Monday, June 1, 2015

Traipsing along : The accidental gardener

It has always been my dream to have a nice garden in my house. Butterflies and colourful birds fluttering around my nice smelling garden, assumingly from the scents of the florals. ZIIPPPPPP to reality - I'd be thankful if I'm not breathing in haze and getting my lungs polluted.

My dream is to have an assortment of colourful flowers, anything really anything coz I love flowers, ranging from daisies to thorny roses to the impossible-to-plant tulips. Colours that are as colourful as a rainbow which makes me feel like I'm in heaven. So that I can sit down, relax and enjoy the nature while sipping my camomile tea.

I don't whip up fanciful dishes but I envied my British friend in Middlesex who had a garden full of herbs. So I thought it'd be nice to plant herbs and pluck them fresh from the garden when I need them (but then again... how often do I cook?).  I found out too how good certain herbs were for - cockroach and mosquito repellent. I said I wanted to plant lemongrass, catnip, mint, rosemary but I can't imagine a mix of sweet, fresh and chapalan smell I would get standing next to the pots. I'd probably need my peppermint medicated oil to make me feel better.

I love custard apple, mangosteen, guava, mango. It'd be nice to have my own fruit tree. Having grown up in houses with garden before, under the green fingers of my dad and mom, we had seedless guava, mango, chilli and ...what else I can't recall. I named those 3 coz I can associate them with my growing up years. First two for consumption and the last chilli plant - mom threatened (I think she did carry out, not sure if it's from our garden or she bought chilli padi) to put in my mouth when I was naughty.

I don't know to say if I'm really happy to have one, I can realize my 1/4 dream of growing some plants but yet when you have a PES, it means we're on level 1. It'd be nice to live in a penthouse (away from pests n still have our plants) but we're not financially capable. I did say "my dream", didn't I? For get the plants to bloom and flourish and what nots is A LOT OF WORK!!! I went through ups and downs with my plants.

We made a trip to the nursery the day after we moved in. We were spoilt for choice but in the end we settled for christmas tree, pomegranate, allamanda, bougainvillea, lemon balm, basil, chilli, pandan, lantana. Given a small pot of orchid, daisy and rose FOC. I suspect there's hidden agenda - those were the first few plants to have flowers not thriving. We could have bought more but I didn't want to clutter the whole place with plants.

It seems so interesting to finally have a sense of ownership. For that first few days when everything is so fresh and new. I'd spend some time in the morning trimming the plants; talking to plants. I felt so happy when I saw that yellow butterfly fluttering above my bougainvillea, started screaming when I saw that yucky moth when I thought it was dead leaf and wanted to sweep it away. There were days I spotted this bee buzzing around my lemon balm. I was happy - really happy coz I thought to self my plants must have thrived under my care thus attracting the bee. But I tell you, if I see that bee elsewhere I'd be screaming my head off. I spend some time in the morning sniffing the lemon balm, like some drug addict. I really love that plant. 
After smelling, talking while plucking leaves, water the plants, I have to sweep the PES. Dang!!  All I can say is, I haven't sat down to relax and sip my camomile tea in the PES. I don't have time for such luxury in the mornings as I have other housework to do.

When I talked about having butterflies and birds fluttering about, I imagined myself to be that gentle, caring Snow White. Truth is, I am the evil stepmother who cast a spell on my plants.
Pomegranate :
We have strong nice breeze here almost the whole day. I watered and talked to the plant, infact I talked to ALL the plants as read from somewhere need to talk to plants. Within 2 weeks or so after getting the plants, I noticed the pomegranate leaves keep dropping and I was helpless. Mom happened to be around one day and I asked her for help. I didn't know how to trim and what to trim. Mom told me, "leave it to me" and I did. When I got back later, I was shocked to see an even more botak plant. I felt so depressed. Mom taught me what I had to do and so for the next few days (when she wasn't with me) I religiously did but was hoping that I did the correct thing. Did I trim the new branch again?  There wasn't anyone around to check with. Needless to say, for the next few days I faced the botak plant feeling rather depressed.

24th May : Promegranate leaves looking like dried tea leaves. Real depressing!
 PS. I didn't take any pics of the botak plant. 

Meanwhile, these plants kept my spirits high. I so love the herbs rack
 My lemon balm. The flowers just kept growing more and more. I was so happy as it shows these plants DID THRIVE under my care. Then the blur me realised I had to cut the flowers right? I mean no leaves growing at all, just flowers so something must be done. I decided to check on the internet and it's confirmed I had to cut the flowers. The next question I asked myself is "where?" Aiyoh! Can't believe I'm so dumb.
 Sweet basil
 The allamandas that kept blooming. I love purple colour flowers

 The orchid
31st May
This morning I woke up, after a tiring long day the day before, and religiously went to water my plants. 
ARGH!! Holy shit! It's really R.E.L.I.G.I.O.U.S.L.Y of me to say this, my lemon balm and sweet basil withered. My pride and joy. I quickly SOS-ed a friend for help.
I followed what my friends taught me - to keep watering the plants. I walked into the balcony like every hour

My lemon balm woke up from coma first, followed by basil a few hours later. This is an important lesson for me. I SHALL NOT SKIP A  DAY OF WATERING