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