Monday, December 9, 2013

A butterfly garden

When my son converted my patio into a butterfly garden, I was rather skeptical. He wanted a wild garden, somewhat unkempt where vines creep up the trees and create an unruly tangly mess. I wasn't sure I could live with that.

He started putting in lots of host and food plants. Our lilies and vegetables gave way to biden, snake weed, aristolochia, rattle box pea, crown flower, milkweed, lime, curry, ixora, lantana, ylang ylang, chempaka and so forth. These are the ones I am familiar with. There are also loads of unusual ones that I can't identify. 

The butterflies came and went with the seasons. At one point, we had so many tiger butterflies fluttering about every morning, it was indeed a beautiful sight. But the tigers do not practise birth control and the hungry caterpillars can strip an entire plant of their leaves in one day. Soon, their food plants stopped growing and the tigers disappeared.

However, the other plants continue to thrive, so much so that it looks like a jungle out there. With the ombination of rain and sunshine we're getting these days, the plants are florishing and flowering like crazy.

With such a abundant supply of nectar and pollen, the garden is alive with butterflies, bees and bugs. These busy pollinators keep the garden healthy and productive. I'm pleased with my messy garden.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I learned about marcotting (air layering) when I was in primary school and it has been ages since I've seen anyone propogate plants this way. Marcotting is one of the oldest forms of plant propagation and it is mostly practised in South East Asia.

Someone in my neighbourhood has tied several parcels of compost on his guava plant. After a couple of weeks, it's quite exciting to see some development. The root system is now visible through the transparent bag. Soon he will be able to transfer the marcot into the ground.

Friday, December 6, 2013

We've got tomatoes (again)

For a while, I thought my tomato plants were dying. The leaves were drying up and the fruits were getting smaller and smaller. Some were the size of peas!

When my son told me we've got tomatoes, I almost didn't believe him. Imagine my surprise when I saw one plant filled with fruits. I must admit that I've been neglecting them lately. All I did was to pour some 'fishy water' (saved from washing fresh fish from the market) into the pot every Sunday.

This was how our grannies fertilise their plants in the past and it must have been quite effective.

The pack of seeds from Royal Seeds has proven to be the right one for our climate. This is the indeterminate type ('vining type') which is supposed to keep growing until it gets killed by frost. But since it is hot here all year round, I wonder how long they will keep growing.

I've had mine for almost 6 months now and they're still going strong. I'm so happy with my tomatoes!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My own figs

I've always wanted a fig plant. When my friend gave me his, I was happy even though it didn't look very healthy. Thankfully I managed to nurse it back to health.
And lately, it is fruiting too! The whole reason why I wanted a fig plant is because I love eating fig but the imported ones here taste so bland. Those I had eaten overseas tasted so sweet and delicious because they were harvested at their prime. I'm going to let my figs ripen before I pick them.