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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Garden Chronicles Tour with Professor Chan Eng Heng (28th Jan 2022)


I often get gardeners coming to my garden to visit and see the real deal instead of pictures from my blog and YouTube channel - usually it would be very much a private tour based on appointments and also I share details on how I care and cultivate my tropical garden.

This time around, I was blessed with two great icons who I admire greatly and they took the trouble to grace me with their presence to visit my humble garden.

Professor Chan Eng Heng together with  Ms. Kuan Nee Koay.

Dr. Chan is now a retired professor from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. She championed as a turtle conservationist who has been recognized by the United Nations Environment Program for her efforts to protect sea turtles. Also inducted to the UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honour and became a Global 500 Laureate in 2001 and in 2006 she was listed in the UNEP's Who's Who of Women and the Environment. In 2019, she was conferred the ISTS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Currently she is very much into gardening where she spearheaded a community gardening project known as Kebun Longkang and also the main person in behind KVPA - Plant Exchange Event Projects in the Klang Valley regions.

These are the pictures taken by professor and she shared these to me:


TIP 1:

Here is very much on the context of how to cultivate compact gardening theme where the garden suits your lifestyle - as I often mention to any gardeners and visitors who comes and ask me how I do it - I always mention to them - to make the garden follow you instead of you following the garden. 

And this is very much the result of minimal time spend on gardening - practically just watering once a day and just focus on pruning and managing them like once a week together with applying foliar spray weekly.

Make the Garden Follow You Meaning:
You can only cultivate and care for the plants once a week - then only grow and cultivate those type of hardy plants in your garden. 

Do not grow sensitive and high attention types of plant where you really need to keep an eye on them like constant watering and as such. When sensitive plants dies in your care - it tend to break your spirit and your confidence in gardening and most gardeners' give up as new beginner.

TIP 2:

Over watering is the No.1 Cause of Death to Plants, the Second is Wrong Fertilizer Regime - either it is overdosed or the fertilizer is not compatible for the plant causing burns and root rot.
The other is not doing proper research in Plant Care and the ID before purchasing the plant from a nursery - in most cases, the plant is already stressed and often succumb to its death in few weeks time. Another big issue that I often find is that most new gardeners are not aware that there are a huge difference between tropical plants, temperate plants and annuals.

When Annuals dies - they think they have done something wrong - often these flowering plants sold in nurseries are already to it's prime and after few weeks - it started to mature and dies and the poor gardener thinks he/she had something wrong.

And forget about Temperate Plants thriving long-term in the tropical garden - they die within the "summer" climate zone here - once they are not getting the winter dormancy period here - its all the way down hill for the plant.

TIP 3:

At times, you might end up killing the plant few times until you get it right especially sensitive plants as such as Begonias, Alocasias and few novelty plants. However - you will tend to learn from your mistakes and able to rectify them and find out what exactly is the issue - once you mastered the skill - you can actually build a collection based on their plant types and that actually builds your confidence and joy.

TIP 4:

Grow something that you love, something that moves your soul, 
something that you feel "Wow" when you look at it. 
Grow something that when you touch the plant 
- you feel the time stopped and move fast without you being aware of it. 

Find the niche that uniqueness in your personality in that garden - what makes you - uniquely you in the that garden - it doesn't matter what plants you grow - it matters what makes you happy in that personal space called your own garden.

Don't Follow the Crowd - if you find everyone is buying an expensive plant only to find the plant suddenly dies and you have no clue why it died. There goes your 10K plant - rotten to the core.
Never buy an expensive trending plant as you will always find the same plant sold 10X cheaper after few months. (most often than not)

Unless you are specifically thinking of investing expensive premium plants and selling them as business venture - I highly discourage you from purchasing them if you don't have the means to buy them. Keep your finance priorities right - if you have the extra funds - go ahead by all means and enjoy the joy of plant shopping. 

TIP 5:

I highly discourage people who buy rare and expensive plants only to neglect and abandon them - while the plant is slowing dying without care or concern and ditch and thrown away and the new plant is purchased and replaced because he/she is rich enough to do so.

Personally - the plant is a living being - it also has intelligence to mimic and adapt to the surrounding where it has been introduced. Also it is very much behave like a big community organism where life moves and revolves around it. There is so much we don't understand and don't know about them. They can live without us but we cannot live without them.

If all the green are destroyed in the world in a day, we all die in the next - choked in suffocation.

TIP 6:

The correct potting medium determines the longevity of the plant whether it thrives for long term or dies within days or weeks - always find what are best suited for the cultivated plants in the garden. Mine are mostly coco-chips and river-sand and I find this works best due to the heavy watering the plants receive during the heavy rainy weather that it doesn't cause root rot as the plant succumb to stem rot due to over watering conditions.


These are the joyful, excited memories that I have from this warm visit:
Earlier Ms. Kuan Nee Koay was following up with me to visit my garden and would love to take some shots in my garden - I was reluctant as my garden was in dire mess and was not able to clean up due to few matters that took place within those weeks.

However, it was almost three weeks where she followed up with me where I thought it is OK, though I did mentioned that my garden is still in a mess and not yet really manicured to my expectation and she is ok with it. I wished I had more time to clean and clear up to give more impressive garden for them to worth the visit and I hope they enjoyed my garden scene.

Dr. Chan Posting From FB:

I had the privilege to visit James David with Kuan Nee Koay
this morning and was totally blown away by the array of plants in his garden.
So inspiring!
I really need to work more as a gardener .
I was gifted with so many plants too.
Thanks so much James and Kuan Nee for making this most delightful visit possible.

Comment Reply from Kuan Nee Koay:

You are most welcome Prof! 
It was such a privilege to visit James’ Amazing Garden, 
James David, You are truly a Master Landscaper! 
Thank you for your Time and Sharing your knowledge with us

The Affirmation and The Encouragements that I received from both of them where truly heart warming and truly blessed be and I feel so glad bring inspiration to these great people I met that day.

Dr. Chan mentioned that my organizing works involving PEE5 was very commendable as it was viewed as done very detailed and well structured. Hence it shows so much that I'm very much a detailed person even when she see my garden - it has that similar appearance in that structure.


My garden being a compact garden where I play with colors and plant structures where everything grows well in it's own space and thrive in it's own condition. My ideology and my personality in gardening is to reflect the uniqueness of the plants and their ability to co-existing without competition or over-powering each other. 

Also this particular garden is very much directed as Tropical Ornamental Plants where it is very much a Foliage Plants with coloration and with features - hence these collection are spanned based on the plant species that can thrive in my garden condition namely bromeliads, air-plants, tropical succulents, begonias, episcias and aroids such as dieffenbachias, anthuriums and philodendrons.

The sound of falling cascading waters from the water fountain creates an ambience of calm and serenity to give that relaxed peaceful moments for anyone who comes and visits my garden.

Garden Chronicles Garden Tour are very much arrange as a private garden in a residential area hence it is rarely promoted for viewing except by appointment. Apart from this - most of the garden plant profiles and details are found in this Plant Blog and my 

YouTube Channel link below:
Garden Chronicles of James David


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