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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Friday, October 30, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I must tell you that this is my First Award.
(And No.. its not Honest Crap!!!)
Never thought about receiving one Award, I always envied those blogs which be highly decorated with all kinds of award. I guess its just one of the things that makes life a little interesting and fun.
I really appreciate Noelle Johnson (AZ plant lady) from Plant Tips & Guidelines for the Desert Garden (blog). She have been very helpful in her advice in garden plants, a very good blotanical garden friend who keeps in touch in comments and often picking my post in my garden blog.
Thank you for this Award.
If you are a receiver of this award, you need to share some things about yourself. Then, you need to pass along the award to 10 of some of your favorite blogger. I'm suppose to tag 10 people and pass this award to, so if you if like it - great! but it don't then its OK. No pressure in making a must. After all - its just for fun.
1. My Fantasy Garden:
I often wished to have a rooftop garden where I can take my dip in a long bath surrounded by fragrant flowers and have tea in the evening reading my favourite book. Having more than a garden, like having birds nesting and breeding is one of those cherished thoughts.
2. My Scariest Experience:
I really don't have so much that I can consider a scare,
except for huge centipedes running towards me when I reset my potted soils,
the first impulse is to smash them with my spade.
3. Then it was some moments where when gardening in late night (yes, I garden till early in the morning) and there is this sudden creepiness that comes and startle me few times until I would call it a day. Sort of a vampire watching me...
(too much of night fragrant plants that is in my mind)
4. I love cats.
I used to have cats as pets and somehow I feel very much attached to them.
I had phobia with dogs. It happened when I was younger & I saw my little sister tried to pet a wild dog and it attacked her violently. My parents blamed me for not taking care of her. Back then I was about 9 years old & she about 6. Ever since then, I had trouble getting close to dogs, only last year did I manage to make peace with them when my neighbour had a puppy. I finally overcame my phobia with dogs.
5. I come from the family of 5, having 2 elder sisters and a younger sister & a youngest brother. Compared to all my siblings, only my mom & I have gardening tendency. The rest of them have different hobbies & interest.
6. We came from a poor family, life was hard for us. Everything I owed was shared & its considered the greatest sin when food was wasted. I lived in street side shop houses where there is no garden. My gardening passion was partially satisfied when I garden in friends or any of my relatives garden.
7. Only when I got married and got a house did my passion exploded with all the plants I wanted to plant and grow, only then did I feel really at home. With my garden.
8. Whenever I go visit my mom, (she shifted for a better garden space) we would first spend the time talking about each plants progress or do some minor gardening or harvesting before doing anything else. If that time any of my mom's friends or neighbours drop by, she would introduce me as stating that only both of us are crazy for plants.
9-10. My favourite Garden Movie.
(I pruned my 10.. if not, its way too long)
I must say that whenever I watch a movie, more than anything - the Garden seemed to impress me more than all the stories put together.

a) Minority Report , Tom Cruise will meet a lady who tends her garden where her garden is actually alive with carnivorous plants.

b) Lost in Space, Matt leBlac acts here (famous in Friends) I love the part where they come to a spaceship and find a huge hydroponic garden.

c) Disney - Tinkerbelle : The movie have a great imagination of fairies and nature stuff. I can watch it over & over again.

d) Ferngully - I love those fairies who work in growing plants and the moral of the story (it had an impact in my childhood about deforestation)

e) An Finally - The Chronicles of Narnia - Love the way the flower petals fairy dance, with trees moving and beautiful landscape. There are many more, just can't think of their names right now.
I hope I have not bored you to tears. Hope its not the torture I had placed you, especially when its Halloween and all. and if you are afraid of getting this award. Please pass it on to ten other blogger, hopefully they will get into it. The list below is in no particular order.
1) Stephanie from Steph's Green Space.
Its about her lovely garden experiences and often times have all the rare and exotic looking plants.
2) AutumnBelle from My Nice Garden.
Its about her urban gardening adventures and personal stories. I often enjoy all the garden stories and the native plants she discovers and write about.
3) Jacqueline from John&jacq~s Garden.
I really enjoy her hard work in her research and compiling the detailed plant profiles. Very much I have discovered so many plants characters from her postings.
4) Julian from Tropical Garden
Its about his experiences about the tropical garden, vegetables, insect and all the things that really marvels me a lot when he writes these things in his blog.
4) Sue from Making a House a Home.
She is from Michigan who enjoy having a lovely outdoor lifestyle. I often enjoy looking at her nature adventures and also her comments.
5) Mary Delle from Secret Cottage Garden.
She is so amazing when she put her hands into gardening. Everything seemed to spring up into life. (That is my perception of course) Most of the plants she garden are very difficult for me even to start with and hers grows so lavishly.
6) Di from Voice in the Garden.
She has stunning nature views that makes me jaw drop and most times wonder am I in the same planet with her. She just captures that beauty.
7) Nell Jean from Secrets of Seed Scatterer.
Often amaze with all the tropical plants she plants in the garden. She just have the green thumb for it.
8) Jaime Boey from Snapshots of Home Gardening.
Just loves to garden. You take so much trouble to take care of your beautiful garden.
9) Sue from A Corner Garden.
I'm constantly amazed at her garden development. Whats been done in days that patch would have taken me months to accomplish. This award is for you Sue.
10) Kenneth Moore from The Indoor Garden(er).
Just love his experiences indoor container gardening. Often share our episcia experiences which seemed to do well for both of us.
. This seemed to be more difficult that I thought.
With few of the names already taken in the list from Rosey Pollen & Noelle - this seemed to be quite a difficult task in just finding another 10 names.
If I have tagged you and you would like to participate, just click the award and save it as an image and insert into your own Honest Scrap Award post.
Thank you very much for all the support in your comments, in encouragements and being part of my life in my Garden Chronicles.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Between the Heart, a Vine and a Wood

Between the Heart, a Vine and a Wood,
never but bleed nor Joy nor Worm nor Weed,
No.. Not a worm, not a Weed
but a Wormwood & Joyweed.

Whereas a Heart but bleed nor vine nor wood,
rest all these together a merry best friends
growing together supporting each other.

Have I confused you with my tangled words,
twisting vine & cords of three?
But now please cast your eyes upon them,
and see those fellows resting their arms
upon each other gracefully in elegance.

Do you see what I see?
A Bleeding Heart Vine, A Wormwood and A Joyweed.

This fern looking plant is really elusive in getting itself identified.
It took a great deal of time just to make sure that I got it right.
Its known known as Wormwood (Artemisia capillaris) There are many varieties of these species, but the most common one is this one. Its very much known locally as "pokok halau nyamuk" means mosquito repelled plant. But there is another one with a similar name identified together with geranium.
I found its name where some agricultural scholars are doing some research with this plant with the DNA genetic variability.
Though I doubt they really chase mosquito's away, they do have a nice fragrance, more like a fresh lemon, pine & a mint herbal smell. I guess that's what keeps these pest away.
Another thing about this plant is that the matured leaves look very different compared to the sprouted leaves. Here it look very much like an asparagus fern or fennel-like plant but actually they can really grow up more than 7 feet in a single branch.
Its actually a herb but its very much used as an ornament plant planted as borders. It can take good pruning and every time it comes back more bushy and lushly. It need good sunlight, lack of it may cause this plant to go leggy, scrawling all over & become very unattractive.
They need good watering too, lacking water may cause the young shoot to collapse. They also give out tiny grass like flowers where it would attract small birds to pick and eat them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flaming the Violets

These are my trial version to find how durable is these flame violet's vine. I didn't realise that these fallen vine had survived inside the pebbled pot of my Dumbcane plant. They must have got there by wind & rain. I tried to uproot them but had second thoughts and had left them there.

Whether these blotch of bronze have got to do anything or whether they are the premature colours that comes on the young leaf?

I'm happy the way these flame violets turned out, most often they are very unpredictable.
When I feel very confident about them, they end up failing me & when I'm very cautious and consider them a hit & miss - they end up rewarding me with the great bloom & heavy clustered leaves.

Just to show a singular leaf - their finger print of the crested formation and the veins. I actually had two varieties of these kind. The Lesser Bronze had gotten extinct due to my neglect in planting both species in one pot.
Now, the Greater Bronze rules.

These are my green type. They had survived from the earlier onslaught of rain & pest (snails & slugs) Very much earlier I had placed them on the ground and they did very well until the rainy days had damaged them.
Right now, they are blooming and well behaved.

I had placed few strands and spend up vine on the side of the tiles with the pebbles. Within few weeks they seemed to spring to life with many off springs but I doubt they ever flower in these shaded area.
Few Tips about these Flame Violets:
1) Episcia does well in shade or semi-shade but not recommended in hot sunny areas.
There are setbacks in shades too. Too much sunlight may give out a lot of flowers but at the expense of burned leaves. Placed in a shaded area may give the leaves a darker colouring and broader shaped leaves. (but few flowers may bloom at this condition)
My suggestion is to use a good organic fertiliser weekly & note the difference. Start using the fertiliser much lesser than recommended on the label. If they do find then its good.
Some fertiliser are very strong and may burn or kill the plant, so its best to use the fertiliser cautiously (especially if you are feeding the plant for the first time)
Episcia often goes appears to be dormant at their initial planted stage. It would look unattractive for the first few weeks and may even slowly turn few leaves yellow
(don't worry its the initial process)
Once they started shooting out the tendrils, its means its showtime!
The trick is to keep it moist but not wet. (tricky isn't it)
A word of caution: If you find this plant starting to rot
(usually you will find, few leaves at the bottom rotting together with the stem)
remove them from the soil and let it dry up for a day or two and then, replant again.
Do not place this plant in the water as it will not root (like other plants)
rather, it will start to rot.
Flame violets don't last long as a parent plant, they need to be replanted time to time. If you don't the whole plant matures and dies, unless they put out a lot of tendrils (runners) and you can't tell the difference.
There is a big difference between planting them as ground cover & as hanging basket plant.
The ground covering plant is much easier & reliable, they grow fast and put lots of tendrils but if the ground becomes too wet for too long they will eventually rot.
Whereas in a hanging basket - you can control the water but again they are slow and matures fast.
Regardless, Flame Violets are one beautiful plant to have in shaded garden area.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Colours in the Garden

These are my additional updates about colours.
This one is known as Aluminium Plant.

I had it before but it really didn't do well. This collection came from the rescued plants. The stem was badly damaged, I had trimmed it and replant them, it took awhile for it to grow and when it did - it gave some nice 4 leaved sprouts.

Something to consider that little thing matters.

This Basket Plant do not have primary roots, they just sit here in this make shift pot, the soil is nothing but a mixture of compost & sand. (Most of the compost came from all the pruned drying leaves.) I had collected the rest and placed of them here and placed it on my roof. They are still doing fine. Its amazing hardy plant with a nice cream stripes.

I still haven't identified the name for this begonia, as far as for me to identify it, I call it Curled-leaf Begonia. If anyone can identify the name, I would really appreciate it. Like any begonias - this one have 2 shades of colour.
The top pic notes the leaf colour in red as it had been well exposed in sunlight & the bottom 2 are placed in shade.

Finally, These are many varieties of colours arranged closely that makes my garden alive & vibrant. All the small plants put together and they really give the colourful impact that I often stop & admire. Most of the time I would be picking snails and slugs and dry leafs.
The Purple Queen didn't do well this time, I'm afraid that it might die slowly as too much water (rain) and lack of sunlight may kill the plant. I had removed it from this collection and may have to place it by the sun or what is left of that limited light that comes during this time of the year.
I would dearly miss these just as I miss my Zebra Tradescantia. Both of them have a lovely colours combo on their leaves. For the matter, purple & yellow go very well as they are great opposite colours. When these colours are placed together, they make a small garden look big.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The White Connection - Update

These are my White Collection plants planted in the pot. They have been doing very well in a dense cramped area and I feeling good about it. Occasionally one plant or the other become leggy and unattractive, I managed to trim and replant some but for the zigzag plant I'm not sure whether to do it or not.

If you notice(the zigzag plant) , the lower leaves are smaller than the top ones. For now, they look authentic in a way, you cannot expect a perfect garden. I like to have some imperfection just here & there. For me - that means its being realistic.

My garden is slowly evolving to a white garden, or I would consider its following the season of winter (or a pseudo-winter kind of way) Somehow I find that colours makes an impact in my small space garden, or rather my container garden.

Talking about colours - I realise then in gardening green seemed to be a monochrome colour to me.

Something like in the scale :-
(0 = common, 10 = difficult)

0 = Green (ferns & fragrant plant foliage)
1 = White (as shown in these pictures, Bleeding Hearts)
2 = Brown (Begonias, Flame violets)
3 = Red (Joyweed, Coleus)
4 = Yellow (Hanii, Coleus)
5 = Pink (Coleus, Moss Rose, Periwinkle)
6 = Orange (Blackberry lily)
7 = Grey (Red Flame Ivy)
8 = Violet (rare - wishbone flower)
9 = Blue (rare - verbena, orchid)
10 = Black (none)

I'm hoping that I get to "paint" all these colours in my garden in a long term basis. In a way, these colours stay in a long term basis (especially foliage colours) rather than one time bloom and gone and to wait for months & years for these colours.

Thank God for Periwinkle, Bleeding Heart Vine, Blackberry Lily & Flame Violets for their constant continuous blooms that add colour to my garden, if not - then its the varigated coloured foliage that makes up for that difference.

Again, it may sound that I'm becoming obsessive with these colours and all, somehow satisfaction & contentment comes after putting a lot of thought & work.

Do share your thoughts on colours in the garden.
About these colour factors and how you feel about them.
When my garden look good, I feel good too.

I'm sure each gardener have a feel of their own,
would love to hear your thoughts on the matter,
whether it really matters to you have a coloured garden?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trailing Watermelon Begonia (Pellionia Repens)

These plants are best grown in hanging baskets. It has a trailing vine like stem with dual soft satin leaves.

It had bloomed together with my flame violets, those which I place on the ground with pebbles making them look like a rock garden theme. All was well & good until it rained continuously and they started to rot. The snail infestation had added to the damage until the whole ground plant rotted & died.

The blooms are very small clusters which looked like little spikes ripped off from the grapes. (nothing to shout about - in fact they are so insignificant that you hardly notice them)

If you notice the last 2 pictures, the plant seemed to be more greener than others. Its because that one is placed in shade. I realise that this one too is sensitive to sunlight as most of its colour pigments respond to sunlight. Though its called begonia, its not from a begonia species.

The Satin Pellonia (Pellionia pulchra) look similar to this one, so the names seemed to inter-relate with each other. I for one not sure which is the right name. As for now, I'm satisfied with the best identifying name: Pellionia.


1) They are not draught tolerant nor do they like too much watering. I once found a nice long piece suddenly shrivelled and rotting (top to bottom) until now, I'm really not sure what is the identifying factor for that cause. I suspect lack of water may had caused it.

2) Their roots do not go deep, so its best to keep in shallow pots.

3) They need to be trimmed & re potted time to time or else they will slowly become mature and die. Feeding & watering gives them a lushly look.

What is rewarding is that they have a handsome painted leaves that goes well for coloured foliage theme garden. And they do well in hanging baskets, especially when lacking space.
Unlike creeping figs or tradescantias, this one do not have roots coming out at the side of the hanging plant.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cane Begonia

This is the update of my Cane Begonia.
I had put a stick to support it and was surprised to see that they had overgrowth it.
Now, its one of the tallest plant challenging my blackberry lily plant.

There was once that it rain very heavy and had this begonia had got lost its balance and had snapped due to the weight of the leaves. I had immediately secured the branch by tightening the strings and the broken branch had somehow healed itself.

Though it grows tall, I have not seen the hard dry wood, instead its still the red soft stalk growing tall. I'm happy to note that there are some nice flower blooms.

They are not so showy but pretty somehow.

The flower pictures where taken in stages, hope you enjoy the development. Its one of the easiest begonias and now it had given out many beautiful foliage. It is said that begonia flowers are edible but I'm really sure how true that is. I had eaten Wax Begonia flowers, they seemed to be a little sour but nice.
Begonias are known as "Asam Batu" locally which means "Stone Tamarind" I'm not sure which part of it is considered as stone but they sure does taste close to a tamarind.

If you want to know my experiences on my trials & success of the cane begonia -
do click for label listed on: Cane Begonia

Monday, October 19, 2009

Joyweed. (Alternanthera Dentata 'Purple Knight')

I know I got the name right but was confused why the colour began to change from burgundy to green. Ohh.. I realise now, they change colours in shade. I was thinking that it would remain those beautiful burgundy in the shade and may compliment my greens. This is one of the rescued plants which seemed to do so well without any problems.

But they have turned green and gave an unattractive colour, or so to say for me. I had placed the plant outside where it sun shines the brightest and it went back to its glorious colour but much more in the slower rate. (you can see the change of colours in the 2nd & 3rd pic. below)

My only concern is that this plant tend to wilt very fast in the sun when not watered in a day. And so, this needs daily watering. They immediately recover within an hour after watering.
Other than that, they are hardy and fast growers which may turn leggy after few months.
I think the go excellent with coleus and wormwood.

I'm not sure whats eating them, ( snail or slug) notice there are too many holes in the leaves when placed in a shade. I got another variety which have a pink & white patches on the leaves, which goes well indoors, but they look very unhealthy.

Now my garden is slowly turning into a jungle, I may have to start to trim, prune, clear, throw, clean, arrange, organise and make beautiful the garden for Christmas.

Yes - you read it correctly,
I have to start doing it now so that I have enough time to settle outdoors without much interruption. My mum is having few plants as stock to pass to me and I have been postponing that for sometime and I have been eye-ing for some abandoned plants (hoping that nothing or nobody destroy them before I rescue them...hmmmm)
How I wish I got more space... well, I guess I have to make do with I got.

Beehive Ginger - Zingiber Spectabile

These are growing near my place, near a so-called park which is poorly or not managed.
This is where I found the Bleeding Heart Vine (in my last posting).
Somehow, these Beehive Ginger look so enchanting.

I manage to take 3 cuttings of these flowers (all those you see in these pictures) for a floral decoration for Deepavali in my in-laws house. I also took the Heliconia & Canna lilies flowers from there (Jinjang Stroll) and set a beautiful floral arrangement. (Then I realise I had forgotten to take my camera as I was rushing to go there)

A little info. about this plant. This is a native plant in Malaysia known as Tepus Tanah.
When I inspected this plant, I checked the spend flowers which seemed to turn soggy and rotten.
I realise that these flowers retain water in them that may encourage mosquitos & leeches to breed inside them. When I cut these flowers, I felt a hollow feeling of water swirling inside the flower. This plant seemed to do so well in shady area. As they are totally under a very covered tree.

But somehow with all these setback, they truly make a lovely cut flower arrangement.

Later in the evening, I came back to take the picture of the park with children playing and the surrounding area. I found a lot of pruned bougainvilla branches which I planted recent (last posting) and found the parent plant at the back portion of the park.
These branches were littered here.
(at the last picture - where I also collected reed orchid branches - about 20 of them - hehehe)

You can also notice a hill just at the background.
That is the famous Batu Caves Hill right in front of my housing area.

My Deepavali was very exhausting visiting family & friends, having a heartily meal & turning down most of the heavy meals for a light drink and cookies. It seemed to be more relaxing to go to work then being free for this weekend. (both my wife & I agree on that fact for this weekend)

With all the air-bombs & explosion..
oh sorry - firecrackers burnt..
Tt was very difficult for my 8 month old baby to sleep and
more irritating when those are inconsiderate burn these loud crackers
even at 2am - 3am in the morning. (Morons!!!!)
I'm sure many would have cursed them instead of receiving a blessing on a deepavali day.
They are so brainless! (ok.. enough curses for this auspicious day)

About Me

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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