Jul 20, 2010

Vanilla-orchids, new collection to come.

Yesterday, while strolling in the Singapore Garden Festival, a thunderbolt striked me on my inspiration-cap. And the new interest sparked off from there : VA-NI-LA ! I shall start collecting vanilla-orchids, those plants where vanilla-pods are harvested, cured and used as spices.

It doesn't matter how clueless I am on vanilla-growing. There wasn't much entry on the most popular gardening forum in Singapore. Vanilla-growers must have been hidding their secret collections! Psst, if you have one, share your pics with me :)

On the 4-year mark comes a revolution !

'Looking back' is the general mood on our little-island with the coming National Day celebration. As Singapore looks back 45-years to the birth of a nation, I nostalgically browsed through my own blog, all the way back to the new-born entry 4years ago, on 4Sep'2007.

Fondly recalled how an apetite for heirloom tomatoes sparked off a new hobby in gardening; which later fireworked into a large collection of complementing edibles, ranging from herbs to fruiting/vegetables, both temperate and tropical. I had great fun, on top of the sweat and misery of failing crops, pests and bad weather.

Approaching the 4-year mark, I feel like a revolution! Not just a superficial makeover to the garden. But a major change- new directions, new working models, new partners.

So the blog took on a new name, 'We Purr As We Grow', inspired by the new purring-partner on this blog. A delighted gardener is just like a delighted cat. We toil and sweat, then sit back and admired our completed task, still heavy in our breathing, and sounding just like a purring-cat !

Bye to 'We Eat So We Grow'. Now 'We Purr As We Grow' :)

Feb 5, 2010

The Sun. They love; I dun; she does sometimes.

The Sun is back. Was yesterday, being the first day of spring on the chinese farmer's calender.

The dinner-plate hibiscus and sunset hibiscus (she's the color of my nonya-kebaya) love it and bloomed lavishly...

I frown with the heat... While kimi enjoys the sun-basking in the morning...
...then she naps on the cool pebbles in the early afternoon... ... and hides in my room while I work hard at the study at mid-day.
Kimi follows me like a shadow as I move around the flat. So her chosen napping-spots must strategically allow her to monitor my movement while she's napping... Like the exit from the study in the pic.
Cats! LOL.

Feb 1, 2010

Rosy CNY & Valentine's day.

Two years of continously viewing pictures of well-kept roses by gardeners on the forum haven't tempted me a drop to grow one. Until...

Its half a month down to Chinese New Year, nurseries are burping CNY-plants! I walked all the nurseries along Kovan and Thomsom, hunting for Jasmine plants (to replace my husband's aged/vigourless 'gals'). Non in sight. Jasmine flowers are white, they do not fit into the festive color codes for CNY.

Then 2 rosy-smiles beamed my way while I was manouvering the narrow path lined with giant mandarin-orange plants. I succumbed.

So here we get a new rosy entrance/exit. And happy valentine's day :)

Jan 28, 2010

Moonflowers are elegant ladies.

One day, the vines will go into full blooms, and we'll have a balcony-railing dancing with white-ladies :)

Blue attractions - Bunga Telang.

I like blue flowers:) They draw me into the realm of a calm blue ocean. And Bunga Telang flowers are the 'blue-est' I can get on this tropical island.

Here's the flowers in single-petalled form,

and double-petal form.

The plants grows easily, with little maintenance. Let them indulge in abundance of sunshine, and they'll be bloom their heads away. That delighted Kimi-the-cat. She has taken to eating the blue flowers (one big chomp) and leaves!

Jan 1, 2010

Inspiration 2010- It all starts with an ending.

End old habits, start new habits...

End bad practices, start good practices...

Wrap up outstanding work, start new schedules...

Abandon redundant roles, adopt new roles...

Ditch rotten relationships, pick up fresh relationships...

Forgive and forget, write new memories...

...blah blah blah... Tis the new year theme:)

Majoram flowers.

The majorams flowered on the last day of 2009:)

Little white flowers, so tiny that I would have missed it if I haven't been putting my nose on the plants (something tat I enjoy very much given the addictive fragrance of majoram).

Dec 7, 2009

First aid to broken stem

What can a gardener do to a Roselle plant with broken main stem, who has shown great determination to continue staying alive for the last two weeks? -Splinting with chopsticks;)

Dec 4, 2009

Retro-parties for Portulacas-Gals.

These gals, they love to party, the 60s style. Look at their silk dresses!

These brainy-looking chaps are really, just average performers.

ID : German heirloom tomatoes, Riesentomate Aus Siebenburgen. Translated as 'brain tomato'. Indeed they look like lumps of brain...

Let's say, this tomato will make its presence as a talking piece, but hardly as a tasting piece.

So *strike out*, no more brainy-looking tomato plant.

Pic was taken before ripening. These are red tomatoes.

Sep 8, 2009

The balcony evolved...

120kg of pebbles, One happy kitten, and A slimming plan, led to the maturing of our balcony-garden.

The pebbles clearly demarcated the growing strips. Water drained out of pots flow right under the pebbles, keeping the feet and the paws out of the dirt. Thus, the balcony-garden are free to roam again :)

This balcony-garden started at the beginning of 2008. Took a few months to settle into the first completed look in this photo (last Oct), which I liked very much for its dreamy feel sans the congestion (which was a problem this year until The Slimming Plan was written).

The corridor evolved...

Then, it was bare. We lived with a naked corridor for half a year when we moved here.
Now, we rejoiced in the jolly entrances and exits to work everyday. Much skill and confidence were built up along this long journey, gathering up this neat little corridor-collection.

Pests attack our green-pets frequently. Strong wind had blown some down twice in the past. Blankets from above had flown down and broke a branch of the maple tree... yet, we are not dampened in our spirit.

Grow and flourish you will, kids!

Amusing fittonias

I have a soft-spot for fittonias. It started with the first touch at Maggie's garden, feeling the raised veins as I rubbed the leaves between the index finger and thumb.

Then I set eyes on This Fittonia. That must be Love-at-First-Sight! ...though gardeners frequently fall in loves without being able to identify the drive.

Dear Waimun, sweet as he frequently (not always) is, put together a box of four varieties of fittonias, now standing joyfully at the corridor (his designated gardening zone).

Thumbelinas- i cheer & i wept

Ms Togo Trifle African, such a beauty! Most heirloom tomatoes are. Wonderfully lobated... though I must say that some people think these to be ugly or deformed. Lol.

It will have been a tomato-feast IF all the few dozens fruits grew up to full size. But they didn't. The growing condition and hydroponic solution is right, flowers bloomed in abundance and loaded with pollens, fruits are bountiful. Yet, the fruits are merely little prunes (these are regular round tomatoes), and the plant started to wilt soon after the last vine of fruits set...

The fruits continued to ripen, hanging on the tomato vine, yellowed right to the tips. Amusing and saddening.

Good view of tomato hairs.

Photo taken a minute before green-heaven.

Aug 5, 2009

Wailing for our Laotian-tom

...who just broke his spine in a sudden gust of wind. I shouldn't have left him unsupported at 15cm. Full of remorse.

New era - Period of Toms

Changes bring new lifes!

I am excited with the new direction coming Nov. Then, new lifestyles spells adaptations for the existing. Kimi will have to adapt. The garden will have to adapt too.

The present balcony garden is slowing growing out of the existing planting list. We are downsizing the plant list so as to upsize the produces. Too much riddle? Simply, the new lifestyle coming Nov do not give me much time for gardening. Thus a very selective collection will be grown, and whatever is growing out there has to be 'independent'. Too much to ask for from pampered indoor plants? Not really! Tomatoes, cucumbers and many herbs grow wonderfully in hydroponic, which is so addictive cos working-time was reduced from watering everyday to topping up nutrients one/twice a week. There will be lots of heirloom tomatoes in future. And the rosemary, thymes, bay, lemon myrtle, pandan and curry plants in soil are happy to continue standing in lesser-sun and drinking only every 2/3days. The remainings such as mints and basils are really easy-going plants too.

So now we have (on the way) a balcony-garden with more walking space and less work :)

Btw, my dear toms are fruiting again. Looks like a bountiful harvest this round.


Thymes are my Happy-Herbs. They witnessed some most enjoyable periods of my life- the Hawaii and New Zealand.

Bring them into our house is like installing a Joy-machine: Brush brush-> Sniff sniff-> Floated with sense of joy:)

May 24, 2009


Chrysoberyl, a gemstone that's commonly known as 'cat's eyes'. See pic below for comparison ;)

A month's breezed past and I have no new posting. Thought I'll put Kimi up then ;)

We are counting down to a whole week in Bali in June. So plants that were take down (all due to 'natural expiry', none diseased), no replacements were sowed in their places. By now, the previously little and packed balcony-garden looks like its been on some kind of diet-program, obviously down-sized... And looking very much better now with less plant and more space, despite my unwillingness to admit this.

Apr 21, 2009

Harvested some veg- hydroponic vs soil

Grown a few rounds of vegetable on hydroponic, and am able to finally draw some conclusions on hydroponic vs soil media. I mean, these are nothing new, many laboratory experiences had been conducted to give experimental results... i just want to see for myself ;)

XiaoBaiCai on left is grown in hydroponic solution, on the left in soil media. At harvest time, the XBC on the left looks obviously 'fatter' & juicier = larger in size, thicker petiole. Kimmi-the-kitten sure knows her food too, she chose the hydroponic XBC. I can even hear the crunchcrunch as she chews on her salad! Good thing it is pesticide-free on our little balcony garden:)

I'd posted previously on the colorful silverbeet. How its impossible in soil media but grew wonderfully in hydroponic nutrients. Here they are, harvested.

Apr 1, 2009

Colors (2)

Silverbeet Brightlights. Pink and yellow petioles;)

In the 06Mar2009 blog entry, i wrote about them. Now they have already grown up to be big-kids, upgraded to their own pots.

Colors (1)

These fair ladies are cheerful additions at the door. They seem to enjoy the bright location (=no direct sun) very much, throwing out flowers continously since they came few weeks ago.

Orange & yellow dwarf Crossandras.

Balcony update

Our green-pets on the balcony are enjoying their lifes, generally.

Those perched on the low balcony wall get good wind and nice views of the communal garden downstairs.

The siverbeets especially, are enjoying their spa-bath while taking in the views out there.

Missy Picotees (the morning glories) climbed to get an even more advantages viewpoint.

Bay-sir grows himself up and out of the gap between the wall and railing.

All's good. The Hydroponic box of PakChoy (KY-early fr Known-You) was harvested a few rounds before being 'taken down'. Purple french beans are harvested too, and they continue to throw up flowers and new pods. New vegetable seeds are sown. Sweet basils grew up to 40cm tall, and upgraded to their own container. Ditto dills who stand in their own tub, perched on the low wall, looking out of the balcony.

... Except an unlucky chap, Bonsai-Shuimei, who's infected with black spots on the leaves. Skyfiery came visiting yesterday, smelled rat, and got diagnosis from Sixhunter that its probably black spot disease. Tat is a messy problem.

Poor handsome Shuimei got trimmed down brutally (ALL leaves n secondary branches gone), soil changed plus a root trim to downsize the root ball. He probably will take a long time to recover from tis brutal trim down. IF he survives :p

Today will be an April Fool's gardening day -making concoctions to spray down the plants from fungus-growth (in case of spread), and continue fixing the spider mites problem in the mint box.

Mar 10, 2009

Old grannies' tomatoes are flowering

They are known in their politically-correct names as 'Heirloon tomatoes'. But HT-growers know that they are (mostly) old grannies, slow to grow, takes their rocking-sweet time to flower and fruit; and production can't beat the new-age commercial tomato kids.

Yet we fall in love with their good old taste, and will wait patiently for our good old grannies.

Thought they are flowering now, but it is impossible to put a date on the calendar for that Togo Trifle African Tomatoes salad, and Fautome Du Loas Tomatoes salad... cos we'll never know when they are ready for harvest. LOL

Here's two Trifle African babies.

Mar 6, 2009

Textures are fun

Herbs need not be just an aroma-thing. Give the nose a break, and use the fingers some times ;)

Sage (above)
Lavendar Goodwin Creek (below)

A backpacker's garden

What does a backpacker do when she needs to hang a set of 4-feet growlight with adjustable height ever 20cm?

2 ceiling hooks, 2 S-hooks, long polyester strings, plus a couple of knots (Tarbuck knots, Trilene knots and Alpine butterflies)

Job done !