Garden Updates from May to July 2014

We praise and thank The Almighty God for the joy of His awesome creations almost at our doorstep. Just a few short strides through the front exit/entry door of our home and we step into our little garden paradise. Or just draw the sliding glass-door curtains of our sitting hall and voila… a beautiful view that absolutely enthral us and fill our hearts with joy, happiness and contentment. Ample blessings for the taking to start each day! Thank you, Heavenly Father!

June 2014 garden tour... enjoy!


Aargh… CA is rearing its ugly head again!

My beloved John loves me very much, I know that beyond the shadow of a doubt! But it seems CA loves me much more, an attachment that I abhor and can definitely do without. Eeek… an evil thingy, rearing its ugly head again inside me!

With the exception of a slight elevated CEA level from 5.0 to 8.3, then to 11.6 in several blood tests taken over a span of one and a half years, I had no symptoms whatsoever and feel fine health wise. Simply leading a normal healthy life with no problem in food intake, whether home-cooked or otherwise, enjoying gardening and occasional outings with friends, sleeping well, and couldn’t be happier.

The oncologist was okay with the slight elevated CEA readings thus far. However, the surgeon was unsatisfied and insisted that I have a PET Scan done on June 10 to rule out any misgivings and to see him again on July 1 for the results. Thank God for the surgeon’s good discernment as the PET/CT result indicated metastasis. John and I were devastated when the bombshell exploded… we had not expected the relapse to be so soon, less than 2 years remission

Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’ with impressive variegated foliage

Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’ (Calathea Broad Leaf, Pin-stripe Plant)

Calathea ornata 'Sanderiana' at Sungkai Wildlife Conservation Centre in Pahang' - 29 Dec 2009This versatile tropical plant that showcases dazzling variegated leaves had us really smitten when we first sighted it. That was about four and a half years ago when we visited the Sungkai Wildlife Conservation Centre in Pahang.

Then, it was out of sight, out of mind until late last year when we had to source for some variegated foliage plants for our courtyard. The quarter-moon pebbled border therein seemed somewhat bare, with many potted plants being ‘devoured’ by mealy bugs and spider mites.

Hence, there was an urgent need to replenish the emptiness.

Luxuriant Calathea ornata 'Sanderiana' at our courtyard, 16 Dec 2013

Fortunately, during our plant-shopping spree, we came across several potted Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’ that were readily available for sale at a garden centre in the neighbourhood.

Unbelievably cheap, just RM5/pot and we grabbed one without hesitation for our garden. This gorgeous plant with impressive variegated foliage fitted the bill perfectly!

The large oval-shaped and olive green leaves are really attractive, and the fish-bone pattern of white and light pink lines on them provides a wonderful and eye-catching contrast.

Besides, the Pin-stripe Plant or Calathea Broad Leaf is such a hardy and low-maintenance plant that’ll evidently add beauty to your home, indoors or outdoors.


Callistemon citrinus, the fiery Red Bottlebrush!

Callistemon citrinus (Red Bottlebrush, Crimson/Lemon Bottlebrush)

Definitely easier to remember this plant’s common name ‘Bottlebrush’ rather than its botanical name, as its flower spikes perfectly resemble bottle brushes! Right?

Brilliant flowers Callistemon citrinus (Red Bottlebrush, Crimson/Lemon Bottlebrush), seen at Genting HighlandsThe red-hot Callistemon citrinus will surely dazzle you as it did us. It is a showy shrub or small tree that’ll look magnificent, especially when it’s laden with deep and vibrant red flower spikes. Simply fabulous and truly irresistible if you love red and green, the colours of Christmas.

Indeed, this fiery Red Bottlebrush became the perfect replacement for our Calliandra emarginata, a similarly coloured tree that was heavily infested with whiteflies and given the boot!

Focus on the newly bought Callistemon citrinus bush, July 11 2013In our eagerness to get this beautiful plant for our garden, we asked our younger son to buy one when we heard of a knockdown sale last June. It was held at a garden centre nearby his neighbourhood which was about 35 km away.

Unfortunately, the small tree that we received was an aged and overstressed one, badly neglected with roots that were matted and had protruded from the drainage holes of an undersized black poly bag.

Aaargh… no wonder, the price was a steal… just RM20, instead of RM50-70!

Propagating Syngonium podophyllum by division and cuttings

Syngonium podophyllum or commonly known as Goosefoot Plant and Arrowhead Vine/Plant has beautiful variegated leaves that come in variable shades of green, white, cream, yellow and pink, as well as in various leaf shapes and sizes.

Potted Syngonium podophyllum 'Pixie' (Goosefoot Plant, Arrowhead Vine/Plant, African/American Evergreen) in our garden, July 11 2012It is an attractive, elegant and versatile plant that is  popularly cultivated worldwide. Mostly, as an indoor plant and used as a decorative specimen. It thrives well outdoors too as a garden ornamental, trained as a climber on a moss pole and trellis, espaliered on a garden wall or allowed to trail/creep as a ground cover in beds and borders.

Syngonium podophyllum which is native to Mexico and southwards to South America, can be easily propagated in various ways without much fuss.

Learn how to propagate Syngonium podophyllum (Goosefoot Plant, Arrowhead Vine, Nephthytis) in the following ways :