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, April 26, 2013

Public Park at Fraser's Hill (Taman Awam Bukit Fraser) - Part 4


Taman Awam Bukit Fraser is a public park located along Pine Tree Road. The new English theme garden (Taman Bunga Bukit Fraser) that I wrote about in my previous post (Part 3) is just across the road. Here's the children's playground with slides, swing and benches to sit on. There is a small tarmac circuit and a little putting course for children and family amusement.


This is a neat and clean public park beautifully landscaped with coniferous trees, shrubs and flowering vines. 

“Public Park at Fraser's Hill (Taman Awam Bukit Fraser) - Part 4”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on April 26th, 2013


This pergola has 2 different vines twining together with blue and scarlet flowers providing a striking contrast to the dark green foliage.

One can sit on the wooden or stone benches in the open or under the shade of a gazebo to bask in the cool mountain air and enjoy the lovely views from the hilltop.

Scientific name: Thunbergia grandiflora
Common names:
Bengal Cockvine, Bengal Trumpet, 
Blue Skyflower, Blue Thunbergia, Blue Trumpetvine,
Clockvine, Skyflower and Skyvine

It is native to China, India, Nepal, Indochina and Burma.


Scientific name: Passiflora coccinea
Common names: Scarlet Passion Flower, Red Granadilla, Maracujá-poranga


This is the ticketing booth for the entrance to the mini golf. 
The charges are RM 6.00 for 30 min. play.


The washrooms at Taman Awam Bukit Fraser (Fraser's Hill Public Park).


The food court at Taman Awam Bukit Fraser. The food stalls here are few but they have quite a good selection of local, particularly Malay dishes.


Cosy ambience.


There are a few shops selling sundry items, provisions, toiletries and some souvenirs. Surprisingly, I have not seen any plant nurseries or florist shops here at Fraser's Hill. The place is more crowded during the weekends. Weekdays are more leisure and slow-paced.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Preview of The New English Themed Garden at Fraser's Hill - Part 3


In 2009 an announcement was made by our Tourism Minister in the local newspapers of plans to develop and maintain Fraser's Hill as the "Little England of the East". As the town center areas are being spruced up and planted with various types of flowering annuals and shrubs that bloom in bright cheerful colours, in another part of Fraser's Hill, a 0.8ha floral park is nearing its completion. The garden is simply named "Taman Bunga Bukit Fraser" meaning Fraser's Hill Garden.

The development of this RM 4.2 million garden is funded by the Ministry of Tourism. The job is managed by the ministry's Fraser's Hill Parks and Garden Project Team. The team advisor is Dr. Francis S.P. Ng, the international award winning Botanical Consultant with many years of forestry, horticulture and garden design experience who is responsible for the Secret Garden of 1-Utama in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Dr. Ng also lectures at University Tunku Abdul Rahman. 

Dr. Francis Ng was with me during our recent visit to the Fraser's Hill Garden, together with 3 officials from Tourism Malaysia, namely Mr Wan Mohd Syafique (Technical), Ms Zahida (Public Relations) and Ms Izati (Photographer). My grateful thanks to them for  their warm hospitality and generous sharing of information.

Now, let's take a look at the work-in-progress Garden.....


This mock-Tudor styled stone building houses an English Tea House. It overlooks the main garden. The "Little Garden" beside is being planted with flowers on raised beds and borders. Some of the flowers here are Mona Lavender, Angelonia, Salvia, Impatiens, Amaryllis, Agapanthus, Hippy Lilies and multi-coloured foliage plants. There is a water fountain and walkways are lined with stone pavers that allows water to seep through and grass to grow.

“A Preview of The New English Themed Garden at Fraser's Hill - Part 3”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on April 16th, 2013.


A sea of Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender', English Ivy, Agapanthes Lilies and Cleome flowers.

Well, the garden is based on the English garden theme, but don't be surprised that we can't find peaches and apple trees, snowdrops and daffodils here. The plants selection is based on a few criteria:
  1. their ability to thrive in our tropical highlands, e.g. those that have proven track record of growing well in Cameron Highlands, another hill station and leading producer of temperate flowers in Malaysia.
  2. flowering plants with plenty of blooms in many colours
  3. easy to maintain and propagate by gardeners who take over after the project has been handed over to the local town council.


Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower
Chinese name : 醉蝶花 ( zui die hua - Drunken Butterfly Flower)
Malay name: Bunga Laba-Laba


Hedera helix 'Glacier' (English Ivy)


Malvaviscus penduliflorus (Sleeping Hisbiscus)


Agapanthus praecox (Lily of the Nile)


A view of the Tea House with overhang balcony.

The Tea House is located at the hilltop and it overlooks the main garden. It is an "open-concept" tea house with a restaurant, ticketing booth and washrooms. Hopefully they serve real English tea and scones

The site here was formerly an abandoned Mini Zoo. The size of the Mini Zoo is 15 acres (6 hectares) and of this 2 acres (0.8 ha) are now being developed into an English themed garden.


A sky view of rainforest tree-tops.


The formal garden design.


The main garden is situated at the bottom of a valley within an ancient tropical rainforest.

An ancient Araucaria tree stands tall at the edge of  the garden. 

Taman Bunga Bukit Fraser is located very near to the Taman Awam (Public Park) and just a short distance away from Ye Olde Smokehouse.


Close-up of the Araucaria tree trunk with a "face". Perhaps this face had witness a lot of happenings at Fraser's Hill through the years from the British colonial, pre-independence days of Louis James Fraser (1890s) right up to our present 2013. Then it was "Malaya", now it is "Malaysia"!

Read more about this garden in my latest New Straits Times Press article titled, "Spot of England" dated 13 April 2013 here.

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday, hosted by Glenda at Tootsie Time here.
And for Our World Tuesday, Week 86, the link is here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fraser's Hill Town Centre - Part 2


Fraser's Hill is one of 6 major Hill Stations in Malaysia. The other 5 are Genting Highlands (1,800m), Bukit Tinggi and Cameron Highlands (1,000m) in Pahang state; Penang Hill (833m) in Penang and Maxwell Hill aka Bukit Larut (1,250m) in Perak state. Fraser's Hill actually comprises 7 hills along the Titiwangsa (Main) Range of mountains in Peninsular Malaysia and it straddles on the Selangor-Pahang border. The summit of Fraser's Hill at 1,500m (5,000ft) above sea level falls within Pahang state while access to Fraser's Hill is only possible via The Gap which is part of Selangor.

A hill station as defined by Wikipedia is "a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia (particularly India), but also in Africa (albeit rarely), for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler".

The temperature at Fraser's Hill hovers between 16-24C which is about 10 degrees lower than our warm and humid Kuala Lumpur. The land of cool morning mists and gentle afternoon breezes, this dainty little hamlet is populated by only about a thousand people.


This is a picture of the famous Clock Tower of Fraser's Hill which has been here for ages! The wall is covered with creeping fig (Ficus pumila) plants and in the circle down below, there are New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) flowers blooming in a variety of colours .

Here's a place where time stands still. Staring at the present scene is like a travel back in time to almost a century ago during our British colonial days. I could almost hear the clatter of hooves of horse-drawn carriages of days gone by.


Fraser's Hill is named after a Scotsman, Louis James Fraser who came to Raub town in Pahang state of Malaysia in search of gold in the late 19th century. But instead he found tin ore near the upper ridges of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range. He built a home and operated a tin trading business on this hill for many years. One fine day in the late 1880s, he mysteriously disappeared. Even the tin mine was deserted.

Later in 1917 when CJ Ferguson-Davis, the Bishop of Singapore and Rev. AB Champion went to the Gap for a short holiday, they discovered that Fraser's Hill which was within 5  miles (8 km) of the Gap was very suitable as a hill station for government servants to go to for retreat and relaxation. So the hill was developed into a resort with bungalows, holiday and private homes. The place became even more popular during the days of World War II (1939-1945) when many expatriates were unable to go back home to England. The Tudor architecture of the buildings, the streets and the landscaped gardens were designed and maintained to look like those of the English countryside in their British homeland.

This old English charm has remained until today.


This is Puncak Inn, a budget hotel which is located right in the town centre. The information center for tourist information is located at the reception counter here. There are other alternative accomodation  choices:

1. Silverpark Hill Resort
2. Fraser's Pine Resort
3. Ye Olde Smokehouse
4. Shahzan Inn (formerly Merlin Inn)
5. Puncak Inn Bungalows rented out by various corporations


This is Pos Malaysia, the town's post office, a stone walled building with a small garden beside it. Notice the cobblestone walkway in front and the entrance pillars covered with creeping ivy plants.


The Police Station is housed in a Mock-Tudor style building constructed in 1919. During the same year, an access road was built from the Gap to Fraser's Hill. 

By 1922, the hill station was opened to visitors. There was 140 hectares of land over 50km of jungle paths.

In 1927, according to the "Handbook to British Malaya", Fraser's Hill was equipped with the following amenities: 9 government bungalows for government officials, 4 houses for ex-serviceman, 3 private homes, a country club and golf course, water supply and post office.


The FHGC - Fraser's Hill Golf and Country Club is formerly a tin mine.


Fraser's Hill attracts expatriates and nature enthusiasts who go there for nature walks, jungle-tracking, hiking, camping, golfing, horseback riding, bird watching, butterfly hunting or just pure relaxation.


Old English country styled homes with stone walls and white windows. Lovely Hippeastrum hybrid lilies bloom in stone planter boxes.

In the old days, mock-Tudor style houses and bungalows were built with timber frames and local limestones blocks. Roses, chrysanthemums and strawberries grew in well-tended gardens. Local eateries like The Tavern and Ye Olde Smokehouse served Devonshire tea. It was so reminiscent of rural England.


A Yphthima pandocus (Common Three Ring) butterfly resting on some cuphea groundcovers by the roadside.


A blooming Glory Princess (Tibouchina urvileana) bush. 

“Fraser's Hill Town Centre - Part 2”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on April 13th, 2013.


Scientific name: Justicia brandegeeana
Synonym: Beloperone guttata
Common Name: Mexican Shrimp Plant, Shrimpbush, False Hop, Brazilian Shower Plant

Family: Acanthaceae
Origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras


During my visit in March 2013, the Parks and Garden Project Team from Tourism Malaysia was doing upgrading works to spruce up the town. Flowering plants and shrubs that bloom in bright colours were planted. The street structures, signages and lightings were repaired or replaced. The theme is "Little England of the East" . The beautification work is being done along a 3km Y shape that starts from the town entrance to the Clock Tower, along the Clock Tower to the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation Office and also from the Clock Tower to Shahzan Inn.


There are more than 260 species of birds here.
The signage reads:
Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are sites of international importance for conserving birds and other biodiversity. All wildlife and plants are protected.


There are a number of established Nature Trails, some historical for guided jungle trekking.

I came across a group of students from Ireland doing research on the endemic Malaysian Giant Trapdoor spiders (Liphistius malayanus).

Fraser's Hill is a protected Forest Research and Wildlife Sanctuary. It is surrounded by Lower Montane Forest, commonly called Oak-Laurel Forest. The virgin forests here are rich in biodiversity, a fact recognised by HN Ridley since 1897. Subsequent sustainable development by the Malaysian and Pahang state governments had helped preserved the natural and pristine condition of the place.

There are 31 species of endemic plants here.

Endemic species are found only in a particular place and nowhere else in the world.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Visit to Fraser's Hill - The Gap (Part 1)

Last March, I made my first ever trip to Fraser's Hill which is located at 1,500m above sea level and about 105 km away north of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. It is about 2.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur

The gateway to Fraser's Hill is via Kuala Kubu Bharu town. Visitors who drive up are advised to fill up their vehicle petrol tank to full as there are no petrol station in Fraser's Hill. Those taking the taxi will need to make a booking for the return trip as well as there are no public transport at the hilltop.

You will pass by the Sg Selangor Dam on the way from Kuala Kubu Bharu to the Gap.

Here's the restroom/washroom near the Gap which is situated at the foothills of Fraser's Hill. 

“A visit to Fraser's Hill - The Gap (Part 1) ”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on April 9th, 2013.

3. Bottle brush tree
At the restroom area, I had the chance to take some pictures of the scenery and vegetation of the area.

Arachis pintoi - Pinto Peanut or Pokok Kacang Kuning growing wild on the ground.

I saw a lot of  tree ferns and giant bamboo trees, some which are very tall and with big, fat stems. Occasionally we pass by an oak tree or clumps of tall bamboo orchid (Arundina graminilfola). The forest views here are spectacular.

The weed, Agerantum conyzoides.
Common names: Billygoat Weed, Goat Weed, Chick Weed, White Weed
Malay name: Rumput Tahi Ayam (Chicken Dung Grass)

Scientific name: Spilanthes paniculata
Synonyms: S. acemella, S. pseudo-acemella, Acemella oleracea
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Tropical America

Common names: Toothache Plant, Peek-A-Boo, Electric Daisy
Malay name: Getang Kerabu, Subang Nenek
Other names: Phak khraat (Thai), Yari sennichi modoki (Japanese)

This is a common weed in Southeast Asia.
For additional information, refer to Seedaholic and Globinmed sites

Bamboo and montane forest scenery.


These are hawker stalls at the Gap area. In the old days, business was good because it was necessary to wait in line at the Gap for the different times schedule for the one way trip uphill or downhill. In the old days, the only way up and down to Fraser's Hill, was via a single very narrow and winding road called The Gap road which starts halfway from Kuala Kubu Bharu town to the summit of Fraser's Hill.

Now there are no more hassles of long queues waiting for traffic to change directions for uphill/downhill travel. A new road has been built since 2001 for separate downhill travel. It starts from Jalan Quarry after Pine Resort in Fraser's Hill which leads back to the Bentong-Kuala Kubu Bharu-Kuala Lumpur route. 

So now, you use the old Gap road for uphill travel and new road for downhill.

At the Gap Gate, take the right turn for the uphill drive up to Fraser's Hill. 

The red signboard reads, "Reminder - stopping between two gates are strictly prohibited".

The adjacent brown signboard is designed for tourist to take photographs. You can see a hole there to insert our head, hehe.There is a map and description of Fraser's Hill.

After this point, the temperature starts to drop significantly.Below are some photos that I took of the plants and flowers at the Gap Gate area.

Sanchezia speciosa

Close-up of the Sanchezia speciosa inflorescence, native plant of Peru and Ecuador.

A begonia attached to a tree trunk.

Mussaenda 'Dona Eva'

This is the first time I see a Datura metel aka Devil's Trumpet with pale orange flowers. It is gorgeous.
Updated: This is a Brugmansia hybrid, thanks to Aaron Ang for the ID. Perhaps it is Brugmansia suaveolens?


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