Saturday, August 22, 2009

My First Lady Finger

What a great relief and excitement to see a lady finger growing on my plant!!! It's my first lady finger! The first time my plant flowered, the flower was not pollinated and thus, there was no lady finger. The 2nd and 3rd flowers were pollinated and now I have 2 lady fingers growing on my plant.

I often find cottony tiny bugs on this lady finger plant. Sometimes there are so many of them. I would catch each of them. And use water to wash them off the leaves. Is there a better way to manage these bugs? This morning I also found them on my Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow plant. They have made some webs on my YTT. I was worried that they would suck away the juice from my YTT and kill it. Do you know of any way that I could get rid of this bugs, apart from using pesticide?

I have noticed another 2 pots of lady fingers have curled leaves. A friend told me they won't survive. I wonder what went wrong to cause the leaves to curl so badly. I also notices some white spots on the leaves. Is this caused by some bugs? Or the plant does not get enough nutrient? Can someone help me to improve on the condition for these 2 pots of lady fingers?

I also spotted black dots on my lady finger leaves. Then the leaves would gradually turn yellow and drop off from the plant. This is worrying me. I feel so helpless as I don't know how to protect my lady finger plants from all these illness or harm from bugs. As a first time vegie grower, I think I am overly-reacting towards this. But I prefer to take preventive action to save my plants than watch them die on me. Please share with me some tips if you know of any. Thank you. I wish all of you a happy weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mr. Birdy's Visit

I heard a melodious singing in my garden and then I caught sight of this little fellow near my water lily pot. It was taking a rest under a shady, leafy plant. Probably it has stopped by the lily pot to take some water. Its beautiful singing really perk me up. I welcome its return to my garden. Hope there would be more winged creatures, like birds and butterflies that will come by to visit!

What do you do to attract birds and butterflies to your garden?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pineapple Chilli Sauce

Do you know that pineapple can be used to make delicious dipping sauce? Or even delicious curry?

I have some left over pineapple in the fridge. I found Amy Beh's Fruity Chilli Sauce recipe in 4th Aug 2009 The Star paper that uses pineapple. That would be great as I am short of inspiration of what to cook with it.

Fruity Chilli Sauce Using Pineapple
I served this chilli sauce with fish paste tofu and it goes so well with it!

  • 150g fresh ripe pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • 75g young ginger
  • 150g red chillies
  • 5 bird's eye chillies
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sour plums (suen mooi), seeds removed


  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 50ml freshly squeezed lemon juice


Put pineapple, ginger, chillies, both chillies, garlic and sour plums into a food processor. Process on pulse until the consistency required.

Adjust with seasoning to taste.

This tangy and fragrant sauce can be used with meat, fish or vegetable fritters.


Another one of my favourite recipe is Salted Fish Pineapple Curry. My mom used to cook this often as it is my late grandmother's favourite dish.

Two weeks ago I cooked this curry without the salted fish for a vegetarian dana. Many of my friends commended that it was delicious and very appetising. I shared the recipe with them and one of them cooked it for her aunt. She said it's a simple recipe to cook yet delicious. Do try it out.
Unfortunately, I forgot to taka a photo of the curry.

Salted Fish Pineapple Curry
  • 300g salted fish, soak in water for 1 hour
  • 500ml santan
  • salt and sugar
  • 1 pineapple, sliced into pieces
  • water

    Blend together:
  • 1 inch galangal (lengkuas)
  • 8 shallots (bawang merah)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh turmeric (kunyit)
  • 10 red chillies
  • 2 cili padi
  • 3 stalks lemon grass (serai)
  • Prawn paste or Belacan (optional) - I didn't put it in the other day as it was for a vegetarian dana


1. Heat oil. Fry spices till fragrant. Add water. Bring to boil.
2. Add pineapple. Continue frying till pineapple softens.
3. Switch to low heat and add in santan, sugar and salt. Cook until boil then serve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thai Basil Rooting

My 2 pots of Thai & Lemon basil that I have earlier blogged about had died on me!! I don't know why basils under my care just don't survive long. I have attempted to grow basil many times. These 2 pots are the ones that lasted longest.

I don't even prune them for fear of killing them. But now I realize that may be my mistake. They were growing lushly and I couldn't consume them fast enough. Due to the hot weather, the leaves gradually browned and at the end what was left in the pot were dried stems. My heart breaks into pieces as I see they get sick from day to day. I was so helpless. I don't know what I could do to make them survive. It really pained me to see their lives finally came to an end.

That's the frustrating part of gardening ~ when my plants fall sick, I can't go to a doctor and get them some healing potion for cure. The same happened to my Gardenia. Just by looking at its yellowish leaves, I knew it was sick. But I didn't know what to do to improve its condition. Eventually, all its leaves dropped off and all its branches dried up!!! I almost cried coz I love that pot of Gardenia.

Recently, I bought some basil from the Kakak in SS15 market and after taking the leaves I kept the stem. I have seen Blur Ting placed her lemon grass in a vase with some water in her posting on Lemon Grass and they rooted. Thus, I tried the same by putting the remaining basil stems into some water.

Guess what? After 2 days, some of the stems showed sign of rooting.

I have placed all the stems with roots into soil and cross my fingers that they will grow well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vine Garden, Botanical Garden, Putrajaya

We spent a lot of time walking along the Heliconia Trail and Vine Garden. However, it was the Vine Garden that we truly enjoyed. We saw so various kind of climbing plants & flowers on trellis and pergola. Some of them I have never seen before are the Sand Piper Vines & Tumbergia Bengal. It's so nice to sit under the trellis of these plants to rest our feet and enjoy the beauty of the colourful blooms hanging around us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Botanical Garden in Putrajaya

Do you know that there are 3 major gardens in Putrajaya, i.e. Botanical Garden (Taman Botani), Agricultural Heritage Park (Taman Warisan Pertanian) and lastly Wetland (Taman Wetland)?

During our visit to Floria Fest 2009 in Putrajaya, we took the opportunity to explore the Putrajaya's Botanical Garden that is located in Precint 2 and had a brief stop at the Wetland too.

BangChik & KakDah, if you are reading this, I am truly envious of all the beautiful gardens you have at your suburb! It's so wonderful to be living in a suburb surrounded by greens.

The Botanical Garden that we visited is HUGE! The completed area that is opened to public covers an area of 63 acres!! Yup, it's not possible to walk around such huge area. However, one can opt to take the tram (unfortunately it was under repair during our visit) or hire bicycle for some adventurous discovery of the garden.

An Overview of the Botanical Garden

The 5 Features of the Botanical Garden

The Garden features 5 key areas:
  1. Explorer's Trail (comprises of Canopy Bridge, Heliconea Trail &Vine Garden)
  2. Palm Hill
  3. Sun Garden (comprises of Sun Garden, Orchid Path & Floral Step)
  4. Floral Gardens (comprises of African Collection, Tropical African Collection, Bougainvillea Tunnel, Asia Pacific Collection & Ficus Shades)
  5. Lakeside (comprises of Hibiscus WalkPandanus Walk, Canna Walk & Fern Garden)
However, my friends and I were only able to cover the Explorer's Trail, even though we had spent over 2 hours there!!! Even my friend's mom whom we called, Aunt Claire, who celebrated her 71st birthday on the day of our visit, had a fun time walking around this huge park with the help of a walking stick.

At the Canopy Walk

Operation Hours

No entrance fee is charged for the Botanical Garden is you do your own tour.
Bicycles for Hire & Trams are available to bring visitors around this huge garden.

Different kinds of bicycles catering to children, adult & family are available for hire.

The beautiful tiles featuring leaves of various plants are found at the entrance to the Botanical Garden.

A scene taken from the Canopy Walk

We will definitely return to the Botanical Garden to cover the other areas that we have not ventured. Another garden that I am very keen to check out is the Shah Alam Agricultural Park. Heard from fellow photography enthusiasts in our community's forum,, that this park features many photography opportunities.

Come, let's visit our local parks!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Plants for My Garden

From the Putrajaya Floria Fest 2009, I have bought some new plants for my garden. It's hard to resist shopping for new plants. But I can't help it coz I have been eyeing these plants for sometime and eventually I gave in to my 'WANTS', as Oprah Winfrey puts it (versus one's NEEDS).

My first purchase is a plant that we locally called Mas Cotek. Scientifically it is known as Ficus Deltoidea. What struck me when I first saw it in Shah Alam's Farmers Market was the ornamental fruits on this plant. They look so beautiful. The plant was sold at the price of RM35 at the Farmers Market. Fortunately I got this pot at RM10. The price was a good bargain and you know me, I have done my research before I finally paid for it.

I was told by the vendor that the whole Mas Cotek plant can be consumed for health purpose. Boil the cleaned & sun-dried leaf, stem and root with water. Consume it. This helps for diabetic patient. From the Wikipedia, I found more usage of this herbs:

Mas Cotek is a small perennial herb, growing up to about 2m tall. The different shapes of the leaves represent different varieties some having a rounded shape and others having an elongated egg shape. The color at the top of the leaf is shining green while underneath, the surface color is golden yellow with black spots in between the leaf veins. Mas Cotek plant species are male and female. The leaves of female species are big and round in shape, while the male species are small, round and long in shape.Mas Cotek plants grow wild in eastern Peninsular Malaysia and it is popular among traditional medical practitioners. The trees can be found in the jungle in Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan.

Mas Cotek, also known as "mistletoe fig", has been scientifically researched by two local institutions, the University of Malaya and the Malaysian Planting Research Institute (MARDI). Research results show that Mas Cotek possesses five (5) active components which are required by the human body, namely flavonoids, tannins, triterpenoids, proanthocyanins and phenols. These active components have been shown to assist in human memory and are used by doctors to treat patients with disabilities in concentration.

Traditionally used as a postpartum treatment to help in contracting the muscles of the uterus and in the healing of the uterus and vaginal canal, it is also used as a libido booster by both men and women. The leaves of male and female plants are mixed in specific proportions to be taken as an aphrodisiac. Among the traditional practices, Mas Cotek has been used for regulating blood pressure, increasing and recovering sexual desire, womb contraction after delivery, reducing cholesterol, reducing blood sugar level, treatment of migraines, toxin removal, delay menopause, nausea, joints pains, piles pain and improving blood circulation.

The 2nd plant that I bought is a grafted Ylang-Ylang, also known as perfume tree. The ylang-ylang (pronounced ee-lang ee-lang) is a medium to large sized tree producing yellow flowers with long trailing petals and a strong aromatic scent. The sweet smelling flowers are used in perfumes, such as Chanel No. 5.

A Ylang-Ylang germinated from seeds can grow to be a tall tree as tall as 60 feet high. But grafted ones will remain as a small tree or shrub (see Ylang-Ylang at Alokarama) that grows up to 6 ft. tall and it starts blooming when the plant is only 1 to 1½ feet tall. That's why I choose the grafted plant.

Some more information about Ylang-Ylang that I found on the internet:

The Ylang-Ylang cultivation requires:

Light: Provide full sun to ensure better flowering.

Water & Humidity: Water the Ylang-Ylang plant daily for the first 2-3 weeks after you plant it. Then regular sprinkler irrigation will be sufficient. Cananga is a rainforest tropical tree that thrives best in a high-humidity environment.

Fertilization: Fertilize the plant with one-half dose of blooming-grade balanced fertilizer at least once a month during the growth period to encourage blooming.

Pests: The tree is practically pest-free. No special treatments are usually required to keep it healthy.

Sometimes, creative gardeners who lack room in their gardens train the plant into a shrub. Such a compact Ylang-Ylang will still provide wonderful perfumed flowers year round. The procedure must be started as early as on 8-10 inch seedling by pinching the very top point of growth. Don't wait until the seedling becomes too woody, or when you plant in the ground, the tree will sprout up a long stem. If done in time, trimming can create a nice shrubby look.

The last plant that I got was a Roselle. After reading about Roselle from the other fellow bloggers site, I am very tempted to plant it.

Roselle is also known as Hibiscus Sabdariffa. Roselle is usually propagated by seed but grows readily from cuttings. The latter method results in shorter plants. The plant prefers a permeable soil, preferable light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils with humus rich fertile and well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. However, it will adapt to a variety of soils. It cannot grow in the shade and must be kept weed-free. It requires moist soil. It will tolerate floods, heavy winds or stagnant water.

The fresh calyx (the deep red outer whole of the flower) can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked and used in making jellies, soups, sauces, pickles, puddings. The calyx is rich in citric acid and pectin and so is useful for making jams & jellies. It is also used to add a red colour and to flavour to herb teas (Sudan Tea), and can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. A refreshing and very popular beverage can be made by boiling the calyx, sweetening it with brown sugar. See BangChik & Kak Dah's My Little Vegetable Garden for their roselle plants.

My aplogies for the loooooooong posting today. As I researched for information on these plants that I newly acquired, I thought it would be good to share the information here with all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yang Mama's Garden

On my birthday, I went over to fetch Yang Mama in Shah Alam to join me for lunch dana (offering) to the monks in Subang Jaya Buddhist Association. After the dana, I sent her home and she invited us to her house. I always love hanging out in her garden and taking photos of her plants.

Here are the photos of her garden and it gives me great pleasure to share with you the fruits of the dedication from another fellow gardening enthusiast.

To get a shady spot for her pitcher plant, Yang Mama hides this pot below her taller plants. Below the pitcher plant is a pot of plant with attractive foliage.
I am not certain what it is called.

This is Yang Mama with her pot of unhealthy, dried-up pitcher plant.
She is trying to revive this plant and hope it will survive.

I was told that this crimson flower is used for wedding in Hong Kong. The bride would place this flower on her hair and the groom will pin it to their shirt. The leaf can be used for bathing, similar to the use of pomelo leaf by Chinese. Chinese uses pomelo leaf to bath in order to wash away bad omen/luck.

Aquatic plants such as lotus and water lily are also found in Yang Mama's garden.
Alas, they are not blooming during this visit. Usually I will find big lotus flower or purple water lily in her garden.

Here's Yang Mama posing next to her Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia).
This plant is poisonous if the sap from the trunk is accidentally eaten ~ a common accident that happens to animals or children.

An uncommon Adenium in pink & white with streaks of red.

A white Adenium

The neatly-pruned bonsai and well-arranged spot near the gate to her house.
This section is for her plants that need direct sunlight.

This shady section is where her snake plant (also known as Mother-in-laws tongue or Sansevieria) and Dracaena that boasts a beautiful yellow-beige outline. Can someone tell me name of the plant with the dark maroon, butterfly-like leaves?

A healthy pot of begonia sp. hanging beside a pot of pitcher plant at the front porch. These plants need shades to grow well. The pitcher plant was a bit dried up due to lack of water. I love the patterns and colours of the begonia plant.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lady Bird Paid A Visit

A beautiful visitor pop by my garden this week! A beautiful lady, indeed!

This elegant lady bird paid my garden a visit on a recent morning! It was having fun crawling on my mulberry leaf. The moment I sighted it, instantly I rushed for my camera. Hope you like it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Putrajaya Flora & Fauna Festival 2009 (Part 2)

What are the things that I find interesting at the Putrajaya Flora & Fauna Festival 2009?

The Sime Darby 'Celebration of Colours' section is a must-visit. There are many unique flowering plants, for instance the hairy crab look-alike heliconia (see the flower shown below), costus, bromeliad, orchids and birds of paradise at that pavillion.

I bought a roselle plant for the price of RM7 (about USD2). I have been looking for this plant since I read about it at Blur Ting's Growing Vegetable with Ms. Green Fingers and Bang Chik & Kak Dah's My Little Vegetable Garden blog. After visiting the Agro-Ornamental Pavillion, I ended buying bittergourd, cucumber, cabbage and long bean seeds from the same booth. Thee healthy vegetables at that pavillion inspired me to try out vegetable planting. All the seeds were purchased at RM1 per packet.

There are many stalls selling orchids, fruit trees and herbs. Stephanie of Steph's Green Space has asked if there are any sales booth there. Ha ha...there are many! Just bring enough cash when you go there! Shop till you drop or till you broke! Mine is usually the latter! *wink* *wink*

Orchid booth

Herbs booth

Fruit trees booth

I love this magazine booth. I get past copies of gardening magazines at a hugely discounted price!!! These girls are also very friendly. I even told them about the community of gardening bloggers! I wonder if they would offer gardening activities to fellow gardening enthusiasts?

Local fruit booth by FAMA sells my favourite seasonal fruits such as rambutan, dukong, chempedak, mangosteen and durian! The rambutan was priced at RM1.50 per kg!! Gosh, that was the cheapest in town. The other fruits are also cheaply priced except for durian, that was RM8 per kg.

The Agro-Ornamental pavillion is like an edible garden, where every plants displayed here are edible. There are vegetables, fruit trees and herbs. There is a stage set up for cooking demonstration. The purpose of the demonstration is to show visitors how to cook interesting recipes out of the plants in this section. During our visit, we get to taste mint fried rice and that was really good. According to the chef, this recipe is very popular in Mexico.

Entrance to Agro-Ornamental Pavillion

Cooking Demonstration

Tomatoes hanging from stems, surrounded by cucumber with yellow flowers and bittergourd plants . In the background, there are cabbages and pineapple plants.

After visiting this exhibition, I am looking forward to more flora and fauna festival!! It has been fun and I may go for another visit so that I could take a hot air balloon ride there. According to Bang Chik & Kak Dah, it's only RM10 per ride!

Come, let's visit Putrajaya Flora & Fauna Festival 2009!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Putrajaya Flora & Fauna Festival 2009

We visited the Putrajaya Flora & Fauna Festival 2009 today. It's a must-go for those who love gardening! You will drool over the beautiful plants on display!!


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