Garden Update - March 2019

These days, I travel quite often back to my home in Ipoh. Often, with a purpose. This time, it is for the yearly ' tomb-sweeping ' and / or merely paying respects to our deceased family members and relatives at the Chinese Cemetery in Batu Gajah and at the Sam Poh Tong Columbarium in Ipoh.

So, here I am. Again. At my home in Ipoh.


Ornamentals Corner ( Potted )

Allamanda cathartica.

The only plant that is flowering here now is the Yellow Allamanda or Golden Trumpet ( Allamanda cathartica ). 

From top : Lantana camara, Antigonon leptopus and Plumeria rubra.

The pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Chain of Love or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon leptopus ) and the multi-coloured Lantana ( Lantana camara ) which I had grown from cuttings taken from the wild back in early January seem to take forever to flower while the Frangipani ( Plumeria rubra ) is still enjoying its ' Leafing Retreat ' after its most recent ' October - December 2018 Flower Show '.

Clockwise from left : Jasminum sambac, White Clitoria ternatea and Dark Pink and White Vinca rosea.

Recently, I have added three types of ornamental plants to this corner of my backyard. They are the Jasmine ( Jasminum sambac ) which I have grown from stem cuttings taken from a friend's house, the White Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ) which I have grown from seeds that were posted to me from Singapore by a very generous fellow member of a Facebook gardening group and the Dark Pink and White Periwinkle ( Vinca rosea ) which I have grown from tiny seedlings given to me by two very kind neighbours, ALL of which have yet to either establish or reach their flowering stage.

Edibles Corner ( Potted )

Clockwise from top left: Aloe vera, Citrus hystrix, Murraya koenigii, Cucurbita pepo and Capsicum annuum ( middle ).

The Kafir Lime ( Citrus hystrix ) and the Pumpkin Vines ( Cucurbita pepo ) are growing rather fast, unlike the though healthy-looking Aloe Vera and the Curry Leaf Tree ( Murraya koenigii ) which seem to take forever to grow just a small bit. The Chilli Plant ( Capsicum annuum ) may have suffered non-stop from mealy bug attacks since I have it planted into my first ever pot of compost but there it is, hanging on still, tall and strong! And guess what, if you do zoom in for a closer look of the plant, you would see that it is about to fruit soon!

Basella alba in the same pot as Blue, Multi-layer Flower Clitoria ternatea.

Of all my potted edibles, this self-seeded Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba ) that shares the same pot with the Blue, Multi-layer Flower Butterfly Pea Vine ( Clitoria ternatea ) is my best-loved ornamental edibles. I do not think I could ever bring my hands to harvest its beautiful leaves anytime now, just for that split-second of taste bud enjoyment. 

From top: Newly-seeded pot and Cucumis melo? seedlings.

The last time I came back, I had another eight, soil-filled pots added here so I could grow more edibles. One of which, I had sown with Japanese Melon Cucumis melo? ) seeds that were posted to me from Singapore by a very generous fellow member of a Facebook gardening group right then, and most of which have since, germinated. The rest of the pots are now sown with a variety of vegetable seeds which Fourth Sis had bought for me when I first started this garden back in September, 2017.

Edibles Corner ( Ground Level Planter )

Blue Clitoria ternatea Vines.

The Blue Butterfly Pea Vines ( Clitoria ternatea ) are not in their best of look and shape now. They have been so for quite some time. I am thinking of giving them a good trimming. But that would mean there would be no flowers before they grow back. It is all right if there is none for me to harvest. My main concern is the pair of Sunbirds that frequented and feed on their flowers' nectar or pollen every day. Would they be disappointed to find none the next time they come? Because of this, I am still undecided as to whether trim them down or let them be as they are now.

Clockwise from top left : Cucurma longa, Anredera cordifolia, Ocimum basilicum, Piper sarmentosum, Gynura bicolor and Zingiber officinale.

As always, the Turmeric ( Cucurma longa ), Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ), Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ), Daun Kaduk ( Piper sarmentosum ), Okinawan Spinach ( Gynura bicolor ) and Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) are all doing quite well on the long ground level planter. 

Raphanus sativus.

The Radish Plants ( Rahphanus sativus ) that unfortunately fail to produce radishes, continue to grow and send out new leaves. One of them that grows among the Thai Basils ( Ocimum basilicum ) is even flowering now. I can expect to harvest some seeds instead, which is not a bad thing after all.

From Top: Zingiber officinale and Basella alba.

I am happy to see all eight shrunk Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) scraps which I had buried under the ground back in early March having sprouted, pushed through the soil and made their first appearances on the planter. I am also very happy to see lots of self-seeded Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba ) dotting almost every where on the planter.


Edibles ( Ground Level Planter )

From top: Ipomoea batatas and Ocimum basilicum.

The Sweet Potato Vines ( Ipomoea batatas ) which I am growing for their sweet potatoes here are starting to grow well and spread far after a somewhat pitiably slow initial growth period. Meanwhile on the same planter, a volunteer Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) has suddenly grown into a rather big bush now and is flowering. I will let the flowers mature so I could have their seeds. I have too much of its leaves that I do not want any more to do with them these days.


what GARDENING IS to me ...

Gardening Is ...

Soils And Fertilizers

Getting my top soils from the less-polluted wild.
Getting my soil conditioners etc. ( coconut fibre and coco peat etc.) from the dump.
Getting my fertilizers ( manures ) from the less-polluted grass fields.and spaces.
Making my own composts using my own garden and kitchen wastes.
And finally, making my own soil mixes.

Not that I like to make things happen the hard way.
Nor am unwilling to support garden-related businesses out there.
But that ...
I prefer materials that are perfectly natural.
To those that are supposedly natural but possibly CHEMICAL or PLASTIC-contaminated.


Getting my plant materials ( seeds, seedlings and root and stem cuttings ) from the wild.
Or from scraps in my kitchen or the dumps.
Or simply from generous, fellow gardeners who blessed me with their extras.
I never have to buy any plants.

Not that I am unwilling to support garden-related businesses out there.
But simply that I love the wonderful feeling of starting my own plants cost-free and from scratch.
So I could proudly call them all my own creations!


Not making my own planters.
But making sure they are constructed from the most natural material possible.
Like my two front and back brick-edged ( though regrettably cemented ) planters.
Or are chose from those that are made from the most natural material possible.
Like my close to thirty pieces of earthen compost bins and pot planters.
And banning all plastic, polystyrene and tire planters, and kind from my garden.
I just find it hard accepting unnatural stuffs in a supposedly beautiful, nature space.

Pests And Diseases

Making sure my plants are happy, healthy and strong at all times possible.
So they can naturally overcome invasions or infestations from pests and diseases on their own.


Making my garden as inviting as possible to wildlife.  
So that they would come and make my garden a perfect garden!


Always jumping and singing in joy and sharing with others at harvest time. 
Just like getting the year end bonus at work.

The Gardener, ME

Growing together with my plants.
Enjoying the ongoing, A to Z adventures of planting my garden.
And gaining priceless experiences and knowledge along the way.
Not only that.
For the still underweight me,
Having gained a few most welcome kilograms in a short one year or so!
Thanks to my increased appetite every time I garden!

The long-awaited BLOOM cheered me up no end on a bad day.

A poor, plump rat was found dead at my car porch when I reached my house in Ipoh today. It was a most scary encounter for me. I had handled countless dead insects before but never a rotting carcass of that size. My legs weakened and I felt sick at the sight of it. But still, I braved myself. I had it lifted with my then shaking, plastic bag-enveloped right hand and had it buried at an empty space some distance away from my house, before I had my car porch thoroughly cleaned.

What an unfortunate encounter I had had! Lucky though, the whole thing lasted not too long a time. And there was a really very pleasant and welcome surprise that awaited me at the backyard, that cheered me up no end. 

Mum's Best-Loved Plant, Allamanda cathartica was in BLOOM for the first time since I had it started from a single stem cutting back in June last year! So VERY beautiful! Seeing it immediately brought back fond memories of Mum and her beautiful Allamandas back in my childhood garden. Oh, how very much I had missed them!

THANK YOU SO MUCH IRENE ( my dear neighbour ), for this wonderful and most precious cutting!

A Day of ' Bonuses '.

I garden because I love plants. I simply love to watch them grow. I enjoy seeing beautiful wildlife they attract. And if there are something I could harvest from them, those are ' bonuses '.

It was harvest day this past Sunday. A day of ' bonuses ' for me.

There was a bucketful of blue Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ) seedpods being harvested. I must extract their seeds as soon as I could. As I am planning to have the seeds sown around our ancestors' tombs on March 27th., which is not too far off, when we go for our yearly tomb-sweeping. I know perhaps, white flowers would be more appropriate but then blue flower seeds are all that I have got right now. 

There were some Hongfeng Cai or Okinawan Spinach or Sambung Nyawa Ungu ( Gynura bicolor ) leaves being harvested for my friend, Yun, who wanted to try them despite me telling her that they taste kind of odd and not very pleasant.

There were finally some Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ) leaves being harvested for the first time from two recently self-regenerated vines, after my failed first attempt in growing one last year. Until now, I still could not figure out why that first attempted vine only knew how to flower non-stop but never knew how to produce a bit more leaves.

There were some young Pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ) leaves being harvested from the many pumpkin seedlings which I had thinned out from two pot planters ( I was leaving only two seedlings in each pot planter to continue growing in the hope of getting some pumpkin fruits ). I had them lightly stir-fried with garlic today. They tasted so good that I was thinking of growing some for this purpose in the near future.

There were the lasts of the Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba ) leaves being harvested from some very old vines. I had them given to Fourth Sis who loved to enjoy them in salted egg soup.

And finally, there were some Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) leaves being harvested. These ... , I also had them given to Fourth Sis who loved to enjoy them in stir-fry egg and tomato soup.

All for now! Till next ' BONUSES ' DAY!