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Archive for October, 2008

Pass me the pepper please…

October 28, 2008 Leave a comment

Bell peppers, or commonly known as Capsicum (Capsicum Annuum) are fruiting for me! I got the seeds from a yellow capsicum bought from the supermarket. Capsicum fruits can come in all shapes and colours…

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The flowers of the capsicum plant look similar to the flowers of the common chilli plant, with six white petals containing both the antlers and ovary. I hand pollinated them a few weeks ago and the fruit started to develop after a week when the flower fade away.

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The fruit grew with astonishing speed, doubling its size every week! Another thing I notice about this plant is that the new flowerbuds dried up when it is fruiting. It seemed to forsake its flowers and channel its energy to develop the fruit.

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They are fairly easy to grow, daily watering and strong sunlight will be ideal for these plants. The growing conditions may vary from cultivars, but they are more of less the same. Like vegetables, they grow a lot of roots and require a fair bit of fertilizers. Observing the fruit develop is a rewarding experience, see how the flower transforms into a yellow fruit. In short, it’s a great plant to grow!!

Ying and Yang

October 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Have you heard of Ying Yang Beans?

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Phaseolus vulgaris, Ying Yang Beans comes from a small bush bean plant. The seeds have distinctive black or brown patches around the seed and they look like the Taoism Ying Yang symbol. I have seen the black and white ying yang beans which was featured in the celebrity gardener, Wilson’s blog!

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They are easy to grow and edible too. The unripe seed pods can be harvested to be consume just like the french beans you find in the supermarket! These seed pods are much shorter than the rest of the species like the french beans or the pearl beans. They do not climb very high unlike other vining plants and they flower in a month after I germinated the seeds!

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These characteristics make ying yang beans a good candidate to grow in flats, they basically need partial full sunlight and high humidity. They can be grown in pots, I personally grow them in 10 inch pots. As they are short vining plants you can consider getting the 3-ring  vine support from Daiso to prop them up!

Cherry??

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

I acquired a pot of cherry plant from World Farm not long ago. Thanks to Green Culture Singapore founder, Mr Wilson Wong who told me that this cherry plant is Malpighia Glabra, commonly known as the Barbados Cherry.

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These cherries are known to have a high content of Vitamin C and others mix them with roselle to make  nutritious drinks. They are different from those we get in supermarket, the Prunus cerasus. These Barbados cherries are extremely sour!

Beside growing them for their red fruits, their flowers are also a sight to behold! The five petaled flowers are pink in colour and in a very pleasant distinctive shape. They looked like cherry blossoms in Japan when these flowers bloom at the same time!

Despite having so many flowers on my plants, only one of them got pollinated and start to fruit! The cherry started to turn red not long ago but due to the strong monsoon wind, the about-to-ripe fruit fell off! The next time it blooms, I will try hand pollination and in time for a spectacular plant during the Christmas season!

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With some fertilizers, pruning it time to time will induce the plant to produce flowers, suggested by the nursery staff. And yes, this plant need a lot of sunlight and can grow a lot of new leaves in a short time. Pruning them will keep them neat!

Fruiting Tree!

October 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Remember the post on “Flowering Tree”? The same tree (Syzygium Campanulatum) I blog about recently, started to fruit a few weeks ago! The unripen fruits are conical in shape and green in colour. Only after a few weeks, the fruit then turn red in colour and they look like delicious berries!

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After I saw the flowers fade away a few weeks ago, I was rather disappointed as there were no sign of fruiting on the tree. The green ovaries remained small over a few days and I thought they will not grow anymore ad would dry out soon. I was rather surprised to see those ovaries still remain on the tree when I walked past it not long ago. Some of these ovaries grew larger and some start to turn pink!

IMAG0021 I was delighted and pulled out my camera to snap photos of these developing fruits! Most of these fruits are red in colour  and rounder in shape when I took the pictures this morning. Some of these fruits have purple specks on it! They certainly look delicious.

I guess these fruits are usually food for birds and their seeds can be propagated when the birds leave their droppings somewhere else. Another thing I notice today is that the tree stop producing new leaves. Young leaves are red and yellow in colour but now the tree is totally green.

Categories: On the Streets Tags: ,

Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Borneo Exotics ‘ Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ is a hybrid between Nepenthes Ampullaria and Nepenthes Ventricosa. This lowland tropical pitcher plant is named after a gardening and horticulture event in Singapore. The pitchers are bright red in colour and they grow real fast!

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Just like any lowland Nepenthes,  they prefer high humidity and bright light conditions. Most gardeners grow them under full sun, in order to bring out the red colouration to the fullest. They may start out as a slow growing plant, but once they acclimatised to the growing conditions, they put out a new leaf almost every week!

IMG_0590 Initially I wasn’t keen to grow this hybrid as I collect Nepenthes species only. But the shape and colour of the pitchers attracted me. The pitchers of a mature plant do not resemble the ‘hourglass’ shape of N.Ventricosa nor the “plump” N. Ampullaria. They are more of a box-like shape, just like an upright rectangular box.

I got mine during the recent Singapore Garden Festival. As my place do not have direct sunlight, the pitchers are “half-green, half-red”. The sun facing side of the pitchers are red and the rest are green! This really means that you need full sun to colour up the pitchers.

Blooms along our roadside…

October 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Roads here in Singapore are lined with a wide variety of plants. They serve mainly three purposes, to beautify and improve the aesthetics along our roads, reduce air and noise pollution and also provide shade. These plants come in wide range of colours, from pink and orange bougainvillea to lush green rain trees.

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Some plants are grown for their colourful foliage, like the Cordyline Fruiticosa ‘Pink’. These plants can be found around overhead bridges, pedestrians walkways and in carparks. Also commonly known as ‘Firebrand’, they add to the colour contrast of the green environment as their leaves are dark red in colour and they seldom flower.

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I was lucky to spot one of them flowering in my university carpark! I was so delighted that I pulled out my mobile phone and snapped photos of it! Their white flowers are small and arranged in layers around the stalk. The flower spike is around 30 centimeters long.

I will still keep a lookout on them if they are any fruits developing on this plant. I am extremely excited to see one of these roadside foliages blooming! Too bad I did not bring along my camera along, so I have to take these photos with my mobile phone. Roadside plants are always full of surprises!!

Istana Grounds

October 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Selamat Hari Raya!! Today is a public holiday and the Istana opened its grounds to the public. I took this chance to see the magnificent trees and beautiful plants in the Istana.

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There were huge rain trees, which provide shelter from the hot sun and these trees are very old. You can find many epiphytes growing on them. Staghorn Ferns, Bird’s Nest ferns are some of them. Under these trees were other shade loving plants like other ferns and small shrubs.

The open fields were nicely mowed and it was a great place for children to play about. The compound also included a nine-hole golf course! The scenery was so beautiful and you wouldn’t think that you are in Singapore!

I was amazed with the variety of trees in the Istana grounds. Some of these trees are so old that they were around when this place was built almost 200 years ago!!

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There was one tree that caught my attention. The Ironwood Tree (Mesua ferrea), which have elongated leaves and beautiful flowers. Young leaves are red in colour and gradually turn green as they grow. The flowers were white and yellow in the centre, which reminded me of the Frangipani (Plumeria). Flower buds look like lollipops!     

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The Istana Open House is a great place for family outings and gatherings. There are a lot more to see and you will be amazed by the surreal environment right in the middle of the business district!