Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amazing Rosemary!

Years ago, I remember helping a friend destroy an entire patch of rosemary that had overtaken his backyard. While it is precious commodity here in Singapore, the rosemary bush is sometimes treated like a weed in California. It annoyed him so much that we practically hacked the life out of that unruly shrub. What a pity!

Then again, it must have quickly sprung back to life soon after I left San Francisco. Back in Singapore, I've heard stories of how people struggle to keep their rosemary alive in our wet tropical climate.

Well, I already know that rosemary thrives in dry, mediterranean climate. The one that we chopped down was HUGE, I had never imagined they could grow so big!

When I bought a small one for my patio garden, I was merely trying my luck. Not only did it manage to stay alive for many months, it outgrew the plastic pot it came in. I transferred it into a large Mediterranean-inspired terracotta pot to give it more room to grow.

And how it grew. It's now a shrub, a good looking one too. Then something amazing happened. I thought I saw little white flowers today.

Indeed, the plant has produced bunches of tiny white flowers.

Not one.

Or two.

But three!

Wow, I'm still amazed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The joy of gardening

After living in a sprawling farm for so long, life in a small apartment with a patio garden needs a bit of getting used to. I can't keep big dogs anymore. Even my choice of plants has shrunken.

While I used to grow gardenia, roses and hibiscus in wild abundance, now I have limited my choices to smaller plants that will do well and look good in containers. Since I'm also into growing edibles, I try my best to maintain a lush garden that is both attractive and productive.

Needless to say, the garden has brought me so much joy, some of which rather unexpected....like the comforting smell of rosemary or titillating fragrance of jasmine wafting through the air.

Whatever it is, every new day presents a visual treat. Yah, gardening rocks.

Presenting, my petite beauties...

Lantana - white

Lantana - yellow

Lantana - orange

Cat's whiskers

Bright pink portulaca

Variegated pink portulaca

Baby pink portulaca


Mulberry fruits

More mulberry fruits

My little lychee tree

Seedling area - balsam, kai lan, bai cai, lettuce, mustard green, basil, dill, coriander, kang kong and spinach in various stages of germination.

Bai cai seedlings

Episcia - close up

Episcia cluster

Echeveria - not doing so well because of too much rain. Still, they are a joy to watch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Growing Veggies

I've started growing vegetables again. Last week, I sowed kale, cabbage, bak choy and basil seeds in planter boxes.

I also sowed some mustard green seeds even though my kids do not like to eat them. Mustard green has a bitter taste but being a showy plant, it looks great in flower pots.

I could make preserved vegetables out of them when they're past their prime and no longer attractive. Of course it's too early to count the chickens... because the seeds have not even germinated yet.

I was excited to find purple balsam growing in a friend's garden. I haven't grown balsam in a long time and requested for some seeds. They germinated quickly and are growing well.

I had always thought that blue ginger (galangal) can only grow well in the ground until I saw the lush potted one in my friend's garden. Encouraged by her success, I went out and bought myself a piece of galangal from the wet market and plonked it into a large pot of soil. I am counting on this 40-ct investment to generate large clumps of ginger so I could make braised duck or curries more often.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New additions

After a slow morning at the office, I made a special trip to my favourite nursery just to perk myself up. Look at my new acquisitions!

Succulents in all shapes.

A jasmine plant that is full of buds. I have always wanted one in my garden. I can't wait for the smell of jasmine flowers to infuse my patio.

Lantanna is one of my favourite flowering plants and I can't believe I haven't bought any until now. It's not too late. Now my patio has one in every colour.

I bought a mulberry plant even though I already have one growing in the garden. This small plant is laden with fruits, that's why it is so irresistable.

The ripe berries (in black) are so sweet!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Waste not...

I bought some sweet potato leaves to make a stir fry one day and couldn't bear to discard the leftover stems. I simply poke them into a pot and look at them now! They're creeping all over my garden. I wouldn't grow them in the ground because they're such invasive plants!

I rummaged through the box of seeds in my fridge and found these 'sweet jean corn'. I doubt they'll grow well in my patio. Now that I'm volunteering in the primary school, I've decided to grow them in the school garden. I sow them at home so I could transplant into the school yard when they're bigger. They've germinated just after 2 days. I think they're really cute.