Showing posts from April, 2016

Front Garden Surprises

The front garden at Kuching surprises me today with lovely flowers of the canna , ixora and the 'Drunken Sailor'.
I have now more or less achieved what I wanted for the front garden. The idea of multiple colours that can be enjoyed regularly has been achieved. Today's blossoms are testimony to my concept of the
'Laman Kambatik' or the Kambatik Garden= Malaysian Garden. In our tropical garden a riotous gaiety is I think a most welcome sign to our paradise. This is how it should be . Today you get to enjoy the reds, tomorrow yellows and perhaps a week's time pink and lavender colours.

( Note:  This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ....>>>> )

Kuching Garden Update

I have been staying in Kuching for slightly more than a month now. TheKuching garden is shaping up beautifully. For one thing our presence in Kuching enables us to water and carry out general maintenance of the plants on daily basis, the latter being critical in times of drought that Kuching faces in July and now continuing to August. On the left (inset) is a LS view of the side garden of which the planting has now obscured the fencing. Below is a medium shot picture of the side garden showing the many varieties of plant materials used to colour the garden. Generally I am quite pleased with the result thus far, though further improvements are possible.

The front garden at Kuching surprises me today with lovely flowers of the canna , ixora and the 'Drunken Sailor'.
I have now more or less achieved what I wanted for the front garden. The idea of multiple colours that can be enjoyed regularly has been achieved. Today's blossoms are testimony to my concept of the
'Laman Kamba…

The Rains Are Back

The last few days, the rains have started to return to Kuching after a prolonged absence since the middle of July to middle of August.This is good news especially to those working in the field and fasting. Above, is a picture I took on the 19th of August when the rains came in quite heavy

On the way - the Back Courtyard

I'll be in Kuching for the whole month of October. While busy studying and preparing for my series of tutorials next weekend, assignments that follow and an exam slotted at the end of the month, I'll continue to pick up on my back courtyard gardening. The side garden is more or less completed by now, though more continuing experiments, additions and subtractions are a pleasant activity to further improve it. The yellow bells flowers (Tecoma stans)(see inset) mark the entrance to the back courtyard. My idea of the back courtyard according to my "Laman Kambatik "or the Malaysian Garden concept is basically that of an edible garden. In Malay there is at present no name for 'edible landscaping'. Thus I have coined a term to describe it. I call it "Sara Landskap" in Malay. Truly, I'm the only one soul to use this term in Malaysia at present. Whether it will be used commonly in future is yet to be seen. If it ever does, then the word originate from me…

Two Years Tall

While writing this blog post, the end of year rains are tapping on my rooftop and the abundance of heavenly water it pours on the garden will be evidenced tomorrow on depressed surfaces over the garden floor. With the coming of the wet season, I will normally start to add new planting materials to the garden as a welcoming gesture to the days ahead of garden renewal and green sprouts. It has been just about two years down the road when we made the once-in-a-lifetime decision to put foot in Kuching. We have no regrets even though the decision was highly pragmatic and in the most casual "take- it-as-it-comes" approach.

The rains will come and go, like our entrances and exists of daily existence. It will come and nourish the garden. Our front garden plot is small but has been a great a spiritual retreat , a story of growth and decay in the working wonders of nature . Besides the garden has been a most pleasurable physical workout place to unwind my hurried life. It's about t…

Pages added to blog

I have added eight stand alone 'Pages' to the blog today.  These pages are located below the blog's header.  The pages titles are as below:-
1)  Birds are welcome here
2)  Dragonflies
3)  Fruits from the garden
4)  Flowers
5)  Colourful foliage
6)  Views of the garden
7)  Interesting insects
8)  Exotic palms

Pages highlight on the concept of the Malaysian garden better because they are pictures that tell many  thousand of words.

Of foliage plants in the garden

Looking at the garden this morning I'm excited to see the role of foliage plants.  They add much needed colour to the greenery of the Kambatik garden, besides bio-diversity.  The garden architecture from ground  floor to top storey or canopy can be imaginatively layered or planted with foliage plants.  These plants whether trees, shrubbery, climbers or  herbaceous covers are attractive for their colourful foliages in full tonal or mixed coloration.  Some require shade to do well  while others may not object to semi-shade or full sun conditions.  In today's list I am able to capture the following plants as they exhibit their full potential in the garden this morning.  The plant list are as follows:-
Trees - Blood Banana -  (Musa acuminata spp. zebrina); Sea Cycas - Cycas rumphiiShrubs - Red Ti  - Cordyline fruticosa or Cordyline terminalis (Syn.) ; Croton - Codiaeum variegatumCovers -Golden Scindapsus - Epipremnum aureum or Scindapsus aureus (Syn.); Golden Pandan - Pandanus pyg…

Nature heals

While doing a bit of gardening work this morning I was pleasantly surprised to discover a a robin's nest with two tiny chicks in it. This gave me so much pleasure, satisfaction and happiness. It has been about three years now since I started to create a garden around our home here in Kuching. When we first moved in here there was not a single plant growing except for wild grasses and weeds that grew naturally on infertile barren ground that was provided by the housing developer. There grew an opportunity to bring nature back close to our house and I set my mind to gradually make the garden as a labour of love. One of my criterias for a successful Malaysian garden is that it should be able to procreate wildlife and nothing proves it better than to see the birds coming around the garden to build their nests. It showed that nature is slowly healing itself and that I should do more to encourage its diversity. Thus from now on I'll try to plant more fruit trees besides flowering sh…

The Malaysian garden in Kuching

The Kambatik garden in Kuching in 2013

The Malaysian garden defined = Laman Kambatik (Malay) or the Kambatik Garden.

On this visit to KuchingI have a fair bit of time to compile my blog postings on the Malaysian garden as I have created it in Kuching.  Over many years I have written about the issue of the Malaysian garden with no name.  But it need not necessarily be so.  Over a period of about more than 10 years I have researched and actually built gardens and park based on the Kambatik concept.  I have taken up the challenge to develop a name for the Malaysian garden which is called the 'Kambatik garden' or Laman Kambatik in Malay.  In this posting I have gathered some relevant posts and pictures on the Malaysian garden in Kuching.  My effort to create the Malaysian garden is very much inspired  by nationalism, aesthetics, healthy life-style, green living, love of nature and wildlife,  recreational needs …

Tropical and lush greenery at the front garden

The front garden is looking luxuriously tropical with its many varieties of palm trees.  Colour is provided by the Eugenia oleina tree, flowers of the Drunken Sailor, fruits of the Carpentaria palm and crown sheaths of the Red Sealing-wax palm.  The yellowish feather-like leaves of the Yellow Palm is also attractive in its on way.  Interestingly the Drunken Sailor has managed to hold on to the tall Carpentaria Palm.  Finally I think I have achieved what I wanted to create at the front garden.  A composition of luxury, evergreen and colourful nature to be enjoyed every day throughout the year.
( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ....>>> )

Two yellows and a Penda

What's interesting on this trip (44th trip to Kuching) is to see the garden gradually maturing.  For one thing the trees are getting taller and giving out much shade and shelter to the birds. The lawn is steadily thickening and spreading out to areas that were lately developed.  Three yellow flowers caught my eyes today.  They are the flowers of the Yellow Bells ( Tecoma stans), Cassia biflora and the Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus).

 The sights and sounds of a maturing garden are evidenced by the presence of 3 B's - birds, butterflies and bees, not forgetting other insects that would like to join in the list like the grasshoppers and  beetles.
The flowers that bloom for the first time are Golden Penda ( Xanthostemon chrysanthus) and we felt rewarded now by our effort to introduce this plant in the garden nearly two years ago. 

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full stoy and images, please follow this link...>>>…

Morning breakfast of fruits from the garden

( Note:  This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link...>>> )

Back garden

Just the other day, I managed to dig out some tapioca tubers and cook them.  They tasted good because they are of a variety that is soft to be eaten.  At the back garden are many herbs and shrubs that produce fruits, tubers, flowers or leaves can can be consumed as salad, dessert, juiced drinks, condiments,medicine, and not forgetting added appeal for wildlife and garden beauty.  Here's more views of the back garden.

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full sory and images, please follow this link...>>> )

Kuching Garden Project

Soft Landscaping I am pleased to see some good improvements on the soft landscape of our house garden at Kuching. On this Kuching trip I am pleased to note the good results of the soft landscaping works done on our last visit here. Below is the picture taken when we were at Kuching last June showing the ixora coccinea in orange blooms. ( Note:  This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ...>>>> )

December '08 Update

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link...>>>> )

Kuching garden progress

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ....>>>> )

Colour the garden

Living in an evergreen tropical climate one's eyes is constantly washed by the refreshing and healing colours of green. Often times when I enter a room or an office my eyes are naturally attracted to live plants that would indicate to me that there is live, growth or stability in the living or work place I am part of. Green is easy on the eye. Still, we do need colours in our lives just as we need them to add vitality, appeal, sparkle and warmth to the garden. The green wash is considered a 'cool colour' and it is the hot or warm colours that we need to paint the garden to make it look vibrant and invigorating. After about a year since we started digging and experimenting with our garden in Kuching, some positive results are showing up. My focus today is flowers of the red hue( fully saturated). Add a little white and the redness dissolves into more pink values (tints) and here I have planted a couple of species like the heliconia 'sassy pink', pink hibiscus and p…

Colourful hearts

I am pleasantly surprised to see the coleus plants parading their best colours today. It must have been the manure that I generously applied before I left for Bintulu two weeks ago that did the magic. Coleus (Solenostemon scutellariodes ) are known here as 'Ati- Ati ' derived from the Malay root word 'Hati- Hati' meaning hearts. I plant them for their gorgeously bright multi- coloured foliage. In our tropical evergreen environment where the green wash is an everyday occurrence, splashes of colours can be obtained by planting the coleus plants. Being herbaceous perennials ( i.e. they don't have woody stems above the ground) they are rather short-lived,maybe surviving for 1-3 years at the most. However they grow very fast and thus useful for 'instant' garden results. It is important to prune them head back after every flowering season for renewed growth and fresh new foliage thus creating showy masses of colours in the garden daily.

(Note: This is a re-posting…

View looking outside the garden

Above is the view looking outside the garden from the main gate.  The greenery outside has been achieved by planting trees.  The list of trees I planted outside at the open space area are as follows:-
1) Coconut trees 2) Ceylon Ironwood trees 2) Poui trees 3) Great Frangipani trees 4) Carpentaria palms

Reds in the garden


The garden during the March'16 Kuching escapade

( Note: For all posts during the March, 2016 escapade to Kuching, please follow this link ...>>> )

The Kambatik garden in Pink Deluxe

It is indeed a pleasure and beauty to the eyes to watch theIxora coccineabush flowering well at the front garden.  There are many varieties or cultivars of this species.  There are hardy flowering plants for the Laman Kambatik or the Malaysian garden.  The ixoras belong to the Coffee family (Rubiaceae) and they produce lots of berries.  The best thing a gardener could do is to just let the plant grow naturally without too much pruning or 'shaping' or 'boxing' it.  One species that should be grown in the Kambatik garden is the Ixora javanica because this species like the open sun, grows to a moderate human height and having brilliant orange as well as red flowers.  It is also easy to propagate from cuttings.  Check out more plants for the Kambatik garden belonging to the Coffee familyhere.

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ...>>>…

Checking out the wildlife

Came back to Kuching on the 29th of March ( the second time this month) for a short stay before embarking on a journey to KL.  Checking out the garden I noticed that the grounds are wet and this has been especially so for the last month.  It seemed that despite the drought in Peninsular states resulting in water shortage, Sarawak especially Kuching has had no similar nasty experience the first three months of the year. A short walkabout found the common wildlife are still there - birds, grasshoppers and dragonflies.  The Brown-throated Sunbird was seen piercing at the base of the Bignonia magnifica flower to have direct access to its nectar. The Chestnut Munia are easily spotted throughout the day as they busy making their homes in the garden especially at the bamboo clump.  Finally the typical Kuching bird - the Pied Triller was at the Tabebuia rosea tree perching briefly as if to greet me on my return.

A new butterfly drops by the garden

It was a very pleasant surprise this afternoon when I stumbled upon the Common Mormon.  It was seen flying about the garden in slow flight movements, which is typical of the species.  It hovered at the Yellow Ixora and moved about places to the heliconia leaves and many other plants in the garden.  When it decided to settle at the Cats Tails leaves for a brief rest a meter from where I stood, it spread out its wings to allow me a good photoshoot session.  The Common Mormon is a medium-sized 'swallow tail' with black wings.  Its hind wings have beautiful red marks  and a unique 'tail'. 

(Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ...>>> )

A Kambatik garden pyramid

I like to look at  a garden like viewing a pyramid.  At the bottom level is the architecture, another row up is the environmental sustainability and the very top of the pyramid is pleasure.  We start first by thinking from the basic building block of space planning, choice of texture, shapes and colours for these constitute the the architectural aspects of the garden.  Combining the contrasting leaves forms and textures help obtain a distinctive exotic and tropical image.  For instance, large or broad leaves can be combined with structural plants like palms.  The flowers and foliage can recreate the feelings or mood of change of seasons. Most importantly plant trees, trees and trees because trees are the urban lungs. Columns of biomass around our house provide better micro-climatic comfort and oxygen.  Without trees we have no future. Simple as that.   Next in the environmental sustainability come the important denizens of the garden, principally the wildlife from the lowly earthworms…

The maturing Kambatik garden

On this visit the garden looks luxurious, tropical and exotic.  Swaying palms, bamboo leaves, use of broad leaves, colours from flowers, climbers and sheaths of the Red Sealing Wax palm and tall trees help make the garden cool yet colourful.  The columns of greenery provides much sanctuary for wildlife especially the common garden birds here.
( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ....>>>> )

Kuching escapade

Back in Kuching city.  First things first.  The garden grasses, shrubbery, trees and vines are a bit overgrown.  More gardening work is envisaged.  The main thing is to tidy up the place for we gonna stay in Kuching a pretty while on this escapade.  Was pleasantly surprised to see the orchids flowering at the back garden.   This species will normally keep the flowers for about two months on the stalk.  Such brightness of colours are a welcome sight in any garden.  
Will be writing more about the Kuching garden soon.  Meantime enjoy the sunset from the garden.

Garden progress in 2015

Garden progress - 2015
For all the stories and pictures taken in 2015, to show the garden progress, please follow this link...>>>

Looking beyond the Kambatik garden

Occasionally we need to re-focus our sight.  Beyond the Kambatik garden (Malaysian garden defined) I see the distant hills, with bluish green cover.  Further still the mountain range seemed a formidable soft barrier of blue.  The expanse of sky and open air beyond reminds me of nature's kindness, giving life and hope in an encompassing universe that needs to be conserved for the future generation.  It prompts to ask 'What have you done to your country, if you say you love your country?'  Closer to home, I see the football fields and the green open spaces of the neighbourhood.  There are trees that adorn the streets and the fields.  It is a connected world.  The Kambatik home garden is but a tiny sanctuary in urban green lung.  The prime idea however is its role in the passageway of nature's big corridor of wildlife and the plant kingdoms we needed most to be alive and kicking.  We need to build home gardens to provide transit and temporary home to some of nature's …

Tidying up the garden

It has been a very healthy morning.  Been doing the grass cutting of the lawn.  One of the benefits of a good lawn when cut low is the by-product of the cutting operation  called clippings.  Here I re-cycle the clippings as mulch.  Nothing should go to waste.  It took me a good 30 minutes job to cut the grass with the mechanical bush cutter.  The clippings are swept with a rake and then placed around the bases of plants.  Only when I have excess clippings do I use them as burning material for burnt earth.  I am showing below the list of basic  equipments for this morning's grass cutting operation and garden maintenance works.  The list includes the bush cutter, rake, hoe, hand pruner, 'parang' (Malay to mean matchet),  basket, saw, ground chisel and safety spectacles or goggles.
( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link ...>>>> )

Outside looking in

It was magic when I stepped into the garden this morning.  Looking south from the car porch I saw columns of light mauve and pink washes.  The Poui tree (Tabebuia rosea or previously known as Tecoma pentaphylla ) has began to flower.  I am always excited to see this tree everywhere I travel around Sarawak.  This is because of an envelope I received from Singapore that contained the seeds of this tree and from which thousands more trees originated in Sarawak.  The link to the story is here   .  At this stage the tree is not yet in full flowering, probably in a day or so it will.  The large bell-shaped flowers may be white or pink  depending on the form.  'Tabebuaia rosea' when it is pink and 'Tabebuia alba' when white.  In any form the colours are pastel and impressionistic and touching to the soul because underneath the tree you can have party (picnic) and consume the beauty of nature and its enriching qualities. Try.

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and i…

How the years have gone by

( Note:  For full story and images of the garden from 2008 - 2014, please follow this link...>>> )

Gardening workout

One of the great fun of gardening is the exercise you get from doing some physical workout like cutting the grass, pruning leaves and branches, digging, sweeping the garden floor and burning the debris.  On this 49th trip to Kuching, we managed to clear a considerable portion of the garden.  One activity that is helpful in the clean-up is the burning of garden waste and debris for the preparation of burnt earth.  Burnt earth is a natural way to re-cycle garden waste to good use. A minimum two hours workout a day would be splendid for maintaining one's good health, something I treasure as we progress in life.

Belimbing fruits are starring

( Note: This is a re-posting from my gardening blog.  For full story and images please follow this link ...>>>> )

The Mango tree is fully harvested

At the side garden, the mango tree that bears hundreds of fruits are ready to be harvested.  I stripped the whole tree of fruits using a pole and a ladder.  I would bring most of them to Bintulu to be shared with family members and friends there.  Friends and relatives in Kuching have been given the fruits today.   It is the joy of sharing the mangoes that makes today meaningful and gratifying.  It is one of those moments in life when giving is done freely and heartily.

( Note: This is a re-posting.  For full story and images, please follow this link...>>> )