Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Garden - Get to know me week # 2

Some of you might know that I'm fussy about food names. Yam/Taro or Amaranth/Spinach. Or how sometimes when some fellow bloggers finds some weird fruit, and that will make me go on a crazy frenzy trying to identify them.

I graduated with a Minor in Horticulture. What's horticulture? In short, I studied about plants with commercial value like vegetables, fruit and ornamental flowers. Now you know why I'm soooooooo particular about such things. I'm especially passionate for plant taxonomy, and that is plant classification. LOL. Maybe it's due to an early exposure to orchids. My late dad was a self taught orchid horticulturist, who won numerous awards in major competitions and nicknamed Species King within the orchid enthusiasts in Malaysia during his time. Dad passed away when I was 12, so, my trips to orchid exhibitions were cut short..very short. But during the few years that I followed my dad around, I always helped out with placing the orchids where they belong, according to their type. That's was how I got started, since 10.

But weirdly, I don't have green fingers. Not everything I plant lives. I may know all the theory that I could remember from my coursework, but whether the plant lives or not? Up to God to determine. LOL.

Currently I'm using au naturel nitrogen rich fertilizers produced from non other than my dearie Lyanne. LOL.
Reuben's will be next.

Here are some plants in my garden right now...

Dragon fruit seedlings
They just grew when I discarded some pulp and skin intending them to turn into compost

Lemon trees
These grew out of seed. My hubby's aunt brought some homegrown lemons back from Australia. We never expected them to grow, and it was just eat and throw. :p
I do hope they do fruit later

I purposely planted from the fennel seeds on my spice rack.
I want to see them flower and determine whether the 'jintan manis' we have here is fennel or aniseed. The colour of the flower is different for each and let's confirm the proper name, shall we?
Update 1/3/12: Name is confirmed. Read here

Bird's Eye Chilli.
A must for lovers of all things spicy. Sometimes you only need a few and it's so wasteful buying RM1 and allowing them to rot in the fridge. My FIL bought this and transplanted it into the pot.

Curry leaf plant.
Don't plant them in the ground. They make everything smell like them.

 Just shooted from some store bought roots. I am planting them for the fragrant flowers.

Aloe Vera.
The huge type. Good for dessert, soups or skin care

See some of those lying by the side of the pot? Actually I bought those and they were dried up in the fridge. So I tot, they should be dead and threw them into the pot to rot. But they were revived, and grew roots and shoots. Rootless, leafless, looks dead, but ressurected by contact with soil. BTW, lemongrass is so pricey nowadays. RM1 for 4 stalks only.

Food bloggers always need some mint for decoration purposes. :)
My MIL bought some mint from the market, took the leaves off for consumption, and I kept the stems in water (like flowers in a vase) until they rooted. Only then did I plant them in the soil. Now, growing very well.

A must in the South East Asian home.
It's growing tooooooo slow for my consumption rate.

Passionfruit seedlings.
You can grow your own passionfruit. Just throw some seeds onto the ground :)
But make sure you give them something to creep about

One stalk came together with my bunch of wild amaranth (马屎苋). I just discard like that and it grew.
Never ate this before, but will try it later when it grows more. Read up that it's rich in Omega acids.

Rue / 臭草
It's 'smelly grass'. Used in desserts. My MIL got this plant for me.

Spring onions
Planted from shallots that look shriveled in my pantry.  They may not be good as shallots, but will be good as scallions or spring onions. Don't stick them into the soil. Onto the soil will be good enough.

I use the leaves to make rendang. Crucial crucial!
If you're hardworking, dig up the roots instead of buying.

I won't tell what is this. You guess!
Hint: It's usually found at colder climates and the part we eat is red.
Swee San, you cannot guess. Reese also cannot. OiLai also cannot.
This plant got me jumping up and down with excitement!

 30/9/2011: Answer is :
Strawberry seedlings,
they came out of thrown out mouldy strawberries.

My "To-Plant" list:
Red Torch Ginger (Bunga Kantan)
Thai Basil
Sweet Basil
Mutingia Tree (Kaya fruit)

I'll be including some gardening stuff into my blog in the future,
of things that i happen to plant successfully ...
God bless my garden!


  1. haha everything natural wee wee we my guess Rhubarb!

  2. Hi Wendy,

    why no show us the entire garden in one photo? :)


  3. Just dropping by to say I love reading your blog. Found it from another blog I read ...and I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Its such a joy to read! Very warm and gosh..the pretty food.

    Was reading about your kitchen when I saw your garden update...and it makes me think of my future home. Hahaha! Best start saving up eh?

    Anyways, would just like to comment that, I like how your garden is so full with food-plants: plants that will make ur cooking life easier (pandan, curry leaves, lemongrass, spring onion). Hopefully I'll remember and have fingers green enough to keep them alive when I attempt the same! I remember having to 'borrow' pandan leaves from nearby neighbours whenever I wanted to make some desserts back in my uni wasn't very pleasant nor convenient. Haha! Thanks for the lovely share ;)

  4. any present for guessing correctly?


  5. those look like strawberry seedlings to me :)

  6. Lisa L,
    Yeah wee wee wee

    My garden is nothing but grass except those in pots. nothing to see.

    Thanks for dropping by, Indeed true, asking for pandan is hard... I used to do that too.

    No presents.

  7. You have make used your garden planting lots of herbs which is so useful to your daily cooking. Unfortunately I don't have green hands though I have mint, curry leaves, calamansi & rosemary in my garden. Trying hard to make them 'survive'.

  8. Great spread of different herbs, plants and fruits! I dont have green thumbs and often managed to only 'kill' them.. hahaha

    I leave the garden to my hubby but seriously.. you are a woman of many talents!! :D

  9. Happy Homebaker,
    You're so pandai!
    Yes, strawberry seedlings

    Oooo.. quite good oredi what

    Food Dreams,
    I do hope these will survive. My fingers aren't that green too.

  10. Love yr garden and kitchen too. :) You're great. I can't even manage to cook when I had my son, LOL.

  11. Envy envy :) love what you have is so convenient to have them in the garden. You must add rosemary and dill too. My thyme died on me and the oregano is not easy to plant them...kind of hard to grow them but I never give up coz I need them in most of my cooking :)

    You have a big garden for plants and who say you have no green fingers...simply throw them aso they grow so well :p and do tell me what plant is the last one :)

  12. hello...

    i just looovvveee and envy on ur kitchen hehee and it's so clean and white! the marble table was a great idea.

  13. Wah nice, so many varieties of plants! Hope all of them fruit and we get to see more posts, heehee. 

  14. the dragonfruit and lemon growing in the same pot ar ... Eh why I cannot guess!!! hahahahah but of course if u havent told me what it was, I wouldn't know either. I'm a plant-noob..

    Curry leaves if planted on the ground makes everything else smells like curry leaves ar ?? aiyo I planted those on the ground. Maybe can shift up to the pot.

    Grow avocado ? hehe

  15. angeline,
    No :P

    Belly Good,
    I do most of the cooking when they are having their afternoon nap simultaneously. LOL.

    Swee San has oregano in her garden... kekeke.
    Actually i was shocked to see all those thrown in stuff growing.. kakaka

    Anne B,
    I grew up with an old fashioned marble table for dinner, so it kind of gets stuck to me that I need one :p

    I seriously hope that they doooooooo fruit

    Swee San,
    Wah, geng wer, you noticed. Actually there are dragon fruit in 3 pots, some with chilli, some with another pandan plant. I tot they'd just turn to compost, mana tau they all grew.
    Avocado no joke. Can. But I prefer not. My hubby dun like to eat, later I makan sendiri. But then here hoh, it tends to spoil after a few years, black streaks and brown spots in the fruit.

  16. I love your multi plants garden. Have a look at's my favourite!

  17. wow! i'm so impressed. and your practice of putting stalks in water to let the roots develop and transplating them to pot is very useful. i will try that... hope it works for me... i'm not a greenthumbs person at all... but i value the herbs and plants for the kitchen very much.

    how do u manage to keep the pests away so effectively. the leaves and shoots of ur plants look so healthy and whole... no bite marks from any pests.

  18. Wendy,

    I know i know .. the plant is Pea Eggplant for Thai Green Curry...


  19. lemon tree can grow or not? maybe difficult to bear fruits i think..better luck if plant on managed to plant your mint so nice and green, got chives or not?

  20. I only plant herbs this season as I need it in my cooking. Like you said it is too expensive to buy when you just need a bit of it. It is just too bad some of the herbs can't survive the winter and have to replant them again the next season. The most previous herbs are my kaffir lime and curry plant. Have to take them in during the cold season. I wish I have a garden space to plant fruit trees.

  21. LG,

    It's better to let them develop roots first so that they are more "ready" to be planted.
    So far the only pests are snails and some moths. I check the underside of leaves quite often and use crushed egg shells to prevent slugs and snails,

    the lemon plant for fun only.. keke. But my pot very big de, control the size a bit, if not tree too big. Fruit or not dun depend on pot size, depends on whether you have enough phosphate for flowering and potassium for fruiting, or whether there are pollination agents and definitely, climate to determine the colour of the fruit. If u come, I bring u see orange tree, 3 feet tall with fruits :)
    I do agree my mint is nice, kekeke, thanks to Lyanne. But mint not hard to plant la.
    No chives, u mean kuchai or angmoh chives?

    Yeah, I rmber u said u cared for ur pandan like a baby :)
    I didn't plant flowers, only edible plants.

  22. orange tree also got? in KK you mean? yeah, you must show it to me..remember you told me fig tree? is it called mo far ko? maybe i've seen one..still not very sure. oh, i'm referring to chinese chives, difficult to plant or not?

  23. Wendy, you got green fingers lah, so many plants in your garden and they grow!

  24. lena,
    Yeah, here. It's planted infront of a shop, I saw it fruit, 2 fruits at one go, as big as regular oranges, but green, kakakaka.
    Yup, figs are mo fa gor.
    I heard Chinese chives not hard to plant, but I didn't plant, cos don't really eat that often, can just buy some.

    Ah Tze,
    Hahaha, that's just part of my plants, you should see my dead tomato crocus, hohohoho. Dead like zombie oredi.

  25. Nice plant.. Let's see, i have lemongrass, pandan, oregano, rosemary, lemon mint, aloe vera.... And i heard kaffir lime is a must-plant!

    And i agree that pandan grows too slow for our consumption.. Thats why i have 3 bushes of them and 3 bushes at my mom's place... Hehe. :)

    Should have put my baby's poo as fertilizer. Will try tomorrow.

  26. Wendy,
    Nice plants. For you lemon tree, you should plant directly into the soil, it will give you fruit after 1-2 years. Especially with the climate you have. I'm living in a cold country and my lemon planted in a pot begin to blossom after 8 years.


  27. Very informative and comes in perfect timing as I am planning a herb garden.

  28. iceamericanos,
    I used Lyanne's urine, not faeces :)

    thanks for the advice. Frankly, currently my place, the soil inthe ground is horrible. Nothing grows unless you put them in. My garden was left bald for 1 year before we finally moved in and it never grew grass. Not even wild grass! Neighbours who never grew grass from carpet sheets will only have grass after 4 years, if they sparsely put some grass in to spread. The soil is truly poor.

    oh, do share your garden too, want to seeeeeee

  29. Wow, Wendy... you have a garden ready for your cooking~

    I'm suck at this and I only recognized 5 or 7 plants - aloe vera, curry leave, pandan, well, mostly those common plants =p

  30. garden already got Passionfruit i also using the seed to grow a new a about lemon garden also suddenly come out 2 lemon tree.but only have leaf no fruit.hahaha.....early in the month i just bought a strawberry,grape tree and 挂花 tree.Wendy you can try use your lemongrass and mint to make taste very good.

  31. yvonne,
    Oh yes, that's why i wanted to plant food plants so that I can cook contingency dishes. :)

    thanks for the suggestion, but the lemon grass isn't growing as fast as I hope it will.
    I hope that ur lemons fruit soon, I do see lemons growing everywhere now.

  32. I wish I could grow pandan here. You just reminded me to grow chili padi. Thanks! Love your blog, tried many them!

  33. Correction, the unknown plant is not oregano. Still don't know what it is. It's a little bigger now.. Send u the pics when I'm free la.. No plant kaffir lime leVes ah?

    I bought sweet basil plant from jaya grocer, then changed pot.. Seems to be growing alright. may wanna get other plants from them later..

  34. Hey Wendy, nice garden u have there. I wander why does your bird eye chili and spring onion look different from mine. My birdeye chili plant has alot more leaves; and my spring onion only have like 1 stalk each.
    Anywayz, that is not my main point. I just got 2 pots of pandan plants from the east cost, from a vietnamese vendor (I live in Canada). I wander if the species is the same as the one we had in Malaysia. Also, do u have any care tips for pandan plants in cold climax? I really hope my 2 pandan plants survive in indoor during the winter. I spent US$70 on them! Aside that, I dont really like the frozen pandan plant we got it from chinese supermarket; they tend to me less fragrant.

  35. Jasmine,
    1. Even bird's eye chilli have a few different varieties. Some leaves are bigger, some bushier.
    2. You planted ur shallot too deep. Place it on to of the soil. My MIL the other day planted one shallot in my other pot and she put it deep, and only 1 stalk came up, LOL. The stalk you meant is one leaf, right?
    3. Pandan leaf, I have no idea as I have always been living in Malaysia my whole life.
    You can ask My Kitchen Snippets, she has pandan in PA, US, and their winters are harsh too.

  36. Thanks for your tips Wendy. I'll try it next year. All of our spring onion died during a construction. We just moved from an apartment to a house so we just started to grow something. Apparently our sweet Thai basil and oregano died from too much sunlight.

    Apparently, our spring onion is not grow from shallot lol. It is actually commercially available fresh spring onion. My aunt just ate the top part and grow the bottom (white) portion.

    Do u happen to know how to grow onions? My onion has been sitting in the pot for 3 months and the size (of the bulb) is approximate the same as before planting. According the the instruction, the onion is harvestable when the leaves have died down; and my leaves are dying soon (hopefully not due to other reasons as the construction is still going on).

  37. Wah! U r not only good in baking/cooking...planting also u know..geng ah :0)

  38. Jasmine,
    Don't know why ur comment went to spam. LOL.
    Oh, that will surely give u just one 'leaf' at a time. It's only what's left in the center that was uneaten. But let it grow longer, who knows it might have some babies later?
    I have no idea about onions. I don't think I've ever seen anyone growing onions here.

  39. I guess blogspot hates me lol.

    It cant have babies, because it died lol. My aunt is replanting them from seed now. Hope they would survive.

    I think my onion is hopeless now (as the weather begin to be colder).


  40. Hi.. got attracted to your garden. I'm not a green finger like u. Those seeds u ate and threw just grew. Mine dont. I had to buy seeds to grow them :)

    for thai basil, sweet basil & rosemary, u can try buying seedlings from village grocer. basil seeds are easy to germinate coz i've germinated from a few types of basils :)

    for mint, at village grocer also, u can buy those in salad packaging - pineapple mint, apple mint, spearmint & peppermint. So far i tried rooting pineapple, peppermint & apple mint, only apple mint jadi.. maybe next time i should water root the pineapple mint first :)

    and u can try water root daun kesom too.. culinary herb.

  41. Im interested to plant bunga kantan too. but im scared if the plant will be too big. I read in other blogs, the leaves will grow very tall & bushy. am interested to know if u've successfully grown bunga kantan, even with smaller bush :)

  42. Chelsina,
    I have sweet and thai basil in my garden now, rosemary and thyme too. Just applemint is more than enough for me. It's spreading like crazy, really crazy.
    I don't cook with kaun kesum often, and it's really really cheap here and easily available.
    Oh yes, now I don't want to plant bunga kantan, the fronds are 5-7 ft tall. Huge!

  43. Is pudina and apple mint the same plant? coz pudina is the one they use for laksa like ulam rite? and apple mint tastes like apple + mint. Coz many msian websites labelled pudina as aple mint. but it looks different to me..

    and some sites would put lemuju as oregano. but the 2 are different plants.

    btw, what is kaya fruit? nona?

    recently, i've been searching for special and unknown plants to plant.. just found it yesterday.. Psidium cattleianum (red strawberry guava), Physalis pubescens - Goldie Ground Cherry, Sapindus detergens - Soapberry. just bought the seeds online yesterday. the weirdest one i found was soapberry where the berries can be used as detergent to wash ur floor and clothes. all are tropical plants..

    have been trying to plant greek myrtle from seeds.. 1st time, no luck.. maybe got pecked off by birds, not sure. now, planting 2nd time. leaves similar tastes to bay leaves. and i finally found bay leaves seeds shippable to msia. planting now. But i heard it is hard to germinate.. shall see how.. hopefully they will..coz then i can use them to make my soup tastier. bought bay leaves from supermarket, few leaves already costs RM10+..

    im finding daun kunyit plant to plant myself after seeing ur page :)

  44. Chelsina,
    Mint is used in assam laksa. I'm not sure about whether the mint we have here is applemint. But pudina is just a Malay word for mint.

    sorry, I have no idea what is lemuju

    Kaya fruit is the local name in my town for Muntingia calabura. Other places may call it differently. It tastes rich and sweet like kaya, hence the name.

    It's great to learn about new plants :)

    Do not buy bay leaves from supermarket. It's ridiculously priced. Get them from baking supplies shops. It's way way way cheaper. For RM2, u get a lot. Or, buy those packed in plastic bags instead of jars. Such packagings are found in Tesco.

    Just buy turmeric roots from the supermarkets and put them into the soil about 2 inch deep. They'll grow easily.

  45. Wendy

    I have been on your blog before but not posted anything. But now looking at your garden, it is making me envious cos I live in UK and can only plant my tropical herbs indoors. I have got curry leaf (like half dead, but my kaffir lime plant is doing well and so is my chilli plant.

    Thank you for the tip about the shallot. I used to plant it in the pot and never got anywhere with it. So now, I shall follow your advice and just leave it there.

    You have a beautiful kitchen as well!

  46. tina,
    You still have to plant the shallots. just lay them upright, maybe 2mm onto the soil so that it won't tumble over.

  47. Your purslane looking nice & healthy! Time to harvest and cook with it. Curious to know how are your strawberry plants doing?

  48. HI Wendy,

    I have been following your blog for sometimes now. You have nice garden.

    I planted bird chilis a few times, but have this ants problem. The ants always invade my chili plant before it start fruiting. Any advice on how to get rid of the ants?

    I killed so many of the curry leaves plant. Please teach me how to grow them in the pot.


  49. Hi Wendy, I stumbled upon your blog while I was doing a search on where to buy muntingia seeds and I throughly enjoyed it. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to greens but now that I've moved into a house I'm strating to take more interest in growing food plants and herbs. So thank you for sharing. Also, any idea where to buy seeds for the muntingia? I live in KL. Thanks!

  50. Suria,
    Well, I just plant like that, no special techniques. What type of soil did u use? I do find those so called black soil sold in KL to be more of charcoal than organic matters.

    I am not planning to buy seeds, but hoping to dig out a sapling if I happen to see one. U can pluck the fruits to plant, just get really red ones. I've seen those muntingia trees around, some around the pond next to the federal highway shortcut to LDP

    1. Brilliant, will try to keep a look out for that. Thanks a mil, Wendy!

  51. hi..nice garden.. i'm start planting too..

  52. Loving all of your graden photos. I love how you grow from seed and also learned your tip about getting them mint to root in water then planting.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  53. I like to grow rosemarry plant at home.. Where do I get it? Plz reply

  54. thivya,
    Garden centers or major supermarkets that sell herbs in pots. If you need any plants, always go to garden centers.


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