Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hen and Chicks

 It took more than 3 years after I have adopted 3 hens and chicks plants at the same time that they decided to bloom for us. It was really sad to leave them since it took so long to finally enjoy their lovely bloom. Now these plants have been safely adopted by other gardeners in Adelaide.
 Hen and Chick plant is very easy to grow and can live with neglect at our previous dry Adelaide garden. This succulent plant is easy to propagate and does not need much soil to grow big. A very drought-hardy plant. It needs well-drained soil to live happy. The plant leaves form a rosette which resembles more like a flower itself.
 The flower bud jutting out from the leave rosette centre.
How the flower stalk form from this angle. I waited so long for the flower bud to finally open and bloom. I was even very worried that I will miss the chance to watch the bloom before I have to part with it.
 Alert alert when you found black ants exploring your hen and chicks plant, make sure to get rid of them. Those black ants will only cause problems to the plant as it usually a sign that it has bring some pest along with them and give shelter to unwanted pest. The presence of many ants on the flower bud can damaged the buds from being able to open and bloom.
Not just me, but bees were also enjoying themselves with the blooming flower of hen and chicks plants.
I think those gave-away plants must have more blooming flowers now. 
Sigh, wish I still enjoy looking at them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

 Hello everyone its been awhile. November has been a really busy month and it is almost a month I have not done any postings. The reason being is we moved house. We are now officially not gardening in a dry Mediterranean climate garden but a wet tropical garden. Yes we have safely returned back to Malaysia since 15th of November. We were so exhausted the last week we were in Adelaide so busy with packing and cleaning our rented house. Moreover, a lot of other things needed to be organised and we have a 2 months old baby to care between me and my husband. The garden needed to be cleared and the agent wanted us to get rid most of the plants. So I decided to save or transport the plants that can be easily brought along back with me to Malaysia. It was another separate task we had to do because it will be heartbreaking to chuck the plants into the green compost bin. Most of my container garden polystyrene boxes were given away to friends, made me happy that they have an "instant garden" and a good way to spark gardening interest to friends. We managed to bring back 2 big boxes full of bare-rooted plants safely back . Well actually more than 2 boxes since I add in some plants into our luggage as well. We only brought back plants and Abbiyana stuff back with us by flight, the rest will be sent by sea shipment. I am one very crazy gardener, took me more than a week to transplant all the plants we transported back from our once upon a time Adelaide garden.
 I bought 8 bare-rooted society garlic from online and it was really cheap than buying a pot of plant from the nursery. I was also very satisfied as it was a very healthy bulbous root. The bulbous roots that I bought online came only wrap in a wet newspaper. Society garlic can tolerate a wide range of soil and it is also a drought and frost tolerant plant. The main purpose of me buying this plant is to deter unwanted creature to a certain area as many animals don't like the strong smell of this plant. An organic safe repellent plant. I was reading a forum that even big animal like deer dislike very much to come closer to this plant. If you bruised the leaves, a very nasty stinky smell will waft through your nose so be prepared. I think this work much better to repel vampire compare to garlic. Society garlic flowers are dainty star-shaped mauve in colour .
 The leaves of society garlic are edible so you can use them in cooking- stir-fry or soup or as a garnish whichever dishes you are fond of. Because I bought the bare-rooted bulbous society garlic 3 weeks before we depart, re-potted them until the day before we say farewell to Adelaide.
 I wrapped them bare-rooted again in wet tissues and it stayed more than 7 days in box before I had time to plant them. By that time new roots were growing in the wet tissues and surprise surprise some were producing flower bud! Very cool plant not temperamental plant, they are very hardy.
The plants are about 30cm tall when flowering. Society garlic has a long blooming season. When I planted one bare-rooted society garlic on this site, there were many ants around. After a few days, ants has disappeared from that spot. Hopefully this plant will multiply quickly so I can make new division of plants and allocate to other spots in the garden especially the new veggie patch project not being trampled by turkey and his friends at the backyard. The reason why we have wires around this spot to prevent turkey  or chicken from digging the newly made small veggie patch. We are living at my parents house now near Malaysia capital city as caretakers because my parents at the moment are staying in Borneo island due to my father new working place. We have at least half an acre now to grow food, plenty of space compared to our very very very small Adelaide garden. I have not been reunited yet with my 2 boys Ilhan and Rayyan hopefully early next month. Now that 5 years old Ilhan knew we are back, he wants to fly back here with us but it was so cute hearing him on Skype said "I can't board the aeroplane because I have no money and ticket". I have not finished my studies, hopefully I can focus on finishing up my thesis writing soon.