August 2012 in our tropical garden

A few unexpected surprises that thrilled us so last month and brought joy to our hearts!

with vibrant scarlet-coloured or reddish-orange flowers bloomed for the second time, about 2¼ years after the first flowering in April 2010. Seriously, we had wanted to thrash it but before removing it, I decided to cut off their foliage early July to see what would happen. When some new leaves emerged, a flowering stalk soon followed. How wonderful!!
A budding flower stalk of our brilliant scarlet-coloured Hippeastrum had emerged, 26 July 2012! Brilliant scarlet-coloured Hippeastrum, changing to red as it ages, August 5 2012
The large flowers are 13 cm in width on a flowering spike of 47 cm tall. Even though it had only two flowers, it was amazing to watch it unfurled, from a bud to its glorious beauty!
Collage of the blooming stages of our vibrant scarlet-coloured Hippeastrum

Syngonium podophyllum cultivars with attractively patterned foliage

Syngonium podophyllum (Goosefoot Plant, Arrowhead Vine/Plant, Nephthytis, Five-fingers, African/American Evergreen)

Syngonium podophyllum 'Pixie' (Goosefoot Plant, Arrowhead Vine/Plant, Nephthytis), with lovely shades of green and obvious creamy white markingsWe just love variegated foliage plants.

These are one of those plants where the leaves are attractively patterned in various lovely colourful shades that make them as desirable to have in any garden, outdoors.

And you can even grow them indoor as houseplants.

Syngonium podophyllum 'Pixie' (Goosefoot Plant, Arrowhead Vine/Plant), added to our garden in September 2011A pot of Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pixie’, a compact and bushy cultivar with smaller leaves that are variably shaded in green with creamy white markings, and costing RM13.00, was added to our garden in September 2011.

We had propagated further into 3 pots now. Just fantastic as they’re easily multiplied and you’re guaranteed of their existence for life in your garden. Yay!

Nowadays, you get to see various cultivars or varieties with gorgeous subtle shades of pink and sometimes delicately flushed on the green leaf blades at garden centers. Click this link to Glasshouse Works to enjoy lovely photos of the cultivars available.

Mid-year 2012 joy in our tropical garden

Our tropical garden is forever filled with delightful flowers to bring joy to our daily lives. The plants are always busy at work to reward us with colourful blooms to gladden our hearts.

The red, orange and white flowers were the prominent ones for the months of June and July.

The fiery reds in our garden :

Calliandra emarginata ‘Red’ or Red Dwarf Powder Puff, a tropical perennial shrub is one handsome plant that seems to be forever flowering. Though flowers are short-lived, lasting a day or two but their abundance and radiant red colour is sure to delight you.

A beautiful display of Calliandra emarginata 'Red' (Dwarf Powderpuff) with red flowers, in our garden - June 24 2012

Cymbopogon citratus (Lemon Grass) with distinctive lemony aroma

Cymbopogon citratus (Lemon Grass, Lemongrass, Barbed Wire Grass, Citronella Grass)

Cymbopogon citratus (Lemongrass, Barbed Wire Grass, Citronella Grass), at our frontyard - May 29 2011We’ve planted this much-favoured Lemon Grass (or ‘Serai’ in Malay) plant for decades.

Just love the distinctive lemony aroma and unique flavour when added to our home-cooked dishes (check out my recipe on Malacca Portuguese Devil Curry that uses Lemongrass, if you’re interested). Many other ways of using this wonderful herb can be found here.

Cymbopogon citratus (Lemongrass, Barbed Wire Grass, Citronella Grass) at market in Hat Yai, Southern ThailandThough relatively cheap when sold in markets and supermarkets, we prefer them home-grown as we can harvest them as and when desired! They’re often seen planted almost at every nook and corner in Malaysian gardens or sidewalks as Lemongrass is popularly used as a spice for flavouring dishes in our local cuisine. It’s an essential culinary herb and spice, especially in Southeast Asian cuisines, widely used in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

How to propagate Staghorn Ferns

Our June 2012 garden project: propagating a Staghorn Fern

Foliage plants at our courtyardMy first attempt… I’ve procrastinated too long with the fear that the project is doomed to fail. Well, it’s about time to charge ahead, equipped with my gardening instincts with confidence. I’ll never know unless I try, don’t you think so?

Currently our potted Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) amazes us with its spectacular display.

It now has 5 juvenile pups to complement its elegant beauty, with luscious fertile fronds that fall downwards beautifully in a fountain-like manner.

Platycerium bifurcatum (Staghorn Fern) still beautiful after removal of its top pupObserving it closely, I feel it’s just the right time to remove one of its pup to experiment propagating the Staghorn Fern.

And, the lone pup that sits right at the top will be the best candidate in my opinion… I don’t think its removal will spoil the beautiful look of our Staghorn Fern. Photo on the left affirms its continuing elegance.