Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới all my friends, near and far!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Red Lion phase two

Oh ah... my RL is becoming increasingly beautiful with its deep red color, the color of Tet - of luck and happiness!

Today, the two blooms on the first scape have fully opened and the two buds on the second scape are about to follow suit, making me so so happy!

The plant is looking prettier everyday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Orange Sovereign & Red Lion

I started to collect amaryllis bulbs about a year ago but it was hard to get different varieties other than reds. Friends from the AmarrylisHippeastrum forum on GW have kindly sent me seedlings and seeds to increase my collection. This holiday season I forced these two bulbs to bloom. I hope my other bulbs will follow soon.
A while back I had an entry about the Orange Sovereign bulb I got from Edna. Today, my second bulb - Red Lion - has sent out its first bloom. The color is rather deep red and when placed beside the OS, you can clearly see the difference!
Here're my two beauties.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My beautiful tillandsias

I got a small collection of tillandsias from a member of the Greenculturesingapore forum last November. I came to love tillandsias when I suddenly realized how beautiful they looked mounted on driftwood.
Back in 2005, someone gave us a Tillandsia Bulbosa. At that time neither the giver nor us knew it was a tillandsia (air plant), so I justed treated it as an "orchid", i.e. I planted it in orchid mix and watered as I would my orchids. It did not grow well but it did not die, either. Moreover, it bloomed (I never got to see the blooms, though, because I didn't pay enough attention!) and produced two pups. Still it survived all by itself!
Then I moved it up to Tuysonvien and posted a photo of it when the two pups started blooming. I got replies from members of the GCS forum that it was a tillandsia bulbosa! And from that instant, I got more interested in this kind of plants!

Since tillandsias were not readily available in Vietnam, I had to order 10 plants from Singapore to start my collection. I also joined GCS to learn more how to take care of them properly. Now my plants are showing signs that they're happy being in my care - some of them have acquired a beautiful reddish/purplish hue for being in the sun.
Oh, how I love these little beauties! I can't help looking at them every day although my neighbor once commented: they looked so "bare"! Well, I guess, opinions are different especially when related to beauty!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another new orchid - Miltonia

Went plant shopping yesterday and a Miltonia followed me home!
Miltonia was not my favorite orchid due to its "showy" blooms. I tend not to like orchids with showy blooms, like Cattleya or Vanda, so for a long time I never bought any of these, unlike I was gifted! (Who could resist a free orchid anyway!)
But yesterday I was fascinated by the sweet fragrance of this particular Miltonia. So, eventho the plant had only one stalk with 4 blooms in their final days, I bought it! Now I have to learn to take care of Miltonia, hoping that it will reward me with more blooms next season.
Oh boy, with this rate of purchase, I might end up getting broke real soon!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My new cymbidium

I bought a new cymbidium from a friend today. Again, it's a NOID.
The plant has been exposed to too much sun so the leaves looked pale. But it was having 3 spikes and I like the color of the bloom so just for a mere $10, I got it.

When I got it home, I decided to repot it into new medium and a new pot. I found its roots to be quite good but they were going downhill and soon would rot if not repotted promptly enough. Anyway, it took me nearly an hour to unpot the plant, remove all the old medium and wash the roots. (Not many roots clung to the medium, however?!)
I used to be afraid that repotting a plant in bloom would make its buds blast or the blooms wilt, but no! I did it a couple of times in the past, first due to ignorance, but nothing happened to the initiating spikes. So I was very confident to go ahead with this cym.
After removing all the old medium, it was too late to pot it up, so I wrapped the roots up to keep them from drying. Meanwhile I put the pine bark I prepared in water to soak overnight.

New entry: Jan 13

This morning, I potted the plant. The new medium were soaked through and looked good. I had a little difficulty getting all the roots into the pot and though the pot could hold all the roots, it didn't leave much room for potting medium.

Anyway, I tried to cramp in as much medium as I could. After each filling with the medium, I picked up the pot and pounded it against the floor many times so that the medium could get further down, filling the openings in the root mess. I did that a number of times and this is how my new cym looks, after repotting.

This cym is not going to be watered again for the next two week 'cause I'm going to bring it inside. I hope during that time, the roots would heal off any wounds and when I'm up to Tuysonvien again after two weeks, it would be able to take in normal watering.
And I hope the blooms will stay put to greet me New Year, too!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It looks like Spring!

It's not sunny, not rainny,
just a light breeze
to stir my memory!
Don't know who those verses (in Vietnamese) belong to but I have known them by heart since my maiden days. And whenever the weather is like what we're having these days, I like to murmur the verses to myself eventhough I don't miss anyone! I'm being 'romantic', ain't I?!?!
Hubby's "mai" bonsai tree has produced a nice bloom this morning. What a good thing I didn't try to strip all the leaves earlier on to induce blooms; otherwise, we might not have "mai" blooms for Tet even if we celebrate Tet one day earlier in our home! Sometime I think our marriage is a perfect harmony of the "impulsiveness" of mine and the "thoughfulness" of his. We complement each other nicely, don't we?!?!

My OS hippeastrum is showing its vigor in having 4 blooms on the second scape. But the blooms are not open yet. Maybe they will tomorrow, or later today.

The RL hippeastrum is still developing its scapes slowly. I have moved it to a sunnier place to help the scapes grow faster, hoping to have blooms ontime for Tet.
In the kitchen, my pot of pickled veggies is turning a nice, golden hue with a crispy taste that makes me wanting to cook some pork stew to go with it, like we usually have for Tet!

It seems Spring is screeping into my garden and my kitchen!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year Day at Tuysonvien - Translated from the Vietnamese post

I made this post in Vietnamese on Jan 1. Since some friends from GW have shown great interest in the landscape around Tuysonvien, I thought I should translate that post into English so they can read what I wrote about those two landscape photos.

"Today's the first day of the new year, it's dry but very windy! The vegetable fields on the other side of the valley have passed their harvest time so no one was seen working there.

There're not many homesteads around here, not many inhabitants, not much traffic so even if it's holiday or weekend, life is calm. If there wasn't for the light breeze to wave the plants, one could think it's a still-life painting!

To me, it's paradise on earth!"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Me, my family, and my plants

It's funny, I feel more comfortable talking about personal stuffs in English than in Vietnamese. When I speak/write in English, I assume myself among "westerners" who could be more tolerant to others and so I feel "freer" to express myself!
I just started this English page this morning, thanks to the help of a member of the Cottage Forum on GardenWeb. I have wanted to write in English, too, but I didn't want to have a different blog and then have everything mixed up! But this "extra page thing" is quite neat, it just gives me the right tool to realize my wants!
Ok, a bit about myself.
I'm now a retiree (correct word?). I used to be an English teacher at college, then a freelance management trainer. (But sometime a non-native English teacher can make stupid mistakes in word choice and grammar, too. So please excuse me if you come across language errors!) I have retired completely from work since June 2008. Now I spend almost all my time at home, taking care of my husband, my 4 dogs, and a bunch of plants!
I got married to my husband in 1971 when we were still at college! We have 2 daughters, both are married now, but haven't got any grandchildren yet! (Wish that could be soon, though!) Here's a photo of me and hubby.

I started gardening when we moved into our main home in Thu Duc, Saigon, Vietnam in 1994.

I also have another home in Tuyson, Dalat where I can grow many cool regions plants, too. (We named our place in Dalat Tuysonvien, which is also the name of my blog!)

My gardening experience was kind like hit-or-miss until I found GardenWeb in 2005. I've learned many things through the various forums on that great web site. I've also made many friends the world over!
I grow many different kinds of plants, from orchids, to hoyas, to tillandsias, to annuals and perennials. I'm still learning my ways but I'm happy that my plants are thriving.
Many people who know me around here often ask if I feel bored not working full time any more! Well, no, not a bit. On the contrary, I'm now enjoying my life to the fullest, thanks to the Internet and thanks to my plants!

Edna's hippeastrum thru the years

This hippastrum is very special to me in many ways.
Firstly, it was given to me by Edna, a friend I know via Garden Web only to find out later that she was living right in the same city where our daughter was then: Walnut Creek, California!
Secondly, this hippeastrum has started another new "addiction" of mine in plants! At Christmas time 2006, I was there looking after my daughter's home and pet dog while she was visiting her hubby in 'Nam. So, literally I was "home alone" and the plant really kept me company.

When I returned home in Summer 2007, I brought the bulb back. I've learnt to force hippeastrum to bloom for the holidays, so I did with the bulb. And in Christmas 2007, I had some blooms from the plant.

This year, again, the plant gives out beautiful blooms to greet the New Year! It grows stronger every year as does our friendship!

Thanks, Edna. I always remember you!

My phal revives!

It's ok now, the phal that I had cut all the roots to make the "neck" shorter has finally grown some new roots! All I have to do now is to nurse it back to full life and bloom. Perhaps it might take a year, but what's the heck!
This is the 911 phal! When I first rescued it, although it looked quite lust, the leaves were suffering from something so that it looked like dehydrated. But it had very good root system - there were so many roots that the stem was pushed way up the pot.

After it'd done blooming, I cut off all the roots, although they were quite healthy (!) so that I could lower the stem to create balance as well as to help it get a new start. For the past few months, I hung it at my kitchen window and carefully watched it. Just yesterday, I found it has grown new roots! Wow... I feel so happy for having rescued this plant!

As always, patience is the key!
PS: Thanks to Kris for helping me create this page in English so that I can share my garden "talks" with friends.