Sunday, May 31, 2009

A bud and a bloom

We were ambitious once, trying to germinate as many flower seeds as we can. Only two were sucessful, the rest fail to see the light. Now they are flowering, Celosia Plumosa and these. These plants are awfully awkward, shooting up with no side branch, so slender that they bend like snakes. One plant has stem resting on the soil for some 10 cm of its length with roots coming out from each node anchoring into the soil for greater brace.

The spot where these plants are now growing were once occupied by brinjals [June - September 2008] and winged beans [October 2008- January 2009]

The color of this flower is very heavy and rich!!

a bloom

a bloom

a bud

These plants are tucked along side the corns, six of them. We had thrown away the seed packet, and there is no way of telling the name of these. Nonetheless, the bloom is really pretty.

It is Zinnia!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kakdah's hanging garden overflowing

It was Kakdah's idea that we should have a hanging garden at the porch. She went to the extent of vanishing the bamboo all by herself [Kakdah's hanging garden]. Now the plants had grown well and some are overflowing..... Everything hangs on bamboo... the upper and lower bamboo frame. There are orchids, money plants, ferns, etc...

latest addition

latest addition

money plant
hanging down

the fern

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bamboo is cool and inviting!

This is the side entrance to Alamanda Shopping Centre in Putrajaya. The designer was very confident playing with nature and placed rows of bamboo on both sides. I thought they are lovely, cool and very inviting!!

side entrance.
for padestrians, look at how bamboos slender stems meet at the top
and forming almost a beautiful arch

Putrajaya is a new administrative capital of Malaysia. The town is fairly modern, and they had put real thought on how this place should blend; roads, buildings, parks, shopping complex, lakes, green lungs etc... I am lucky to be here, living, working and gardening.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hot Chillies ready to bloom.

Six chilly plants were planted a month or so ago, and now they are ready to bloom. They are planted in rows beside the corns. The original seeds were from ripe chillies Kakdah bought at Carrefour, Putrajaya. I just cut one open, took out the seeds, let them dry for a day or two and then germinate in little pots..... Now they are ready to show off the pure white little blooms!!

One plant has weak stem or roots and collapsed after a good wind blow. I didn't make an attempt to straighten it or tie it to a stake. After a week new shoots were seen developing at the nodes. Now that unlucky plant is the healtiest, with 5 stems coming up and blooming. I heard about gardeners purposely plant chillies slanting to induce more stems. ...

Generally two types of chillies, the big chillies and the smaller and hotter ones. All the six plants are of the big chillies, best known as Cili Masak or Cili Besar here in Malaysia.

Nice, pure white cool little flowers for soon-to- be real red hot chillies!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maria, all the way from Sweden!!

I find it difficult to attempt at answering questions in Blotanical Blogs, simply because of my limited knowledge on flowers, veggies and fruits.

It was all about buah delima (Malaysia) or Granatapple (Swedish) or pomegranate. I fail at trying not get involved with quizzes in Blogworld when I answered Maria Berg. Then a week later, a little envelop find its way across the oceans and continents.

Shall I say..., Maria thank you very much..., things seem to live up to the motto that Blotanical support Regional Diversity and engage Gardening Creativity. And most of all, it rekindle friendship in a big way ....

Now I am thinking what to do next, to reciprocate the friendship waves thats coming........

Back to the gift from Sweden, Kakdah is hinting to put the necklace around her first grandchild, a three year old little girl by the name Adlina. Kakdah will definitely tell Adlina that it is from auntie Maria Berg from Sweden!......

for the moment
the gift will stay in the box, until we make our way to Kedah,
or Adlina come over to Putrajaya
with her Mom, Dad and little brother.

Peanuts dancing with flowers

Sixteen peanuts are growing nicely within Batas Walkway.... But on Kakdah insistence, I inserted one plant in the middle and now is blooming. The way peanuts are growing, with lots of branches and weak stems, they really dance with the wind. The flowering plant in the middle creates a focal feature. Keen gardener would probably remember the name of that blooming plant, but I cant. Growing flowering plants is my new adventure, therefore not many click in the mind.

was taken very early in the morning, thus giving flower a darker tone

the little yellow flower
at the top right corner belongs to peanuts!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So, its roselle's turn!

Kakak, the eldest daughter came over for a weekend with her husband and two of her own. Kakdah, kakak's mother or bangchik's wife was so happy. Kakak brought with her roselle seeds all the way from Kedah. She said, those were taken from her neighbor's plant. I germinated a few and surprisingly roots appear the next day and within 3 days, the leaves opened up!... I had grown them in rows where our tomato plants used to be, sharing the little bed with other veggies ....

It is true how fresh seeds result in excellent germination. Roselles are fine example. Seeds bought in little packets from stores has varying success. My attempt at sunflowers was total failure. ... Yes, we are learning all the time...

So, roselle growing will add to the glossary of plants and gardening experience in our little vegetable garden in Putrajaya.

still in little pots

in raised bed, going to 3rd leaves.

all of them


Some basic information

I can never imagine,
roselles are grown in large plantation
as far as eyes can see.


Background information.

1. Story of Roselle
Traditionally, Roselle (of the Hibiscus family and also known as Hibiscus Sabdariffa) was used in teas or mixed with other herbs to be served as a hot drink or health tonic.
Roselle Farms began a development programme in Australia that resulted in several innovative and exciting new products. These products are Nature's New Ingredients for the Food, Drink and Dairy Industries.
Roselle Farms identified Malaysia as having the optimal growing conditions and variety of Hibiscus for producing world-class quality products. To ensure natural goodness is retained, the Company practices Best Farm Management where no pesticides or herbicides are used during the growing cycle ~ ROSELLE FARMS
2. Roselle, My cup of Zing

Like other hibiscus, this robust shrub is easy to grow. Its lovely pale blossoms tinged with pink are a favorite of those big black carpenter bees, but I don’t mind sharing. I’m after only the calyx, which makes a delicious tea – it’s the main ingredient in the Red Zinger you buy in the store, and it’s used in favorite beverages all over the world. ~ HAWAII GARDENING: Roselle, My Cup of Zing
3. Roselle
The flowers aren’t noticeable, or at least not like most of the more showy hibiscus blossoms. Modest, two-to three-inch diameter flowers, off-white to pale yellow, open daily, then quickly turn into seed pods. It’s the calyx, the covering of the seed pod which is the red, fleshy part, that is used for flavoring and cooking. The flowers can be added to salads and even the leaves have the pleasantly sour flavor, so you can gather the smaller, tender leaves to use in salads. The calyxes are gathered while still plump and crisp, into baskets to dry. If left on the plant, the flavor and coloring agents disappear as the seeds ripen, so the harvesting has to be done every few days as the flowering continues. Once dried, the deep, red calyxes can be kept stored in airtight containers for months, even years, until ready for use. ~ Roselle by Jim Long

4. Roselle calyxses

The row of Roselle plants are fruiting with these lovely red calyxes. I havn't tried making a drink with them cos' I heard that they are pretty tangy sour. I know anything that's sour has lots of Vitamin C. I will collect one to try soon. I also heard that the leaves can be eaten in a salad and they taste a bit tangy too. Now wait till I make my salad first. ~ Roselle Calyxes

Monday, May 25, 2009

Peace with marigolds

I wonder if I really had disturbed the biological equilibrium of my vegetable garden. Since the day we bought poison baits pellets and put them around marigolds, I saw dead snails and slugs. We share the small space and we thought it is best to outmanoevred the other specie.s Okey, I cant go on with this guilt feeling, and lets go on with life...

Marigolds are beginning to feel free and be at peace and ease with nature... They grow, the earlier ones as the leftover of snails dinners..... The smaller ones are new batches..

Six of them at peace

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A review of our Batas Walkway

Batas Walkway

A little section, just about 4 by 7 and its a metre away from the pedestrian walkway. The soil is fairly sandy here. We plan it to be like this. We just name this little section as Batas Walkway or Walkway Bed in English.

This sketch was done sometime in March... We were committed with it, and the bed was prepared. We were so disheartened when none of the seeds germinate in little pots. We were lucky when seeds strewn onto the soil germinated. Marigolds among others. We were playing hide and seek with snails over marigolds. We lost most of them to snails. The recently bought poison baits pallets proved very effective in controlling the overflowing appetite of snails. Whats left of marigolds are free to grow, not here where it was earlier planned, but over on other batas or bed, where tomatoes were once blooming and fruiting...

Only peanuts remain as the only surviving mascots for Batas Walkway and another blooming plant.

is this celosia plumosa?

So, shall we agree that even the greatest idea and plan will need some adjustment as we move along implementing them.... haha...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crude composting

Composting is all about letting the organic material to breakdown and turn into finer material. We just pile up remnants of plants, grass cuttings, dead leaves and occasional paper. I notice that the pile seldom end up as real compost, because we take these material as needed for mulching/ground cover for the new plants. We just took out a bit of these for the recent choi sum, pak choy and roselle .... Even if these material are used at an early stage, soon they will also decompose on the vegetable bed...

For those with small vegetable gardens, are you attempting at home-made compost?

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