Thursday, 25 December 2014

Bird's nest ferns @ Pasir Ris Park

Most people will not notice the plants on the trees while strolling in a park. I was walking along the track at Pasir Ris Park, I looked up and saw many bird's nest ferns growing on the trees. The trees are tall and have many branches. They are good for shelters and definitely an ideal place for bird's nest ferns to grow and flourish. I couldn't resist and took out my iPhone to capture some photos of the trees.

Birs's nest ferns
Another Bird's nest fern
Trees at Pasir Ris Park

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Aphids attacking portulaca grandiflora (moss rose)

Last few days, I had seen aphids attacking the portulaca grandiflora. I had seen one aphid on the portulaca grandiflora (moss rose) in October. I removed it before I potted the plants. The plants were growing well in November. However, in December, I noticed that the plants are not growing well, leaves are turning yellow. I took a good look at the plants and noticed there were white aphids on the underneath of the leaves. I tried to remove as much as possible but after a couple of days, the aphids will return. I wonder where they come from. In December, it was raining most of the time and no direct sunlight reached the plants. I was thinking that the aphids grew rapidly as there was no heat from the sun to deter the population of the aphids.

Today, I find two more aphids and already removed them from the plant. I hope the plants can survive this attack.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Peperomia hoffmannii - plant identified!

With the help of the forumers from GardenWeb, I'm able to identify the plant as Peperomia hoffmannii. I think this is the correct name to the plant. If you think the name is different, please feel free to drop me an email. Thanks.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Identify this plant

I got this plant in Apr 2014 and wanted to put it in a terrarium. It started well but after a few weeks, it began to rot and I managed to salvage a small portion of the plant. I have kept them for many months now and only recently, it started to grow more leaves and branches. I have no idea what is the plant's name but from the appearance of it, I think it is related to succulent plant. So when it appeared to me a succulent plant, I began to water less for this plant and put it under some shade and not direct sunlight. This has helped it to grow. Can anyone help me to identify this plant? Thanks in advance.

What is the name of this plant?

How to propagate Portulaca Grandiflora by stem cutting

How to propagate Portulaca Grandiflora by stem cutting? Please refer to my earlier blog.

Today is the seventh day since the cutting was done. The stem is doing well in the water and tiny roots have formed. Yesterday, I did not see the roots. Today, the roots are visible now and I can take macro photo of the roots.

Stem cutting as at 21 Dec 2014
Zoom in of the roots at the cut area
So, after you have taken the stem cutting and placed it into a container with water, it will take at least 7 days before you can see the roots. You have to be patient and wait for the roots to develop. I will wait for another week to see the roots' development. When the roots have matured, I will transplant it to a pot.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

How to grow avocado from seed - root turning brown

I have this avocado seed which had split open and roots have developed. However, the main root has turned brown recently. It is not the white root with crystals that I have seen for all my avocado seedlings. This one is different. The root has turned brown and the bottom area is dark brown or black. This is a bit strange as if it is spoilt or dying, the colour of the water will turn brown also. The water is still clear and clean. I notice that one little tiny root has emerged from the side. I hope the seed can survive. I'm not sure how to revive it if it is failing. I will try to change the water regularly to see whether this will help its growth. I have placed it near to the window sill so that the roots can get some sunlight to grow well. Anyone out there had experienced this before and would like to share? I will post updates on this.

Avocado seedling main root turned brown

Friday, 19 December 2014

Tillandsia Ionantha - air plant

I got the tillandsia ionantha (air plant) from Hua Hng Trading Co Pte Ltd for S$12. There were 3 areas with purple and red leaves. When there are purple and red leaves, the flowers will bloom. There will be 3 flowers in each bloom. The bloom will only last a couple of days, so be sure to enjoy the bloom and take many photographs because you will never know when is the next bloom.

After the bloom, you will notice tiny shoots growing. These are new buds. It will take many months before the buds will develop into young adult plants.

Tillandsia Ionantha (aka Air Plant)
Tillandsia Ionantha

How to grow avocado from seed

I started to grow avocado from seed 3 months back. I saw someone tried to grow avocado from seed on YouTube and wanted to try it myself. Some blogs said that it will not bear fruits if you grow it from seed. Some said that it can only bear fruits after 5 years or 7 years. I wanted to try growing it from seed. I went to the supermarket and bought 3 avocados for $3.45. They were from New Zealand, Avanza brand. I removed the skin on the seed and put 3 toothpicks around the seed. It is better to remove the seed because I had tried not to remove the skin and the seed did not grow well. The skin will cause the water to change colour and turn mouldy. But you need to be careful and gentle when removing the skin because the seed will have damages if you are not careful.

Growing avocado from seed
I put the avocado on a recycled bottle and poured in some water just to cover the bottom half of the see. It is better to leave this container in a well lit area. After a few weeks, you will notice that the seed will split open and a root will emerge from the split area in the bottom. You can change water after a few days. The root will continue to develop and you can see tiny little "crystal" or nodes on the root. 

Roots developed
Let the roots develop for a few weeks and then a new shoot will emerge from the top and leaves will turn to develop. The new shoot will turn towards the direction of the sunlight. You will see that the shoot/stem will bend towards the sunlight. I will always need to rotate the container so that the shoot/stem will bend and become straight again. I want to make sure the the stem grows in a straight upwards direction. 

New shoot will emerge.
After a couple of weeks, the shoot will develop into a tall stem with many leaves. At this time, I will transfer the seedling into a pot with potting soil. I will update the status again. Bookmark my blog.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Goodview Garden at Bukit Batok

Goodview Garden actually won a second prize in a competition for the design of the multi-storey carpark that helps to block the noise from the MRT trains when they ran on the tracks. It has a little secret but one can easily guess from its name that it has many gardens in the estates. So the secret is its gardens. I will post some photos of the gardens here.

Goodview Gardens
Every time I walk across this bridge, I get to enjoy the view of the gardens. You can hear the water running down the small canal when it had rained. The water will flow down towards the pond and there is a small pavilion there.

Goodview Gardens

Small pond, pavilion and coconut trees

Bird's nest ferns
Can you identify this plant?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Strawberry seedling leaves turn red

My strawberry seedlings have leaves turning red in December. I'm not sure whether this is because the leaves turn red during winter but it cannot be because the seedlings are in Singapore. Unless the seedlings have internal mechanism that tell them that now is winter. In Singapore, it is always 24 degrees C to 34 degrees C but in December, the temperatures are slightly lower. It is about 24 degrees C to 31 degrees C.

The seedlings are not dying but just the leaves are turning red. I hope it is only a temporary thing and maybe in February next year, the leaves that emerge will be green. The strawberry seedling growth is quite slow and I wonder this is normal. It is about two months and the seedlings are almost at the same height.

Strawberry seedlings leaves turning red

Monday, 15 December 2014

Growing strawberry plants from seeds in Singapore

On 15 August 2014, I bought some strawberries from the supermarket in Singapore. I couldn't remember the origins of the strawberries. I'm thinking they were from Australia. I removed the seeds from the exterior of the strawberries. I took the seeds that are brown in colour and scrapped them away from the skin using a sharp knife. I tried to remove as much fleshes from the seeds as possible so that it would rot in my sowing bed. I took a used plastic sushi container and filled it with potting soil. Buried the seeds in the soil and kept the soil moist. I closed the container with a rubber band and this helped to keep the moisture inside the container. I estimated that there were about 100 seeds.

It was almost 2 months later that I saw the seeds germinated. Tiny seedlings started emerging out of the soil bed. It started with 5 seedlings, then a few days later, another 5 seedlings. After that, none appeared. I "ploughed" the sowing bed and exposed the seeds again. Watered the bed and kept it moist. A couple of weeks later, new seedlings germinated. I got another 15 seedlings. So in total I have 25 seedlings. Recently, on 12 December 2014, I noticed 3 new seedlings started to germinate. It is almost 4 months since I last sowed the seeds. My advice to you will be to be very patient when you want to grow strawberry plant from seed. It can take from two months to four months to get the seedling. So, try to sow more seeds, at least 100 seeds. My success rate is not 28%.

The seedlings need a lot of water and sunlight. The seeds germinate faster if they are exposed to sunlight. The seedlings also grow well in direct sunlight.

From November onwards, my window sill is not getting any direct sunlight. I need to bring the plants to the corridor area which is very troublesome. So, in the end, I decided to do an experiment to see whether the seedlings need sunlight. I brought 5 seedlings to my office where they can get at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. I'm trying to monitor their progress.

5 strawberry seedlings on 5 Dec 2014
Last weekend, I had forgotten to bring the container into the shelter. It was raining heavily on Saturday and the seedlings were flooded. Below is the photo of the seedlings after the flood.

Seedlings on 16 Dec 2014

Recently, I chanced upon a post from and gotten the permission from Dianne to share her post on my blog. It is "How To Grow Strawberries and 10 Best Strawberry Recipes".

Propagating Portulaca grandiflora or Moss rose by stem cutting

I think it is time to propagate my pink portulaca grandiflora by stem cutting. I select a branch which I think is suitable and use a scissor to cut it.

Cutting a branch off the portulaca grandiflora
I place the new stem cutting into a small plastic container and use a piece of wire to secure the stem cutting in place. I pour some water into the container just to cover the cut area. I hope new roots will grow in a few days and I can transfer it into the pot.

The mother plant without one branch on the right.
The new stem cutting in a plastic container filled with water
I left a couple of leaves on the cut area on the mother plant. I hope that new branch may start to grow from the leaves. I will update the progress in this blog. I will monitor the progress of the new stem cutting and will post pictures accordingly.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Portulaca grandiflora or Moss Rose

At last, I know the name to the plants that I saw in Cingjing Taiwan. Thanks to the Green Culture Singapore forum that I'm able to find out the name to this plant.

I was travelling in Cingjing in Taiwan and saw some beautiful flowers outside the Nina de Chocolate 妮娜巧克力工坊. They were beautiful and I couldn't resist plucking one each. One is pink and the other is white. I didn't know whether they will survive one week in my luggage when I'm having vacation in Taiwan. The plants did survive.
Nina de Chocolate
I placed them onto wet tissue to keep the cut area moist and when I was back, I continued to place them in water. Roots started to come out from the cut area and within two days, there were many roots and I felt that it was time to plant them.

Roots from Moss Rose
I planted them into a pot using potting mix from NTUC. The stems were curled because I had placed them into a cup of water and gravity had made the stem curled. It was quite difficult to plant them when the stems were curled, so a portion of the stem was actually buried in the soil.

Portulaca grandiflora planted in a small pot

My friend had a white and pink mixed version and I may try to get one from her when I visit her in the future. I saw the flowers bloomed twice when I was at home. They bloomed at around 9am in the morning and would wither at night on the same day. So, you will need to be there to see them if they bloom. It would be a beautiful sight to see white, pink and white/pink flowers blooming at the same time. Next, I will try to propagate them.

Portulaca grandiflora white & purple flowers
It will be great if I can collect all the colours of this species, Portulaca grandiflora. The flowers are large, about 3 cm in diameter with 5 petals, come in red, orange, pink, white and yellow. So, now I have the pink and white types. Next is to collect red, orange and yellow types. I wonder what is the mixed white and pink type. Do you have the red, orange and yellow types to share?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Second Avocado seedling

I have another avocado seedling that has grown to about 15 inches. It is taller than the first avocado plant which I had planted a couple of weeks ago. This second avocado seedling is quite different from the first one. It is taller, the stem is thicker and the colour of the stem is darker. It looks much healthier than the first one. The leaves are greener. The roots are much developed.

Second avocado seedling @ 14 Dec 2014
I notice that it has a second shoot developing at the crown area. I have seen in the internet that some avocado developed two or more shoots (stems). I will wait a couple of weeks to see the second shoot.

Second shoot developing at the crown area
You can notice in the above photo that the stem is darker and thicker. The plant is definitely much healthier than the first avocado plant. Now, I'm thinking of when I should transfer it to a pot with soil. There are forums that said to wait till the plant is 7 to 8 inches tall and having leaves. This plant is already 15 inches tall and having 3 medium leaves and one small leaf. I suppose that it may be the right moment to plant it. The first avocado plant was only transferred to a potted medium when I noticed the leaves turning brown. I hope that this second plant will not suffer the same fate.

Second avocado seedling @ 15 inches tall
Any expert out there to advise on whether this is the right time to plant it? Thanks.

Bird's nest ferns in Singapore

Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is a short, large leafy fern which is very common in Singapore. You can see them growing on tree branches, rocks, gardens and in pots. I have known these are ferns and the thing that I don't know is that it can be eaten. Two months ago, I was having my vacation in Hualien Taiwan, the locals recommended me to eat a dish called 炒山蔬.

炒山蔬 Fried Mountain Vegetables

I was wondering what this might be. The taste was very unique and crunchy. It was very good and I was thinking how does the plant look like? I only knew it when a tour guide brought us to climb the Taroko Gorge that I realized that the mountain vegetables that I had eaten the previous night came from the Bird's nest fern. Oh my goodness, it was the young leaves that the tribes harvested and cooked them in garlic and light soya sauce. It looked very delicious. You have to try it to believe it.

The young leaves from the Bird's nest fern in the mountains of Taroko Gorge (Taroko National Park). The local tribe people are selling these vegetables at the mountain trail of the Taroko Gorge. My tour guide bought a packet and told us that he was going to cook them that day. I asked him whether he had cooked them before but he said never. So, he asked the local tribe people how to cook them.

Young leaves of bird's nest fern
Bird's nest fern at the Taroko National Park

There are many bird's nest ferns growing in the Goodview Garden area. But mostly they are on the ground under the shades of tall trees. I saw a few growing along and underneath the MRT tracks. Below are some of the ferns.

Bird's nest fern at Goodview Garden estate
Goodview Garden @ Bukit Gombak
Bird's nest ferns @ Goodview Garden
3 bird's nest ferns on the ground

I'm wondering whether any of my neighbours tried to cut the young leaves and cook them. I don't think so because there isn't any sign that anyone had cut away the young leaves. I think most people in Singapore will not think of eating these. When you are in Hualien, please try this dish.

I was at the Singapore Zoo two weeks ago. There are many bird's nest ferns in the zoo. I passed by the Lion enclosure and saw this big, beautiful giant bird's nest fern in front of the enclosure. You can see the lion in the background. The leaves that the aboriginal tribes eat are the young leaves at the centre which have the curls on the tip of the leaves. I think they don't eat the mature leaves.
Bird's nest fern at the Singapore Zoo
I was wondering whether Singapore can grow bird's nest ferns commercially and harvest the leaves for the delicacy 炒山蔬. I will definitely come and eat but of course that will also depend on the recipe and cooking skill.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Avocado plant

It has been a couple of weeks since the avocado was planted. The growth of the plant seems to be stagnant and two leaves have started to turn brown at the tip of the leaves. Is the avocado plant dying? I hope not. This avocado has been with me for more than 3 months. I wish that it can overcome any deficiency and absorb the nutrients it needs to growth well. I'm very tempted to cut away the leaves that have turned brown. But I think I will wait for another week to see whether new leaves will emerge. If there are new leaves, I can cut away the withered ones and give more nutrients to the young leaves. I suspect that I have waited too long to plant it into soil and the plant may have suffered. Do you have any suggestion to make the avocado plant well again? Do drop me a note.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Avocado from New Zealand

After 3 months of putting the avocado seed in water, it is time to plant it into soil. This avocado seed was from the fruit that I bought from a local supermarket. It was from New Zealand and I tried to see whether the seed can grow into a seedling. 3 months is a long time to wait but it is definitely worth it.

Why do I want to plant it today? Well, I saw two leaves had turned brown and I think something must be wrong. I don't want to wait till all leaves have turned brown before I take any action. So, I planted it today and keeping my fingers crossed! Hopefully, it will start to grow and I will prune it accordingly. This plant will be in my future garden and I hope that it can bear fruit someday!

Do drop me a comment if you need information on how to grow an avocado!

Avocado planted on 30 Nov 2014!

Monday, 20 October 2014

My 6-year old Zamioculcas Zamifolia (ZZ) plant

If I can recall, this Zamioculcas Zamifolia plant or ZZ plant (as it is often called) has been around in the house for 6 years (at least). My wife got this for the Chinese Lunar New Year probably 6 years back and it has gone through one repotting. There is not many places that I can position this plant in the house. The only place that I find it suitable is near the window in the living room at the TV console area. So we place this plant on the top of the left speaker. It has been there since.

Recently, I notice that the leaves are full of dust and I cannot help it but to give the leaves a good cleaning. 
Dust accumulated on the leaves (ZZ plant)
I made a YouTube video and you can check out at my Channel here:

Look at the sparkling leaves after the cleaning…

ZZ plant

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

SG My Garden is Good!

Many, many years ago, I lived in a Kampong at the western side of Singapore. We had a big house made of woods and zinc roofs. All kids played in the large compound within the house and we grew our own trees such as durian, rambutan, coconut, banana, guava, etc…

Well, I liked to do gardening and planted mostly balsam plants. After we had moved house from Kampong to a high-rise flat, my family continued to keep plants outside the flat along the corridors. However, we would need to plant the plants in pots instead on the ground.

I have longed to keep greenery in the house and also trees (if I can prune them). This blog will feature the journey of creating the garden that I have wished for… stay tuned!