Monday, April 25, 2016

Today, Australians celebrate Anzac Day.
Lest we forget the lives lost in all conflicts around the world, as today Australians respect and honour the tradition of Anzac Day. Let us Singaporeans living and working here remember and embrace, too, what the Australians have extended the spirit of Anzac beyond their shore into the hearts of all those who have known or know someone just like them who has sacrificed for his and her country.
Traditionally, Anzac has become synonymous with humble, selfless and self deprecating service whatever field of occupation or profession to help your mates. Lets us embrace what Australians have embraced since the first world war and beyond has been the humour and selflessness applied to helping others in otherwise trying circumstances. These can be their military, natural disaster, personal tragedy or simply in advocating and defence of the vulnerable.
Most of all lets us honour Australian and Allied Servicemen and women past and present.
Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I am still receiving requests for Calamansi plants propagated by air-layering from my eight year old Calamansi tree or some Singaporeans call it “sng kum” others call it “keat lah” and in Malay, it is known as limau kasturi. Unfortunately I cannot fulfill all the requests as I usually do about half a dozen of cuttings each year. The reason is I do not like to over-stressed the mother-plant. I do have seeds to give away, The problem with growing fruit trees from seeds is that it may take very long to bear fruits - some times more than three to five years - and there is no guarantee that the fruits will taste same as the one from which you got the seeds.

Air-layering is one method of propagating a fruit tree from an existing one, which will bear fruits sooner, and the fruits will taste same as the mother-plant.

This morning I have just completed the chore of air-layering the Calamansi tree at our backyard garden and hope that it takes roots for me to give them away in June.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay.

What my backyard garden and the cottage of New Zealand's poet Mary Ursula Bethell have in common? A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay!
Bethell is inextricably linked to the garden she tended at Rise Cottage, Its careful cultivation lovingly recorded in this first volume of poems She settled on the hills above Christchurch, where her cottage in Cashmere became the setting for her best-known poems. These first appeared (under the pseudonym Evelyn Hayes) in From a garden in the antipodes (1929).
Where ‘A Bush Section’ is sprawling and inclusive, Bethell’s poems ‘Detail’ begins,
"My garage is a structure of excessive plainness,
It springs from a dry bank in the back garden,
It is made of corrugated iron,
And painted all over with brick-red.
And beside it I have planted a green Bay-tree,
– A sweet Bay, an Olive, and a Turkey Fig,

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay".

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.” ― Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

We harvested our first fig this morning, and we can confirm that a fig picked fresh from the tree, ripened by the sun, is one of the most beautiful fruits to be found in the Mediterranean as well as the one planted in our backyard. If you are lucky enough like us, to have a tree in the back garden, beat the birds by tossing a net over the canopy so the fruit can remain on the tree until it's luscious and juicy before being harvested, it is worth all the trouble for the effort you put in looking after it. Figs are incredibly delicate once they are ripen and deteriorate quickly, so eat them as soon as possible.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Beautiful but deadly...

As I was walking towards to see the Sculpture by the Sea, an annual outdoor display of sculpture (over 100 separate works) distributed along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, I had to stopped to take a photo of this beautiful oleander plant with its dense foliage providing privacy for its owner. Even on a very busy city road these plants can make a colourful screen against both noise and visual pollution. Hence its popularity as an hedge among home gardeners. I also noticed that it is a favourite outdoor shrub, popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers in many houses around Sydney's famous Bondi Beach. Or is it because these plants easily cope by the seaside, not seeming to be worried with salt laden air; in arid hot conditions, and even where the drainage is poor .
With all those beautiful colours, perfume and toughness why I have recommended you do not plant it in your garden? The answer is that it is said to be poisonous - if you choose to eat it.
Oleander poisoning occurs when someone sucks nectar from the flowers or chews leaves from the oleander. How do I know? Because I googled this information for you.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Plant Got Its Name

With the recent popularity of lifestyle shows featuring garden makeovers we have begun to see a new type of poisoning case in our homes. Many of us do not know many beautiful plants such as this Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant, or Brunfelsia latifolia, we planted in our garden are poisonous and toxic. It got its common name because of its fragrant and tri-colour of purple, lavender and white blooms. This unique plant creates variegated clusters of colour and breathtaking beauty when all three shades are present.
These flowers last for three days and change color with each day. The first day they are purple (yesterday), the second day they change to a pastel lavender shade (today), and on the third day they change to an almost white color (tomorrow). Because each flower lasts for three days and goes through this colorful transformation, it is easy to tell whether it is a yesterday bloom or a shade representing today and tomorrow.
While these flowers are pretty, offer months of blooms and give off a sweet-smelling fragrance, it is important to note that these plants also contain poisonous alkaloids and may not be the best choice for households with young children. Seeds from the flowers are poisonous and berries from the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plants are especially toxic. To avoid accidental poisoning, caution should be taken and extra safety measures put into place such as adult supervision when toddlers, young children or pets are playing outdoors.