Friday, August 20, 2010

Plants and such

I used to grow a patch of Turnera at the farm. Every morning, the entire front yard would be covered with cheerful white and yellow flowers waving about in the wind. It was always such a sight to behold.

You can count on the turnera to flower all year round but the delicate flowers only stay open for a few hours in the morning.

Last week, I bought two plants for my patio but I didn't get to see the flowers because of work. Today, I finally see them in full bloom. They really brighten up the garden.

While I was pottering about, I inspected some of my other 'delicate' plants as well. I always pray very hard when I grow tomatoes because they're so vulnerable to infestations.

I started off with 4 cherry tomato plants (from seeds) and now there are only 3 (photo above). Recently I found white spots beneath the leaves which I removed immediately. My previous attempts to grow tomatoes were never successful, so I'm hoping for a miracle this time.

While propogating rosemary from stem cuttings seem easy enough, the success rate is not always high. I've done it many times and had seen some grow into healthy adults. The weather and soil play an important role. Rosemary prefers well drained soil and dry weather conditions. That said, we've been getting lots of rain lately but these two cuttings seem to be doing ok.

The basil I had sown from seeds are growing up nicely. I don't use often use basil in my dishes as the kids aren't very fond of the smell, but I like growing them in my patio.

Don't be discouraged yet. If there is one herb for dummies, Indian borage has to be the one. It's almost impossible to kill this one. Simply plonk one stem cutting into the soil and it'll not only survive, you can count on it to thrive. When it gets too tall, cut one part off and put it into the ground and you'll have two. Keep multiplying until you have a whole cluster. Then begin to wonder what to do with all that minty leaves.

It is an useful plant of course. Pick some leaves, wash and then boil in water. The resulting decoction can be taken to treat cough and asthma. The leaves may also be pounded and applied as a poultice on bites from insects. Finely chopped leaves can be used in fish and mutton curries as well.


  1. oh my oh my.. I'm green with envy.. I'm really looking forward to the dinner at your place because I've really got to learn from how you've managed to grow so many good things in your patio. My patio has partial sun and I don't seem to be able to grow any edibles at all!

  2. I think the conditions at the patio happen to be just right. I don't do much to my plants.

  3. I'm drooling at your Basil plant. I have a few at home (previously bought from Cold Storage) but they are just skinny little things. I tried almost everything, from goat droppings as organic fertilizers, rice water to egg shells... etc. They are still skinny, stunted little things with small leaves. I feel kind of discouraged everytime I look at them...

  4. The trouble with these supermarket ones is they're imported from cooler climate and were kept in the supermarket chiller. They will not be able to acclimatise and do well in our warm environment.

    What you can do is harvest the seeds and sow them in your garden.

  5. Ting, you have garden full of herbs!That's amazing!
    The flower of Turnera is so pretty!

  6. I really like this Tunera. It seem to be ever-blooming and never fail to attract the butterflies and bees too! Do you have a problem with the bees coming? I have a UFO (unidentified flowering object) in my garden brought in by the birds that looks like your indian borage. At first I was wondering what plant it is.

  7. Malar - Yes, I do have quite a number of herbs tucked away here and there. I have chives too!

  8. Autumn Belle - I suspect your UFO is a kind of wild spinach sowed by birds. The leaves look quite similar to Indian borage but they are softer and more delicate. If it starts flowering, then I am certain it's not Indian borage.

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