Yearly Archives: 2008

Aloe Vera – A.barbadensis Mill

I’m sure many of us are very familiar with these Aloe Vera plants. While researching for this entry, I found out that it actually belongs to lily family. The species also has many synonyms : A. barbadensis Mill., Aloe indica Royle, Aloe perfoliata L. var. vera and A. vulgaris Lam.

It has been suggested that the species is originally from Southern Africa and was introduced to China, India, Pakistan and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. Known for its medicinal purpose, Aloe Vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant which can grow up to 60–100 cm. It spreads by offsets. The side of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth.

From my experience, it is quite a hardy plant that prefers to be completely dry before re-watering. It is also resistant to many insects although mealy bugs, scale insects and aphid species may cause decline in its health.

Aloe Vera has been utilized by many for its healing benefit, mostly to cure injury and wound. The gel derived from the plant are used as a first aid for burns, injuries, eczema, sunburns, insect bites and fungal infection prevention.

Cattleya Orchid

It took me sometime to find the correct group which this orchid belongs to. Initially I was given the bulbs by my SIL and since I never see the flower, I was not sure whether it is the usual dendrobium or something else.

After researching further, I think it is really a Cattleya orchid. You see, with that group of orchid the basic description is like this:

This group of orchids have short thick stems topped with usually a single stiff leaf. The flowering spike emerges from the top of the short stem surrounded by a papery sheath (like a pea pod). This is burst open by the growing flowers within.

These are often quite compact plants that flower easily and are available in a mouthwatering range of colours. Some have beautiful scents too as a bonus. (Taken from easyorchids.co.uk)

From website orchid.org.uk:

The plants produce strong ‘pseudobulbs’ topped with one or more leathery leaves.

Each year a dormant bud at the base grows into a new shoot. This thickens to produce the current year’s pseudobulb.

The flowers arise from the axil of the current year’s leaf where a protective sheath usually develops, and come in a range of colours from white and pink to green and purple, depending on the parentage and genera. Some flower twice yearly.

For those interested to try their hand in growing Cattleya orchid, be warned that this kind of orchid is quite a tough plant but do not over water them. For feeding requirement, use high nitrogen feed to boost growth and high potash feed to ripen the bulbs.

Kesidang – Vallaris glabra

This picture of kesidang plant has been taken somewhere last year. Over the last few months, with my morning sickness and all, it seems to be dying slowly. However since it is quite a sturdy and hardy plant, it grows back and today I notice some flower buds are coming out.

What I love the most about kesidang (bunga kerak nasi known in Northern Peninsular Malaysia or bunga tikam (tikar?) seladang in the East Coast) is its fragrance. If you know how pandan leaves smell like, then you know why people use this bread flower (known among the Westerners) in bunga rampai – the finely sliced potpourri of fragrant plants used for Malay weddings during the merenjis ceremony.

Kesidang or Vallaris glabra belongs to Apocynaceae family. Quoting from rimbundahan.org,

“As with many creepers, propagation is by layering. To propagate this plant you should anchor a long shoot to the ground with a brick, and roots will develop to create a new plant.”

I read the same thing from magazine Laman Impiana which they call the technique as tut lentur. I’ve tried putting a brick on one branch and still checking whether the root comes out so that I can cut and plant it in another pot.

If you have a pergola or trellis at home, this kesidang plant will be a good choice for climber plants as the flowers bloom it will surely fill up the air around you with its pandan fragrance.

Henna – Lawsonia inermis

I took this picture of my henna plant in January and totally forgot about it. Browsing through my whole year of picture collections make me realize that I never mention about Henna in my gardening blog. As a person who love arts and craft, I also love the art of henna tattooing.

This henna plant is cultivated from the cutting that my aunt used during my wedding ceremony. As henna leaves have many other useful benefit (some people use it during confinement) I decided to keep it alive.

Taken from PlantCultures.org, here are some descriptions on the henna plant’s parts:

Leaves – used as a skin and hair dye and in traditional medicine. They are almond-shaped, tapering at the end attached to the tree.

Fruits – seeds are used in traditional medicine and oil for perfumery. They are spherical in shape, about the size of a small pea (5-7 mm wide), brown when ripe and contain many little pyramid-shaped seeds.

Henna is a shrub that can grow up to 7 m high at its tallest, with greyish-brown bark. Its wood is close-grained and hard and is used to make tool handles and tent pegs.

I am not sure how tall my henna plant will be in years to come, since I plant it in a pot. It is surely a hardy plant that is easy to maintain. It’s growing well so far and I still don’t have the chance to pound the leaves and use the paste to dip my fingertips.

Butterfly Park – Sentosa Island, Singapore

We went to Singapore in February and yes, I know this entry is way overdue.

Since we always hear about Sentosa Island, we managed to squeeze some times to see what’s the attractions in the island.

I’ve never been to Butterfly Park in KL so I have nothing to compare their park to, but I did love what I saw there.

Although they don’t really have many species, but the environment was very nice. I think even the butterflies enjoy living in there..heh!

Oh, they also have parrot show, so if you are not scared of the parrots (or any furry creatures of that kind) you can have your picture taken with parrots on your shoulder. Definitely not me..heh!

Rose, Roses Are Red

I have kept this rose for as long as I can remember and it just proves to be very hardy despite a few times attacked by mildew, black spot, insects and whatnot.

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I’m not sure what type of rose plant it is – whether it is Hybrid Tea, Polyantha, Floribunda, Hybrid Perpetual, Climbing, Shrub Roses or Tea Roses. Checking the Internet for the correct family was too troublesome (all the pictures of the red roses with almost the same shape makes my head go haywire to match with mine) and I was thinking to buy the Encyclopedia of Roses just to make sure I know what I have in my garden so far. The Kinokuniya in KLCC have it for RM160 plus..huhu! Perhaps next time on my book spree I will invest on that hardcover book.

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I think it is not the ros kampung either, well you know the type that has very strong rose fragrant. I miss those roses. I think I will buy a few plants if I could find at any nursery. Those ros kampung has small petals, do not look like the one you will get your girlfriend for Valentine but very fragrant.

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I love my rose when it is not fully bloomed. This one already wilted and the petals are dropping everywhere but I saw 2 more buds coming out soon.

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