Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I have been so busy lately with a family wedding and several visitors so I could not find time to blog. This is a quick note to say Happy New Year to all my friends, near and far.
It has been a great year having your regular visits to my blog. I truly appreciate your taking time to read and give comments. Although most of the time I'm alone in my little corner of the universe, I don't feel lonely for I have your friendship just a click away.
The weather has been nice here but I know to many of you, it's snow everywhere. Here's a photo of the first blooms on my "cheery blossom" tree, which I grow from seed, to wish you the best of everything for the coming year 2010!

Again, thank you very much for being my great friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Under the overcast sky

This morning the sun doesn't want to get up and the wind stops blowing, it's cold!
After several days having morning and afternoon showers, the plants in Tuysonvien all look greener and more beautiful under the overcast sky.
Beyond the Peach tree bed, the hills on the other side seem to be more "romantic".

My daylilies are all tidy showing their green alongside the cosmos that I planted at the beginning of December.

The wild rose on the arbor has grown quite fast and now there are several clusters of bud and bloom. I hope when the rainy season comes, it will grow even faster and the whole arbor will be covered with blooms.

On this side of the yard the balsams that I planted three weeks ago are looking prettier thanks to the background of the "lizard" ivy-covered retaining wall.

On the back deck, the neos are enjoying the fresh air after being moved out of the shade house.

And lastly, the plants, in the new planter that I've put together two days ago to celebrate New Year, are gaining their life back.

Lovely day, lovely plants!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
(Click on the title for the music)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Colors of the garden

The dry season has definitely arrived. Farmers around Tuysonvien have changed from vegetable to flower planting. The fields on the other side of the hill waiting to be tilled for new crops look quite bare.

On this side, plants in my garden are not looking good although I have been watering them twice a day these days. Nevertheless, there're still some blooms around to cheer me up.

Really, I don't like the dry season!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Inside blooms

It's the orchid season at Tuy Son Vien. This week I'm having several blooming orchids in my living room.

I'm blessed with a favorable climate for orchids. I enjoy them a lot!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New hoya blooms

My Hoya mekongensis (or ssp. carnosa?) is blooming again. It's second time this year.

The plant is a vigorous grower, sending out new vines every where. Last year, I repotted it into a "free standing" pot and intended to keep in inside all the time. But it didn't like to be inside, so I had to move it back out into the shade house.
With all the vines, the plant doesn't look good in its pot any more. Maybe I will have to pot it again, providing a sturdy trellis for it to grow on.
Though the plant doesn't have nice perfume, its blooms are really eye-catching because they are quite large.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Moving house

Not for me, of course. It is for my nepenthes Ventrata.
This plant was placed on top of the table, on our backyard deck. During the rainy season, it was growing and producing pitchers like mad.
Now that there's no more rain, the air is less humid, this location is no longer ideal, the plant must be moved to some other places with higher humidity.
This is its new home - under a fruit tree which I don't know the name of. It is surrounded by other plants, so hopefully it will feel cooler and better.

And especially, I won't have to feed it with ants by hand anymore since there is a lonony of ants on the fruit tree to supply food automatically!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dalat poinsettias

When I was in the US two years ago, I didn't see any poinsettia "trees". What I saw was small poinsettia "plants", potted up for holiday decorations.
In Dalat, poinsettias are grown in the garden, more often at the property fence. This is what I saw the other day.

And here's my poinsettia tree, in Tuysonvien.

Christmas is coming near, isn't it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Flower chair

I have always wanted an old, broken chair to use as a plant stand in the garden. Now I have it.
These are the final products of this morning's labor of hubby's and mine.
The flower-chair, mine.

The air-plant mount, his.

I'm glad our coffee break this morning turned out so beautifully!

Monday, November 23, 2009

An easy self-seeder - Torenria

Back in early September, I had the backyard garden re-do. Just a few weeks afterwards, I spotted numerous torenia seedlings growing all over the deck. Hubby and I spent our morning coffee breaks re-planting the seedlings to cover the bare patches of soil at the base of other trees.
This week, these torenia plants are blooming cheerfully.

I remembered buying two baskets of them, one dark violet and one pink, more than 10 years ago. After many seasons of self-seeding, now I noticed there are four different colors.
A dark violet with purple center.

A dark violet with off-white center.

A lavender with off-white center.

And a pink with white center.

Don't you think they look pretty?

They are so easy to care for, in fact, they just need some water. And they self-seed so voluntarily, too. What else would you look for in a ground cover?

Friday, November 20, 2009

My flowers this week

I have been working in my garden preparing my flower beds for Xmas and New Year. All is done so I spent some time photographing my flowers.
This is a planter full of "discarded" plants. These plants were pulled off somewhere in my garden and put there because I didn't have the heart to throw them away. Sometime ago, I top-dressed the planter with some compost and look at how the plants reacted.

My hoya pubicalyx blooms again. I just love its smell.

And here's one of my roses. I like this one best because it's a faithful bloomer for me.

Finally, a new pot of petunia which I bought last week. I want to use it as a source for propagation. Next time when I'm back up to Tuysonvien, I will try to propagate it.

Will see if I succeed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Our trip to the Mekong Delta

Last week we travelled down to the Mekong Delta. Biam was also allowed to come along as we couldn't find anyone to take care of him for a few days. He took the trip much better than most other times he were in the car with us. Perhaps he's got used to our car now.
Back in 2000 I often came down to Hòn Chông, a remote seaside place in Kiên Giang Province, to conduct training. Hòn Chông is the home of a Swiss-Vietnamese cement joint-venture as limestone mounts are abundant in the area. I liked the place and thought of having our second home there, instead of Tuysonvien, because it was so peaceful.
Nine years later and although there were more inhabitants, more houses, more shops... what I liked most - the beach ... was still very deserted, very quiet.

Should the distance be shorter to Ho Chi Minh city, Hòn Chông beach would be very popular with foreigners who wants to "get-away-from-it-all".
On the way to Hòn Chông, we stopped at Hà Tiên for dinner. Hà Tiên is on the border with Cambodia, so it actually is the western-most city of Vietnam. It was founded by Mạc Cửu, a Chinese refugee way back in the early 18th Century. Now we can see his statue on the entrance to the city.

Biam was very curious about the place and just wanted to run so my husband had to hold him tight.

When we were walking along Mũi Nai beach in Hà Tiên area, the sun was about setting so it reminded me of Lake Travis when, for the first time, I watched how the sun sunk into the water. It was very spectacular!

We went back up to Ho Chi Minh city via another route. This time we were driving along a canal, not knowing that it was Vĩnh Tế Canal, a very famous man-made waterway that every Vietnamese knows from their geography lessons.

The canal runs parallelly to the road we were travelling all the way up to Tịnh Biên, where there is another border-crossing to Cambodia.

The trip was well-worth our time. I'm looking to explore other regions of Vietnam next.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Typhoon again!

Our coast got hit again with Mirinae. Although the storm wasn't very strong, it caused so much rain that many of the provinces along the coast are now in deep flood. People and animals are being affected badly.

This is the 11th typhoons that hit Vietnam since the beginning of the typhoon season. I'm praying that there will be no more to come!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Budding up for the holidays

My holiday cacti are budding up. These are new cultivars which I grow from segments.

I'm all ready for the holiday season.