Pseuderanthemum reticulatum (Yellow-vein Eranthemum) simply adores the sun!

Pseuderanthemum reticulatum (Golden Pseuderanthemum, Yellow-vein Eranthemum, Golden Net-bush)

Pseuderanthemum reticulatum (Golden Pseuderanthemum/Net-bush, Yellow-vein Eranthemum) at St. Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras, KLThese stunning sun-loving flowering shrubs, growing at the The Little Sisters of the Poor St. Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras K.L., certainly caught our eyes.

Golden Pseuderanthemum simply adores the sun. From afar, we saw smiling and sunny faces, reverberating in the sunlight that was showering them. The variegated leaves shone vibrantly in varying shades of yellow, chartreuse and green.

Alternanthera ficoidea (Parrot Leaf) in a non-stop riot of fall colours

Alternanthera ficoidea (Joseph’s Coat, Parrot Leaf, Calico Plant, Sanguinarea)

Alternanthera ficoidea with colourful variegated foliage in our gardenAlternanthera ficoidea (Joseph’s Coat, Parrot Leaf, Calico Plant, Sanguinarea) with colourful variegated foliage in our garden

Simply gorgeous! A non-stop riot of fall colours greeting us each day ever since we planted these dazzling Alternanthera ficoidea plants as ground covers in our garden beds last March! Being in tropical Malaysia, we do not have the joy of watching the autumnal turning of the leaves, so colourful plants such as Joseph’s Coat, Croton and Coleus, to name a few, that provide a spectacular show of ever-changing foliar variegation give us much pleasure.

Agave desmettiana with flowers to signal its approaching death!

Agave desmettiana (Smooth Agave, Dwarf Century Plant, Smooth Century Plant)

Agave desmettiana (Smooth Agave, Smooth/Dwarf Century Plant), showcasing its captivating flowering scape (about 3m tall) - April 28 2011Wouldn’t you be captivated with this 3-meter tall flowering beauty if you chance upon it?
We were very impressed, indeed! And, captured a lot of pictures too as we monitored its blooming progressively for several months.

A pity though that Agave desmettiana is monocarpic and will exhaust all its energy for just a one-time flowering in its life-span, typically about 10 years of age and awaits its approaching death after showing off its blooms.

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.