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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


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.


NanaK said...

Your rescued plants look lovely. I like the idea of bringing them back to life and beauty. That red-leaved one looks like it could be a type of croton (codiaeum variegatum). Just a guess. I have enjoyed visiting your garden.

Steve Asbell said...

Thats how I like to garden! Its affordable and you get the rewarding feeling of having started from scratch with something that would otherwise die. My local nurseries always know that when they put out clearance plants I'll be the first to snatch them up, and every time I take a walk, I'm always looking in the lawn refuse heaps. Nice planting!

Floridagirl said...

Don't worry, James, you're not the first gardener to dig through someone else's garbage. When I started my first garden, there was a neighbor on the opposite corner who had the most beautiful garden I've ever seen (she was my gardening inspiration). Strangely, she never gave away cuttings or offsets, as I've since learned is gardening custom. But she always made it clear that neighbors were welcome to dig through her clean-up piles. And there were a couple of us that did! I got bromeliads and impatiens that way. She had too many! Imagine that! If I had only known way back then that you could root bougies! She was always trimming those! Will my garden ever be at a point where I'm throwing away excess???!!!

Anyway, I think your box of goodies is quite beautiful! And even better for the great story to go along with it.

Autumn Belle said...

James, you certainly have a green thumb. Now you are a plant saviour. I have never tried this before because I have always thought that what people throw won't survive. Yours look healthy and the plants are indeed thriving. Cheers to you!

James David said...

Thanks Nanak but its not a croton species.
Glad you enjoyed the visit, hope to hear from you more often.

Rainforest Gardener - Yes, I have noticed that you manage to get all the priced plants for a very affordable price. Good to know that we share the thought concerning gardening.

Floridagirl - I just remembered that some gardeners who I know have a taboo in giving cuttings or plants where they believe if they do so, their main plant will die as the luck would be transfered to the person they gave to.
Now I envy to note that you get bromeliads - they are very expensive in my place.
Thanks for your lovely comments.

Belle - Thank you for the compliment, I guess most nursery might close down if gardeners get together & exchange plants (Rather than throwing them away)

Floridagirl said...

Well, James, thanks for that perspective. I'll bet that was the reason she never offered outright.

Too funny 'bout the bromeliads, James! Growing American natives over in Asia again? Broms have been passed along where I live for generations. However, there are more rare, pricy cultivars out there that even I'd be willing to shell out $$ for!

James David said...

Floridagirl - Believe me, if it is not for the internet & blogging - I would not even have the faintest idea which is native & which is foreign. I even thought bromeliad are a hybrids from pineapples. I guess the globalisation had made a lot plant transaction very possible.

But being a cautious planter I would prefer to try a bromeliad collected from a pile rather than spending a lot for it. Few of my gardeners friends here wept when they broms dies for no particular reason.

Stephanie said...

James, I tend to forget names too and most often the names that I was very familiar with all these while and suddenly I just couldn't recall it right away. Sign of old age ha ha!

I like the way you 'rescue' plants and grow them in a nice way. Btw, is that Chinese croton?

Meredith said...

I think it's wonderful that you've rescued these plants, James. I don't like to think of any plant dying on the side of the road (although of course I do have to kill some myself every year when thinning, weeding, or pulling up invasive species, for the health of the garden and ecosystem). I also think there is a beautiful economy in your way of doing it, and the plants are clearly thriving with your attention and loving care! :)

(Sorry that I cannot help you to identify them. I am useless for plant i.d. unless it's a common vegetable, I'm afraid.)

James David said...

Stephanie - Thank you so much for identifying its name, I have updated the post - do check it out.
And yes, I too face the same problem..and so, I just keep a notebook with all the familar plants which I would want to remember for future reference (instead of scatching my head..wondering what's it's name again?)

Meredith - Thanks for the lovely comment and share the same thoughts on rescuing plants by the roadside.

Kelly@LifeOutOfDoors said...

Love the subtitle of your blog. I meet God when I garden too.

Jacqueline said...

You have such a wide collection of beautiful plants, James! Bravo to your efforts in rescuing them and being rewarded with your tlc. Hmm...I envy you being able to get them so easily from your neighbourhood...if I'm staying nearby, you'll surely get me as your ever-willing companion! :-)

James David said...

Thanks Kelly.

Jacqueline - Rescuing is not so much of the hassle, the problem is the ever crowding garden space. Not all rescued plants survives but of course - I would be very glad to be your neighbour too as we can exchange and save many rescued plants together (lol)

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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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