Garden Makeover


The last few days, I have been checking out garden related materials like paver patios, Mediterranean style and fragrant flowers. After trying my hand in planting vegetables last year, I decided to stop doing so this year. So now I need ideas to spruce my garden with whatever flowering plants I have left.

I am planning to rearrange and repot some of the plants into better looking containers in an attempt to have a Mediterranean style garden. However since the space where I could put all the plants is really limited I have to take that into consideration as well before I do the makeoever. Most of the flowering plants need direct sunlight but my yard has a porch that covers 3/4 of the space from the sunlight, sigh!


So far I have 5 healthy roses, 2 bougainvillea, dwarf gardenia, hydrangea (been waiting for it to start blooming) and a few pots of jasmines including Duke of Tuscany like in the first picture above. I have been trying to plant colorful portulaca every now and then, hoping I could arrange them on planters nicely, but with the rainy season now most of the plants are not thriving well.


The pereskia bleo plant is also blooming vigorously with bright orange flowers every day now, which is quite a surprise for me since last year it only bloomed like 2-3 times the whole year. Must be the fertilizers it gets from the compost bin I put beside the plant, heh!


As much as I am tempted to get more new, healthy flowering plants, I decided to take the challenge to reinvigorate those that I already have in the garden. Maybe I could plant more rainlily (Zephyranthes) bulbs since the flowers are so lovely. I have pink, yellow and white in one container for now.

After writing down this garden makeover plan, I feel more motivated to start doing so. Will update more once there’s any progress.



This is the first time I tried to plant plumeria after a friend gave me a few cuttings from different varieties.

So far only one type has bloomed. After searching online, I found a similar picture from

Nebel’s Rainbow

Flowers are yellow with a deep red band on front and back. The petals are wide with rounded tips that overlap. Nebel’s Rainbow has a mild to heavy sweet scent depending on the time of year. The flowers have excellent keeping quality which makes this variety a favorite among lei makers. Flower production is heavy on strong branches.

I hope the rest of the cuttings that I have planted will bloom soon so that I can differentiate each plant.

Pereskia bleo

After a brief research I realized that this is Pereskia bleo instead of my previous post as Pereskia sacharosa. Reason being, this has bright orange flower while sacharosa is supposed to have pink flowers.


Info taken from

Pereskia is a genus of about 16 species of primitive cacti originating from Mexico to Brazil. Very primitive cactus, they have leaves and are generally not considered succulent. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees, or even climbers. They are named after Nicolas Fabre de Peiresc a French botanist of the 16th century.


Some very interesting findings was found on an article published online for Pharmacognosy magazine: Acute oral toxicity of Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia in mice.

Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia, commonly known as ‘Jarum Tujuh Bilah’ in Malaysia belong to the botanical family Cactaceae.

Pereskia bleo can be easily confused with Pereskia grandifolia because they are vegetatively similar. However, they can be easily distinguished by the leaves, flowers, and spines.

Pereskia bleo has thinner, corrugated leaves, and orangish-red flowers, with shorter spines compared to Pereskia grandifolia. In contrast, Pereskia grandifolia has thicker, uncorrugated leaves, and pink to purplish-pink flowers, with longer and lesser spines.


My next mission is to find Pereskia grandifolia for its pink purplish flowers :)

Rouge Royale Rose

If you are planning to plant dark red rose bush with a heavy fragrance, then I would suggest this Rouge Royale.

Taken from

The deep burgundy red buds open to reveal perfectly quartered bright raspberry red, old-fashioned blooms. These sturdy blooms hold up well in rain and heat and have a sweet fragrance of citrus and fresh ripe berries.


Rouge Royale is the winner of the Fragrance Award at the Rose Hills International Rose Trials in 2003.


The plants can grow up to 4 feet tall and present flowers on long stems suitable for cutting. The flowers have up to 80 petals with a strong, berry and citrus fragrance. It is supposed to have a good disease resistance but mine does get blackspot every now and then especially when it is rainy season.


There are many advice among rose planters to treat this rose as cut flower since it lasts better in a vase, rather than in water and scorching sun. Next time my Rouge Royale blooms I am going to cut it and put it in a vase before it opens.

Double Delight Rose

If you are looking for roses that are fragrant, have bright beautiful color, then Double Delight is a good choice to start with.


It is a hybrid tea rose, with an outstanding bicolor, combining creamy white with strawberry red. Its parents were two hybrid tea cultivars – the red and yellow ‘Granada’ and the ivory ‘Garden Party’.


Double Delight is bred by Swim & Ellis and introduced in 1977. This rose won All America Rose Selections Award, which is the highest honor a rose can achieve in America. In fact, it is the most complete and thorough testing program in the world.


I would strongly suggest this rose for beginners because it is quite easy to care for. It is a shrub type but can grow up to 5 feet tall. What I love the most about Double Delight is its phototropic characteristics, which can be seen when it turned red in the sun. The big bloom starts with a nicely formed cream color with strawberry markings on the outer ring of petals as they unfold, then after a few days in the sun the whole petals will turn dark pink. The fragrance is really strong, fruity and sometimes spicy.


However like most rose plants, its green matte foliage is susceptible to black spot and mildew.

Thai Lavender Frog Egg Eggplant


I’ve been searching for their seeds for quite some time and finally I found an online local seller who sell it. It is best eaten raw as ‘ulam’ with ‘sambal belacan’

Here is some info about these tiny eggplants taken from

Thai lavender frog egg is a variety of eggplant which is a member of the Solanum family. Its botanical name is Solanum melongena ‘Thai lavender frog egg’.

Native to central Thailand, these eggplant fruits are the size of cherry tomatoes.

This variety is a vegetable that typically grows as an Annual/Perennial, which is defined as a plant that can matures and completes its life cycle over the course of one year or more.

Thailand is believed to be where Thai lavender frog egg originates from.

Madagascar Jasmine – Stephanotis floribunda

When I first bought this plant, I thought it belongs to the jasmine family since it is called Madagascar Jasmine.

However later after reading a few website, I realized it is called Madagascar Jasmine because it originated from Madagascar and the flowers have nice fragrance like most of jasmine flowers.

The botanical name of this Madagascar Jasmine is Stephanotis floribunda. The common name is wax flower or bridal veil.


Some useful info I got from

The Jasmine plant is commonly used for bridal bouquets and wreaths. This is because of the small white attractive blooms which match the white wedding look needed, and the stems winding around wire hoops, create a perfect wreath.


The twining stems can grow up to 15 ft. long. The plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs. It is considered as tricky bloomers unless you can provide suitable conditions and have patience. It needs plenty of bright light during the growing season. Unlike many other vines, you shouldn’t do a lot of pruning since it won’t encourage new growth.

To propagate you can take non flowering stem cuttings with at least two nodes present.

The stephanotis can also be propagated by seed – if you are lucky enough to have the pear shaped fruit appear (containing the seeds).

For now, my Madagascar Jasmine has only bloomed once in June since I first bought it early this year. I have been trying to get it to bloom again but so far to no avail. It is a tricky bloomer, sigh!

Barbarella Eggplants

When the online seeds seller put up this eggplant seeds for sale, I thought it looks wonderful. So I bought a packet and tried sowing it in the tray.

It didn’t take long for the seed to germinate. After a week or two I repot the plant to a bigger pot and look how big it grows.

At first I thought the texture of barbarella eggplant is like the typical round, purple eggplant we get in the market here in Malaysia. But after cooking it in fish curry, the inside didn’t become mushy. Or maybe because I harvested it before it ripens.


Barbarella eggplant is an Italian variety that is native to the island of Sicily.

This eggplant has a unique squat shape, that is very round and has slightly grooved sides.

The outer skin is a deep purple and when ripe forms a white halo under the calyx. The inner flesh is a creamy white color, contains small seeds and offers a mild nutty flavor with a slight sweetness.


Whether in a classic eggplant parmesan, or stuffed and baked with lamb, peppers, tomato, garlic and pine nuts, you’ll be in for a treat with our delicious eggplant.

Great for stir fries, baking, or sautéing. Enjoy this delectable summer treat while it’s here!

Well, next time I harvest the eggplant, I need to find an Italian recipe to cook it with :)

Bunga Telang – Clitoria ternatea

I always hate climbing plants simply because my lawn doesn’t have enough space for the plants to climb. So when I got the seeds of this bunga telang, I thought just give it a try and see how well the plant can grow. I’ve tried planting several type of beans before but none ever survived even if I put some climbing device inside the pot.

Bunga telang or butterfly pea is used in Kelantanese delicacy nasi dagang to turn the white rice into blue color. Don’t ask me how to cook it because I’ve never seen the real flower until today when the one that I germinated a few months ago bloom.

It is said that if you collect enough of the blue flowers and you boil them with sugar, you can make a blue syrup drinks. And then if you squeeze some lime juice into the blue syrup, it will increase the acidity and turn the juice into pink-purple color.

For now I can only see one single flower every time it blooms. There’s also a white bunga telang which I still don’t have the seed.

Jasmine Grand Duke of Tuscany

I’ve had this Jasminum sambac ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ since last year but somehow after a month of planting it, it didn’t grow really well.

After repotting and pruning it, this year I noticed that the plant started to grow bigger.

2 weeks ago it started to bloom.

The flowers are really fragrant.

From what I read, this jasmine plant needs a strong acidic soil. So far I have tried putting coffee ground taken from Starbucks and all kind of organic fertilizers I have.

Info taken from

Jasmine ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ (Jasminum sambac)
With a rich, heavenly fragrance, the thick 1″ fully double white blooms emerge on the tips of its upright stems. The carnation-like blooms are much revered throughout Asia where a perfumed drink is made by soaking the flower overnight in water. A slow-growing cultivar that loves a warm, sunny location.

Once my plant is getting bigger and stronger, I will try to propagate using softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings.

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