Ricinus communis (Castorbean): beautiful & useful but deadly!

Ricinus communis (Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant)

Ricinus communis (Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant), an ornamental cultivar with reddish-purple leaves and seedpodsCruising our neighbourhood one afternoon late last year, we came across this lovely shrub flourishing along the roadside and were hypnotized momentarily by its eye-catching foliage.

The Castor Bean Plant was adorned with beautiful leaves that were uniquely coloured. A purplish-maroon shade that is rarely seen in our neck of the woods and beautifully shaped too, like those gorgeous palmately lobed leaves of the Red Ribbonleaf Japanese Maples that we admire.

The next feature that caught our eyes was the clusters of fruits and seed pods that hung temptingly on its shrubby branches like decorative prickly ornaments on a Christmas tree. Simply fascinating!

May 2011: delights in our kitchen garden

Our kitchen garden is situated at our backyard, just behind our kitchen for easy access. In reality, it’s just a small-scale project within a humble space, mainly to serve our kitchen needs.

Previously, we’ve grown a mix of sorts that included a couple of fruit trees in containers, some herbs and occasional attempts at vegetable growing on the ground. They were long beans, 4-angled beans, calamondin (limau kasturi in Malay), brinjals, ladies fingers, spinach, and mustards, to name a few. If I recall correctly, the 4-angled beans was the most successful of the lot, with many harvests. Not only had it provided us a veggie dish whenever our refrigerator ran low of supply, we even had abundance to share with our neighbours. Such sweet memories of yesteryears!

Later, when the backyard was paved, about a decade ago, we stopped growing veggies and concentrated on container-planting of some herbs and spices that are useful for adding flavour in our cooking.

Bismarckia nobilis, a striking and spectacular fan palm

Bismarckia nobilis (Bismarck Palm, Bismark Palm)

Bismarckia nobilis (Bismarck Palm, Bismark Palm) in large concrete containers, seen at Hospital UKMis a striking and spectacular palm that has become an absolute craze among landscapers in tropical and sub-tropical regions this last two decades. Majestic and domineering in appearance, the all-time favourite Bismarck Palm will brighten any landscape or scenery, be it day or night, with its brilliant silvery blue or gray to bluish green massive crown of beautiful fan-like fronds.

Dypsis lutescens, an elegant and graceful yellow butterfly palm

Dypsis lutescens (Yellow Butterfly Palm, Golden Yellow Palm, Yellow Bamboo Palm, Cane Palm, Areca Palm)

Dypsis lutescens (Yellow Butterfly Palm, Golden Yellow Palm, Yellow Bamboo Palm, Cane Palm, Areca Palm)A small to medium-sized clustering palm tree that is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant worldwide, especially in the tropical and sub-tropical climate. Dypsis lutescens is popularly sought after by home gardeners, interiorscapers and landscapers alike, not only for its ease of growth but mostly for its aesthetic beauty of elegance and grace.

Versatile and hardy, these Yellow Butterfly Palms with long and arching fronds that sway gracefully with the wind and breeze, can be grown as indoor potted plants or ground-grown outdoors in the full sun.

April 2011: Easter Joy in our tropical garden!

What marvels The Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad. (Psalm 126:3)

Proiphys amboinensis (Cardwell Lily, Northern Christmas Lily), an Easter flowering miracle again! Shot April 30 2011

Simply unbelievable! Not only was our potted Proiphys amboinensis (Cardwell Lily) blooming for the second time around in two years but once again resurrected during the Easter season!