Archive

Archive for March, 2010

Pineapple pups

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Do you remember my dwarf pineapple? The fruit had grown too big that it started to tip over and snapped! So the plant is back to its usual “leaf-only” state, it will be another long wait before flowers start to emerge.

IMG_2059

But this flower does not end its duty here. After months of showy flowers and ballooning fruit, it actually produced two pups! Pups are new leaf growth that can be removed and planted as another plant. Treating these pups as cuttings, these unrooted plants are coated with rooting powder and planted in the soil. Roots will gradually develop and the pup will start growing as another new plant!

IMG_2056

So does that mean I got three plants? Nope, actually I had four! the other plant is the crown of the fruit, which I sliced off and planted as a cutting too. This is the way the pineapple growers do to propagate new plants! This crown cutting is much larger than the pups and I decided to transfer it into my community garden and see how it goes!

The Rojak flower…

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever wonder what’s the crispy pink petals found in the Singapore delicacy, Rojak? Rojak is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad consists of cucumber, pineapple, turnip, fried tofu and Chinese fried fritters mixed with a sweet and thick peanut sauce.  In the Rojak food stall, you may find bunches of unopened pink flowers. Singaporeans called these the Rojak flower.

IMG_2015Torch Ginger Flower 

In fact, these flowers come from a ginger plant commonly known as Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior). The name  is derived from the appearance of the opened flowers to a flaming torch. However, this plant may be too big to be grown in the balcony! They comes in a few colours, the most common is pink in colour, and the uncommon and harder to grow will be those flowers in either white or red colour.

IMG_2014

Many more emerging flowers

Although the petiole and leaves can grow to a height of 2 metres, the flowers are usually found near the ground. My gardeners cut these opened flowers and use them as cut flowers in the office. They told me that these flowers can last for quite a while, around two weeks!

The Butterfly Pea

March 4, 2010 3 comments

I made a trip down to see my community garden in Tanglin Secondary School. The school is planning to expand its garden and I was asked to source for more plants and new design of the garden. I was rather surprised that many of the plants there are doing very well, despite the very hot weather recently.

IMG_2011 Healthy shrub !

The butterfly pea plant (Clitoria ternatea), is growing extremely well. There are only two plants and they come as a single vine almost half a year ago, and now they had grown into a spectacular shrub! There are countless of flowers and seed pods every now and then, which the school harvest them to make some delicacies.

               IMG_2012 IMG_2013

Flowers and Seed pods

As some would know, the flowers of this plant are harvested to extract its blue colouring, which is used in some Peranakan dishes and Nonya kuehs. The flowers are pounded and squeezed and the blue colouring is then heated before use.

The Butterfly Pea is a very easy to grow vine for apartment gardeners too. They are fast growing and flower readily. However, they are prone to red spider mites and it will be beneficial to inspect the plant every now and then.