Monday, April 5, 2010

Bright and Red !

I hardly ever wear red. But come Chinese New Year, it's the colour! To wish myself loads of luck and to look happy too for an auspicious celebration. However, the bright red has a place in my heart, in my garden. I love the splashes of red among my plants. So I keep a lookout for them when I visit the nurseries.

I love the tapeinochillus ananassae which occupies a 'humble' spot in my garden, skirting the wall of my neighbour's house. It has to be one of my favourites. Never mind the clayey soil, I know the place is perfect 'coz from the start, it has thrived.

Touch it and it feels like an armour - stiff and pretty pointy at the tips of the bracts. That accounts for its erect shape. Does it not look like an upside down pineapple? The glorious deep red tapeinochilus ananassae lasts for quite a while before fading into a light brownish stalk. Added interest in the plant are the leaves that spiral round the bamboo-like stem.

I love heliconias and grow a few varieties in my garden. After a little trial and error planting them in different parts of my garden, it was happy to bloom. Hooray! Now as I sit in my terrace area of the house with the greenery around to soothe my eyes, there's these lush upright heliconias kissing the sunlight!

I planted the bilebergia pyramidalis under one of my large pine trees a few years ago as a sort of cover plant. In the partial shade, I've since found a light dose of flowering fertiliser is sure to get the red blooms peeping through in a short time. I love to see them 'sprout'.

Would you say they remind you of the anemones with their tentacles waving except these are stiff ? The large vase has red flowers with yellow and purple highlights. Just a thought, I wonder if newly-weds would look on these stunning beauties as bridal bouquets? Something different from the white stephanotis which also looks beautiful. To the florists, this exotic plant from Brazil is a lovely one to brighten a floral arrangement.

To say I gave up our national flower for the ixora may sound like some kind of betrayal. But for the life of me, the hibiscus plants hardly ever flowered !! I had envisioned a whole row of red hibiscuses in my back garden as I looked out from my kitchen windows but it was not to be.

So, I dug them out. Then one morning, I trudged to the nurseries in Sungai Buloh to look for the tropical , free flowering ixoras. To add more colour to my back garden, I alternated yellow with the red ixoras. Guess, what I'm seeing ? - splashes of reds and yellows.

The erythrina glauca has grown much since it was planted as a stump 15 years ago during my son's 8th birthday party. We had such a wonderful time at the 'Back to Nature ' party for 30 kids. I can still remember the planting and watering ceremony with fathers, mothers and kids round the tree. Uncle Foo suggested this tree as I wanted one that the sunbirds would visit and something bright and red. So, here it stands now shading the hydrangeas underneath it. It is home to the bird's nest ferns and the platycerium superbum ( staghorn fern) too.

Outside my garden, by the roadside, there are many plants growing. The garden space has all been utilised. A visitor remarked it looked like a jungle!! But of late, I've been pruning ( the gardener, not me!) and it looks more tamed!

I grew the Turk's Cap, ( malvaviscus arboreus) one of the hibiscus species because I like the small red fez-like flowers. It is another one of my 'not-to fuss about ' plants. Definitely a durable plant, this small beauty needs little care. So that suits me!

A part of my garden where the erythrina glauca stands


  1. But Red is for flowers the best color :))))
    So lovely shots !!!!
    Love red flowers.
    (second place PINK :)))
    (third place yellow ;))))

  2. As a gardening person, I have to say that this post warms my heart. I love these flowers. I can't grow all of them here, but the vibrant colours are so great to behold.

  3. Lovely photo of the flower. I love purple. If possible my clothes are in My eyeshadows are purple too but not my lipstick...hahahaha. I did dye my hair with some highlight of purple too. :)

  4. Hi
    Anya, thanks! glad you're a red person too. I think I'll look out for some red orchids at the next nursery visit.

    Anne Lyken-Garner,thanks so much! gardening is something I enjoy - digging the earth is also therapeutic!

    alicsg, wow! what a colourful person you are! my folks will scream at me for purple highlights in my hair - anyway, am not daring enough. hope you had a wonderful time in kl.

  5. What gorgeous tropical plants you have in your garden! The color, like you said, very vibrant. I only get to see these flowers in the Conservatory..Beautiful!

  6. I used to be crazy about gardening... but gave it up cos other interests came along. But I still enjoy the beauty of the flowers. Nice flowers you have!

  7. Beautiful and fantastic shots !! Simply amazing !!Unseen Rajasthan

  8. I imagine your garden is very beautiful!
    Greetings from Casa! :)


  9. LOL! Just noticed your slogan - it's great!!!


  10. Ohh, beautiful shots of flowers! I'm hopeless in gardening, but I enjoy seeing beautiful flowers specially Orchid and a field of Sunflower!

    Thanks for dropping by, have a nice day to you!

  11. You have a lovely garden, Keats!

  12. I LOVE heliconias but only have one variety in my garden! I am longing to buy that big red one they called 'crabs claw' and it cost almost RM40 per small pot. Just checked in yesterday. Danial's better after a bout of fever, the garden's a mess with all those digging for the pond...Hope you have a fab week ahead.

  13. Hieveryone, am having very poor internet connections. Not being productive at all! Now as I type, I hope nothing untoward happens and my comments will appear!!

    Icy BC, yes, we have to thank the conservatories so that we can enjoy flora from other parts of the world.

    AJ7, gardening is therapeutic and I try to be be involved. have to say, most plants in my garden have been planted by me :)

    Unseen Rajasthan, thanks for popping by.

    BLOGitse, thanks! my garden may seem haphazard to some. my hubby complains I have no system !!! I just enjoy planting.
    Do you mean the header slogan? I was asked ,' Do you really want it up there ??' YES and it's up since the blog started, a year ago.

    Alice Law, thanks for visiting. Fear not! gardening is easy - just some energy and patience! You get to sweat too! LOL

    Veronica Lee, thanks buddy! Right now, it's looking messy as I got the gardener to uproot most of the heliconias to replant. They are not looking so good after all these years.

    M. Kate, we make 2! my garden is not looking its best too! The garden space is used up and I've moved beyond my fence to plant outside the house.There's a heliconia place in Alor Gajah with many special varieties. Have you heard ?
    Will be away in Kota Kinabalu for 4 nights.Am excited to know KK more:)

  14. You have such a HUGE garden!! All I have is a small backyard and I already want to plant everything from flowers to veggies to herbs to fruits! :)

  15. Hi
    BLOGitse, great ! you're the one and only to comment on the header! Can't take credit tho for the banner - my nephew helped:)

    petite nyonya, my garden is about 6,000 sq ft. Not to worry about your backyard garden. You're still a gardener and that's what matters. See, what I mean, you and i - we want to grow everything!! LOL.

  16. Hey Keats,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I love the pictures, red has a special place in my heart too. Just last night I had a dream that I was wearing a scarlet red sari and turning everyone's heads. I woke up giggling.


  17. Your garden is so lovely!!!
    I wish I have green fingers like you!
    All plants I bought from IKEA don't last past a month!!!!

  18. Wow, you have so many beautiful ruby flowers in your garden. That's a very lovely sight. Have a wonderful weekend, my dear.

  19. I find red to be a good color for my garden since we have such intense sunlite in the mountains every other color sort of dissapears.
    Your photos are stunning!

  20. Your first pix is so lovely & nice. tQ

  21. I enjoyed myself looking at your red flowers. They certainly brighten up your garden and what a big garden you have! I am crazy over the little pretty Turk's cap flowers that points upwards. Where did you get this plant?

  22. Gorgeous tropical plants and flowers!Beautiful colors. THanks,

  23. What a lovely display of red. I miss working with those showy tropicals from my floral design days.
    You have a beautiful garden.

  24. Thot I've left my peels earlier could have swept clean by Town council. Love the pineapple pix so nice. tQ

  25. This is so beautiful Keats. Red goes so well with the green. Nature has been designed so beautifully for us to enjoy and benefit. I really like your bright and red theme for your wonderful garden.

  26. Hi everyone, am sorry I did not give much warning about a quick and short getaway to Kota Kinabalu. Am back and am so happy to read all your lovely comments. I've had a wonderful time in KK . Will post them after I've gathered all the pics and tell stories about them:)

    Jai Joshi, thanks for visiting too. Indian brides love to wear red sarees and they always look gorgeous. Do you wear sarees daily?

    lupie, I know what you mean. We take our time to choose the best and then the plant dies on us!! I think you need to give a small dose of fertiliser for plants from IKEA and they'll do fine.

    Rosidah Abidin, tahnks! I love a garden of colours but it's not always there.

    Rosey Pollen, yes, red is so bright and attractive too.

    Bananaz, i like that plant very much too.

    Autumn Belle, thanks! I've had the Turk's cap for a long time now. If you like it , you can have cuttings - no problem at all. Just let me know.

    Laura in Paris, many thanks !

    adrienne, thanks!I agree with you - I note the florists use striking flowers to accent their displays. the bouquets we receive on special occasions show how exotic they can be.

    Bananaz, thanks so much for revisiting. Sorry for the delay, appreciate your comment.

    Ocean Girl, you know, we tend to rush about so much and not notice the beauty around us. One of the reasons I enjoy visiting nurseries too :)

  27. This is so beautiful collection of really lovely tropical flowers. I love them all and their vibrant red color but the flower from the first photo attracted me the most because of its beautiful and interesting shape. Great post!

  28. Hi
    MedaM, I hope the tapeinochillus ananassae stays with me for a long time - it seems a survivor!!

  29. Wow, I love those blooms in your garden. Your garden looks so lush and huge! Lotsa effort must have been put into it to make your plants grow so beautifully there.

  30. Hi
    J.C., thanks for coming by. the gardening work is split among me,the maid and the gardeners who cut the grass. I wish I have more plants but my husband says it's like a jungle - not true!


Great to have you popping in!