Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hidden Hippeastrum

 This salmon colour hippeastrum is one of the common hippies here in Malaysia known as Hippeastrum Roseum. Because I am not familiar with my mother garden at the moment I need to jot notes of the plants and the location. I did not expected that this area has hidden hippeastrum bulbs growing under the soil. I think my mother planted this hippeastrum bulbs while I was living in Adelaide. The blooming Roseum was obscured by the huge Elephant Ear plant leaves. I recently discovered this hippeastrum plant when I was taking photos of other plants at this area.
Desperate for some light, the hippeastrum has grown really tall, at least 50cm. As you can see the plant is shaded by surrounding plants.
 Well I would have not imagine that the bulbs were sleeping underneath these dried leaves fallen from bigger plants in this area. I am often ask what kind of fertiliser I used for the plants. But honestly, I have no time at all to feed the plants. Almost all follow the cycle of life. Fallen leaves decomposition brought back food for the living plants. We often have self-seedlings plants as well sprouted.
Biggest contributor for composted material in this area is the vigorous climber Bauhenia kockiana living happily above the Roseum hippeastrum.
 It feels like spring on this area many type of flowers starting to bloom one by one. One of it is 'Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow plant starting to bloom next to the Roseum. This is a very old collection of my mother's, we had this plant when I was still in primary school.
Roseum in full bloom.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Water Snake Year Harvest Kick Off

 I hope its not too late to wish Happy Chinese New Year. Here is a summary of what we have been harvesting since the Water Snake Year has started according to Chinese calendar. I have not had much opportunity to snap photos of what we have been harvesting as keeping busy with the kids. So here a few of the ones shown in pictures as a memory. We have been harvesting Butterfly Pea flowers daily to make blue syrup drinks for the kids. The butterfly pea flowers only bloom for one day, so the more you pick them the more they bloom for you. Average daily we make about 3 big bottle mineral water size for the kids. So about 5 litres a day at least. The kids play a lot outside so they have some cold water to drink. Since we came back, I am happy to report that we also been harvesting edibles from the ones we grown ourselves finally. Our first okra batch has finally bears fruits. Radishes also beginning to grow edible roots to enjoy. Assam Jawa or known as tamarind been falling from the trees to collect. Nam nam fruits also has been bearing fruit quite well. I tried cooking nam nam fruit with our traditional dish 'Asam Pedas' with stingray and it was really delicious. Ahem...had second servings.
 Ilhan and Rayyan has been helping to pick bird-eyes chillies. We never sow them, self-seeded easily in the garden everywhere like weeds, courtesy of birds.
Winged beans also added into our harvest basket this month. We also had a few alpine strawberries for Ilhan and Rayyan to enjoy. Not easy to add into the harvest basket as the berries usually goes straight into the small hand and pop into their little mouth in a blink of an eye.
 Finally we have some Asian greens to harvest like choy sum and red giant mustards. These are from the seeds we harvested from our old garden and I am very happy that they grow really well here. In fact they grow so much faster here. We also harvested some sweet leaves which is known as 'Asin-asin' or cekur manis here. Several calamansi limes for my favourite 'Sambal Belacan'. The kids going bananas over the banana harvest. We managed to harvest 2 small pamelos. 
We had rose apple and pink guava too. The kids enjoyed their first fresh pink guava juice. 
Amaranth or Chinese spinach self-seeded everywhere in the garden. We have a few sapodilla and velvet apple also know as mabolo in Phillipine are also harvested since the water snake year begun. Frangipanis have been blooming so nicely this month and I love to pluck a few bloom to enjoy the fragrance.
 So happy since December, we collect our own eggs now. The boys love to help collecting the eggs. I think they enjoyed it a bit too much. Because right after the hens lay egg, the boys go pick the egg still very warm to touch.

 Visit Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday to see other gardeners all around the globe share their harvest stories.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saving Half-Legged Gladioli

 Don't know why but whenever I planted flower the ones which are yellow or orange seems to grow/bloom more easily compared to other colours without care. Although, I bought mix colours but I still get a lot of yellows. It likes a curse you can't shake off but actually a blessing in disguised as yellow attracts beneficial insects and the cucurbits has yellow flowers too. This gladioli is blooming this week and my hubby kept confusing the name with daffodil. Well in this colour both kind of look alike and my daffodil bulbs are still hibernating in the crisper for the time being. Yes, I brought back our daffodils that have bloom 2 season for us from our old garden.
When I spied this emerging flower stalk, I was very excited. However, this gladioli plant almost got into a fatal accident. Mr. Hubby was cutting the grass and sand got into his eyes. So he accidentally swing the grass cutter blade near this gladioli bottom and part of the gladioli plant cut until half. I got very annoyed, especially now we still have heavy rain almost each afternoon. The plant flop to the ground several time. From my previous post, I had to cut some leaves stalk of our large elephant ears because it was blocking the hippeastrum plant. So the elephant leaves stems were recycled to keep the gladioli steady from its half-legged condition for the time being. Thankful it work and the plant gave us something to look at from the kitchen door.
Unfortunately the hippeastrum bulb that I planted next to the gladioli from last November had a really bad hair cut. Sigh.....wondering whether it will bloom or not. Anyone sharing similar experience?
 Still waiting for another 4 buds to bloom.
 Five years old Ilhan and 3 years old Rayyan has been spending a lot of time outside playing which I think is good and healthy for them. Rather than watching TV or playing games using screen. Six months old Abby also don't like to be left out and now can sit in her bumbo chair and watch her brothers playing outside under the gazebo.
 Happy Weekend Gardening!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Elephant Ear

Elephant ear plants all around our house has been producing inflorescenes in the leaf axils these past few weeks. Its cousin Taro has edible tubers but be careful the elephant ears are poisonous to be consumed. Different parts of the elephant plants has different level of oxalic acid. This plants causes severe burning in the mouth and throat if eaten. This plant are easily grown here in the tropics.
The elephant ear plants can grow very quickly for example the photo above was taken end January last year and photo below are recently taken. So an example how the elephant ear plants can grow in a year without any fertiliser given. I foresee 2 plants needs to be relocated as it will be quite crowded on that spot.
Withered inflorescenes. One plant can produce average about 3 inflorescenes in one season.
 This ear elephant plant is near our mail box. I was trying to find some space to plant gladioli bulbs and just noticed that there are hippeastrum blooming obscured by the huge elephant ear plant leaves. I think the bulbing hippeastrum was desperate searching for light that its stalk grown more than 50cm tall. So I chopped off some of the elephant ear plants for the poor blooming hippeastrum.
Hippeastrum blooming. Hopefully other bulbs will also bloom too.

From my previous post, the sengkuang seeds will find a new home to :

Rainfield 61 ~ My Journey.

Lena ~ Frozen Wings.

James Missier ~ Garden Chronicles. 

Please send me your address to (

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kitaran Hidup Sengkuang (Seeds Give-Away)

 We did a lot of digging this week and one of the happy digging time was taking out the jicama/mexican turnip or in Malaysia known as sengkuang' tubers out from the soil. Now I need some ideas from other gardeners how to enjoy this sengkuang, Any favourite dishes? Facebook buddy gardeners has introduce me to Nyonya dish 'Ju Hu Char' which is jicama stir-fry with dried cuttlefish which I would like to try as soon as I get some dried cuttlefish.
 Sengkuang grows easily in the tropics as it loves heat and high humidity. Definitely a good plant for novice gardener in tropics to try. For juicy tubers will need lots of water. Not enough water will cause the growing tubers to crack which happened when we tried growing them in Adelaide that have really dry summer because we did not water enough the plants in summer as we should. Infrequent consistent watering during drought season might resulted in crack tubers. It was a tricky attempts at growing sengkuang in Mediterranean climate but so easily grown here in the tropics. Experiencing different climate growing sengkuang was to me a valuable one. Don't judge by the size of the sengkuang tubers, younger tubers are more sweeter than the older ones.
Sprouted sengkuang seeds poking out.
 Sengkuang actually does not require many space to grow. In fact it can also be grown in containers which we did in our previous home with limited space (link). Sengkuang plants is a half-climber. When the plants are small you train them up and later on they find their own way. If you don't have a rich fertile soil, you can grow sengkuang plant first as they are legume, a natural nitrogen-fixer.
 Sengkuang flowers. The sengkuang plants that we grown in Adelaide never produces flowers. The lilac flower shape resembles closely to winged bean and snake bean.
Dried Sengkuang Seed pods. The sengkuang beans are not edible. 
Sengkuang Seeds.
This week we harvested a pamelo, lemons, bananas, bird-eyes chilli, Pandan leaves, Passion fruit, Calamansi fruits, Nam Nam fruit, Tamarind Fruits, Asam Gelugor (Garcinia atroviridis) leaves.

 I am giving away some sengkuang seeds for 3 gardeners randomly picked from the comments. Will announce the recipient at my next post.

Have a lovely weekend.