Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friendship - Always In Bloom In My Garden

My garden is a constant reminder of friends far and near. My friends have 'adorned' my life, so too my garden. Often as I dig the soil and tend to my plants, fleeting moments rush back to the times spent together.

The sweet smell of the luxuriant climber, the passiflora, reminds me of my friend, Wanphen , in Surrey, UK. The passiflora used to adorn Wanphen's trellis near her swimming pool. Now it twists the grill fencing of my garden.

Wanphen was moving after 15 years in Kuala Lumpur and she wanted me to have the plant. She had a knack of getting one hooked to a certain plant. It's her keen observance of the 'persona' of the plant . And in a while, you already want to own one yourself! I remember loading the car with the huge pot and shoving its tangly, straggly vine into the back seat. Every bit was too precious to leave behind.

Just one bloom of the delicate tasselly flower is enough to waft its sweet smell across the garden into my patio. Somehow the flower reminds me of a lovely Malay ceremonial unbrella that shades a coy bride.

And there's Rosemarie who's somewhere in Greece. We've lost touch because she was on the move and the letters were too few. Nonetheless we had good times. I told her one day that I would like to have some of her psittacorums, my first introduction to heliconias for their colour and lushness. Her ready answer was, 'Take, take them . They're invading my living room !' Trust Rose Marie with her good humour. As I watched the psittacorum take root and grow, it was evident that there is a likelihood of them 'walking' into my patio too. So a good measure of pruning is keeping it in a thick cluster. No regrets, for year long, there's the bright yellow colour of the upright flowers to enjoy.

Shawne who's in New Jersey, USA parted with her catelyas before she left. The neighbourhood used to see Shawne quite regularly, dumb -bells in both hands and earphones plugged, striding briskly in her leg-warmers. Shawne was serious in her exercise regime. No half measures, not even in the voluntary work we used to do together.

I have to say, these friends are nature lovers and their gardens gave them so much pleasure. They shared and left a part of them behind for me to remember them. Many others have given me this and that - some have survived, some have not.

Standing just below the light shade of the red coral tree is a thriving cluster of pink ginger. At one of the Selangor and Federal Territory Gardening Soc. talks, Puan Sri Chong Hon Nyan, in her usual generous self, brought cuttings to give away. Lucky me, I got one or two to take home. Somehow, they struggled to establish. Not any more. They are looking pretty and a welcoming sight.

I daresay Puan Sri Chong is an icon among garden enthusiasts. If one has enough time to spare, she'll regale you with her vast knowledge of plants. No boring stuff, I assure you for when she speaks, Mother Nature smiles in unison. And if you linger longer when you are in her garden, chances are you'll return home a happy soul with her gardening wisdom and posibly some seeds, cuttings and even a plant in hand from the hospitable hostess.

I'm pretty sure many of us have many stories to tell - chockful of interwoven sentiments of friends and garden.

So, go ahead. Tell your stories - continue to bask in the glory of freindship.

Friends are like flowers. Gather them with love.


  1. So beautiful post! I love it, Keats. It's very inspiring. Thank you :)

  2. Living in an apartment has the advantage of privacy which I love; but not enough space for a beautiful garden.. I envy you..

  3. Wow keats you have a very beautiful garden. I've seen the passion flower as what we call it here, and those two first shots look so exotic, rare and magnificent. I wonder what flower it is, the 4th from the last photo. I have lots of shots of it but I'm now sure how it's called. Maybe you could tell me if you know.

  4. Your garden is AMAZING! It was so touching to read about your friends and the flowers and fun times you shared together!

  5. Wow!!
    Your garden is a BEAUTY :)
    I love the flowers,
    lovely colors !!!
    I am working in the garden today.
    (now i have a coffee break ...LOL)

  6. Wow you sure do have a huge garden. And you must have green thumbs, your plants and flowers grow so well and pretty.

  7. An amazing post! You go gurl!

  8. i really envy you for the friendships you had and the garden with the plants they've given. it's really a nice post:)

  9. Those are really beautiful pics!

  10. you have a very beautiful gardn

  11. You have beautiful collection of flowers in your garden. I just loved the yellow color flower.

  12. Your garden looks amazing. It's always fascinating to see what's growing in other climates. : )

  13. Wow these flowers are gorgeous I also have reminders of friends in my garden It's lovely

  14. I love those pink ginger..should plant them soon..but NOT loving that snail on the second picture. Next to the caterpillars, they are currently my no 1 enemy..I love nature but cant love them whey are eating a whole gardenia, desert rose and now, zinnias...You do have a lovely garden, lots of wonderful flowers here and arent flowers and friends lovely and great companion too.

  15. Beautiful pictures of those flowers. Good job at the post. It is wonderful that you could relate the flowers with your friends. I hope you still keep in touch with them. Good friends are hard to come by these days.

  16. Hi
    Rosidah, glad you like the post. Thanks for giving me a'shout' on and off.

    Edward Saminathan , thanks for visiting. Hey, a balcony is also good for plants. Just choose the types to suit the environment.

    Pacey,sure, here are the names in the order from the top:
    1. etlingera elatior
    2. tapeinochillus ananassae
    3. passiflora
    4. psittacorum
    5. alpinia purpurata (pink)
    6. costus speciosus
    7.calathea crotalifera
    8. costus curvibracteatus

    Marie Reed, Anya, aliceg, thanks for your appreciation of my flowers. Yes, am lucky to have a big garden.

    Emily, Marites, Veronica, xplorer, Catalyst, Suzanne Casamento, Marja, thanks for the gorgeous comments!

    M. Kate, I do not have many snails in my garden. Yes, the caterpillars can eat and eat and eat!!

    Zue Murphy, thanks for your advice. How true about friends, they are precious. Hope your vegetable plot is coming along nicely:))

  17. Ha! So great that you know them all. Thank you very much for the big info here. I'll have to take note of it. Again, you're so lucky to have a beautiful garden.

  18. Gorgeous flowers, and wonderful stories!
    I'm very sentimental about a stephanotis my mom gave me. I thought I lost it in a surprise frost, but somehow it made a comeback - it's back to the top of the wall and covered in flowers.

  19. Hi Adrienne, Yes, stephanotis is another lovely flower. I planted it once and it didn't survive.Got to get a cutting from a friend.:))

  20. I'm also an apartment dweller, and envy your garden. Very nice, Keats.

  21. Beautiful friendships, beautiful flowers, so wondrous. Flowers in my yard wouldn't flower but I think I know why - no baja. Your piece makes me want to garden. Thank you.

  22. Thanks for visiting my blog! I love all the flowers in your garden.You have meny exotic varities that do not grow in my area. Many of my plants where given to me by friends and all have a history and connection to someone else.
    I have one flower bed that is all transplants from others and if I ever buy a plant to put in the flower bed, it dies.

  23. Hi
    Gran, Ocean Girl
    Flowers brighten our day:))

    Butterfly Gardener, hope you'll pop in again! It's really nice to have a little history of our friends with plants :)

  24. Hi Sunshine Girl, those flowers are so gorgeous.

  25. Such glorious plants with colourful and touching histories! When our friends leave the country and leave us their plants and pets to care for, they are leaving a little bit of their heart behind with us. I believe it is an honour to be able to care for the living things that our friends have loved and have been sad about parting with. It would be tragic to let a flowering plant or a friendship die of neglect. I can tell from the plants just what a kind and caring personality you have!

  26. Hi
    Febriana, thanks for visiting my blog.

    Covert_Operations'78, thanks for your kind compliments. Yeah, finding a home is like finding a soulmate!

  27. Lucky you got such a wonderful gift from your friend. And your garden must be looking pretty with such beautiful blooms. I liked the top one with a snail on it. :)

  28. amazing array of flowers..wish I had a garden like that

  29. HI
    Joops, thanks for visiting.

    Indrani, i like the tapeinochillus ananassae too. It's really quite tough and stiff so it maintains its shape pretty well.

    Lakshmi, these flowers are some of my special ones.
    You've got lovely pics on your blog. Great writing too.

  30. Beautiful flowers.
    How is my friend Robbie? Please send my regards to him.

  31. Hi Molly, thanks for visiting. Of late, Robbie has been digging the garden and there are many holes which are getting deeper!

  32. Beautiful pictures and words. i love the passionflower -the flower is different from mine. thanks for visiting my poem and leaving a comment:)

  33. What a beautiful garden! Thanks for sharing pictures of these gorgeous flowers :)

  34. What A Lovely And Colorful Garden !! So Much Beautiful And Amazing Flowers You Have....Great One..Thanks For Sharing

  35. HI
    Sonia, the passiflora is sweet perfume! Ccongrates on your poem! Keep it up.

    Sunnymama,thanks for visiting. Hope your boys enjoyed their indoor football.

    Unseen Rajasthan, thanks for visiting. Yeah, a garden brings so much pleasure.

  36. Very beautiful. I just recently started gardening. I am hooked for life now.

  37. Yes, friends are like flowers.
    But I think friends -talking about good ones of course:), are like angels, I don't have to see them to know they are... I know they sow kindness, gather love as you also say.

    The sunlight may fade, our flowers can die. But each one of our friends are also like a Sun. They always give us their light. So- I think my friends are the flowers that bloom in my life's garden always:)

    Very meaningful article, dearest Keats. Even though my gardening is limited as I live in an apartment thank God, you nourish my soul w/ gorgeous flowers from your garden. Superb.

  38. HI
    Chris, I'm glad you're gargening too. How time passes by as we garden !

    Nihal,thanks for your generous comments. I'm sure your plants are giving you much joy as you tend them.
    You have a lovely Yazma to show and tell everyone in your latest post. Well done!

  39. I need to garden more! I might be losing the battle with the weeds! I need to bring in reinforcements:) Happy Monday my sunshine friend!

  40. HI Marie Reed, weeds will let you spend more time in your garden !! Try growing a cover plant so that weeds do not take charge!
    Have a pleasant day too!

  41. I have several awards to share with you for your lovely blog. Grab them from my latest post.

  42. This is such a lovely post and your garden is beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

  43. Hi
    Thanks for thinking of me. I love your blog too- the surprises you spring .

    Sunnymama, thanks for visiting. Do pop in again.

  44. Wow, I haven't seen these flowers before! They are so beautiful and unique..I wish I could see them in person..

  45. A beautiful post, of friends and flowers... and you truly have some amazing flowers in your part of the world. Just gorgeous. :)

  46. Hi
    Icy BC, thanks for visiting. I love your sentiments in the dandelion post. Great post.
    You can see them if you visit this part of the world!

    Oz Girl, ' hello! and welcome to my blog. yeah, they are gorgeous flowers. Nature astounds us ever so often.

  47. Hello. Just wanted to say Hi and thank you for stopping by my blog. I love these flowers. They are so beautiful.


  48. HI Kay
    Good morning! Thanks for popping in too! I'll be posting on orchids next. Do you grow them too?


Great to have you popping in!