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!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Tropical Colonial Garden I - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Part 3


This is how Kellie's Castle look like after the garden makeover and upgrading works. A landscaped tropical colonial garden has been built around the old English manor. Today I shall take you on a tour of the garden and I will also touch on the wildflowers and weeds which I find very interesting but intriguing as well.

This is the first part about the garden.

You can also read my article titled, "Garden Makeover for Kellie's Castle" published by New Straits Times on 22nd June 2013. The link is here.


The generous use of white paint provided a stark contrast to the red roofs, painted brick walls, pillars and tiled flooring. The walkways are stone paved with gaps for grass to grow and rainwater to seep in. Everything looks so bright and cheery now. The grounds are no longer dark and sinister.

The garden is designed by award winning consultant botanist, Dr. Francis Ng and landscaping works was funded by Tourism Malaysia. Before the makeover, architects, historians and experts were consulted. Dr. Ng studied the photographs of the castle taken during William Kellie Smith's time.

After completion of the makeover exercise, the upkeep and maintenance has been handed over to the Batu Gajah District Council early this year. A launching ceremony was held on Sunday, July 7th by our Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. The ceremony was also attended by the state tourism committee chairman Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi.

The Raia River is a tributary that flows into the Kinta River which passes by the castle.
Kellie's Castle is separated from the main road by these rivers.
Both sides are filled with coconut and oil palm plantations.
At times the current here is quite strong.
Crocodiles may lurk in the river.


There is ample parking space. This is the smaller bridge that links the side road to the new building that houses the ticketing booth, mini theatre, souvenir shops, food stalls and restrooms/washrooms.


Concrete benches, stone paved walkways and bamboo trees planted in groves along the riverbank. 
The brick building is new.


Won't it be nice if the pergolas here were adorned with some kind of ever-flowering vines?
The shrubs behind the pergola on the left are Yellow Alders.
On the right is the main bridge that leads to the castle.

Closeup of the Yellow Alder Flowers (Turnera subulata) aka 8 o'clock Flowers planted behind the giant signage of "Kellie's Castle". The flowers open at about 8 am every morning and close by noon. The plant is ever-flowering and the blooms attract many types of butterflies, wasps, bees and other bugs. It's a myriad of activities when the flowers are opened and all will be still and quiet later in the afternoon after the blooms fade off.


Near the car park and along the river in front of the castle, graceful willow trees and wildflowers are part of the landscape here. Masses of Wedelia trilobata line the riverbank a forming a dense carpet of luscious green foliage topped with dainty yellow flowers. Also known as the Singapore Daisy or Creeping Oxeye, the Chinese name for it is “chuan di long” meaning “swirling earth dragon”. 

The picture above shows a few clumps of the Bidens pilosa, also known as Cobbler’s Peg and Spanish Needle. This plant looks a quite like another common widespread weed, Tridax procumbens or Coat Buttons which is also found here. B. pilosa is taller and prettier with bigger daisy-like flowers. When the flowers wither off, elongated fruits are formed and when dried, they become thin and bristle-like, easily clinging onto animal furs and human clothing. 

B. pilosa plants are also called Beggars Ticks because beggars and wanderers pick up these on their clothes and pants as they walk along the roadsides and railroad tracks. Hikers find them irritating hence they are given names like “Ghost Needle Weed” and “Demon Spike Grass”. Spooky coincidence?

“Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Perak Part 3 - The Tropical Colonial Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on July 16th, 2013.


After the bridge leads you to  fork road. The left side is the main staircase that leads you to the castle. The right path leads you to the stables, guardhouse and servant staircase via the side entrance.

Here's another Yellow Alder bush beside the Eugenia tree. The weird looking tree just beside the castle is the Midnight Horror Tree. Getting more eerie, isn't it?


Love this view.


The ruins of the former Guard House monitoring the back section of Kellie's Castle. 
The tree on the right is Angsana tree. Next to it is the frangipani tree.
The tree on the left is the Midnight Horror Tree.

A signage reads:
"Below are the ruins of William Kellie Smith’s guard house and horse stables. William’s horses did well at the races held at the prestigious Kinta Gymkhana Club in Batu Gajah (founded in 1890). His mare, Lassie, won on the first day of the races, and on the second day, HH The Sultan of Perak presented the Sultan’s Cup to WKS when his horse, Popgun, won the second race."


The Angsana tree (right) and Frangipani tree (left) flanking the stairways to the side entrance of the castle. The building on the right is the former Guard House and Stables.


Seed pods of the Angsana Tree.
Scientific name: Pterocarpus indica
Native of Southeast Asia
Family: Fabaceae

The Angsana was a common wayside tree, popularly planted by our colonial government.  This is a deciduous, large shade tree which can grow to about 30-40 m tall. The flowers are bright yellow in colour, bloom season February to May.The tree trunk can be as big as 2m in diameter and is the source of red scented wood which is resistant to termites.


A bird nest fern growing wild from a crack or crevice at the base of an old tree trunk.


Scientific name: Hippobroma longiflora 
Common names: Frog flower, Star of Bethlehem and Star Flower
Chinese names: 馬醉草 , 同瓣草 , 鬼點燈

 This attractive wildflower is a perennial herb endemic to the West Indies, but naturalized in many parts of tropical America and Oceania.

The genus name Hippobroma is derived from the Greek words, “hippo” for horse and “bromos” for rage/fury. Hippobromas are sometimes known as "horse madness" plants.  The species name “longiflora” means “long flowers” referring to the long flower tubes. This plant is grown for medicinal and ornamental purposes. It thrives best in moist, shady areas. 

The milky sap of the plant is poisonous and is said to drive horses crazy. This sap when absorbed through the skin can cause burns and irritation. When rubbed against the eyes, it can cause blindness. The jasmine-like, star shaped flowers have no fragrance. 


This is a non-native plant that has been naturalised and grows like a weed in Malaysia. You can find this weed (aka Ghost Grass in Malay) growing happily among the Frog Flower (Hippobroma longiflora) bush.

Scientific name: Asystasia gangetica ssp. micrantha (L.) T.Anders
Synonyms: Asystasia coromandeliana, Asystasia intrusa, A. gangetica

Common name: Common Asystasia, Chinese Violet, Ganges Primrose, Creeping Foxglove
Chinese name: 赤边樱草 or 十万错花
In mandarin, 赤边樱草 (chi bian ying cao) means 'violet margin cherry (sakura) grass' and
十万错花 (shi wan cuo hua) means 'a hundred thousand wrong flowers'.

Malay names:
Rumpai jejentik (mosquito larva weed), akar ruas-ruas (segmented roots),
rumput bunga putih (white grass flower), rumput hantu (Ghost Grass),
rumput nyonya (young lady weed), rumput pengorak,
rumput kambing (goat grass), bunga istana (castle flower).

Family: Acanthaceae (Ruelia family)
Origin and native to: India, Africa, Malay Peninsular
Category: Ever-flowering perennial creeper

Generally, Asystasias are known as Chinese Violets or 'zi he hua' (紫鶴花) in mandarin
meaning purple crane flower.

'Intrusa' in Spanish means 'intruder'

It is listed in the "Alert List for Environmental Weeds" of Australia.


  1. Zamek piękny, ale i roślinność wokół jest bardzo ciekawa. Kwiat Frog jest cudny. Pozdrawiam.
    Castle beautiful, but also vegetation around is very interesting. Flower Frog is hopping. Yours.

    1. Giga, this place is now a favourite for models and bridal photography!

  2. Ooohhhh Midnight Horror Tree would be eerie with the forth coming ghost month

    1. Hungry Ghost Festival month starts 7th August 2013 (1st day of the 7th lunar month). Will be interesting to note any increase in paranormal activities. Perhaps the researchers should come on the the 14th day of the 7th lunar month? Oh, this is too scary for me!

  3. Nice makeover, the last time there was worried the wooden bridge may not be able to withstand our weight. Did you mention anything about the underground tunnel?

    1. Visitors can go to view the underground wine cellar but only for a short distance. I think the Museum and Antiquities Dept had already sealed the tunnel for security and safety reasons.

  4. Belle you are so detailed to identify both the landscaped plants and those that grows wildly.

  5. Beautiful place. Greetings from Polish.


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