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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drawf Ruellia - Ruellia brittoniana



It was a shocking news to me as I find that the office mate who gave me this plant consider this one as a weed and she often weed this one out from her garden. She says that this one pops everywhere in her garden - I guess it must be the "pop-explode" type of seedpod that is the culprit.

Strangely none of my flowers turn into a seedpod - I guess it must be the lack of pollinators. What I enjoy about this plant is that it gives the blue (actually its more of the light violet) which my garden really need. The flowers last a day - very much like the morning glory flower. I have not paid attention during the evening - whether they remain in full bloom or are in a fading stage.

Regardless, this Mexican Petunia is one joyful flower to keep when the rest of other flowers goes dormant. Another interesting feature about this plant is that the leaf veils pop out. Probably I might switch this one into a dominant plant in hanging basket to give that glorious blue in my garden.

Tips:

1) I had propagated this one but cutting the plant into half, they tend to go leggy after awhile.
(You can do this if they don't produce seeds) When they mature the whole plant dies - so do take care to divide & propagate them if you want to keep the parent plant.

2) Its been said that this one is very hardy - able to stand very hot & cold climatic condition & able to stand neglect as they are draught tolerant & free from pest attacks.





Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tamarind Tree



I had a chance to get close and personal with this Tamarind Tree. (tamarindus indica) Didn't know that there are a long history concerning this tree.

I got curious and snap open the pod but found that the pulp had totally dried and only contained its seeds. It must be the fate of abandon plants and this one had paid a heavy price though its truly beautiful to see that the fruit had hanged on until the last moment. Nature has her ways in keeping the next generation going.

The houses around this region are slowly been evacuated and a metal sheet fence had been erected around the perimeter. I guess this unfortunate tree was growing around this region and had to go this way.

Do check out for more information here in wikipedia: Tamarind.

Tamarind are very much a daily thing when it comes to curries. I remember my mum used it in her cooking and would pass the seeds to me to play with it when I was young. I often wondered why there was a funny marking on the seeds and often associate that with cockroaches prothorax.

Strange to note that I found that these seemed to have similarities when I remember these during my childhood days.





Thursday, March 25, 2010

Humming Birds on the Wall



I just visited a gift shop - one of those very cheap store known as "99 Shop". They sell stuff with 99c priced at the last digit of the cash value. And so I got these for 1.99c which is actually RM2.00. And if you get 10 of these you get 10c back in return (get the idea)

Anyway, these are actually fridge magnets where these figurines have a flat surface at the other side. I had applied a strong glue and stuck it at the entrance wall. Quite cool for a 3D figure for a very reasonable price don't you think?

I didn't want to add too many of these in the garden, just these two. For awhile, I was taken aback with a shock thinking some kind of insect sitting on the wall then later realised these are the figurines. Funny - they do look creepy during the night.
Anyway, I got used to it within few days and found that I do not notice it at all. It must be the sub-conscious thing I guess.

I understand that garden have a wider scope than just plants alone. Hope this sort-of creates that wider spectrum in my garden.
How about yours?
Do you fancy any little figures and sorts?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ixora to be Rescued



Considering the amount of plants rescued, I can safely say almost 90% of my garden plants are product of pruned, cast-aways and rescued ones. Especially this lovely ixora, it had grown so tall and became wild. There is 4 huge shrubs towering & falling over. It had been riddled with grasshoppers but the flowers seems to outshine the flaw.

I have manage to take as many cuttings as possible and had distributed to many of my office staff. It had been raining these few days and so I'm not very sure what are the condition of this place now (pic taken few weeks back) I had planted about 3 pots of these cuttings and all of them are doing fine.

You can see (the last pic) what I mean of abandoned houses - these are slowly being cleared row by row. Its a pity that they didn't think about taking these plants with them. There are another few more plants here which I haven't taken their pictures (curry leaf plant, draceana plant and a few others)





Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Care & Cultivate Orange Jasmine (Murraya Paniculata)



It's been sometime since my Orange Jasmine flowers bloomed. 
I hadn't noticed this as usually when they bloom its about few flowers in a cluster that there is nothing to shout about. Strange enough, this heavy bloom did take my attention and somehow I manage to take few pictures of them. 

The fragrance was flooding especially during the night, sort of gave that enchanted feeling whenever I pass by them. Wished I had them by my bedroom - but I doubt, I would consider sleeping with these as there were reports of their scent being poisonous or something. 

Probably, somethings are best when enjoyed little to moderation & I believe this is one of them. These flowers do not last more than a day as the petals fall out at dawn but new buds appear as soon as the old one collapses. 

Reminds me of those lovely lilies which last for a day - those spider lily where those too bloom during evening time.


INTRODUCTION:

Commonly known as Orange Jasmine, China Box or Mock Orange; Murraya paniculata appears to have strong citrus features however unlike most citrus foliage where they hold some citrus fragrance - this one does not have any fragrance on the fruit or rind or on it's leaves. 

However, the blooms does have a strong distinct fragrance during evening time and hence these are very much cultivated of the fragrance. Often cultivated as ornament plant for hedges and border as they are quite hardy and able to take heavy pruning. The stem appears to be semi-wood and will eventually hardened up when they get matured over the years.

Locally it is called Kemuning and these are also used as traditional medicines. Also some part of the roots and the wood are also utilized however it appears to be a vanishing trade as these woodworks and carpentry are lost  as passing of time. Wood works such as walking stick, wooden flute and such are passing away and replaced with plastic ware and working with such material can be time consuming as these wood are considered very strong and durable.

 
  

LIGHT:

Being a Tropical Plant native surrounding regions of the Southern Asia - this plant does require good strong indirect bright sunshine, It can tolerate growing in shaded area however it must receive at least 6 hours of sunshine. It does not do well in heavy shaded area and may not bloom in such conditions. Also the leaves may turn yellow and also become leggy. Another factor in the lack of sunlight may cause the plant to become stress and can attract pest to heavily attack on them.

Hence do give a thought if your are not having open garden area as this would not so well as indoor plant - even placing them as a balcony potted plant can be challenging if they receive inadequate light.



SOIL MEDIUM:

Considering one of the most basic thing about planting material - this one doesn't require anything special - just any balanced potting mix will do. They seem to do fine in a medium or big potted plant - however they will do great if they are planted directly into the garden soil as these will require just that to produce those lovely blooms.

However if limitation occurs where you can only grow in pot - then a good balanced potting mix with rich amount of organic material and equal part of well drained soil which will help from root rot. 

Also unlike most Jasmine plants - this one have been commonly used as hedge border plant where they can be handle strong pruning and create a nice box-up design. However it does come with a price where you may have to discount the blooms - they often get trimmed out from the formation. 

Instance as such as these - they are often planted straight into open garden land where they are not in a pot - hence they appear hardy and able to take the heavy pruning.


WATERING & FEEDING:

It may require a good adequate watering - both morning and evening based on the size of the plant.
You can grow it in a nice medium or large size pot, the plant will behave and grow based on the size of the pot. However I would recommend this to grow freely on ground if you want lushful beautiful constant blooms.

Also this plant is a heavy feeder and do feed adequately during the flowering season.
However take note that over-watering can cause them to bud-drop especially during the rainy season, hence a well balance fast draining medium to ensure no root rot occurs.


PRUNING:

One of the most challenging part for this shrub is pruning. They do grow extremely fast and become very unruly if not proper care is not given - especially when it comes to growth factor, this plant focus more on branching more stem and over growth rather than blooms which can be one of the down-side coming from this ever blooming plant.

However with the right pruning method and keeping it trimmed and manageable size - this one can be such a beauty. As shown here - the appearance of the blooms can last at least for few months until the next pruning session is done to maintain the blooming cycle from interruption.

This consideration applies very accurately when the plant is matured and had grown for years - that is if it is not flowering in its full potential. Other factors involving lighting / watering / feeding is also essential and necessary.


PEST CONTROL:

I had found this one seemed to be a hardy plant and have strong resistant to pest attack in comparison to many other floral plant. However this appearing to be very much like a citrus plant, they have similar pest problems with any other citrus plants. Often caterpillars are found at the new leaf shoots which can be quite damaging especially when the flower buds often formed in these tender areas.

Occasionally I had come across that if the plant is anyway stressed or lacking nutrients may face some damage on it's foliage but rarely fatal to the plant. 

Keeping the plant - Pruned and Compact does make the plant focused on its blooming cycle and also able to take immediate action if any unruly pest attack where pruning is much easily handled rather than spraying pesticide all over the plant.

Also I had found that caterpillars seemed to love the young tender shoots and buds that can cause considerable damage to the flowers - do keep an eye on butterflies when they visit on the blooms - most likely they may be laying eggs on them.

In may not be be very applicable around the Southeast regions where this plant is considered native however some other tropical regions where oranges and other citrus were farmed and cultivated can and may cause some serious issues if this plant is introduced without proper quarantine and protocol. It is best to check with local authorities if in doubt to avoid major outbreaks and complications. Also it is considered as an environmental weed in some parts of Australia and some regions.

Apart from this factor, other matters are very much similar with most tropical garden plants.


PROPAGATION:

Propagation can be done but can be challenging to propagate if done wrongly - these are difficult to roots easily. Another alternative is seed propagation or marcotting - however it is too tedious that it would be much easier to just purchase the plant from a nursery that going through a lot trouble of trail and error in getting it right for the first time.

However it is known as birds do consume these seeds and propagated in the wild where it is found in its native regions.



If you are considered cultivating this particular Jasmine,  I would strongly recommend for you to cultivate these if you have the space and open bright sun for them to grow. The fragrance is very mesmerising and it is true - the fragrance is so much real like a Plumeria flowers, similar like a Bali theme garden emitting all over your garden.

Unlike most fragrant plants - Orange Jasmine has strong historic heritage over the centuries in some countries especially history and it's unique wood works were celebrated as culture and heritage.


Also, Do click on the link below for more information on Other Types of  Tropical Fragrant Flowers:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spicy Jatropha



I felt guilty when I bought this plant, I guess its the long-term effect of being rescuing plants for every long time. But then, I saw this lovely beautiful plant sold in the nursery for RM4.50 which is considered very cheap. (a plant cheaper than the pot - RM5.00)

The plant looks tall & very thin, I guess its been sitting on the plastic bag for years. I had placed it in a nice pot and generously gave a good amount of soil for the roots to "stretch" her legs and relax. It had been giving me a lot of flowers everyday.

I had done some research and found that they do well also in shaded area. Probably would get another pot and place it where I would like some flowers near my entrance door. Again, when something new comes in, something else have to make way to go out - I wonder who would be the right candidate for that farewell? Hmmm....

Some info about Jatropha.

1) Does well in semi-shade or in sun, this plant don't seemed to mind it.

2) All parts of the plants are poisonous.

3) Can be propagated by cuttings or seeds
(may have to let the cuttings to bleed its sap for a before planting)
(also watch out on the over-watering as it might cause rotting)

4) Give continuous blooms

5) Drought tolerant





Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rain Lily - Zephyranthes



Its known as rain lilies because of their habit of blooming several times a season, usually following a rain. I'm not sure about that but I often noticed is that when a grass cutter comes around and accidentally cut the whole crown together with other weeds thinking that this is one of them.

And the gardener gets a reward with a showy springs of new sprouts of flower scape - usually within 2 - 3 days time. And this happens every time. (I had trimmed the leaves after planting and they gave 4 flowers immediately)

The leaves look very much like grass, that is if you are not accustom to rainlilies - you would wonder why do a gardener breed weeds. I had several pots of these and none of them bloomed for months. (planted first - July 09) One thing for sure, they really had multiplied from the first batch.

You can see it here how I first started: Rainlily

I have decided to put them in a long rectangular pot instead of the circular ones - they seemed to look prettier this way. I also manage to do the same for my Amaryllis bulbs - something which I had never seen them bloom, so I'm really not sure how they look like.

I have been reading a lot these few days about blooming Amaryllis but as for now, I had replanted them back and so I do not want to damage them in uprooting them again. Probably I will keep watch over these for another couple of months and see, If they do not bloom, chances are I might just uproot them and throw them away (Just kidding)
A more drastic move may be removing them and place them in dormancy & later "force bloom" them. See if these changes their mind and give their precious blooms soon.

These were passed to me by my mum last year as she had gave up on them.

Some tips to consider:

1) Rainlilies need a good amount of sunlight, they may not bloom in shaded area.

2) Its been said also that over watering can cause bulb rot - so do watch out for that.

3) They will also seed freely, do collect them if you are planning to plant them using seeds.

4) Do not uproot them by putting them out from the soil, rather you may need to turn the pot upside down and slowly break the soil-bound roots and loose the bulb and slowly remove them to save the pups. It would be very difficult to remove the bulbs once planted directly on the ground - unless you intend to keep them there permanently, consider planting them on pots then place them on the soil for easier digging & etc.

I have tried to pull a bulb planted in an abandoned area but I was unsuccessful as the bulb had gone very strong with roots and all and I manage only to get some of the succulent leaves in my few failed attempts. Probably a spade might help but there may be some damage occurring on the bulb & the roots.






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The bulbs had given a lot of "pups" by the sides -these what they have been doing sitting in the pot, instead of flowering, they have been making babies.
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The rain was heavy for these few days and had washed the top soil that had covered the 1/3 of the bulb. May have to top some soil later.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Variegated Hibiscus



I'm going to repeat myself over & over again but I realise that the results are never the same.
Have you heard the definition of insanity where it was said that it equals to doing the same thing over & over again but expecting different results. Somehow for what I'm doing - its just not true.

These are variegated hibiscus - a rescued pruned plant found in a pile. I was not certain that this one would survive as most of the stalks didn't manage to live for the first week. I had left it for another few weeks and the plant somehow picked out and started growing happily. (More to do with the lack of time I had to pay less attention to it until last week)

Finally, I have decided to prune, weed out the weeds or whatever that grew together in this pot and top-up with additional soil and fertiliser. And this is the nice result which I got last week.

Last week was really a back-breaking week of constant gardening. I have manage to settle the long postponed plants, cleaning up the porch and sort all the "sore-eye" overgrown plants. I have managed to set the lilies (amarylis & rain lilies) rescue some ixoras, replant coleus, prune the roses, replant pentas, rescue another type of bougainvillea (this one got lots of thorns) and another couple of species where I'm scratching my head wondering where to place them.

I have manage to give all these rescued plants to my office mates who gladly willing to share my "burden" in their garden. Knowing getting good plants for free - who wouldn't want & my policy is simple - do not throw it away, share. And I guess - everyone is happy with that idea.


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(before pruning)
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

White Connection - March 2010



I had previously planted cactus on this pot but something happened (probably over watering or over-feeding and that killed the whole lot) and I have decided to plant tropical ones on them.

They have managed very well together but now one had overgrown on the other. The mondo grass and spider plant had totally drowned by the dumbcane plant. In fact there are 2 different species of the common type here - one with the variegated green and cream and the other totally cream with green borders.

I had found another zig-zag with the white tinge and pressed it here, they look so "plastic" also I had placed the maranta tuber(never never plant) and they had sprouted in the midst of the competition. I'm still wondering whether to continue to keep the lop-sided plants or uproot all of them and properly plant them for more better spacing and presentation.

What do you think?

Anyway these are the link of the earlier progress of this white variegated collection:

1) The White Connection - Update (October 2009)
2) The White Connection (August 2009)








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