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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Friday, December 20, 2013

December Blooms - Cattleya Orchid & Bush Clock Vine

I realised that these orchids tend only to bloom very close to year end.
Normally that takes place when it is raining continuously for 2-3 days in a row followed by an immediate hot & sunny days.

I must say that its truly unfair when I find that these seemed to bloom lavishly with multiple blooms, especially the ones that I had pasted my spares to most of my friends.

it did bloom in my garden and I'm still enjoying them during these few days.
I suspect this flower (usually it suppose to be more than one)
would last about few days to a week. It bloomed again couple of months back and I was too late to get the picture on camera.
The flower was not so glorious as this - it had a bud blast - prematurely dropped its bloom without opening when the rain season had started again without giving that sunny intervals.

The only thing I admire (or cause me to admire when I tell my friends)
are those spear like leaves.
Spanning like a blades cascading by the window plane.
The last two orchids were with me for few months back,
slowly coming out from dormancy.
I had not seen their blooms yet. Hopefully one day it would give me a surprise.

This is Bush Clock Vine.
I placed it closer to a shaded area and it rarely bloomed.
(not even one flower)
Here I placed it very close to my rose shrub and now it blooms profusely.
The only setback is that its very bushy and requires pruning time to time.

The blue with the yellow centre truly makes a whole plant screaming for attention.
I find that this plant is very much hardy and able to stand watering neglect.
(one reason is that its too far, spanned away to a distance where my watering hose can't reach the pot base)

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my gardener friends and my blog readers:

A Wonderful Christmas and A Promising New Year!
May the Coming Year 2014 bring more Success and Promises..
and Hopes and Dreams that come to Fulfilment.
And that God Bless Your Hand
that whatever you touch - Prospers and turn Fruitful.
Have a Blessed Week ahead during this Festive Season.


The Mantis, The Moth and The Neem

One of the fact about gardening is that the garden truly doesn't belong to you.
You must in a way share generously with all the creatures that come by with or without your permission.

Currently I have both the good, the bad and the ugly in my garden.
And there is no way you can with confidence say that they won't trespass the garden.
The one that I would like to share here are my favourite ones.
The Mantis & The Moth.

Its good to have predatory insects or creature in the garden.
Ladybirds, Praying Mantis, Spiders & Lizards does help to control unwanted pest that cause harm in the garden.
But sometimes these doesn't always stay in the garden for long term.
And you may have to resort to pest control using chemical to counter the attack faced by mealy bugs, whitefly, spider mites, scale insects and ants that farm them.

The ones that I don't want and cause harm in my garden
have to face the organic pest control:
The Neem.

I found that most garden centres sell the premium Neem oil
for a very expensive price.
Neem oil is very good to deter harmful pest that does great damage to the plants.
Some doesn't die easily when conventional pesticide is used and in most cases these pesticide does more damage to the environment compared to pest itself.

I had purchased this from an Indian Store,
one found in Jalan Ipoh known as Madura Store.
I got it for RM3.90 which is very cheap compared to the ones I found that sells almost RM50.00

Neem oil is very good to eradicate Spider Mite & Scale insects.
These prove stubborn as they can do dormant and comeback with a vengeance.

This is the mixture for preparing the organic pest control:

For 1 litter of water spray:

1) 1 litter of water.
2) 1 tablespoon of Neem oil.
3) 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent (or liquid soap)

4) 1 tablespoon of Chilli powder
5) 1 teaspoon of salt.

The Water, The Oil & The Soap is mandatory.
The Soap is required as it would be a catalyst to mix the water and the oil together.
(If not - when spraying, you would only be spraying the water substance that comes below the spray suction tube and the oil remains standing on top of the water spray)

Shake well and spray.
Preferable time to spray - in the morning or evening.
After watering your garden plants.

The optional factor of Chilli powder and salt is additional as it can get rid of ants, mealy bug, snail & slugs in the process.
But if you are very much wanted to focus on the spider mites and scale insect, then the oils with the soap is considered sufficient.

I would suggest to use off all the pesticide substance in one day and pour the rest of the left-overs on the effected potted plants rather than keeping it in the spray for the next day.
Mixing and using it (finish the pesticide) in one day and make a new mixture for the next 2 days proves more effective than keeping them and spraying them bit by bit in the continued 3 days.

In most cases its just not just the pest that is causing the trouble rather a secondary insect that is actually farming them. Farming ants can bring mealy bugs with them & harvest honey causing some plants to succumb to viral infection or leaf/bud deformation.
I have big problem with my Spicy Jatropha as these farming ants invade and take over the whole plant with white infestation of mealy bugs.

They do come back time to time as I realise that the battle is yet to be won and the wager is my poor flowering plant. Regardless the issue. The real factor of gardening is also includes pest control. You may not totally eradicate them totally as they come back time to time.

Therefore the idea of control is important.
Using chemical laced pesticide can prove dangerous to others
(especially children at home)
The best is using home made remedies that cause no harm to the family that all of us can enjoy the garden without much worry of being poisoned.

Pictures Below:
These are the sold in the Indian Store.
It would be difficult to identify them as the manufacturer had printed most of the details in Tamil.
I hope this helps as so that it would be easier to identify the product when purchasing them.

Caladium & bulbs

Its a pity to note that Caladium are slowly phasing out from most nurseries. The ones existing are the older unsold ones which might had taken deep roots and had made residence in one corner of the nursery garden.

Other than nurseries, you might find them sprouting out here and there from abandon garden / landscapes where once it had housed out annual plants, except this time all that existed there would had died and this one would had sprouted out after years of dormancy.

Yes, that is the punch-line for Caladiums.
You see them now and then after a long season of absence.
Caladiums are very unpredictable. I had few species that had suddenly disappeared.
I hope they come back from hibernation
(another fact that they can face bulb rot and totally die buried into the soil)

This is the heart of the matter: The bulbs.
They look like a top, a cylindrical pyramid.
The top sharp crown is where the plant shoot comes out
and the roots are barely visible.
These are what you need to keep after they go dormant.
Replanting them after they had finish their season promise their existence in your garden.

These are the current Caladiums that rule in my garden.
They seemed to take turns in making their appearance.
The spots of red and white & cream somehow makes my garden a colourful place.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Passion Flower & Fruit

This is one of the plants that I truly admire for the exotic blooms and the edible fruit.
I realise that the fact of beauty and food doesn't really come together in nature.
Here what appears to be ornamental and edible is truly a blessing.

These are growing wildly cared less by the owner as it trailing on the electrical post, exploded with many blooms and many fruit found hanging. I doubt anyone have a taste for this plant.
If so - I guess no one bothers it.
(These pictures taken near my mother in-law place in Jinjang KL)

You would see the flowers, flower bud, flower spent and the fruit
in formation in pictures below.

These are my plant.
The vine are growing together with Bleeding Heart Vine.
Hopefully it would bloom and give its fruits too.

This plant is passed to me by mum.
She suddenly lost the liking for this plant as its trailing vine proves a challenge in keeping them stationary in one place.

Picture below: "Plant with tendrils.

Last picture. (below)

Do you wonder why there is this 2 nodes at the side of the leaves.
I read in the science book that this plant is fooling the butterflies to let it know that it had eggs laid there and to look for somewhere else.

Pretty smart for a plant isn't it?

Glory Lily - Gloriosa Superba

This is something that I truly admire.
A flower that appears to be upside down.
Something that you don't see everyday when it comes to flower.
Of course - some flowers do like Cyclamen &  Fuchsias or other pendant clustered type of flowers but these kind are rare & difficult to cultivate in the tropics

Coming back to this Glory Lily.
They are normally found in the wild, roadsides creeping along the fence and open fields tangling on other shrubs and trees.
The most difficult part is getting them in your garden.
I had found that these were not sold in nurseries. (not that I had come across)
You see - these are considered weed in my region.

The other factor is their stigma.
They are considered poisonous. Every part of them.
Somehow it had found its domain growing well in the thick growth around abandon areas. They had not made a comeback in most gardens.

Some places around the world try to eradicate them - blacklisting them as invasive plants. I for one would love these to invade my garden.
After all, these are native to my region.

Few factors about this plant.
These cannot be propagated using any other plant parts except the rhizome.
You would be lucky if you can get your hands on their seeds.
The other factor about seeds is that some of these tend get sterile and the patience to see them germinate and even after that - not all would survive in the ordeal of getting into maturity.

The other only option is digging out these plant saplings at the base roots of the parent plant. Here you would find many sprouting out around the rhizome is truly invasive.

I had managed to pass few rhizome and plant-lets to few of my friends.
Only two plants appear to be managing fine.
(Though it appear to be very sickly in my point of view - last two pics)
Hopefully it would stand durable and prove me wrong that it would be a resilient plant as it suppose to be.

They tend to go dormant once awhile and so the other factor is that dormancy can prove fatal if the medium is too soggy causing rhizome rot.
(Especially around the tropical zone)
Fast draining poor soil is recommend for this plant.

Creeping Fig - Updates

I had first purchased this plant somewhere in July 2009.
When I first saw it
I thought it was an ivy species only to realise later that it is the invasive creeping kind.
Sad to say, as much I anticipate the heavy uncontrollable invasion.
Nothing of that sort had happened.
This one was as mild & docile as possible and a slight change on the plant just put the plant on a shock and its totally die back and restart back at the root base.

This is the Varigated type of Creeping Fig (Ficus Repens)

The first 3 pictures here are the initial stages of the plant.
When the plant started creeping on the wall.
The green "wild side" started to take dominance and the white ones slowly fading off.

I made a big mistake by placing it on the hanging basket against the wall. I should have started it from ground to the top.
Eventually I cut off the ones crawling on the wall but that portion totally died.
Sadly the plant didn't really recover to the former glory.
Its still alive but barely making back to its glory days.

I manage to place it near the orchid side and it was somehow slowly picking up.
Until the rat menace took over where the rat start chewing on the base of the trailing vine cutting of the rest of the creeper which suddenly appeared be dead clinging to the wall.
It was a great disappointment as I was not able to do anything to save them.

Here you can see.
The plant had totally ditched the white variegation form from it's leaves.
It had pushed all the white colouration on one spot of the plant and had totally purge it as that particular part totally dried off.
Some plants are just wild and it will show its wild side when the opportunity strikes.

 These are my next experiment of getting to grow again from a different cuttings found along the roadside. I had tried many trials to get them growing strong but somehow they seemed to be very sensitive, slow and proves difficult when their environment is not according to their liking.

These are few things which I found that doesn't work:

1) They don't root in water (I tried many cuttings and they all died)
Contrary to what is adviced in some tips found in the net.

2) They don't root in Sphagnum Moss.

3) They don't do well in shade. They appear to be dormant but suddenly drops its leave dried and brown when left in shade in few weeks.

4) So far the successful rate of it are these in these containers (picture below)
I had added some fertiliser and they are growing slowly - not ready for any creeping session yet.

5) I found that they start well in growth with sand compared to other mediums.
But these are more like out 10 cuttings only 2-3 survives.

I have yet to discover more information concerning this.
Whatever that is said in the internet based information seems to sound easy (some that claim) but to me, it proves challenging and difficult.

I hope someone would able to give a clear cut approach in propagating this one
as I truly love this plant to adorn my garden walls.
Appreciate if anyone can share their experience on this.

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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