Ricinus communis, our garden’s addition in January 2011

Yippee! We have a new plant(s) for our garden, added last month, free of charge! :)

Ricinus communis (Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant) with attractive reddish-purple foliageIt is botanically known as Ricinus communis. Did a quick search with the words, ‘red maroon purple leaves’ at TopTropicals.com, one of our favourite sites that’s helpful in identifying tropical plants and straightaway 3 plants popped up, including the hopeful result. So happy to have nailed its ID.

We chanced upon this beautiful shrub growing by the roadside in the neighbourhood and it was love at first sight! Captivating reddish-purple or purplish-maroon leaves that are deeply lobed, similar to the palmate leaves of Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (Red Japanese Maple). And, the shrub was heavily laden with ripened fruits and dried seed pods as if waiting to be hand-plucked!

2011 Lunar New Year Greetings


the most important and auspicious annual festival
celebrated by the Chinese communities around the world
will be celebrated for 15 days,
starting from February 3rd till the 17th!

2011 Chinese New Year Greeting Card!


Cattleya orchids: exotic species and hybrids!

Cattleya species and hybrids

Cattleya is among the most popular and outstanding genus in the Orchid family (Orchidaceae), particularly noted and valued for their large gorgeous flowers with large captivating labellum in a multitude of showy colours and patterns!

Cattleya hybrid: Blc Ablaze Medal 'U Emperor' at our backyard, November 2007Countless spectacular Cattleya hybrids have emerged over the last several decades, due to extensive hybridizing of Cattleya species within its genus and more remarkable are the hybrids formed with other related genera, such as Brassavola, Laelia and Sophronitis, producing breathtaking results!

This Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc.) hybrid pictured on the right with a pretty name, Blc. Ablaze Medal ‘U Emperor’ (parentage: Blc. Toshie Aoki x Blc. Gold of Tainan) is one such astounding beauty!

Livistona chinensis (Chinese Fan Palm, Fountain Palm)

Livistona chinensis (Chinese Fan Palm, Chinese Fountain Palm)

Livistona chinensis (Chinese Fan Palm, Fountain Palm) at the roadsideThese exotic tropical and semi-tropical palms are simply eye-catching and captivating!
Standing tall and imposing with its roundish and solitary trunk, Livistona chinensis is beautifully top-laden with dense and attractive fan-shaped fronds that radiate outwards and have numerous segmented tips that droop gracefully, creating a fountain-like effect! Hence, not surprising that it goes by the nick-names, Chinese Fan Palm and Chinese Fountain Palm.

December 2010: our garden delights!

Roses are red, my love
violets are blue;
Sugar is sweet, my love
but not as sweet as you!

(1962 hit song by Bobby Vinton)

A set of rose-pink Rhododendron simsii or Azalea indica in our garden, December 2010