Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flowering Aloe

The tall stem has beautiful bell flowers that last only a few days.

The young flower was photographed during the day providing better light.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Up-side-down tomatoes

Recently, I saw an idea at the hardware store for growing tomatoes up-side-down. That way you don't have to worry about staking them or making room for them. It was RM50+ for the special container, minus the soil and plants. I didn't have the money on me at the time, but I liked the idea. Then early this month I had some delicious tomatoes and sprouted the seeds. Suddenly I found myself with 18 tomato seedlings; not enough room and still without enough money as I was waiting to go to Sungei Buloh :). I looked around and decided to recycle. I took the little vertical planter I'd made (which I'd intended to use with plants from Sungei Buloh, but the tomatoes were more pressing), re-lined it with plastic and set it up. It was very easy. My only concern is that the holes might be too small eventually and that the soil isn't very water retentive. Next time, I'll definitely make sure the holes are bigger. I used some Spanish Moss to keep the soil from going through the holes.

Other possibilities are buckets, sieves, big plastic bottles and different types of plant containers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This is my friend's pineapple plant. Isn't it beautiful? I hope that mine will grow one soon too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I'm not a great shopper as a rule unless I am in one of two kinds of shops - a book shop or a plant nursery and yesterday we found the latter.

I'd been wanting to go for a while as I've been wanting plants for projects that I want to do. But I haven't been sure where to go and my car has broken down. Yesterday, however, I got to borrow my friend's car, I was given vague directions to Sungei Buloh and off we went.

Two hours later, we finally arrived after discarding the directions and going the way I thought it was. And it was brilliant. A whole row of them. I was like a cat in the catnip patch! And the prices were all very reasonable. We spent just over RM100 all up and got a very full boot-load.

Here's some highlights:

1. Pithecelobium dulce, Variegated Madras Thorn

2. Heliconia flower

3. Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum)
Flamingo Flower

4. Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Crispa’ (A. lobbianus)

All of them

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday Morning and Tropical Storms

Today is the second day of my weekend. My younger daughter, Zara, has gone to school and I have the day to myself. It's usually filled with the chores that need doing and can't be done in the rest of the week. It's also the day I work on my balcony garden. Zara and I often do a bit on the Sunday as well, but more often than not, I like to sit and enjoy it.

So far, I've sprayed my plants with an organic fertiliser and checked their water levels. I've also taken some photos of distant rain. The sun rising turned the buildings pink while the background is black with the rain coming in. Although it isn't a storm, we can get some spectacular storms here with the clouds engulfing the city. I got some fantastic photos a couple of years ago when I was facing the twin towers. The photos are quite historic now as a 30 story building has since been built in front and we can't get them from there again.

This morning

March 2009

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I haven't been doing much with my garden in the last few days since Frances arrived. We've been making a wall for her room and I've been trying to finish off the spring cleaning that I started last week. My aim is to have no junk spots in the house.

But my garden has been progressing all by itself. I love that about gardens. My seeds are starting to sprout and one of my Aloe Vera is putting out a flower. It's a stalk at the moment. So I'll put up photos of it when it's in full bloom.

Monday, April 4, 2011


This last week has been a week of preparation. My eldest daughter is coming back to live with me in Malaysia after finishing high school back in New Zealand. We've only spent about six weeks together over the NZ summer break each year and I've missed her.
So, I have been getting ready for her arrival and having a huge spring clean. This has been on many levels. She and I are just heading off into new stages in our lives. She's starting hers and I'm wanting to start new projects and start a new business. Therefore, it's really out with the old and in with the new. The clearing of latent energy has been really important and I really want to make our home beautiful. The girls and I have moved many times and we've never had the chance to settle and beautify.
This has included really making our balcony a place to rest and relax between jobs and projects. My younger daughter and I have sowed some seeds in a planter in order to plant out in all the pots and to showcase in a future post. Speaking of which, I'm having a go at encouraging a pineapple to flower. My friend's son planted a pineapple top and when they returned to the UK, we inherited it. We've had it for about four years now. I didn't think that it would ever flower; it being cut off from a pineapple. However, another friend has got her one flowering, so I'm having a go. If it works, I'll definitely let you know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cheap ideas for beautifying your balcony

ideas post #2

The best ideas of all are free ideas. So, let's...


The catch word of the 21st century, but there is truly so much free stuff about that you can use on your balcony. Being an ex-pat I often have friends leaving the country and moving on. Usually, when they ask, 'Nic, would you like...?' I've said yes before they've even finished the sentence. That way I've received lamps, large cushions, furniture and lots of bits and bobs. I've become more discerning since I got my own home and don't want it too cluttered, but I'll still have a look before saying no. From this I've gotten many things for my plants to stand on or to decorate the place; old tables, a metal frame that once held a TV, bricks (a great gardener's friend), my giraffe ornament and an old Japanese temple bell!

Other ways to recycle:

Freecycler - freecycle_kl@yahoogroups.com
It's an international group with local chapters all around the world, including KL. The idea is "one person's rubbish is another person's gold."
So, if you have something you don't want, put it up on freecycler and more often than not, someone will take it. You can also ask for things and someone may have one they don't want. I got an old sewing machine that way. I took it in for cleaning and it's great. I haven't tried freecycler for things for my balcony yet, but I'm sure there must be people who want to get rid of old pots and such like. Hmmm. Maybe I should ask about BIG ones!

Turn pillows into large cushions
We're supposed to get new pillows to sleep on every year or so. So, turn the old ones into large oversize cushions. Since you're going to use them on your balcony and the floor, it's not a problem using the old filler. Also, since it is old filler, you won't be so concerned if they get spilled on. Great if you have children and pets. Use old curtains to make the covers from.

What recycling ideas have you used for your balcony?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gloxinia rebounds - again

My gloxinia has put forth new leaves yet again. The last few times has been very difficult as it'd be attacked almost instantly by the white pest and die back again before any flowers could bud. It also took a long time to regenerate this time and I thought it really had died this time. I gave up and put it out on my other deck where it got enough water during the rainy season and suddenly put forth new leaves again! I instantly hit it with lots of chilli pesticide when I was also doing the others and I've given it an organic plant food spray. So fingers crossed...