime, spider

I grow this orange cape honeysuckle plant to attract mealy bugs so that the bugs will leave my roses and hibiscus alone. The citrus flower is from my 3-year old plant. The spider looks like those we love to catch and play 'spider fighting' games of long ago.

“Feb 2011 GBBD”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on February 18th, 2011.

Kalanchoe, pineapple
When I purchased the kalanchoe, the nursery assistant advised me to select one that has lots of unopened buds in it. Now, it is blooming profusely. Kalanchoes do have lots and lots of tiny little flowers.

The baby pineapple is about 2 weeks old now.

Pussy willows blossoms
I can't find any petals. Can you tell which are the pussy willow flowers?

Dendrobium crumenatum orchid
My dendrobium / dove orchid does not bear flowers in clusters, but only one flower to a stalk.

Costus woodsonii

Costus woodsonii is a popular plant during this Lunar New Year of the Rabbit. When two yellow-orange flowers appear at the tip of the bright red flower spike, it looks like rabbit ears. In Chinese (Cantonese) this plant has a nickname, "hoong one tong tow" meaning good fortune has arrived.

When the flowers appear, the bright red cone also oozes a sweet syrupy liquid that attracts the ants. I wonder if we can suck on it?

Psyche (Leptosia nina malayana)

This green butterfly seems to be missing something. It may look quite weird with only the head and thorax visible, without the abdomen. But if you look more closely, you'll notice a sexy head and graceful pose. This reminds me of the legendary Marilyn Monroe and her skirt blown by the wind.

Anyone know the name of this butterfly?

Post update: I have found the name of this butterfly from the internet. It's scientific name is Leptosia nina malayana from the Pieridae family (sulphurs, yellows and whites). Common name is Psyche butterfly, also known as Wandering Snowflake, Flip Flop and Wood White. For more information, visit
a) Learn about butterflies
b) Wikipedia


My hydrangea is getting too top heavy. The head almost got blown off by a gust of strong wind.

Etlingera elatior, bunga kantan

The Etlingera elatior ginger flower buds were not eaten but allowed to bloom.

Etlingera elatior, Bunga kantan

When tiny red flowers appear among the glossing pink bracts, sweet juice oozes out and a couple of ants came over for a Valentine picnic. Looks like they are kissing anyway.

A vegetable plant has sprouted perhaps from the seeds that has fallen on the ground. I wonder what is this - cucumber or bitter gourd?

Christmas poinsettia

My Christmas poinsettia has not lost all its red colour yet. Some new shoots have sprouted. I have place this plant under the shade of my palm tree.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Garden, her link is here.
This is also my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Tootsie at Tootsie Time, the link is here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blotanical in Malaysia Home & Decor Magazine

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone A Happy Valentine's Day !

Today, I shall present yellow roses from my garden and hey, growing roses is not difficult after all.


"To love someone deeply gives you strength.
Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage."
..... Lao Tze 

"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet."

..... Plato

"Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones,
As wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire."
..... Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"A man falls in love through his eyes,
A woman through her ears."
..... Woodrow Wyatt

"But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit."
..... William Shakespeare

I have very delighted that My Nice Garden has been mentioned in the February 2011 Home & Decor Magazine, Malaysia edition.  It is my honour to be listed among bloggers Bangchik of My Little Vegetable Garden from Malaysia and Gardening With Wilson Wong from Singapore.

And I am so proud to be a member of Blotanical. Cheers to Blotanical!

Thank you very much to Malaysia Home & Decor Magazine!

Alvin, my boy will be turning 16 this February 15th. He used up all his 'ang pow' (Chinese New Year red packet) money to buy this gift and sacrificed 2 days of his game time making this gift wrap with many many hearts. He will not reveal to anyone what is inside this box. Well, not even to me, his mom. It makes me worried and I wonder WHO (???) is the special someone who is going to receive this gift.

Alvin my boy,


Son, you are growing up fast, going through all the stages that leads to maturity,
We'd like you to know that we shall always be there to share you joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures.
For 16 years and more to come, you are the source of much joy and happiness.
This special day for you is also very special to us.
We love you!
..... mom and dad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai and Happy Birthday!

Today is Chinese New Year Eve, a day for family reunions.
Tomorrow, February 3rd, 2011 is Chinese New Year Day, the first day first month of the lunar calendar.
The day after, February 4th, 2011 is Lichun, the first day of spring according to solar calendar.

Here, in Malaysia, we are have been having unusually cool temperatures in the northern states since Dec 2010 and experiencing a long rainy spell. Some of the southern states in Peninsular Malaysia e.g. Johor; were flooded a few days ago and water had gone into people's homes. Usually, it is a hot and dry season during this time. I hope the weather will change for the better soon.

To everyone,
Kung Hei Fatt Choy and Happy Holidays!
May you have a safe journey home.
May you have a wonderful time with family, friends and loved ones.
May you receive lots of blessings from heaven and lots of 'Ang Pow' red packets !

To my dear friend HC Gooi aka Mrs Goh whose English birthday falls on Chinese New Year Day,
Wishing you the best of health, wealth and happiness because,
You are special!


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