Friday, August 21, 2009

Scent bringers

An update on the scent bringers of my little garden...

The third pot of bellina which is supposedly a cross between a (bellina x iris) x bellina. Got this on 16 August 2009. I am taken with the lovely colour of the flower.

The second pot of bellina which I got on 24 July 2009 with one bloom. Whilst the first bloom has faded away, the second bloom is still going strong with another spike to follow.

The first pot of bellina in my garden. Got it on 18 July 2009 with a single bloom plus a spike. One month down the road, another flower has bloomed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Postcards from Arizona

During my sister's recent trip back from the US, I had asked that she take some photos of the plants in Arizona, where she is currently residing. A few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole bunch of photos which my dear sister had diligently taken. As she put it, she had to brave the scorching sun to take these pictures at mid-day. Seeing these photos perked me up almost instantly, especially since I had recently taken to growing succulents. Here are some of the photos from Arizona.
Lovely flowers in bloom. It is amazing how these plants find the energy to blossom in the blazing summer heat of Arizona.

My sister calls these yellow-leaved cactuses "watermelon cactuses". Not sure if it is a sign of her thirst?
More "watermelon cactuses".
Close-up shot of two yellow-leaved cactuses. Love the gravel that they are sitting on.

This cactus has a rather cute name. Grizzly Bear - can any cactus get a more huggable name than this?

I am not certain whether this is a cactus but it does have a dessicated colour and appearance to it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Maranta leuconeura "Erythroneura" (tricolor)

Maranta leuconeura erythroneuro or Red-Veined Prayer Plant, is a small tropical plant with broad oval leaves. The leaves lie horizontal to the ground and are patterned with a herringbone design of pink veins over the light green to olive green leaf blade.

Haworthia Cooperi var. Cooperi

A gift from a kindred spirit.

Some other succulents

Whilst picking up some lithops at a local nursery, I saw some fenestraria aurantiaca and pleiospilos nelii for sale. Couldn't resist and had to pick them up as well.

The flowers of the fenestraria aurantica bear some similarity to daisies.

Living Stones or Yummy Biscuits?

Last week, I chanced upon a posting on GCS for the sale of lithops.

Curious as to what this was, I clicked on the posting and saw some curious photos of some rather curiously cute plants. But - are these plants or not? There are no leaves on them. And as my colleague puts it - they look more like biscuits than plants.

After doing some research, I found out that lithops (yes, used with the letter 's') is a succulent that is sometimes referred to as a "living stone".

Based on wikipedia, "Lithos" means "stone" and "-ops" means "like" in Ancient Greek; therefore "Lithops" means "stone-like". These plants are commonly referred to as living stones. The formation of the name from the greek "-ops" means that even a single plant is called a Lithops.

It seems the lithops do not take kindly to too much watering and are better suited to a drier climate. Whilst the odds seemed to be stacked against the lithops in humid Singapore, I have decided to try my hand at lithops-growing. It's been a couple of days now since I got the lithops (managed to get some from a fellow curio-plant grower as well as - surprise, surprise - from a local nursery which I am given to understand brings in lithops from time to time) and it has been a bit of a struggle trying to figure out how little / how much water to give to some of the lithops which have a slightly wrinkled appearance probably due to dehydration. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that the lithops will survive for some time. As a friend puts it, these cute little succulents are "for rent" in Singapore. In the meantime, I continue to count my blessings for everyday that the lithops remain alive.

A Tale of Two Coleus

These two coleus were obtained from the same source round about the same time. They were given almost identical growing conditions - in terms of light, air, position and watering. Yet the results are vastly different. I have yet to fathom the reason for the vast difference in size of these two plants.

Whilst I am somewhat frustrated by the state of affairs, I can only take pride in the fact that there is at least one big and bushy pot of coleus.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Talking to my plants

You see. I had this smallish pot of aloe vera (the ones with the faint white marks) growing in the shade in the kitchen. It received bright light with no direct sun rays on it. There were all these garden stuff - fertilisers, compost, perlite, spare pots all around it. One fine day, I decided that all these stuff surrounding the aloe vera may be cramping it in and also injuring its leaves and that I should allow the aloe vera more room to grow by placing it outdoors.

So I placed the pot on one of the racks outdoors, thinking that the aloe vera is like a cactus - sure to survive the direct sun. But when I saw the plant the next day, I was shocked to see that its leaves had turned brown. I thought it would recover the next day. But no. The leaves remained brown. So I brought it back into the kitchen and pleaded with it to the effect: “ok, ok, I put you back here. But please, don’t die on me ok.”.

By now the aloe vera has recovered somewhat and has regained most of its green-ness, I am contented. But I need to encourage it a bit more I think cos it’s not as lush it was before being “thrown” into the sun by me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And ermmh... the water feature

So here it is - the 40cm by 40cm water tank and its accomplices. I was never quite so keen on having a water feature encroach on my home space. But things took a slight twist when I realised that there are merits in maintaining a water feature. More plants can be had!

I have been told by my plant loving friends that a water feature is a great thing to have around plants generally as it maintains the humidity level. This was incentive enough for me to finally get my act together for a little water feature for the little space.

And now I finally do have a water feature in the house. Not a spectacular water feature by any measure but one cosy and little enough to sit around for a little cosy chat.

Over the National Day weekend, two little guppies were added. So far, they appear to have settled in all right.

National Day weekend

This National Day weekend saw the addition of some more plants to the already very crowded backyard. Some beautiful begonias and some caladiums.

Blooms on the Bulbophyllum Lepidum. Seems this is a wild orchid which may still be found in Singapore, although less commonly so now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Pitchers

New pitchers from a few of my neps.

Hookeriana (Rafflesiana x Ampullaria) - Green Peristome with red stripes - 31 July 2009

Fresh green peristome - 31 July 2009

Side view - 31 July 2009

Am delighted to see the 'baby' pitcher of the ampullaria x harlequin (below). A positive indication that this young plant has adapted to my backyard - 31 July 2009

Garden Tech (N. Ventricosa x Ampullaria) (below) - Newly opened pitcher right at the back - 31 July 2009

The Hi Lo Beauty


Caladiums - 21 August 2009

Caladium 'Oil Painting' - 25 July 2009

Caladium from WF - 26 July 2009

Caladium from WF - 25 July 2009

Caladium from Pioneer - with new leaf growth - 2 August 2009

Caladium from It Meng - 2 August 2009

Caladium from It Meng - 2 August 2009

Caladium from Cheng Tai - 2 August 2009


Rex Begonia - 14 August 2009

Martin's Mystery - 14 August 2009

Second pot of Begonia 'Tiger' - 14 August 2009

Begonia 'Tiger' - 13 July 2009

Strawberry Begonia - 25 July 2009

Begonia 'Iron Cross' - 2 August 2009

Begonia Rex 'Thrush' - 2 August 2009