My Burlap Garden Screen Project - It's Not Over Yet!

For the past months or so, I have been thinking about what perfect material I could use as my garden screen - one that I like and could work on, all by myself in order to screen-off my next-door house's unsightly backyard. 

Finally, a fortnight ago, after opting out the commonly-used material like agricultural netting, artificial grasses or wall plants, bamboos, bricks, metal sheets, real plant climbers and woods, I settled for BURLAP. Not only that I thought it would be something easy for me to work on, but that I have always adored this amazing natural, fiber-made material. Not to mention also, because of its ease of availability.and super cheap price. 

The grocery stores that I used to buy my foods from whenever I go back to my hometown have lots of its sacks for sale. Used ones though. So, after some measuring and calculating, I bought twelve burlap sacks from one of the stores last two weeks, costing me a mere RM 6.00 ( Six Ringgit Malaysia ) to begin my burlap garden screen project with.

Yesterday, I managed to give myself a whole day off from work to work on the sacks. I thorough-washed them clean by hand a few times in the hope to get rid of their ill-smell and chemicals, if any. Then I sun-dried them. Their texture seemed a bit different after wash but still beautiful. My only regret was having them folded when drying so there were lines on them that would not go away. When they were all somewhat dried, I put them up, one by one on my small backyard garden's fence, fastening them with thin wires as I went.

I spent quite some time doing all these. When everything was finally done, I stepped back and looked at my completed project. I was disappointed. I did not even want to take any picture of it. The outcome was not like what I had hoped for. 

I was already feeling very sad and tired when I related this failed project to my sisters. Not only were there no consoling words from them but laughs and fun remarks! 

[ They all said, 
" Haven't we all told you, Burlap is not only UGLY but definitely not suitable as a garden screen? " 
" Didn't your back neighbour laugh at you when you were doing all these? " ]

Whatever they said and however they laughed at me, I am determined to redo the whole thing the next time I am free. Perhaps, I would take them all ( the sacks ) down, straighten and better arrange them, before putting them up the fence again. 

Wish me all the best then! 


Note: As usual, I would be going for the year end Buddhist Retreat Camp again this coming Saturday.  So, wishing everyone ( my dear blog readers and supporters ) here, the MERRIEST of CHRISTMASES and the HAPPIEST of NEW YEARS!

My plants are enjoying the abundance of RAIN!

As a " non-resident " gardener, I depend very much on Mother Nature to take care of my plants. 

Without " her " I could not possibly have ...

... these beautiful fruit, herb and vegetable plants ...

... and ...

... these wonderful blooms and buds ...

... happily greeting me when I stepped into my small backyard garden in Ipoh this past Thursday.

How I appreciate " her " most kind works! Tirelessly " pouring " water from the sky almost every day especially! Oh, how my plants are enjoying them all!

Thank you so much oh dear Mother Nature! Thank you!

There are pictures, at least, for days away from the garden ...

I do not always get to be in my garden in Ipoh. So whenever I got to be there, I would make sure I enjoy every minute of it to the fullest. Whether I was doing some garden chores or simply being there admiring my garden or plants.

Every time, before my stay is over, I would take some pictures of either my garden, my plants or my harvests, if any, so I could always have a look back at whenever I miss them.

Here they are, my dear most three flowering plants this time, which I think I would miss the most. Having nice pictures of them would surely help in cheering me up after I go back to Kuala Lumpur few days from now.

1) My beautiful Frangipani ( Plumeria sp. ) ...

Though its flowers are not yet in full bloom,  I am most happy to see them. I have waited a year or so for the tree to flower again. So when it finally does now, I am happy no bound. I know I can easily make it flower more often, with the many flowering boosters available in the market, but I somehow prefer to wait and let it flower naturally. The flowers seem more precious to me this way.

To extend the worth of the flowers and to fully enjoy their beauty and sweet fragrance, perhaps I should also pick them up whenever they drop to the ground. I could put them in a plate on a table as a center display before they really withered. What do you think?

2) My ever easy-growing pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Chain of Love or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon leptopus ) ...

It is now flowering again, though its florets are not really open yet, after I had it trimmed to ground level some time back. Its pretty pink florets really look like beautiful drops of happy tears. No wonder it is given this name ' Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears ' by the locals here!

3) My forever love, Periwinkle ( Vinca rosea ) ...

So far, they never disappoint the gardener, me. Always flowering. No matter the weather. These ones were cut back to ground level some time back. They have all grown back now, more bushy than ever and are flowering. Both are being planted in the same pot. What a perfect combination! They make each other's colour stand out.


Did anyone of you, like me, ever take pictures of your garden or plants for the same purpose? Do let me know in your comments below!

Finally, hope you have enjoyed mine as much as I do!

Recreating My Small Backyard Garden - Part 2

When I mentioned HERE ( back in June ) that I would be super slow at reporting Part 2 and Part 3 of my Recreating My Small Backyard Garden, I never thought I would be this VERY SLOW actually! ( It took me more than four months time to do so! ). But, blame me not, given the fact that I had been really very busy for the past few months! I was busy travelling between cities ( Kuala Lumpur - Ipoh - Penang ), participating in Buddhist Retreat Camps, working and learning new things from my teacher.

Finally, last week, I was able to spend some time in the garden, fertilizing, potting up long time neglected cuttings and plants, trimming, weeding, and most importantly, rearranging all the pots of plants that I have, so that My Small ( twenty-two feet by eleven feet ) Backyard Garden looks more neat with ample space in the middle for arms and body stretching and also, for some portable garden furniture placing when necessary.

Here they are, pictures taken from three different angles of My Small Backyard Garden, after the rearrangement of pots was done:

Ornamental Plants Corner

Activity Space

Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Plants Corner

All for now! Till Recreating My Small Backyard Garden - Part 3 is completed! Again, do bear with me if I am super slow! Thank you so much for reading this! Bye!

a PLANTS TOUR around my Small Garden, anyone?

Hi Dear Visitors,

It has been a while. Well, if you do miss my plants and wonder how they are doing, or are simply curious what I am growing in my small garden right here and right now, why not join me here for an afternoon of Plants Tour?


WELCOME TO MY SMALL GARDEN! Grab yourself, a glass of cold, refreshing drink and follow me on. Imagine yourself stepping into my small garden, soothing breeze caressing your face instantly, under the powerful, afternoon sun.

Now, THE TOUR officially begins ...

Let us start with the planters of EDIBLES ...

1. This Aloe vera plant is looking especially happy and strong. Look at the few babies it has given birth to! I think I have to start finding babysitter(s) for them soon. Because this very pot planter is only good one plant and I want the mother to stay!

2. These Okinawan Spinach or Sambung Nyawa Ungu ( Gynura bicolor ) plants are happily shying away from the sun next to this compost bin. Or so they seem to me. What do you think?

3. So are their ( The Gynuras' ) neighbours, the Daun Kaduk ( Piper sarmentosum ) plants.

4. It looks like this Cat's Whiskers ( Orthosiphon aristatus ) plant has suffered a lot from those big, fat snails continuous attacks. ( Oh, Lord Snails, please, would you feed on something else and spare this poor, little plant, its life? )

5. Here is one of the many self-seeded Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ) seedlings which I have transplanted into a pot planter. Let us hope it would grow into a happy, strong vine here!

6. These Red Mulberry ( Morus rubra ) cuttings which a kind neighbour had given me the other day are doing alright. As you can see here, two of them have already started to send out new leaves. Let us hope they would grow up happily!

7. This Kafir Lime ( Citrus hystrix ), though has yet to bear its first fruit, is doing especially well. It is now taller than my eight feet high fence! Great, do you not think so?

8. This Coconut Palm ( Cococ nucifera ) seedling ( the same type as the one I had given to Big Sis some time back ) which I had recently rescued from the dump ( a second one after Big Sis's ), is doing alright in this big pot planter that was previously planted with that forever sick and pest-infested Chilli ( Capsicum annuum ) plant which I had finally given up hope on not long ago. ( Yay! My dream of having one Coconut palm tree in my own garden is finally realised! )

9. These Daun Kurma Merah or Hong Tian Wu or Sessile Joyweed ( Alternanthera sessilis ) plants are such easy to grow plants. There are some more on the long, ground level planter. So many of them now. I must ask my friend who gave me the cuttings how she consumes them. ( Not sure if I dare to consume something I have never even heard people ever consume before. )

10. This White Bitter Gourd ( Momordica charantia ) vine is looking rather sad these days. It used to be a happy plant with lots of flowers ( only male ones though ). These days, it only blooms once in a while. Maybe its life is going to end soon? Oh, but let us hope not! As I love to purposely brush through its leaves whenever I am in the garden. They never fail to send out fresh, bitter sweet scent that is just too heavenly to ignore! Come, can you smell them?

11. These Spearmint ( Mentha spicata ) plants are doing quite well in this small pot planter. I have two pots of the same. They are such easy to grow plants. I have many a time harvested and enjoyed them in soups. 

12. The ten Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) plants that I have are all doing just alright. Not too good. Just alright. Here is one of them. 

13. These Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ) plants are doing especially well. They are known to grow like weeds. Very fast. I think before long, they would conquer the whole of this long, ground level planter area. But I hope not. For I just need a bit of them for my egg omelette each time.

14. As usual, these Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) plants are doing especially well. Lots of them again now! Anyone want any?

15. This Curry Leaf Tree ( Murraya koenigii ) is doing very well too. How it has grown from a fragile, little seedling months back!

16. These Blue Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ) vine and 17. Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba ) vine ( it is at the bottom right in the picture just in case you cannot spot it ) are happily sharing this same pot. Sometimes, sharing is good, I think!

and FINALLY, let us end this Edibles Tour with ....

18. these newly-planted Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) and 19. Tapioca ( Manihot esculenta ) stem cuttings. Can you see that they have all successfully sent out new leaves? Again, such easy plants they are!

So everyone, how have you enjoyed the Edibles Tour just now? Shall we move on? Now, come on, if you are ready!

Next, here, we have the ORNAMENTALS ...

1. These two are my newly-transplanted Betel-nut ( Areca Catechu ) palm seedlings. They are not doing too well now. Probably because of transplant shock? But I believe they will be alright soon. Or so I hope.

2. You are so fortunate to see this! My first ever pretty, wild, multi-coloured Lantana ( Lantana camara ) bloom! Finally, after months of planting, it decides to bloom! I am totally besotted with it! 

3. As usual, these Periwinkle ( Vinca rosea ) plants never disappoint me. They are flowering all the time. Love them much! 

4. This is my pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Chain of Love or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon leptopus ) vine. So happy it decides to bloom again! Looks like there will be more clusters of flowers this time! Yay!

5. Here is Mum's best-loved plant, Golden Trumpet or Common Trumpet Vine or Yellow Allamanda ( Allamanda cathartica ). Such an easy-flowering plant! Sending out lots of charming yellow trumpets everyday!

6. Usually, there are plenty but today, there is only one precious one in bloom on this White Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria Ternatea ) vine. Possibly the rest are camera-shy knowing in advance I plan to capture them in pictures on this very day?!

7. My dear Frangipani ( Plumeria rubra ) tree ... ( Sigh ) Looks like she decides to go on and on with its leafing retreat. ( Oh, when are you going to show us your sweet-scented blooms again? )

and finally, here it is. the last for today's Ornamentals Tour ...

8. My Jasmine ( Jasminum sambac ) plant ... Grown from a single stem cutting some time back. It is now a rather big plant already. Hopefully it will surprise me with a bloom or two soon. Wish me luck!

ALL FOR NOW! Hope you have enjoyed today's TOUR! BYE!

It was SWEET POTATO Harvest time again!

Last week, it was sweet potato harvest time again! I spent a whole morning removing the lush-growing vines and digging up all the sweet potatoes that just would not come up when I lifted the vines. 

Though the amount harvest ( weighing 2.3 kg this time ) is a bit more compared to the previous few harvests in terms of the sweet potato sizes and overall weight, it is still not very satisfactory to me. But then, considering the fact that I had not given them much care like fertilizing, watering and weeding, and had even been harvesting their leaves as vegetables all the while, since I had them planted on my less than twenty-five square feet front, ground level planter in late January, the amount of harvest is kind of expected actually. 

Here it is, the lot of harvested sweet potatoes, which I have not enjoyed as yet, as they are now left to cure for a while in the hope they would taste better after that ... 

one of the WONDERS in the GARDEN today ...

Much to my surprise, the dull-coloured buds of pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Chain of Love or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon leptopus ) which I had noted last week at my backyard have now all turned pretty, distinct bright pink. Some of them have even burst open to reveal their little, pretty, sweet faces, awaiting the first few fortunate bees to have a kiss on them...

of Harvests, Radishes, New Herbs and Wildlife

It has been quite a while. With me having been to retreats, my one and only younger sister, Jane having returned from her volunteering works in China before flying off to the United Kingdom for her convocation few days back, and Fourth Sis and her daughter returning from their month-long holiday in Europe, lots and lots of news and stories and time together were shared and spent. Now that everything is back to normal, here I am, again, with a bit of news here and there to report from my small backyard garden here in Ipoh.

of Harvests ...

My Turmeric ( Cucurma longa ) plant was uprooted two weeks back to soothe my curious self and itchy hands. Oh, but how I regret not holding them back then! The harvest weighs a mere eighty five grams. So little compared to what Big Sis used to get from a single plant. I had them ( the harvest ) kept inside the fridge until this morning when I finally managed to find my time to have them cleaned, sliced to pieces and dried under the hot sun. Once they are completely dry ( maybe in a day or two time ), I will have them ground into powder form and sent to Fourth Sis house for her daily consumption with oats. Fourth Sis is a stage four ovarian cancer survivor and so far turmeric has been one of her saviours.

I have three Madeira Vines ( Anredera cordifolia ), one in a pot and two on the long, ground level planter that are good enough for harvest. For now, I think it would be enough to have just the leaves of this potted one harvested for my own's lunch tomorrow. But we will see after I have the leaves harvested tomorrow morning.

As usual, my Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) plants are growing very fast. So there were plenty for harvest again. Yesterday, I had them all trim-harvested and given away. The recipients were all very happy at the sight of them. They said they were very fragrant and looked delicious. I was happy to hear them say that. Not that I loved to hear good comments but that they were loved.

of Radishes ...

The weather had been very hot and dry during the past few weeks. There were at least four times when I found all my three Radish ( Raphanus sativus ) plants having completely wilted to ground level. Luckily, their condition were always reversible every time after I gave them a good drink. Now two of them already have radishes down there. Can you spot one of them in the picture below? 

of New Herbs ...

My friend brought cuttings of four types of herbs for me to plant some time back when she came visiting. Now they have all grown and are looking great.

Here they are, the four new types of herbs:

1. Misai Kucing or Cat's Whiskers ( Orthosiphon aristatus )

2. Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris )

3. Daun Kurma Merah or Hong Tian Wu or Sessile Joyweed ( Alternanthera sessilis )

4. Spearmint ( Mentha spicata )

of Wildlife ...

I have been wanting to grow beautiful pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon Leptopus ) like these ( Pictures taken from the side of a road near Ipoh ) for a long time in my garden to attract bees. But it seems ever difficult in my garden.

Mine has been taking forever to grow big and flower. And when it finally is going to flower now for the second time, it looks like the colour is not going to be as beautiful as the ones that are found growing in the wild. Anyway, I do hope the bees do not mind and would love them as they are.

This garden snail was seen coming up from the soil after I had my plants watered the other day. If you really look carefully, you will see that its shell still have some soils sticking on it. I believe all my Okinawan Spinach ( Gynura bicolor ) plants were trimmed by it and its gang. Not that I mind though when I am saying this. They are free to roam about and trim anything they like in my garden actually. I will not harbour any hard feelings towards them.

I always see beautiful dragonflies and butterflies dancing around my garden but never had the luck to have them captured in pictures or videos before. This morning was somehow, exceptional. What a lucky morning to me!

Got this little fellow ( dragonfly - corrected as ' damselfly ' ) that were resting carelessly on my Lantana camara plant captured in a picture. Not as big and beautiful as the others but I am quite contented.

And this fluttering beauty ( butterfly ) that seemed to dislike staying at one place for longer than a second, captured in a video.

Hope you enjoy them ( both the damselfly and the butterfly ) in picture and video as much as I do!

All for now! THANK YOU for reading this! Till next time! BYE!

Recreating My Small Backyard Garden - Part 1

When I bought this second hand house of mine in Year 2017, this part of house ( which is now so-called my small backyard garden ) was an extended, fully-covered kitchen. But since I would like to have an outdoor space, I had asked my renovation contractor to remove the roofing and walls on all sides except for one side of wall which is shared with my neighbour on my right, who has his extended kitchen built. It is a most right decision which I had made for this part of the house. My regret however, is that I had not asked him to also remove the old, unsightly, ugly green-tiled, concrete kitchen table top which I have no use of. It looked so ugly that I made sure I give it a miss every time I took pictures of my ornamental plants here in the past.

Finally, few days back, I had it painted with almost the same colour as the wall's colour. It looks much better now or so I think. I also had the six pots of ornamental plants here, trimmed and rearranged. For now, I am rather satisfied with the improvements made.

Here it is, the new look of this part of my backyard :

Tomorrow, I will be joining the usual week-long Buddhist Retreat Camp at a nearby Buddhist Society.  So till days after that, will I be reporting on Part 2 and Part 3 of my Recreating My Small Backyard Garden.

Do bear with me for the super slow reports. Thank you so much for reading this! Bye!