Monday, February 28, 2011

Queen of the night

A year ago, my friend gave me a cutting of the Epiphyllum Oxypetalum. The cutting was floppy and unimpressive. I simply chucked it in a large pot of soil and propped it up with a metal stand. It grew very slowly, flopping over the metal stand like a sickly plant.

Then suddenly, a small flower bud appeared last week. I wasn't expecting much out of this little bud but when I walked into my garden at 5.30am this morning, I was surprised to see a large white flower. It was so impressive, I quickly grabbed my camera.

I've come to learn that the flower rarely blooms and only at night. Just as mysteriously, it wilts before dawn.

The Chinese idiom 曇花一現 (tan hua yi xian) uses this flower (tan-hua; 曇花) to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a "flash in a pan", since the flower can take a year to bloom and only blooms over a single night. Therefore someone described as "曇花一現" is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky.

I took another peek before I left my house at 6.30am. True enough, the gorgeous bloom had already wilted. I was so lucky to witness it's short moment of glory.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rocket and friends

When my friends came from UK two weeks ago, they brought me some seeds of the wild and cultivated arugula (rocket). I love this peppery salad green but found it impossible to get the seeds in Singapore.

The moment I got the seeds, I quickly scattered them in my garden. They are not called rocket for nothing. These are fast growers and they germinated within 2 days. Now I have 2 large pots of rocket in my garden.

The weather must have been good for the plants for they are all flowering all of a sudden. The miniature rose plant is filled with gorgeous yellow blooms.

There are pink periwinkle flowers everywhere.

Even the adenium is flowering for the very first time.

And the best thing is, this funny looking succulent given by a friend has produced a cute little bud.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Big yam, small yam

Six months ago, I blogged about the yam which I grew in my compost bin. At that time, young leaves were just starting to appear from the stump I buried in the soil.

Photo taken on 6 September 2010.

Look at the difference now. The episcia is jostling for space with the yam. And the 'mother' yam has produced two smaller offsprings.

Photo taken today.

The mother yam has a big tuber. I'll harvest this big one and let the offsprings produce more tubers for me.

The other smaller variety that I've grown in a smaller pot looks ready for eating too.

Small variety.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


The narcissus bulb that I bought in Hong Kong a month back has grown quite a bit, though not in time to produce flowers for the Chinese New Year.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy new year!

We're celebrating Chinese New Year and I've decorated the house with flowers.

Wishing all my Chinese friends a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


My heart jumped for joy when I saw this group of succulents (large ones) at a temple in Penang.

I love growing succulents as they make excellent display plants in dish gardens but they just don't do well in our humid tropical climate.

About a year ago, I started a dish garden with 8 different species of succulents. Today, only four remain and are doing well.