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Welcome - Malaysian Tropical RainForest Garden Blog.


Here is where I share all my tropical garden design, concepts, themes & experiences, secrets and tips in gardening, plant care, my plant discoveries, experiments of my trials & errors.

I'm blessed with the Hot & Wet Tropical Climate and my endeavour with Tropical Garden & Rare, Exotic Plants.

I am a Plant Enthusiast and Gardening is a major part of my life where I love to share my thoughts, experiences & life work.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Garden Rearrangment



It all started with the idea of making my side corner garden area beautiful. That is something nicer than this heavy looking Heliconia plant with its leaves falling all over.

I started removing the mess and guess what?
More mess.


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Before scrolling down;
Please Be Warned.
Before A Well Organised Garden takes place, there is always a MESSY GARDEN.
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Well you know what, there is no such thing as a well organised garden. Garden are garden, no matter how and what one may plan & plant..
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They will somehow find their wild side and shock you....
(As it was the earlier case with my Heliconia)
And all the mess from one side invaded the other side as you see below....
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(together with my on the spot replanting which I manage to settle for the Ferns, Purple Queen, Cane Begonia, Roses, Ixora and Night Blooming Jasmine)


Finally, one by one are sorted and settled in my best thought areas: Night blooming Jasmine and Yellow Ixora which I got them from my mum.

I got this Maiden Hair Fern also from my mum (seemed like she is the supplier of most of my plants) She wanted to clear her mess and passed this one to me.
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I got another few tiles which I stacked up. They need washing as I just notice the dirt now in this picture.
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(planning to place some nice pots to make a statement kind of effect.. still thinking about it)
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She passed all the big version of the Maiden Hair Ferns. So I thought of alternating the small and the big in a row, after doing so - they seemed to look nice. I manage to snap a picture just the ferns together with the creeping fig... they really give that cascading look.



Yellow Ixora flower - still blooming when I was doing this sorting, also Night Blooming Jasmine.
(probably will do another write on both of them later)

This is the over-all view of the near finish work area.
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I may need to rearrange and sort it time to time as time goes, but as for now, this is more like the final work done. Flame violets hanging with Coleus and Begonias at the background.
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Actually the mix of colours really make the place look nice even though they look strong with clashing colours.




I also managed to rearrange this area. Not much of a difference from the earlier arrangement but its much more better compared to before. I had removed the palm orchid and placed it back where it was originally and sorting this one with a reverse arranged from tall to short.
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(so far, nothing died from my earlier planting except for ants invasion and mealy bugs farmed by these ants....urrrggghhhh!!!!)
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As for now, this will have to do until I get some bright ideas.
I still got few more plants waiting for me to plant:
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Few species of Coleus which I manage to take from my mum, a bunch of Wormwood plant and Black Velvet Begonia which really need some pruning and replanting



Purple Queen replanted



This piece comes from the earlier pot I was working on. (Squirrel Foot Fern)

I took out a nice well developed roots. If you want to know whether the purple queen is doing well you will able to identify it by the roots. A thriving purple queen will have a thick juicy crawling roots. These roots can break easily within the soil if they are pulled out (when not handle gently)

So, in this case, I normally turn the pot upside down with the soil and break open the root bound and remove all the crawled up roots and free the locked soil, the roots however I use them as composite or just throw them away.

There is another set of roots that may appear from the leaf section or nodes, do not mistaken them for the major roots, they are just the tiny ones that happen to appear as they are in contact with water & soil.

If you place them on the ground, they will slowly crawl away from the original spot. I had mine planted on a pot and found none of them fixed firmly on the pot, rather they became long segments of leggy plants. This happens when they are not watered properly or the original spot is not their favourite thriving spot.




OK, what's happening here?
I had checked both of these two pots and found none of them had developed its roots like the first picture. (the think juicy roots) Infact, the whole plant is just at the surface and the right at the bottom, I found branch rot.

Some have developed short roots but they are just surviving. This happens when there is too much water and the soil too soggy. Also the leaves are slightly green and leggy when there is not enough sunlight.

Well, I had trimmed them and planted them in bunches of 4 - 5 plants in one hole. That way, the look short but bushy (just the way I like them) The lower leaves needed to be trimmed before placing them into the soil to avoid rotting.

There is another thing about the scientific name, I found that its refered also as Setcreasea purpurea or Setcreasea pallida. However, after checking some resources, I found out that its actually the same as Tradescantia pallida. There's not two different species but one.






Finally, my purple Queen. I guess this is not too obvious. I think I will take another picture after few weeks. I'm sure it would very pretty by then.

How to Care & Cultivate Squirrel Foot Fern - Davallia trichomanoides



This particular type of fern is commonly known as Rabbit foot fern,
alternatively also known as Squirrel foot fern, Deer foot.. Bear foot..
These are Dacallia species which are very much like a weed growing everywhere rather than been cultivated as a prized fern collection.


Their difference are very much identified in their geographical location and the shape & co lour of their furry rhizome. The silvery white shade furry rhizome is known as Rabbit Foot Fern (Davallia Fejeensis) 

The Hare's Foot Fern, Black Rabbit's Foot Fern also known as Squirrel Foot Fern which has a brown to black shade rhizome. (Davallia trichomanoides)


This one is native here in Malaysia, it can be found everywhere.
(on tree barks, by the drain sides, even along wall cracks at the back of houses where it grows wildly)
These cut-ferns were often used for flower arrangements and these last very long almost 2 weeks in a cut form. Usually cut ferns withers within days but not this one.


How to Care for Squirrel Foot Fern

WATERING

This one is very hardy, it can handle infrequent watering as well as over-watering. 
Although - do be concerned with over-watering unless your medium you are using must be fast draining. The root-ball seemed to be like a strands of thick furry succulent type root system. These will trail and grow everywhere.

If the leaves turn yellow then it means it is receiving too much water and roots are starting to rot.

LIGHTING

These thrive in bright shaded areas similar like orchids and other epiphytes. Often these grow together side by side. Too much sun can burn the leaves.


MEDIUM

These ferns thrive with fast draining medium similar used for orchids.
Bark, wood chips, perlite, charcoal, sphagnum moss, coconut husk chips, and similar materials does very well for this fern medium. 







Friday, July 24, 2009

Thai Basil - Ocimum basilicum



This is the moment where the plants had invaded my office. A gardener friend who works together in office brought a bunch of this herb for me to try out. Said that her neighbour was shifting and passed this plant to her, in the midst of moving these are the broken pieces.

I asked her whether this one can be propagated using these branches? Well, she too was not sure. Anyway I managed to get some seeds from the flower pods and also took the chances in planting them using these branches. (seeds placed in a plastic)

Well, I must say that I was quite happy to see the results. The seeds did sprout after a week and the branches also did well. I manage to pass a stack to another office mate who was very much interested in this Thai Basil... (oppps.. I almost forgot to mention the details)

OK - This one is known as Thai Basil,
its have a nice fragrant on the leaves, its used as herbs but very much as a salad. It has the brown purplish flower stalk (this one is still young - green) It is very much susceptible in getting aphids, often happens when the plant is about to get very matured and its dying stage. Once this happens, its time to prune and do whatever necessary to avoid the spread to other plants.

Another plant look exactly like this one and often mistaken for Thai Basil is Thulasi or better known as Holy Basil. I will follow-up on that later. (I got that from my neighbour whose plant is vigorously sprouting it's seeds & seedling sprouting everywhere)








My development of Thai Basil sprouts. I guess its 3 weeks old.



These are planted by branch cuttings. I had placed them in water for few days before pressing them on soil. So far they look so good. I guess I do not have the heart to havest them and use them as salad, probably when my seedlings are all grown well and strong (probably then)
I have to remember that some of my neighbours and my mum did asked me for this plant. Need to pass to them too...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Red Canna Lily



This is one of the plants that is growing in my wife office area. Manage to take these pictures while waiting for her to finish her work. I use to admire these flowers when I was a child, often spot them at the bank of the river or wetlands. I also wished I can get them on my hands as I was curious to find how these petals are formed (which one is up or down??)
I also mistaken them for an iris plant.

I guess those childhood moments are forgotten and again these memories flash back again when faced them face to face. They don't look so interesting or intrigue as those moments. Anyway, here it goes another story of childhood plants.

Canna Lilies

1) Grown using rhizome (root tuber or bulb)
They can also be propagated by seeds (spherical black seeds formed in seedpods)

2) Not a true lily but more from the ginger, heliconia & banana species.

3) Can also be grown in poorly drained areas and in shallow ponds. Need full sun for flowers to bloom.







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