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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cattleya Orchids in bloom.

Our Cattleya orchid plant has put up a showy performance for which South American is famous for. This South American native orchid is widely known for its large, showy flowers. It is also called the “corsage orchid” because it is often used in corsages and wedding bouquets. Even though it is not so common to wear corsages anymore, my wife Jo could not help but to hang it in our veranda as a floral decoration for our dinner guests this evening.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I found this Redback spider when I lifted a flower pot in my backyard this morning. Usually I leave it alone but I quickly trapped it in a glass jar, since I remembered a newly arrived Singaporean family living in a nearby suburb has requested me to show them a live Redback if I come across one. I quickly rushed it to their house but I could not persuade the Mrs of the house to take a closer look even I was holding it in a glass jar in my hand. She then rushed into her house and came back holding a can of insect spray. No way, I will allow this beautiful Australian icon from being killed although the female red-back is certainly not adversed to making a meal out of the hapless, smaller male of the species after mating. I can't help but to think that our Singaporean mum must have grown up watching Mortein advertisements and now took it as her maternal duty to eradicate every flying and crawling insects in the world. I can understand her fear, as the Redback spider (Latrodectus hasseltii) is one of Australia's most venomous spiders. It's found across Australia including Tasmania. The redback spider is closely related to the black widow spider of the United States and the katipo of New Zealand
It is often found in outdoor dunnys, letter boxes, under logs and rocks and other dark areas. The Redback spider is most active at dusk and during the night as the weather gets warmer. It is easy to spot a Redback because the female red-back is black with a distinctive "hour glass" red or orange marking on its back, hence its name. Only the female bite is dangerous. They can cause serious illness and have caused deaths. However, since Redback Spiders rarely leave their webs, humans are not likely to be bitten unless a body part such as a hand is put directly into the web, and because of their small jaws many bites are ineffective. Please be careful and wear a pair gloves when doing your gardening chores.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I have received five similar messages asking me on how to grow and care for orchids since I posted these exotic neon bright Dendrobium Nobiles in our FB page. Like many of you, I have always been fascinated by these elegant and exotic plants which have hypnotised gardeners for ages. Many orchid blooms look so glamorous you might suppose that only experts could produce such a beautiful specimen. To be honest, these dazzling stunning beauty of orchids initially makes me orchid-shy because the thought of growing and nurturing orchids seems a difficult and mysterious chore for me to pursue.


Beginning orchid growers find themselves seduced by the gorgeous beauty with showy blossoms could not help but to spend their weekends to look for them in speciality orchid nurseries, botanical gardens or mail order catalogues. Before you put them in your cart and swipe your credit card, the most important is to realise that raising these orchids may call for you to explore some of the technical aspects of orchid growing in same climate zone you are now living in, perhaps the first thing is imitating the orchids natural climate and diet will encourage them to prosper. Remember how difficult you survived and experienced your first winter living outside Singapore and the homesickness of longing for your comfort food of home. Growing orchid in your home means you must provide temperatures within the range that the plant comfortably grows. However with a bit of TLC, the list of requirements is much the same as any plants, and with practice and armed with a few basic cultivation rules of providing the right amount of water, humility, temperature, light level, potting mix and light level, your orchids will reward you with blooming successes.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spring has sprung...

Spring has sprung and we have been rewarded with abundance of nature gifts. What better place could there be to place a chair and to sit and enjoy the peaceful productivity of our garden? Surrounded by our plants and trees, we take springtime to sit in our garden and observe the play of sunlight and wind on the plants and vegetation. Watch how the insects interact with our plants, and consider what we are going to harvest next ...


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year!


We love to hear the purr of the postman’s motorcycle engine on their daily round to deliver letters and Christmas cards to our post-box, especially at this time of the year. We are surprised by the numerous Christmas greeting cards we still received from our friends although we must admit that they are getting fewer each year.
In this age of the festive ecards, sending a Christmas card might seem a bizarre and mystical concept to some. With electronic communication dominating many people's lives, "letter writing is increasingly a dying art", laments many older people like us. "But while it is old fashioned, Christmas card-writing is a strong part of the festive tradition - and the one part of letter-writing that looks to be living on." After all, isn't tradition what Christmas is all about?

Likewise, one of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say thank you and to wish you the very best for the new year. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to my wife Jo.



What a birthday surprise!!! I am supposed to hide this birthday present from our son to Jo until tomorrow... it was taken from the garage and displayed at the bay window with Jo saying " it won't last until my birthday without me watering it since last week"
Sometimes it seems that I don't see all the special things you do to make our home such a special place to live. But, I want you to know I couldn't ask for a better wife and a better mother for our family. Happy Birthday to the most special person in my life! 
Since you have opened your birthday present from our son a week ago, it is difficult to keep surprises from you.. I bet ya' you did n't know this is coming... We are going to the Alaskan Cruise and visit our god-son Toshi and his family in Vancouver in April next year.