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A garden enthusiast who loves to travel and capture the beauty of places and freeze the memories of her travels in photographs, as well as document her experiences in verse...thankful for the simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Macro Flowers - Parisian Chic

Here are some macro flowers from Paris and how I met these Parisian 'ladies'. 

A sweet French lady told me the name of this flower as she hobbled over to us with her tripod cane for support. She saw me admiring the flowers grown in a concrete bed as part of the street  landscape. Realising that we did not speak French, she nonetheless pointed to her fingers and then pointed to the purple blooms, saying 'digitale'. I could see from her expression that these were probably  her favourite plants and that she was proud to introduce those plants to us.That was my introduction to the beautiful Purple Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea) you see in the photograph below:

I met these bright and breezy mademoiselles near the River Seine as we made our way, exploring the streets of Paris in the spring of 2010. They were a delightful shade of pink and were proud to be pink! I loved the mass effect in which they were planted and they made our morning walk to the Notre Dame that much more exhilarating.

This one we met in the garden at the East end of the Notre Dame Cathedral. She is what I consider the epitome of the chic Parisian. This rose has a porcelain complexion with a tinge of  rouge on her cheeks. Quelle beauté!

We visited these exotic irises many times at their home in the Iris Garden of Jardin des Plantes in Austerlitz, Paris. They had to entertain many botanists who came with notebooks to record what these girls had to say...there were photographers with their high-powered DSLRs taking macro shots of them all day long. These are the Bearded Irises I have heard so much about. Their six o'clock shadow must be a trial for them, poor girls.


So many 'belles fluers' to see, so little time...
Regretfully I say, 'au revoir, mes chéris'. Till we meet again.

See more macro flowers by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Pink Powder Puff, Deserted

Can't think of anything in my garden that is deserting me...on the contrary, there are more weeds now that I wish would go away, more pests that I wish would crawl or fly away... . However there is one particular tree in a corner of my garden that has been feeling pretty neglected by her owner, and I see signs that she is planning to desert me. No, she is not packing her suitcases in the middle of the night and preparing to tip-toe out of my garden-gate though she might just do that. I deserve that kind of 'stealing out when I'm not looking' treatment because I had hurt her feelings. For a long time, I had forgotten to give her the pampering she deserves, as she is such a well-behaved plant that I had taken her for granted. She produces pretty flowers regularly without any prompting. These flowers dutifully turn into pretty berries which look like raspberries.

As with anything that is out of sight, this plant is also out of the owner's mind. No fertilizer
fridays for her, not even on any other day of the week! Now she has grown spindly, and her branches are rather bare of leaves - they had long deserted her..

She stares out of the window, hoping against hope that her owner would one day give her a second look, realize that here is a plant pining for attention.
And wonder of wonders, it happened on fertilizer friday!!! Rosie came to give her the best fertilizer that was usually applied on her precious  hydrangeas and her other showy flowering favourites. She trimmed the dead twigs, and.... is she drawing her camera out of her pocket??? Is she going to give the greatest gift of all - the gift of appreciation to this forlorn specimen? No, this can't be happening - it is a dream. Rosie does not even know her name!!

Click - click - click!

The flowers might inspire a designer to use it as fabric motif  for a Shanghainese  'cheongsam' (elegant ladies' costume)

She gives her best smile to the camera. The camera loves her. She glows with happiness. This is her moment of fame, glory. But more than that, she is no longer deserted, but was lost and has been found!

This could very well be a chinois print.

Note from Rosie : Does anyone know the name of this plant? I had always thought it was a bottle-brush, but guess it isn't. Please leave me a note if you know this plant. It needs the recognition due to it, don't you think?

Have a wonderful time at Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday and Katarina's Blooming Friday. Click on their links at the bottom of this page.

Thanks to Autumn Belle, we now know the name of this pretty flower - Calliandra emarginata.

Skywatch Friday- Sky over Moeraki Boulders

When watching the sky, remember to keep your eye on the ground once in a while. It is fine to gaze at the clouds, trying to make out what the shapes look like, but you might just trip on a pebble, or bump into a boulder if you do that on this particular beach.

This is one place where the 'skyscape' might possibly be overshadowed by the landscape. We were informed about the spectacular  Moeraki boulders by a friendly, chatty local who said we might want to stop at the beach to see some rocks. We asked her why, and she said, "Oh, it is just a place where tourists like to stop and see those rocks there, take some photos..." she shrugged. What an understated introduction to the famous Moeraki Boulders, a site which is one of the most visited and photographed site in all of New Zealand! We later learned that these 'rocks' are rare natural wonders formed from ancient mud balls.

Are these rocks stealing the thunder from the serenity of the skies above them? Or are the skies providing the best backdrop ever to these unique natural formations? You be the judge of that.

What a beautiful sky...perfect for a blissful day to spend at the beach.

Lone Ancient Rock, looking up at the sky, wishing he could be a cloud, wispy and light, free to roam the New World.

The contrast between the texture of the rock in the foreground and the sky in the background is phenomenal.

If you were an artist, which would give you more pleasure to paint? Boulders or that sky above?

More clouds to watch at Skywatch Friday.
Click here:

Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fer's World Garden Carnival: Gardening Plans for this New Year

Oh dear, this is a difficult one, Fer. I have not planned anything concrete for my new year resolution to plant more vegetables (that I vaguely formed when I posted in January for Blooming Friday, Plans for the New Year). I had used my old vegetable patch in my backyard for flowering annuals instead, and now that the annuals are dying out, I should be ready with a new plan, BUT...!

Anyway, my other resolution to have more colour in my garden is another story, I'm happy to say. I started on my West Wall Project in December 2010 actually, a modest shaded border of lilac-coloured plants. Here is how  it looked then.

I love hydrangeas. My parents should have named me Hydrangea instead of Rosie. Of course I love roses too, so Rosie was an apt name. Oh, and I adore the Passion Flower (as you would have known if you had seen my Macro Flowers post where the Passiflora photos almost occupied the whole length and breadth of your monitor screen! It would be difficult to go through life as "Passion" though, if I had been named after that flower. Anyway, my hydrangea border has grown with more varieties added. Here they are.

Two more colours are yet to be planted - one blue, and the other pink. I will need to put a bench near my hydrangea border so that I can sit there all day long and just admire the blooms.

The other plants that I have placed in my semi-shaded area by the wall are the gladioli plants. These plants  are what  I dream of  in my dreams. We can't get gladiolus corms easily here in Malaysia, so these corms which I bought  from New Zealand are more precious to me than rubies, diamonds and pearls put together!

My plan was to have them in three separate patches so that I can grow low-lying plants in between. I have one patch of giant-flowered "Her Majesty", one patch of "Tout-a-Toi", and one more of "Dark Eyes". I have finally decided to plant low bushes of multiple-petalled hibiscus in between the patches. The first plant is light purple in colour and a free-flowering variety.

I had told myself  that I would make my flower borders as colourful as possible! So the first cluster of plants in my area that gets full-sun will be red! I chose the Red Ginger plant for its fabulous red cones. They are exotic ornamental plants that tower over the other low-lying plants like the variegated ruby-red patterned coleus, another hibiscus plant, a white tropical 'snowdrop' which I have yet to discover the name, and red ixora. The last two plants that I mentioned have not bloomed, so I can't wait to see the full effect.

This needs to fill out, and the effect can be seen in a few months.
The last two sections are still in the planning stage. One is going to be predominantly orange  in colour, and the last section is toned down to a yellow-green spectrum. In the orange sector, there is an orange ixora,  orange hibiscus and for contrast, some white, dwarfed Star of Bethlehem plants that are free-flowering. Only the last mentioned are actually in bloom right now. The ground cover I have put in are not extensive enough to cover the ground! I hope to be able to display them in a month or two.Here are the coming attractions:

The flamingo is sitting down, thinking of what plants to add to this bed.
The orange ixora is not blooming yet.

You can read more gardening plans if you hurry on down to Fer's little garden.Click on this link:

World Garden Carnival

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Macro Flowers - The flower of passion.

Who could be unaffected by this flower, the passion flower. The first time I saw this flower, I was intoxicated...both with passion for the passion flower as well as by the sweet aromatic fragrance that it exudes. It  was at least 15 years ago when I planted my first passiflora vine. I vividly remember eagerly scanning the vine for fresh buds. The appearance of each bud filled me with  giddy expectation. The mornings found me waking up early just to have my rendezvous with this spectacular beauty. Today, I'm no less enamoured. You might want to meet her, so here she is, the flower that fills me with passion...PASSIFLORA INCARNATA.

To view more Macro Flowers, do visit maiaT by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Cydista Aequinoctialis, my garlic vine

My garlic vines on my pergola have started blooming! I'm so happy. That is why I have decided to flaunt the flowers on Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday, and at the same time bring  these blooms to their Debutante's Ball at Carol's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. My blooms are just shy, young debutantes waiting with trepidation to be introduced to the world of blooms today.

This is the pergola my husband made for me,on his own, without any help! My vines are flowering to thank him for me.

'Garlic Vine' is the common name for Cydista Aequinoctialis
Let us see if Miss G-Vine has the 'genealogy' which is appropriate enough for her to be accepted by polite society.

FAMILY : Bignoniaceae
ORIGIN : Tropical America
SIZE : medium vine 6' - 8'
LIGHT REQUIREMENTS : full to partial sun
MIN. TEMP. : low 30's
FLOWER : spring and fall
COMMENTS : when crushed, the leaves smell like garlic 

Oh-oh, I spot a tiny problem here, she might be a little off-putting at a ball if she smells like garlic. Hope she's not crushed when on the dance floor!

The vine flowers only twice a year...what  shy, shrinking violets!

When they do flower, they do it in style and in profusion.
These delightful flowers last only a few days on the vine, appearing lighter in colour each day until they turn fully white.

This one's for you Tootsie, for giving me a chance to flaunt my flowers!

And this one's for you, Carol. Thanks for hosting this meme.

If you wish to see more blooms, click on the Fertilizer Friday and GBBD links at the bottom of this page.

Sky above the Highland Temple

I have been watching the sky, wherever I go. These photographs I took were from the top of the Genting Highlands in Malaysia from the temple grounds.

For more Skywatch Friday, click on the Skywatch Friday link at the bottom of this page.