Friday, February 27, 2009

Tropical blooms

The days have been sunny and hot now in Dangiatrang and I feel reluctant to go outside for photos. But I haven't posted here for a few days already so I think I should check what are in blooms now.
First, one of the last two amaryllis bulbs I forced for flower is now having a scape. I don't know what color this bulb will bloom since the tag has been "stolen" by my dogs. It could be either be a white NOID or AB and I hope it will be white since it's hard to find white locally.

Next is the Mai flowers from a small tree I planted a few years ago. I intended to train this tree into a bonsai tree, but then I totally forgot it! Today, I spotted its golden blooms and felt so sorry that I hadn't paid any attention to it. Now I promise to myself that once the 'making-over' of my back yard is done with the workmen, I will repot this tree and nurse it carefully so that I will have more blooms by next Chinese NY.

Then my lavender waterlily. I planted this waterlily in a very big planter, with mud, about 6 or 7 years ago at least. The planter is so big that I couldn't do anything alone, and since we haven't got any garden-helper anymore, I just let it be! Faithfully, the plant blooms regularly for me although the bloom is not big and comes but one at a time! Again, I promise myself I will get help to change the mud in this planter for the waterlily.

And finally, my adenium and bougainvillas. Oh mine, they definitely are sun-lovers! They are now showing their most beautiful, brillant blooms, since the last rainy season.

I know I should keep my promise to repot those plants. They look too beautiful to ignore!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dreaming my life away!

I have nothing new in the garden to talk about so I just spent time looking at other people's blogs to get ideas for my own. And the more I looked, the more I felt that I haven't achieved anything in my so-called gardens!

I haven't got a theme, I haven't got any good-looking plant combinations, I haven't even got a decent single plant/flower that was worth praising! What have I done all these time in my gardens???

For one thing, the "tropical" garden we have at Dangiatrang is to big for me to manage at this day and age. We have numerous palm trees and big shade trees, a big patch of lawn in the front yard. In the back yard, we have a tiled patio where I have several containers. But poor me, the containers are all too big for me to work with now (we no longer have helping hands around!) so that we all cry for re-potting! Then on the side yard, we have a shade house where I keep my orchids and hoyas and some other plants that must be shielded from sun. And ... I could never find it pleasant enough to work in any of these "gardens": it's either too hot, too much mosquitoes, or simply... I didn't know where to start from now that I have ignored these "gardens" for as long as 3 years!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My new container of petunias

Went to the market the other day and got tempted into buying some healthy petunias. I put them in a container so that my neighbor can water them properly in this scorching sun.

I love petunias with their brillant colors. When we first have Tuysonvien, I planted some petunias in the planter, beneath the azelea and along our back patio. They grew well and bloomed a lot. But they soon lost their glory. I didn't know that they were 'annual' and have to be replaced every season!

When I was in WCR, I had a beautiful container of petunia planted with other plants. All looked very wonderful but soon the petunia started having cartepillars! Yak! I had to remove the petunia to save the other healthy plants.

Then I left WCR and all the beautiful plants behind, although I managed to cram many of them in my luggage to bring back!
Still in love with petunias. I definitely will try to make some good potting soil to have them in hanging baskets every season!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Update on the daylily seeds

I checked the glass of seeds this morning and found that the root on #3 (Little Greenie) has grown quite a bit and has made its way into the water beneath the rocks.

And yooohooo, I have two more germinations #3, two on #5 (Hamlet) and one on #2 (Chicago Apache)! Yayyyy!!!!!

That brings up six germinations in all.
#2 - Chicago Apache - one sprout
#3 - Little Greenie - three sprouts
#5 - Hamlet - two sprouts
Wow! Maybe I should start the seeds I got from Jodi and Chaz as well.
Yoohooo... I'm going to have beautiful daylilies soooooooooon!
Nothing on the 3 others, yet?
But I'm leaving today to go back to Saigon! I must see a friend from Singaporegreenculture forum to hand him the succulents I bought for him. Maybe I should return here sooner than one week's time to attend to these little sprouts before we go on our vacation in March.
In time like this when my plants need me, I wish I didn't have to go anywhere else!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home made orchid bark chips

I've found my orchids, especially cymbidiums, really like to be potted in pine bark chips. They bloomed beautifully for me this season. That has encouraged me to make more pine bark chips for them.
I often found "raw" pine barks along roadside where huge pine logs were being kept before they got to the lumber yards. I've got several bags full of aged pine barks hauled home from places around Tuysonvien. This is how the raw barks look like.

I use these tools to screen the chopped barks: a big bamboo basket for big size, and two plastic baskets for medium and small size chips.

Plus a chopping log and a big chopping knife.

After the barks have been chopped, I use those baskets to screen them into different sizes: big, medium, and fine. The biggest pieces are for my cymbidiums.

The medium pieces are for my paphiopedilum and other tender-rooted orchids. (They look about the same size in the photo, but actually, the medium is much smaller, and thinner, than the big - of course!)

And here're the fine pices, for use in container soil mix.

The left over "dirt" will be added to the garden beds.

Before using the chips, I will soak them in bleach water overnight and rinse through several times until water becomes clear.
All will be made use of; to make my plants happy and to save the environment from waste.


Oh boy, oh boy... that is it! I have one sprout from the daylily seeds from Annette!
This is my set up.

This morning, I checked the glasses and sure enough, one of the seeds from #3 have sprouted! Maybe it did yesterday but I was too busy working outside, I didn't see.

Oh my, oh my... I'm going to be a pround daylily mom! Now I will look to see what #3 looks like.
And, I need to check to see what to do next after the seed sprouting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Working the garden beds

I need a pat on the back!
For the past two days, I have been weeding, grooming, and fertilizing the flower beds in the front yard.

My neighbor gave me this load of compost to add to the vegetable patches in the back yard (which she started for me last summer), but I "sneaked off" and used a large portion of it on my flowers in the front yard!

Then I did a big thing today - turning-up the soil in the peach-tree bed (boy, look at that garden folk - it was heavy by itself not to say with soil at the end!).

Now the bed was ready to be worked in with sand and compost. Hubby has bought me a truck-load of sand but I have some reservations with this "sand" because it's not river sand; it's a by-product of the quarry - it looked more like pea gravels! So I don't know whether it will do any harm to the soil. I think I will try on a small patch first.

After that, I would go to the roadside nearby and get some dirt there to top dress the rest of this peach-tree bed. I've noticed some nice-looking dirt along the road when walking Biam the other day.
Then when it's done with the front yard, I will start work in the patio bed and the vegetable beds in the back yard. Oh, it's a lot of work for me this week. All that will probably take me up to the end of the week when I will be back to Dangiatrang!
Update on the daylily seeds: It looks like I don't have much luck with the daylily seeds! Although some of the seeds have "cracked" their skin, I don't see any "sprout" yet!

Update photo of the peach-tree bed, this morning 2/19.

It sure looks very much different!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Me and my gardening gadgets

Kris (Melissa) suggested I "model my chapeau"... so here I am clad in the gardening tools I talked about in the other entry.

How do I look, Kris? Am I how you imagine to be?
The photo didn't come out good enough because it was quite cloudy. But maybe it was better that way... as I looked much nicer in the dim light... LOL!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The symbol of Spring!

Back to Tuysonvien this week I found my two peach trees looking prettier than ever. There were still many blossoms on the branches and together with the new growths, the whole tree looked spectacular!

In early morning, you could see the blossoms bathed in dew.

Looking through the branches, you could see the mountains in the distance.

And closer by is a view of our sweet home!

It was a calm spring morning, when you could hear the robins chipping all around you. Oh, so peaceful!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daylily seeds

I meant to start the daylily seeds that I received from Annette many times but could not do so because I didn't want to leave them unattended before their sprouting. This week, back to Tuysonvien, I intended to stay up to as long as two weeks in order to carry out this project!
So today I set out to start the daylily seeds after storing them in the fridge for about 3 months. I don't know if this is a long time for the seeds to stay in the fridge, but I guess since the seeds would stay in the ground in the garden all winter until spring, this period of time in the fridge could be all right for them. Will know if and when they sprout for me.
I used the "Rocks Method" but didn't have Dixie clear plastic cup with cover so I had to use drinking glass and cling-wrap for cover. Here's what my glasses of seeds look like. They will go up the windowsill after this.

My prayers for these seeds to sprout. Even one or two germinations would be great for me since these daylily is non-existence in here.
Oh my, how impatiently I am waiting to see signs of green in these glass!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My new garden gatgets!

I just received these from our elder daughter.

Our younger daughter also got me a "garden hat". Now that's a pretty combo!

I really enjoy having these trendy "tools" not because they're useful but they're from our daughters. Thank you, girls!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Apple blossom in full bloom

My Apple blossom hippeastrum has been blooming for 4 days now. Today the very last bud has opened and the whole plant is in a perfect form with all four blooms facing directly opposite one another! I love it so much.

I have noticed that the later blooms don't look as pink as the first ones. Perhaps there's not enough light indoors, which means I should have left the plant outside. But I wanted to have the plant inside so that I can enjoy the blooms all day. Unfortunately, there's no other location inside that has more light than the one it is in now, except at the kitchen sink!

I have noticed also that Apple blossom doesn't produce offsprings easily. Maybe after this flowering season I will need to plant the bulb in the garden. But I must prepare the bulb bed first. That will be my garden project next week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Our Biam = A Tibetan Spaniel

It has never been an issue to us as to what breed our dogs belong to although we have a number of dogs including German shepherd, Phú Quốc (A special Vietnamese breed), "common dogs" as well as toy dogs. And we love them all equally no matter if one is "a royal" and the other "a tramp"!
But it's so lucky that we seem to get an ID for Biam when a member from the Amaryllis forum identified him as "Tibetan Spaniel"! Whoa... we don't know what Vietnamese people refer to Tibetan Spaniels as but we are calling him Cu Tí and his health booklet bears the name of Biam!
According to the online dictionay Wikipedia, Tibetan spaniel is assertive, small, intelligent a small dog, happy, active, very intelligent and alert to strangers, brown eyes and black nose, a soft coat and feathery tail curling on the back... That sounds like a very good looking dog!
This is a photo of our Biam. Doesn't he look adorable?

Actually, Biam is very active. He likes to play all the time and "fetching" is his favorite game. He would play that game all day without getting tired! But we do, playing with him!
Check the link to his video here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My succulents

I love succulents and keep a few of them in my plant collection, from sedum to echeveria to jade. I think these plants are lovely, not to mention that they don't require much TLC to grow well. I planted them in dish as well as individual pots, hanging baskets, and in ground, too.

This is my very first succulent dish. I was quite reluctant at first to plant succulents in a dish since many folks on GW forum warned that they might rot due to different water needs. So I tried to select plants with similar needs to put together. So far my plants stay very healthy and have bloomed a couple of times already too. That has given me some courage and I might try some more dish later.

This is my "jelly-bean" sedum. This plant was kept first in my shade house then brought inside to take up a place on my mantle piece. At that time it looked quite green. Then some folks on GW advised placing it outside in the sun so that it wouldn't grow lankily. I did... and then the plant turned a darker color but the "lankyness" still exists. Here's how looked a week after being outside.

Then this succulent, whose bloom looks like a 'medal' and smells like fish! A good nursery lady gave it to me for free! I didn't know its name until a member on GCS forum identified it as Stapelia variegata.

Another NOID sedum.
And lastly are my hanging basket Xmas cacti and Donkey tail.

Anyway, I really like succulents and I'm planning to make a special bed for them in my garden.