(Misc.) First times

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In gardening and growing plants, there is a lot of waiting and patience needed. From the time when seeds sprout to when a plant say, bears fruits or flowers, it can take months or even years.

It’s something terribly dull and boring.

But then, there are those first times which provide all the excitement in growing plants, all those first times where the ecstatic feeling just overwhelms me and I jump and bounce around and go squeeee.

The first time any seed shows signs of sprouting...it's extremely exciting!

The first time handling any plants which I have no experience with, and it sends out strong roots

The first time a plant flowers

The first time learning to grow a new plant and seeing it grow stronger and more healthily day by day

Of course, that is not to say that subsequent times are boring, that if a plant fruits again and again, each fruiting is not unique.

But, there is that special something in those first times, that special magic in getting to know a plant in its various forms.

To me, that delights me to no end.

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(Purchases) Hoya compacta and two other plants

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My partner and I popped by the local pasar malam (Malay for ‘night market,’ although the stalls open some time in the afternoon and close late at night) near my house. There was a stall selling some assortment of plants, and I was drawn to the hanging ones: small little compact plants grown in snail shells.

Each cost $3. My partner bought me two, and one for my dad.

So fun and cute. =)

Hoya compacta aka Indian Rope Plant

I dunno what this is yet, but the variegated tiny leaves are cute.

This one for my dad.

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(Compost) Greenback Manufacturing Plant Compost Excursion

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Sample pack of Greenback compost

The Curious Gardener recently bought a lot of Greenback compost, and wrote a post about it over at her blog. She got invited to visit GB’s manufacturing plant, and was kind enough to invite me.

Of course I accepted! (Although my darned flu nearly made me unable to go, grrrr)

I’ve been using Greenback compost for a few months now, ever since my black soil from World Farm ran out, and I remembered I still had a large gurney sack of it from a mass order a fellow gardening friend joined in about two years back. I’d forgotten about it for over a year; reading about some members’ experience with using the compost from the MO also deterred me from using it, especially since she reported that her veggies had all conked. Of course, there were the other members who’d joined the MO, who claimed that their plants were doing well with the compost addition. But, being new to gardening then, I decided not to take the risk, and it laid forgotten till recently.

So far, I’ve had positive experiences using it. The compost is dry and crumbly, and smells really earthy (good!) to my nose. It encourages drainage, which is all the better for me since most of the herbs I grow hate wet feet. Another gardener gushed about how great the compost is.

With all these mixed reviews, I didn’t really use the compost leaning in any direction, but simply hoped that my plants would do well.

It was only after today’s excursion, and the intensive chatting with the owners of Greenback, that some things were impressed upon me:

Recommended mixing proportions

1. Don’t use the compost neat and pure. They and I aren’t sure why yet, but pure compost might (emphasis on MIGHT) be an overdose to the plant, and can potentially cause the plant to die off. Their recommended amendment is as such: 30% of GB to loamy soil; 50% to clayey soil; and 65% to sandy soil, as printed on their newest brochure;

2. I am extremely astounded at the sheer amount of horticultural waste which is produced just in Singapore alone. It pains my heart to know how much (potential) wastage there is, but it also heartens me a lot that I see the owners of Greenback turn this waste into a useful form;

3. Not all things which claim to be compost is compost. Greenback uses pure horticultural waste, which gives it a very big plus point in my view. After all, I really don’t like the idea of having manufactured wood (lacquer etc. anyone?) going into my soil, being absorbed into my plants, and me eating those plants. Ugh.

When all is said and done, however, the biggest visual proof to me that (their) compost works is the patch of land lining the back of their manufacturing plant. Rows of edible plants such as banana trees, papaya trees, rice plants, yam plants, huge patches of kang kong, and various other plants which I lack the skill to identify, are all thriving with the addition of their own compost to the soil. Now I wish I had taken pictures of the sheer sizes of the papayas and bananas! (I shall shout out to Curious Gardener for that, I hope!) And all from compost-turned-from-horticultural waste!


Another small little structure housed some rows of vegetables, namely the lettuce and malabar spinach. The orange-brown clayey soil had also been amended with Greenback compost, and the plants all looked healthy despite the slight lack of direct sunlight in that area.

I absolutely LOVE the idea of this sustainable cycle – waste from plants is turned into something which sustains and helps plants grow; and those plants, in turn, if there are waste from them, can be turned into compost again to be used on them. This cycle is what I’ve been trying to do at home, and which I have only partially achieved. When I finally own my own farm one day after I migrate, I shall endeavor to create this sustainable cycle as much as I can!

All in all, I’ve had an enjoyable day interacting with the friendly guys who run Greenback, and have learned a lot from them.

Now that my current bag of GB compost is running out, I’m headed off to World Farm this Saturday to buy a few bags to top up!

Pasteurizing the in-progress compost to kill all pathogens etc.

Waste in the process of becoming useful compost

Amending the soil using Greenback compost (GB's own vegetable garden)

Blluuuuueeee skkkkyyyyy... | Machine: *roars*

Not waste anymore! =D

Black gold for plants. W00t!

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(Seed sowing) Yum yum

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I’m not gonna reveal the name of this plant which the seeds came from yet…not until the seeds sprout for real, and the plants stabilize.

But, I am VERY excited about this. *crosses fingers* I sure hope they sprout and grow well!

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(In progress) Marigolds


All three marigolds

I’m quite surprised that the dwarf strains of all my marigolds (both targetes and calendula alike) grow so much more slowly than the strain of typical height.

The calendula officinalis has already started to grow its second pair of true leaves, and the leaves are rather healthy and large, since this is the typical strain where the plant grows to a few feet tall.

However, both the calendula officinalis nana and targetes etecta nana remain slow growers, with the former seemingly stuck at half-growing their first pair of true leaves.

It’s quite weird. Hm…

C. officinalis

C. officinalis nana

Targetes etecta nana

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(Moving) The Garden I Live In

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I should be moving to The Garden I Live In soon. This is to reflect a more general state I am in as a gardener.

Please update your links. Thank you!

I’ll duplicate posts both here and there for the next month or so, then continue posting there and keep this blog as a resource.

(Propagation) Nepenthes Gardentech



When I first realized that the N. Gardentech I bought last year (which my dad ‘stole’ and transplanted into a bigger pot) had produced a sizable basal, I was ecstatic. Finally! A nepenthes I had growing a basal! It was unprecedented for me, probably because I keep all my nepenthes in small, four-inch pots due to space constraints.

Attempting to cut off the basal, I instead, by accident, snipped off the main portion of the Gardentech. Without roots, I might add.

I nearly died from the frustration at myself, the grrrrrrr which enveloped me right then.

Main stem snipped into three portions with more than four nodes each

But instead of throwing the cutting away, I decided to just heck it and try rooting the cuttings. I mean, why waste the cuttings, right? I might as well take this as my first nepenthes rooting experience.

Armed with prior knowledge in Cindy’s thread at GCS: How to take nepenthes cuttings and root them, I shortened the long cutting into two larger portions with more than four nodes each, and a smaller portion also with more than four nodes, but smaller in size.

Cutting #1

The stems being quite thin, I couldn’t really do the cut-and-flip of the outer layer which Cindy did in her thread. So I simply scraped the outer portion off.

The two larger cuttings are in pure water now; the smaller cutting is in pure perlite.

I think that roots should grow in about a month or so, hopefully.

(I’d already cut an N. ventrata cutting about a week back and did the cut-and-flip method on it. It being a common and hardy nepenthes, I thought I’d use it to learn before I tried the method on my rarer nepenthes. But ah well. Learn as I do, I suppose)

Cutting #2

Cutting #3 - the smallest one

It grew such a nice and large picther, no less! =(

(Photography) Hoya obscura


(In progress) Purple-flower comfrey


The main stem is about 7mm thick or so

I can’t really remember when it was I last sowed my purple-flower comfrey seeds, but at the moment, I have one adult plant which is still growing, and one baby seedling.

I’ve noticed that plants from temperate zones seem to have yellow leaves when they grow in Singapore’s tropical climate, no matter if the plant is healthy. I’ve had the same experience growing borage, where, even though the plant is pest-free, sturdy and healthy, leaves take on an almost-sickly yellow after some time. I’ve been told by a friend that his temperate plants are also like that. So…

Upsized to a six-inch pot

Anyway, I’ve just upsized the pot of my adult comfrey, and am waiting to let it get root-bound again before I again upsize the pot. I plan to try growing some comfreys to flowering stages, to see if I can, and also because I like the flowers.

Even at the size it is now, however, its main stem is really thick. It’s quite heartening to see, since I may one day sacrifice an adult plant to chop up its roots to propagate.

Now, to wait for my yellow-flower comfrey seeds to sprout…

The yellowing leaves so typical of temperate plants in our tropical climate

New leaves always grow out healthy and green though

(Misc.) Blog name change poll


Okays, I’m a person who likes changing her blog and blog name every now and then because I believe names and titles reflect changes within a person himself.

So, I’ve created a poll to see what new names you guys like best.

The first two options are a bit of an inside joke: I created a wolf pup character who loves oranges and gardening. 😛 So…

I believe there’s an option for other suggestions too. I’d appreciate that as well.

Poll is open for a week from now. =) Thanks, all!

(In progress) Hoyas

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Hoya curtisii

Friends (especially gardening friends) who’ve known me for a long time, will know that ever since I started growing plants, I’ve adamantly stuck to growing only herbs or vegetables, or carnivorous plants. I love the scent of herbs; I love the idea that I can eat my own vegetables; and I love carnivorous plants for their (supposed?) ability to trap insects and rid my garden of them.

Well, that was, until recently.

With the knowledge that I’ll be getting my own flat looming in the coming few years, and with the knowledge that I probably might not be able to get as good sunlight there as I do at my parents’ home now, I’ve started looking at some other plants which might be able to take bright shade, and yet still provide enough growing pleasure for me.

NOID hoya

I’ve longed liked the hoya species for their sometimes-strange-sometimes-beautiful flowers. And because this species flower best in bright shade, I finally started growing them, both for beautifying my gardening space, and to learn in greater depth what conditions they thrive in.

I was at first worried that I’ll botch a lot of the cuttings friends gave me, since herbs, in my experience, can be finnicky in putting out roots. Despite reassurances that hoyas root easily, I was still worried. Although, I should have been more worried with my watering regime than rooting them.

After a few months of growing them both as potted plants I’ve bought, and from cuttings friends had kindly given to me, I’ve more or less found a balance that they seem to like: watering twice weekly, giving them bright shade with the occasional direct sunlight, and daily misting.

Hoya pubicalyx

Too much watering, however well-draining a media I’d placed them in, had rotted a few cuttings which had not put roots out. Thankfully, I’d had spares, and those have now rooted happily.

I’m not sure when the cuttings will grow established enough to put out flowers, but I sure look forward to the day that they do.

(Misc.) Shoutout to Curious Gardener


Finally, after I don’t know how long after we started talking to each other online through our gardening blogs and stuff, The Curious Gardener and I have finally met!

Was so nice meeting you, CG! =D

(Photography) Baby gecko


I was trying to photograph a spider in my garden today, when the/a baby gecko living in my garden (have seen it a few times) caught my eyes instead.

It snuck out of the mouth of the figure of my dad's bonsai thingy

Such a cute little thing =D

(Photography) More test shots


Did some more test shots with my Panasonic FZ-100 today, with the Raynox 250 macro converter attached.

N. albomarginata 'Brunei, green'

N. albomarginata 'Brunei, green'

N. albomarginata 'Brunei, green'

Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss

N. albomarginata 'rubra'

N. albomarginata 'rubra'

N. albomarginata 'ringlet'

N. ampullaria 'bronze nabire'

Moss in my dad's bonsai pot

(Seed sowing) Three Susans with slightly different names


I decided to try growing black-eyed susans again, since I wanted to ‘prettify’ my garden with flowers, yet have the flowers belong to plants which can be used (that is, consumed as a herb or vegetable or something).

Since I have about four types of rudbeckias and I’ve successfully grown the rudbeckia hirta ‘rustic colors’, I thought that it was time to challenge myself with the rest.

Sown were five to six seeds of the toto, moreno, and ‘toto rustic’ strains in each pot. The first two were bought from Far East Flora along Thomson Road; the last was given to me kindly by The Curious Gardener (thank you, CG!).

Now, let’s see which ones sprout the quickest, or if they even sprout at all.

(In progress) St. John’s Wort, Plains coreopsis


I finally got down to sowing the seeds of two plants which I’ve wanted to grow for some time: the St. John’s Wort, and plains coreopsis.

Both plants’ seeds sprout rather readily and easily. However, the St. John’s Wort seems to grow much more slowly, even though both seeds were sown at the same time.

I hope that I’m able to grow both to flowering stages. It’d be awesome to see the flowers cheering up my garden, be able to use the St. John’s Wort flowers for my drinks, and to have the satisfaction of knowing I’m able to grow both plants well.

St. John's Wort seedlings

St. John's Wort seedlings

Plains coreopsis seedlings

Plains coreopsis seedlings

(Photography) Portulaca flower

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