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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Never Never Plant.

No, really..
That's the name of the plant. I too was puzzle why such a name. Well, who should I question concerning this issue? Probably there must be a big disagreement between few experts and they may have such a great disagreement that the have decided "Never never discuss about it"
And probably when they cannot come to an agreement - they might say -
"Lets discuss about the plant that we "never never agreed upon" and I guess they might had finally agree to disagree to mutually call it - Never never plant?
(Who knows?)

When I first found this, (you guessed it correctly again - another rescued plant) It was all burned with damaged foliage and there was nothing except some little tubers dangling together with broken stalks. It was terrible dehydrated and somehow it was a "never never moment" kindathing.

I guess it was planted where it got good sunlight and so it was much darker with contrasting white, as it grew gracefully it started to give a softer green - sort of graceful green with whites.
I have seen another species of this kind where its known as a tricolor where it has a red back.
(Similar to the Chinese Croton) That one must be a prized one as I rarely notice it in many gardens.

This Never never plant (Maranta arundinacea)
Comes from the Marantas family (closely resemble the prayer plant & peacock plant)
Thanks to Andrea for help concerning the description of this plant.
More details of this plant can be found here: Maranta arundinacea

This is a pretty plant with variegated colours to keep in the garden. They just add more colour and beauty in the midst of many other variegated plants.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Box of Surprises

I wouldn't say that this is a box of chocolates,
not something like what been mentioned by Forrest Gump:
My momma always said,
"Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

What I had thought this planter box should be never seemed to take place, together with another collections of events that took place, it would be easy if I just mentioned that I had picked all these abandoned from the roadside - products from where these are been pruned and being dumped to die & dry. Mostly all bundled and tied up for the garbage guy to pick up.

Of course, another way to say it is to make it a little dramatic in stating that one was rescued and the other was salvaged from the scorching heat laid by the roadside. And due that effect, the foliage had face some burns and damage. And some cuttings just don't survive after that shock.

I sometimes wonder whether I had become a sucker for plants that had been thrown away, it seemed that I somehow had braved myself to collect "garbage" something I never consider doing. (Who would do such things - I'm sure all would consider that very dishonouring)

Regardless, I remember a friend who noticed me picking up a dying plant and she had noticed that I had revive it and that the plant was thriving in my garden. She was surprised that I managed to save it and gave an opportunity of survival to it.
I remember that now, as when I do collect them, I see that this piece of plant have a living hope to survive - regardless how slim that chance might be.

Whats more frustrating is that I had forgotten the name of this plant, Google didn't help.
With what am I going to refer this plant for its description? I had tried - a plant with red underside and I get maples and autumn leaves, I had tried few tropical foliage plants but to no avail. Its a mystery to have this one, I guess it must be the variegated type and another thing - its too sensitive and a very slow grower. Since I cannot identify it, I really can't be sure whether I'm taking care this plant properly.


Thanks Stephanie for helping me to identify this plant:
Tricolor Chinese Croton (Excoecaria cochinchinensis)

The common ones are bicolor where its green at the top with the red at the bottom whereas this one has a splashes of cream , pink & green at the top.

I had found that its poisonous and may cause blindness. (So now, I got a good collection of poisonous plants - probably would do a post on that topic) Another species from this family Buta-buta or Blind-your-eye (Excoecaria agallocha) commonly found on the landward margin of mangroves.

Its milky sap or latex that exudes from broken leaves, bark and twigs is poisonous and can blister skin, hurt eyes and may even cause temporary blindness. 'Buta' means 'blind' in Malay. The latex is also used as a fish poison as well as in dart poison.

The other is Dracaena reflexa 'Song of India'
I have been eye-ing this for a very long time. Finally I got it - request from a gardener who tends in my wife's working place.
Yes, I know - gardeners tend to connect to each other just like that. It must be the plants that I have been "rescuing" along the roadside and he must have noticed that too.
Right now, we exchange plants - and now, I can easier pass all my overgrown coleus, wormwood and what nots. Don't have the feel the pain in seeing a plant going to waste.

Ok - Back to Song of India.
Another slow growing plant. They do root in water but you must watch out for the leaves as they tend to cause the water to stink and the roots may just rot. After placing few cuttings only one of each had managed to survive and had put out new shoots. This one has a white stripes on it.

The other greener one has the opposite colour contrast.
(How cool is that)
Known as Malaysian Dracaena, Song of Jamaica, Small-leaved Dragon Tree. (Dracaena reflexa 'Song of Jamaica')

I had managed to add my left over Aluminium Plants together in this planter box. These are those few ones that had been growing in the corners of several pots. I had decided to put all of them here.
Hope they all live in harmony.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yellow for a Tiger Year

Its been hot for few days, unlike ordinary sunny days this time it was very hot that the heat spans all through the night. And that is something that is very inconvenient when it comes to sleeping. You can hear the air-conditioning compressors doing overtime during the night around the neighbourhood.

For those who do not own one, well a juicy watermelon before bedtime might help, that is a well simple portion, too much and it might bring cold with a running nose and that is definitely not a good sign. Everyone had became very cautious in consuming the mandarin oranges. Often these are been exchanged or passed around as a token for the season. Somehow a lot of people had learn a good lesson with yesteryear's sore throats and coughs.

Well, I guess the season for this region would very much be orchids blooming - especially when there is a long duration of sunny days and an immediate breaks of long rain may trigger orchid blooms. Unfortunately it didn't happen to my garden, not yet.

Still feeling lucky though, my yellow ixora's had compensated by taking turn in her blooming cycle. A little pruning and a little fertiliser had brought some magic. Most of the other flowering plants are yet to explode their blooms.

Of course the Cane Begonia would certainly steal the show here - that is whenever these ixora fail to blossom. But for now, let these ixora brighten the day or at least they remain open 24 hours a day with many blooms. Wish the sunbirds or some butterflies might visit these flowers, that is if I got the chance to see them with my camera on.

But hey! I'm sure they would visited,
if not - how can you explain the fruit? (last pic)

(Arranged in a row from left to right - back)
(Night Blooming Jasmine, Yellow Ixora, Bleeding Heart Vine & Cane Begonia)
(Front - Never never plant)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Be Again Another Villa!

What is pink when born, turn to cream and later wears a dash of green on its spine?
I still wonder how it manage to change the pink to cream.

I had purchased this bougainvillea few years ago, but due to the shaded environment it had not flowered yet. Its a surprise to me as the thorns are very soft & docile. This one is a cascading type and it requires a stick to support it.

Variegation is a wonderful thing, you cannot expect to find something like this unless its a hybrid.
Even the matured leaves has that hazy watercolour effects painted on its leaves and each leaves are unique by its own design. It reminds of me of marbles - something which I used to play in my childhood.

Probably it might be the colours of a villa?
But wait, there were not variegated types when this one was named.

What does these colours reminds you?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bou Gain a Villa

I had collected these pruned branches from the park area near my place. I remember mentioning this in my last post where I found the orchids and the beehive ginger. As the result, these bougainvillea had sprouted and had become a nice plant. I planted it last Oct. and it took practically about 4 months for this to grow into nice plant.

I manage to make about 10 -15 cuttings from them but only one managed to survive . So, that's explains the difficulty I had faced, those countless times which I had failed in propagating a bougainvillea.
I guess, the variegated types are very challenging. Next time, I would consider buying this plant from a nursery than propagating it.

These leaves are broader and the colours are lesser due the environment where is very much shaded. I had seen many bougainvilleas along the street sides where its constantly go through a lot of abuse but somehow it seemed to thrive much better with the hardship.

One thing about this plant - you either would love it or hate it. I wonder how I had changed from the hating part to the loving part - it must be the variegated leaves. I resent those dried paper flowers, often litter the gardens and does in most cases create a nuisance, like those Styrofoam packaging stuff (flying all over)

I can't recall what had changed my mind, probably I got used seeing it too often, those planted by the street sides and shopping malls. Or perhaps those sold in nursery where many varieties coloured flowers and leaves are grafted in one tree.

Perhaps its the waiting and watching part, whether this plant is for real or like those types which are sold for a short-term basis. And again, it could also be the cost part - any new plants introduced in the market are usually expensive and I'm not that adventurous type of person.

Above all, there is one thing about bougainvilleas - there are also the variegated type, so if you don't get the flowers, you can still enjoy the coloured foliage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Minority Repot

Have you seen Steven Spielberg movie (2002 sci-fi) - Minority Report starred by Tom Cruise & Collin Farrell? Its a futuristic movie about a psychic where her thoughts can be observed and their images manipulated - Tom Cruise and his crew arrest killers before they've had a chance to commit murder.
The twist begins when he is framed as a murderer but wait.. a crime which he didn't commit yet?

Ok..Ok.. where does gardening got to with this?
There was a scene where Tom goes to a gardeners house where the gardener tends all the carnivorous plants in her greenhouse- and that seemed to be interesting to note when it comes to hybrid plants, plants that guard at your gate, plants that cues and plays with your hand...

This is a short script a scene in the greenhouse:

Dr. Iris Henimen:
"It's funny how all living organisms are alike... "
[she starts crushing a mutated plant]

"when the chips are down,
when the pressure is on,
every creature on the face of the Earth
is interested in one thing and one thing only."

[as she continue to crush harder, the plant scars her palm]
"Its own survival. "

You can click here to see the portion of the movie:
Minority Report Part 7

That reminds me of this Creeping Fig (Ficus Repens).
When I purchased it - it was all so docile and tame, and you can see it showing its colour - no, not the variegated white and green - the part where it shed its innocent whites and starts crawling on the walls.
This is how it looked like earlier when I first bought it: Click Here

I'm not saying that's bad, it just what nature would do when its left alone, creating its own environment when left alone.

And the moral of the story: Its all about Survival.

Does any of your plants wants to tell you: Leave me alone!
Well this one does, I dare not transfer this, the last time I did that - the whole plant dried up and dead. So this happened to be surviving in the pockets of other main plants. Somehow, it does serve as a good ground cover.
Click below for more information about this plant:
Red Flame Ivy (Hemigraphis Alternata)

This is one of my rescued plants,
Aluminium Plant. (Pilea Cadierei) Also known as Watermelon Plant.
I consider this as one of the difficult plants to cultivate. The whole this is just one plant and you tell me how on earth am I going to propagate this more?
Basic factor:
1) Requires light shade to full shade. (Does not tolerate direct sun without burning of the leaves)
2) Requires a sandy well-drained soil with regular watering.
3) Propagated by cuttings or division.
4) Considered as a poisonous plant. (all parts of the plant)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Begonias - Pride of Garden

I never expected these begonias to make a beautiful scenery in my garden. Colours of burgundy & black. What I love are these cute little pink blooms - they are not so beautiful but they do make an pretty impression -Don't you think?

These Cane Begonia are very easy to handle, enough watering - shaded & that's it. All of them are soft wood & so the need attention time to time to see if the stump may be very matured and they may just "die standing."

I wouldn't say the same for the hanging pots. Black Velvet Begonias seemed to be doing well sometime ago but now they all are turning burnt lately. I had given this plant to few of my friends and family but just like some of my plants they didn't survive there.

I haven't got the flowers for this one yet, regardless I'm still mesmerised by the cluster of grapes like leaves.. they are just gorgeous together with the Cane Begonia.

Do you want to know why they call it Velvet Begonia?
Click Here to find out why.

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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