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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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Tropical Colonial Garden II - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Part 5


A tropical garden on the grounds of the ruins of an old abandoned castle sound - interesting isn't it? Indeed I am fascinated! Look how our Bunga Raya, National Flower of Malaysia look so beautiful with the castle in the background.

This is my part 2 post about the Tropical Colonial Garden at Kellie's Castle, Batu Gajah, Perak.

A bush with huge Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers.

This portion is the original Kellas House that William Kellie Smith and his family lived almost a century ago. It was partially destroyed during World War II (1939-1945)

“The Tropical Colonial Garden II - Kellie's Castle Batu Gajah Perak - Part 5”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @

Scientific name: Cleome rutidosperma
Synonym: Cleome ciliata

Common name: Fringed Spider Flower
Malay name: Maman Ungu
Family: Capparaceae

Here are some of the weeds that appear along the cracks and rock crevices on the grounds of the ruins. The above, a cleome species is native to Tropical America but was naturalized here and now it grows like a weed in Malaysia.


Scientific name: Agerantum conyzoides

Common names Billygoat Weed, Chick Weed, Goat Weed, Whiteweed 

Malay name: Rumbut Tahi Ayam (Chicken Dung Weed), Rumput Sekedok, 
Bunga Lebih Tikus, Selasih Dandi, Si Anggit, Tambok-tambok Jantan

Family: Compositae

Another Tropical American plant that is naturalised and grow like a weed in Malaysia.


William  Kellie Smith's kitchen and the original Kella's House.
The ventilation hole for the underground tunnel that connects Kellie's Castle to the Indian temple.


The walkway to the kitchen staff quarters.
Despite the heat of the mid afternoon soon, it feels cool when walking along this corridor.


The oven made of bricks which is already more than a hundred years old.
I'm really curious what were the favourite food items dished out from this ancient oven during those days.


View from a kitchen window.
See the dome shaped top?


Another view from a kitchen window.
Peeping out from the top right corner is the outline of a Coral Bean Tree.


Scientific name: Erythrina fusca
Synonym: Erythrina glauca

Common names:
Purple Coral Tree, Gallito, Bois Immortelle, Bucayo, Bucare, Coral Bean Tree

Malay name: Dedap Merah

Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Tropical Asia

This is a native tree of Malaysia.


People can come here for modelling shoots and wedding photography.


A nice place for a family picnic and some outdoor games.

Scientific name: Ficus microcarpa

Common names: 
Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan, Taiwan Banyan, 
Indian Laurel, Curtain Fig, Gajumaru (Japanese)
Family: Moraceae
Origin: India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, New Caledonia, Australia, Malay Archipelago

Here's a Banyan Tree that has lived through a century, standing broad and strong, a staunch witness to all the historical happenings through the ages.

The Banyan Tree is full of mystique. It is regarded as sacred among Hindus and Buddhists and is featured in many Asian folk tales. Some people believe that these are the dwelling places of spirits and ghosts.

Ficus microcarpa is a strangling fig, native to Malaysia.  It does not grow from the ground but begins life as an epiphyte on the branches of another tree. A seedling carried by the birds is dropped and germinates. It sends out numerous aerial roots which grow downwards until they touch the ground. Some roots cling and hug the support tree, eventually strangling and killing the tree. The fully matured fig tree is a very big spreading tree with many large branches and a complex structure of thick pillar-like roots. The flowers and fruits attract birds, bees and butterflies.

Banyan Trees around the world (Source: Wikipedia)
The original banyan, the species F. benghalensis, can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. Over time, the name became generalized to all strangler figs of the Urostigma subgenus. There are many banyan species: 

a) Ficus microcarpa, the Malayan Banyan tree which is native from Sri Lanka through New Caledonia is a significant invasive species elsewhere. 

b) The Central American Banyan (Ficus pertusa) is native to Central America and northern South America, from southern Mexico south to Paraguay. 

c) The Short Leaf Fig (Ficus citrifolia) is native to southern Florida, the Caribbean Islands, Central America and South America south to Paraguay. One theory is that the Portuguese name for F. citrofolia, "Os Barbados", gave Barbados its name 

d) The Florida Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) is also native to southern Florida and the Caribbean Islands, and distinguished from the above by its coarser leaf venation. 

e) The Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) are other related species.

Myths and Beliefs (extract from Wikipedia) - Respect the Banyan Tree!

1. In Hinduism, the leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the god Krishna.

2. The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees (林村許願樹) are banyan, and are a popular shrine in Hong Kong. They are located near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen.

3. In many stories of Philippine Mythology, the banyan, (locally known as balete or balite) is said to be home to a variety of spirits (diwata and engkanto) and demon-like creatures (among the Visayans, specifically, the dili ingon nato, meaning "those not like us"). Maligno (Evil spirits, from Spanish for 'malign') associated with it include the kapre (a giant), duwende (dwarves), and the tikbalang (a creature whose top half is a horse and whose bottom half is human).Children at a young age are taught never to point at a fully mature banyan tree for fear of offending the spirits that dwell within them, most especially when they are new to the place. Filipinos would always utter a respectful word or two to the spirits in the banyan tree when they are near one, walking near or around it to avoid any harm. Nearly every Filipino believes that provoking the spirits in a banyan tree can cause you great harm, illness, misfortune, untold suffering and death. In Guam, 'Chamorro people believe in tales of taotaomona, duendes and other spirits. Taotaomona are spirits of the ancient Chamorro that act as guardians to banyan trees.


This is actually the front view Kellie's Castle.
Magnificient, isn't it?


During the recent upgrading works, Dr. Francis Ng's team managed to locate the site of the front entrance to the garage where William Kellie Smith kept his motocars.


A picture of how the original garage looks like.


The driveway from the gate entrance at the far end to the garage has been recreated.
A new tar road slithers beside the lawn and shade trees towards the castle building.


The garden looks so much brighter now.
Some old trees were preserved.
Some new trees were planted in groves.


Sometimes, the eeriness remains.

At other times, it looks bright, clear and cheerful!

It's a mix feeling of old and new...
darkness and light...
sometimes eerie, sometimes cheery...
that I find really very intriguing!


  1. Podoba mi się zamek, chociaż jest częściowo zniszczony. Roślinność wokół jest piękna. Pozdrawiam.
    I like the castle, although it is partially destroyed. Vegetation around is beautiful. Yours.

    1. Giga, the ruined castle still tells an interesting story. The green and lush vegetation here paints a brighter picture of the place.

  2. the greenery ^.^

    1. Sharon, I love the newly landscaped garden too!

  3. I'm really enjoying these historical tours, Autumn Belle. It's always sad, but interesting to hear how estates and gardens were affected by wars. So, Cleomes grow year-round in Malaysia? Lucky you!

    1. PlantPostings, yes indeed we can grow cleome the whole year round in sunny Malaysia. Cleome rudidosperma (Fringed Spider Flower) is a weed here. Cleome hesseleriana (Spider Flower) is planted from seeds as an ornamental.

  4. Interesting historical post. I like looking at old structures like this castle. I didn't know that the Banyan tree is regarded as sacred to Hindus and Buddhists.

    1. L. Ambler, specially for you, I have inserted some additional information about the banyan tree. You can also click on the link to Wikipedia to read more.

  5. I really enjoyed the visit through these posts...too bad you have some of our weeds...

  6. Nice castle and garden. Is this castle also haunted? It's great that Malaysia is preserving this history instead of destroying them as often done in India (to hide colonialism).

  7. The ground of the Kelly castle are well kept, the magnificent building should be preserved for future generations.

  8. Beautiful place. I really like your blog. your pictures are impressive.
    Greetings from Polish.

  9. Strangely - I find looking at these pictured giving me the creeps.
    A chill like a horror movie - these walls finds a voice to scream something that of an unrest past.
    The Garden is but palm trees arrayed like the ones found along any common roadsides.

    I truly wished if Francis & his team would plant more cheerful garden plants as the void around the garden gives me personally an abandon forlorn feel or loneliness and despair.
    I doubt anyone would want to take wedding pictures in this cemetery - unless otherwise the Garden is something is worth spending time visiting.

    Otherwise - its just one historic place called Kelly Castle.


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

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