Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Every garden should have a gardenia plant. Gardenia flowers are gorgeous, so pure and white against shiny foliage. The scent is intoxicating, like a gigantic jasmine flower.

I see 4 magnificent flowers this morning and can't help admiring their beauty.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flowers are blooming

I came home after a heavy storm to find gardenia buds all over the floor. Heartache!

When I bought the gardenia plant few weeks ago, it was full of buds. Now half of them have fallen off. I wonder if it is nature's way of purging or I could just blame it on the storm. The healthy buds on the plant are beginning to open up this morning. By the end of the week, the entire plant would be filled with creamy white flowers. I can't wait!

The garden is filled with red and yellow blooms lately. It's quite shocking to see a big flower on my small heliconia plant.

The red passionflower is a recent purchase. We used to have a really large plant growing at my parent's yard. The flower is so gorgeous.

I've got a new periwinkle plant that produces delicate magenta flowers.

This plant with tiny yellow blooms is another recent buy. The leaves are so pretty.

Another yellow flower! This bromeliad used to belong to my son. It's too big to go into his terrarium, so it's mine now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wild rocket

When I asked my friends to bring me some rocket seeds from UK, they brought me 2 kinds - cultivated and wild.

I sowed both seeds on the same day. The cultivated variety shot up quickly and were ready for harvest within a month. I've made salads on a few occasions. The leaves were peppery and flavourful.

The wild rocket seeds took a bit longer to grow. It has been 6 weeks and they look quite ready for eating now.

The leaves are more serrated than the cultivated variety and are supposed to have a stronger flavour too. That explains why the snails have steered clear of my rocket patch!

I shall make a wild rocket salad tonight!

Flower sisters

I couldn't help bringing these pretty hibiscus home.

Now I have a pair of lovely sisters greeting me each time I step into the patio!

Aren't they gorgeous?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not buts, just buds

The first time I tried growing bunching onions from seeds, I didn't succeed. The seeds germinated but the tiny seedlings were too delicate, they couldn't survive the heat and heavy rainfalls.

I decided to try again this year. I must admit that I was quite skeptical at first. The seedlings were so spindly and fine, they couldn't even keep themselves upright.

These slow growers seem to have shot up a lot recently. Now they're beginning to look more like bunching onions or scallions. Unlike other onions, they do not form bulbs. They will grow long and tubular, with green tops and white bottoms. I'm encouraged by the success, I should sow more seeds.

The dandelion plant (below) that Petunia gave me last year is budding again. It sounds quite silly to be crazy over a weed, but danlelion is so precious here. You can't find them growing wild in Singapore.

Gardeners may find it pesky but herbalists have nothing but good things to say about the dandelion. Every part of the plant is useful. Read about the benefits here.

I'm very fond of the lovely and fragrant gardenia flower. I used to grow them in my parent's yard.

When I spotted a new batch of gardenia plants at the nursery yesterday, I couldn't resist hauling one home. I chose one with plenty of buds. I'll be over the moon when they bloom!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rocket rocks!

I harvested some of my rocket (arugula) leaves to make a salad last night. It was the perfect accompaniment to the freshly grilled salmon. As the rocket leaf is very flavourful, a simple vinaigrette dressing (dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil) is good enough.

I can't get enough of its spicy, peppery taste. It's time to grow another batch in my garden.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Striking adenium

The adenium flowers have finally blossomed, in a bold red colour! I never knew the flowers can be so attractive.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hits and misses

Today I ate my yam. Yes, the one I grew in a pot. It wasn't as big and perfect as the store bought ones but it was the best I've ever had. The texture was fluffy and light, every mouthful was such a delight. I wished I had grown more. It took me more than 6 months to grow this now and now it's in my tummy.

The taste took me by surprise. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much. When I pulled it out from the pot, the shape looked a little funny. The mishapen tuber rolled around on my kitchen top for several days, I almost threw it away. Thank goodness I had a change of heart and baked it in the oven today. It tasted amazing with Hawaiian honey.

The yam was so good, I will continue to grow more in my patio. I can't say I've been too successful with other edibles. Some just don't so so well in containers. The bananas from my small plant were too tiny to be eaten. The vegetables usually don't turn up sweet and succulent. My kang kong are mostly skinny and disease prone and the basil mature faster than I can use.

Some of the best edibles to grow in the patio garden must be the pandan leaf, curry and lime plant. They are easy growers and very useful plants.

Then there are other edibles that I don't have the heart to eat. My blue ginger plant is growing so well, I'm reluctant to dig the root out for cooking.

Finally, there are those that I choose not to eat. I'm talking about the sweet mulberries which I leave on the plant for the birds to eat.