Monday, June 20, 2011


A really nice reduced sugar birthday cake ..... and the birthday celebrations was at the Big Oven - which serves very good Western food.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pink Ornamental Banana

We saw this beautiful pink ornamental banana (musa ornata pink) growing in the over-grown garden of an abandoned house ... so we went in to harvest a couple of rhizomes. It was very difficult as the undergrowth was really thick and we had to bring a hoe and a garden saw! Still, it was worth it. We planted the rhizomes in a couple of pots first and when fully established, transferred them to the back of the garden against the fence. 

See one of the plants with the banana inflorescence. It was only about 120 cm tall.

The banana inflorescence grew pretty fast.

Just look at the beautiful opened banana inflorescence.


The growing bananas ....

Finally, the fully-formed pink bananas.

We heard that the pink bananas are edible but they did not looked very appetizing! So we waited to see what happened next ....

Indeed, the bananas are self-peeling. One day, the bananas just opened and they look like flowers and they are beautiful!!


By the later part of the day, the birds had finished off the fruits!

This plant certainly add colours and interests to the garden as well as providing food for the birds.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bunga Kesidang or Bread Flower

What smells like the lovely fragrant pandan leaves but is not pandan. Of course, this is the Bunga Kesidang, also known as Vallaris glabra or Bread Flowers. 

I love the fragrance of this plant - a very light and sweet smell. 

In our garden, we have this vine in a large dragon pot and have the vine going round and round the central stake. This plant can do much better in the ground but as we have limited space for growing climbers have to be contented with this plant in a pot!


The small white flowers .....


The flowers are magnets for insects, especially ants!

This is certainly one of the nicest plant to have in a garden and if you can get this plant, make sure to have it in your garden. My friend, Harmit Kaur, in Subang Jaya have this lovely plant in her garden with the Bunga Kesidang on one side of the walkway and the rangoon creeper on the other side! Lovely place!

Recently, I was told that there is this house in Siniawan, outside Kuching, with hundred-years old Bunga Kesidang vines that forms the bulk of the fence of the house and the whole neighbourhood is scented with the lovely fragrance of the flowers when the plants are in bloom! Unfortunately, recently, the owners' descendents started to cut away some of the old old vines to make way for concrete fence..... :-(

What a great pity!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Duan Wu Festival (端午節).

Today is Duan Wu Festival (端午節).

The day started off with hanging the Shi Xiang Fu (stone-joss stick-symbol/mark) on both sides of the main door and then preparing standard "SanSheng" (chicken, pork and eggs/cuttlefish), rice wine, tea and for this festival, the savoury and alkaline dumplings, for the ancestor worship ceremony. I blogged about this last year.

How many of you know what this is?

It is made from bamboo and cut into thin strips up to the node where they are all joined together.

For those of you who are old enough, this is what was used to tie the wrapped dumplings. Beside this, they also used "salted straw" or  咸草 (茳茳咸草 Cyperus malaccensis) 。The bamboo is now rarely available while the "salted straw" or  咸草 can still be bought in the market. Both are 100% GREEN!

Nowadays, for convenience's sake,  most people use nylon or cotton strings.

Enjoy your Duan Wu festival.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Barbados Cherry

I have this bush in the garden which I really like for the flowers and the fruits and is very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds but was not able to identify the plant until recently. I asked at the GCS Forum and Wisteria told me that it was Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra). It is also variously known as Acerola or West Indian Cherry.

This is the Barbados Cherry bush in my garden.

I think I got it more than two years ago from the Satok Market in Kuching. It took a while to get established and is very slow growing. Only in the last year or so, did it started branching out profusely and is now a nice bush - not having been pruned at all.

When it blooms, the plant is really beautiful with masses of small but beautiful pink flowers. Lots of bees and butterflies visited this bush.

The fruits are the size of small cherries and they looked like cherries. Birds seem to like them!

Close-up of the fruits ....

The plant with the fruits looks really nice and is very popular with our visitors. I have eaten the fruits - really sour but edible and I have tried making juice with it - nice cold drink for a hot day! According to a University of Florida report :

The flesh is yellow-orange and very high in vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C content ranges from 1000 to 2000 mg per 100 gm in the edible portion of fully ripe fruit and may be as high as 4500 mg per 100 gm in partially ripe fruit. A single fruit of some selections could supply the daily adult requirement of vitamin C. The fruit from most seedlings is rather tart but from some it is sub-acid to almost sweet. The more acid fruit has the higher vitamin C content. 

The plant self-sows but you can use the stones from the fruits. It takes a while - just be patient!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gawai Dayak

Today is Gawai Dayak.

Selamat Nyambut Ari Gawai