My Garden Sun Room   2 comments

A sunny day, perfect for having company in my sun room. Let’s see what goes on in there and what’s going on outside as well.

Welcome! We're going to have a good time here today.

Come and have coffee and cake with me here.

We'll take our time and linger over our refreshments...the clock on the wall is strictly for the birds...and ducks.

"I'm hankering for some fresh earthworms, darling." "Let's leave these folks to their morning tea and go look for some juicy earthworms in Rosie's backyard!"

"Hey, wait for me!"

"You never take me out to dinner!"

"Hey watch out for the doggies in the backyard. Potsie's out there, in a hunting mood."

"Where are the squirrels? Where are the squirrels?"

"Are those pesky squirrels hiding behind the heliconia?"



"Who? Me dig? Who you calling a digger? Grrrr!"



"Don't dig up Rosie's anthuriums again, Major!"

"We know it is you, your paws are always covered with dirt, Major.

This says it all.

Oh these pets of mine drive me crazy sometimes. But what can I say…they are adorable, each having eccentric traits of its own. Niki the laid-back German shepherd loves to irritate Major who is the typical Grumpy Old Man. And Potsie…good ol’ reliable, dependable Potsie is ever willing to please us humans, but she is the Head Honcho in this pack, the Alpha Female whom the rest have to literally kow-tow to. More about the madcap capers of these canine garden pets in another post.







Up this garden path…   11 comments

Remember that I was waiting to lead you up this garden path (no figurative pun intended!) in my previous post?

This garden gate opens up to my sweet L-O-V-E Garden - full of everything lovely to eat!

Now you know my secret… I have a secret love in my backyard. A Little Orchard and Vegetable [Edible] garden (hence the acronym L-O-V-E)  in my backyard. Why ‘secret’? Well firstly,  it had been in a pathetic non-productive doldrum for the past three years when I first began planting fruit trees . I have two mango trees – one  a chokanan and the other only known as ‘my brother-in-law’s neighbour’s mango’. Then I put in two longan trees – one I named ‘Vicki’s Longan’ since the tree was transplanted in its teens from Vicki’s garden into mine, and the other was a  longan tree which I had suspected was a tobacco plant and not a longan tree when it was young, as it did not at all resemble Vicki’s longan tree! However, the garden nursery lady whom I had bought the plant from, had vouched for that longan tree’s ‘genealogy’, so I curtailed my plans to chop down that barren tree. I planted a guava tree that attracted white cottony flying insects. Next, I brought in a rose-apple plant that was only about three feet tall when it started bearing tiny rose-apple fruit which were rather sour. It did not deem it necessary to produce any more fruit for the next three years. Then I added a citrus corner in  the backyard where I planted two lemon trees, two lime trees – (locally known as limau kasturi), one kaffir lime tree (limau purut),  one  of another type of lime tree ( limau nipis), two mandarin orange trees imported from China (one of which met its demise due to the harsh condition of the hot, dry season here which it was not used to in its country of origin; fortunately its hardier brother  survived). I also had four soursop plants but only one is still standing today. See why I had nothing to shout about considering this shameful state of events in the desolate country of my backyard? Even the passion-fruit which were my pride and joy in the beginning , producing perfect round, dark green fruit dangling from the pergola, succumbed to disease and had to be humanely put out of its misery.

However,  the grapevine which I had planted, had  filled me with great expectations. My  grapevine  had actually begun to fruit when it was in my front garden, twining up my 7-foot high pergola. I would excitedly usher everyone who visited  me, to my ‘vineyard’ and point out to them the miniscule green clusters of grape flowers. Everyone would get caught up in my enthusiasm and exclaim at the discovery of  each bunch of  adorable young grapes, green in colour  in its  infancy. When the grapes grew into delightful dark red clusters of luscious perfection, no one had the heart to pluck even one grape. It was not because  the size of the grape was too small (it was really small- one cluster of about sixteen grapes would fit into an espresso cup!), it was because they were too adorable to be table grapes. They would probably be more suitable for the bottle, although I estimated that  my first harvest might yield a thimble-full of rich, red wine. I only tasted my first grape when I noticed that the birds were pecking at them – not necessarily feeding on them but just pecking at them till they fall to the ground…the grapes I mean, not the birds. It was definitely time to pick the grapes… I tenderly washed each delicate grape and put one in my mouth. It was the most…sour grape on the face of the earth. I had produced the proverbial sour grape! Not just any plain sour grape, but the world’s tiniest sour grapes. Needless to say, to me they deserve another superlative – they were the darling-est, grapes,  the sort that dreams are built upon.

I have since transplanted the grape vine to the lower pergola in my backyard. They have not begun fruiting again, but this time I have given them a different soil condition, and a shady spot. I still harbour dreams of plucking tantalising sweet grapes  from my backyard, despite the history of that desolate country I have been relating to you.’ Why, foolish gardener?’, you might ask.

The answer is this – it is the dawn of a new age in that no-man’s land behind my house.  When I returned from my travels abroad, I discovered to my unsurpassed joy, that both my longan trees had burst forth with flowers! My lime trees are covered with limes, my lemon tree which had so far produced one fruit at a time, now has five on the branches. The rose-apple tree which had been prolific only with leaves are now producing beautiful flowers. My guava branches are bending heavy with fruit. Although the mango trees have not shown any sign of flowering, it is a time for celebration! It is a time to be thankful for Nature’s bounty. I am deeply touched.

My picture gallery below says it all…never abandon hope as Nature has a way of healing the vegetation and repairing the land, with the help of Man’s willing cooperation.

Like sparklers lit up in the night, these rose apple florets lit me up with joy when I first saw them.

These wrinkly, tough skinned kaffir limes hang from the tip of every branch.

One of the five lemons I am waiting to savour in a glass of refreshing lemonade.

The tobaco plant that grew into a longan tree.

To some this is just a part of a green tree, to me this sprout is hope personified.

The prettiest grapes I've ever grown. I admit it, I'm biased.

How I long for a bumper crop next year.

New home in the backyard for my darling grapevine. If you look closer you can see a bunch of green grapes hanging there. Do not be is not real. The reason I tied it there is to demonstrate to my grapevine the correct size its grapes are expected to grow.

Nothing excites me more than to see did they get so perfect?

An abundance of limes from my citrus patch.

The guava have to be wrapped to protect them from fruit flies.

Sweet, sweet taste of success!

The last of the passion fruit left on the plant. I have new plants of two varieties now in my backyard. Estimated fruiting time...February next year.

So can the gardener now sit back and enjoy the fruits of her labour? Well, only if she remembers to help Mother Nature along by doing the following number of chores that activated all these bursts of fruiting activity in the first place:

1.  Mulch the trees with more grass clippings when the layer of mulching wears thin.

2.  Fertilize frequently.

3.  Remove diseased leaves from the branches.

4.  Wash  the cottony white pests off the underside of the guava leaves with soapy water. One wash will keep the pests away for months,

5.  Spray home-made fruit peel enzymes on plants and leaves for pest-control. Remember not to over-do it as that might kill off the insects that help to pollinate          the flowers.

6. Add fruit peel and kitchen  waste to the compost heap.

7. Add compost to base of fruit trees.

8. Weed.

9.Get the grass trimmed.

10. Weed some more.

Finally… start with chore Number 1 again!

Back to my question…so when does the gardener get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of her labour?

I have thoroughly enjoyed our walk  up my garden path that leads to the sweetest of gardens.  That is the answer to my own question above. I declare that when the gardener shares with her friends the fruits of her labour, that is the sweetest reward and the greatest enjoyment of her l-o-v-e-ly, sweet garden.

Posted November 27, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in Categories

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BLOOMING FRIDAY   16 comments

I am a bit behind on my first posting for Blooming Friday, but I really want to jump in and be part of  Roses And Stuff’s meme this week as I have  white sprinkled all over my garden!

These are some of my favourite  splashes of white:

My blushing fair ladies...

There they are, wall-flowers at a ball...too shy to say 'Hi'.

The amazing, captivating belle of the ball!

These social butterflies are happy to be seen at any gathering.

For more blooms on Blooming Friday, visit Roses And Stuff and have a ball.

Posted November 27, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in Categories

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Featuring my own garden haven   9 comments


After featuring  gardens from New Zealand for the past 5 posts, I soon realized that I had  confused some of  my new blogging visitors who think I’m from New Zealand! Hence, it is time to return to my  own garden haven in the tropics. My garden is predominantly green at the moment. I need to have more colour in it! I have had a wonderful time admiring the colours of spring in a temperate climatic zone, and I ask myself, why can’t I have springtime in my tropical garden all year round? Sounds like a riddle, eh, as  it is actually summer all year round here. Well I could plant beds of colourful annuals and tropical perenials which have colourful flowers or foliage! Yes, they might resemble spring flowers… after all I can grow certain bulbs like the amaryllis and I can have masses and masses of hydrangeas …. and ….there I go again, already seeing these fabulously blooming  flower beds in my mind’s eye. I hope this new inspiration will not evaporate into thin air but become tangible reality in a few months from now. I have already started on my gladioli patches! Right now though, these are the only spots of colour in my green tropical garden:

The only accent here comes from the specks of red on the bushes. These are my ‘Shanghai Rose” plants. The delicate blossoms, which do not at all resemble any  rose I’ve ever seen,  bloom all year round.

These  cheerful portulaca in the balinese pot are a delightful addition to an otherwise green garden. They have  an attractive yet quiet  quality about them that I like.

There is also some colour under  the  pine trees. Circling the green pine  is a border of orange ixora. Barely visible behind is a ring of yellow ixora and completely hidden under the blue pine by the wall is a circle of red ixora. I love it when the ixora plants  start flowering in earnest.

The only accent here will be a bright yellow from the potted celosia when it bursts into action! I like to think of them as my bursts of sunshine. As these are annuals, I get to enjoy them only about three times a year…but what a joy when they appear.

The lemony green hues of  the low ground cover is a bright contrast to the trio of dark green topiaried trees around them. In the shallow balinese pot are some multi-petalled Rose Moss, a smaller variety of  portulaca [Portulaca grandiflora] than the single-petalled ones in the second picture. This variety comes in all sorts of colours. I should make it a point to collect all the colours so that I have a mad mix of multi-coloured portulaca  in this pot. That would be a welcome  splash of technicolour paint on  my  green canvas.

This path leads to another part of my garden.

Let’s see where this path leads us… in my next post!

Posted November 25, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in Categories

TODAY’S FLOWERS   22 comments

Pansies sitting pretty ia an earthen garden pot.

Delightful flowers that brighten up your garden.

Love those huge pots...great for mass effect for flowers like this.

Fresh as a daisy!

Hanging pot of impatience.



To spice up your day,  go pick some flowers …click here to visit Today’s Flowers.


Posted November 20, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in Categories

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When you have visited so many gardens within the span of three weeks as I had, sometimes it is hard to recall what a particular garden looks like. I usually rely on the hardscape the designers had  planned into the garden as markers. Of course, sometimes it is the natural features like a stream, river or lake that makes the garden memorable. Or it could be a unique statue, or even an endearing garden ornament that does the trick.

In this fifth post in my series of New Zealand gardens, I’ll be featuring the distinquishing features of  gardens,  in particular the Oamaru Public Garden,   Queenstown and Dunedin Botanic Gardens, Trotts Garden and some private gardens of homes we passed along our journey from North Island to South Island.

An eye-catching feature.

Unforgettable...cherry blossom dreams.

A low stone bridge that blends with the background.

How about this? Creative, eh?

A Roman touch...

Like any of the features you see? Well, I love the red bridge, but since I can’t have one in my garden, as there’s no stream running across my property, alas, I’ll just settle for these garden ornaments…or the quaint signs that I came across in the gardens of people in New Zealand.

This gentleman should give your patio a touch of class.

Love the sentiment expressed there.

Nice touch.

Spoken like a true gardener.

Might consider a wishing well for my garden...this would certainly attract visitors..

This could be scaled down to place in my backyard, couldn't it?

Or maybe I should just import this from my friend Woo's front porch. Very ornamental, won't stray too far away, and will work for 2 meals a day.


This is the fourth of a series featuring the New Zealand gardens I visited last month. This post features two  gardens, the public garden in Rotorua, and the Botanic Garden of  Christchurch. What was most impressive about these two gardens were the garden designs in terms of colour. We were bedazzled by the bold mix of colours which transformed the flower beds into rich tapestry laid out on the green grass. Wouldn’t you love to have  carpets  like these in your home?

White speckled with red...spectacular.

Lollipop and candy colours.

Featuring the vermilion lollipop...

Warm and cool colours do mix well.

A triumphant trio.

Successful pairing of white and purple.

Predominantly purple...not half bad.

Pretty pastels.

Most alluring, don't you think?

Finally...check out this is like snow on the ground.

Posted November 18, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in garden designs

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