Thursday, April 30, 2009

This is how the artichoke look

My friend, Kris, asked how the artichoke would look when it is fully opened. This week when I'm back to Tuysonvien, the plant has already been wilting. But the flower heads were still in good shape.
I took this photo to show Kris how the bloom would look. It does look pretty, doesn't it? I think it is among the few blooms that are huge. It measures almost a foot across.

Not many people let their plants come to this stage. They would cut the blooming heads just a few days after they started to bloom, for cooking. But I didn't intend to use the plant as food so I let it be.
My next task now is to clear the plant and nurse the new seedlings that are coming up for next year's show.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My tillandsias mounted on driftwood

I've always liked to mount my tillandsias onto a piece of driftwood but the tilly pro from whom I bought them warned of the wood getting rotted. So for the past several months I hung them outside, using stainless steel 'coffee-stirrers' as hangers!Then I checked with people on the Bromeliad forum on GW and been advised that "we won't live that long to see driftwood rot"! That gave me courage to go ahead with my plan.
Yesterday, I managed to attach all my 10 tillies onto the driftwood which my husband had made into a "stand" (it looked more like a 'gun' to me!).Now the tilly-stand is being hung on the frangipani tree to get all the rain and sun the plants would need to grow enough roots to attache themselves to the wood.They have grown quite a bit since coming into my possession, proving that they like the growing conditions I give them. It would certainly be a waste if these wonderful little plants are left outside, all by themselves, all the time.
Now, with them mounted on the driftwood, I will be able to bring them inside every once in a while to enjoy their beauty and then return them to their "nursery" outside.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New planters ready

I found these two terra-cotta planters laying around in my 'hot' garden and thought they would be nice getting planted.
So I cleaned them out to get them ready for taking up to Tuysonvien where I hope to make good use of them.What kind of plants do you think they would look nice in?
I placed a pot of 'wishbone' in to see how it would look. I'm thinking of filling them with "blue" blooms.
I'm crazy about theme-colored container gardens but could never have made one. Maybe this time will be it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Now that the rain is here

Now that the rain is here, everything in my gardens looks greener and more vibrant. And some have come into their peak blooming season, like the Rangoon creeper vine and the agapanthus.
Others - roses, hydrangeas, fuchsias, daisies, cosmos...- are year-round bloomers here, but they are more lovely when the rain comes.
These are the "wild" roses that I grow from cuttings. People here use the "wild" roses as the source for grafting of hybrid roses, but I didn't know how to graft so I let them grow as they wish. These roses are quite perfumed and bloom the year round. I don't prune them much, except for a few branches that get into the way. Friends visiting at my home would get the rose petals extract to wash their face with!
These rose below is a "hybrid", but I don't know its names. It's not as "easy" as those wild but it has stayed for three years now and bloomed regularly, too. I sure like its dark red color.

Fuchsias are very easy for me, I grow them from cuttings. It normally takes about a week for them to root, in soil or in water. They keep growing tall and become lanky so that I want to prune them back... But my husband insists on letting them as they are! My husband is 'funny' in ways that he never wants to prune anything!
Shasta daisies multiplies like mad and cosmos self-seeds everywhere in my garden! I use them as cut flowers when I have visitors staying at Tuysonvien.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


This photo shows the east side of my home and the upper part of the retaining rock wall after I have cleared it off the weeds which seemed to have invaded my garden during the last dry season. Now, after a few rains, the soil has become soft enough for me to pull them up easily. So I did!

I started, thinking I would only do a small patch. But then I ended up pulling all those ugly-looking weeds in the "sunken yard", in the openings between the rocks on the retaining wall, and the sloping side yard. Now my whole body ached!

We have an electric-operated grass-cutter, but only my husband can use it. And he is seldom here! So this was all I could do the last two days!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Foggy morning

My place is often surrounded by fog. And on rainy days, the fog tends to be heavier and lingers longer on the ground.
It rained last night and the fog this morning was heavy and stayed until as late as 8am.

The view beyond the mountains on the other side of the hill always looks spectacular in the fog.

On mornings like this, I don't want to do anything but stand still, trying to capture the sight. It's so lovely, so peaceful!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My heart is broken!

In a previous post I talked about cross pollinating my amaryllis. This morning when I'm up here, this is what I found.

Obviously, two of the three attempts have resulted in seed pods, although the third one - Baby star x Royal velvet - has failed.

But perhaps the strong wind and rain last night has knocked down the pot and broke the stalk. In trying to save the seed pods, I've put the broken stalk with seed pods in a glass of water with a little sugar added. Let's wait and see what will happen.

If only the wind hadn't blown! Now I have to wait another year to try again!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My pretty agapanthus

Yes, it's my pretty agapanthus row again! The plants have come into full bloom and it's hard not to share!

I have two colors: blue and white. I'm dreaming of expanding my garden with these plants. They're such forgiving of neglect and yet bloom so vigorously when the time come. Imagine the whole lot of Tuysonvien would be covered with blue and white blooms in late Spring. What a spectacular sight!

Agapanthus can be propagated by dividing and sowing seeds. I have a few "volunteers" in my front yard.

They can make not only a good show in the garden but as cut flower in the home, as well. In the past, Dalat people didn't care much about the plant; they planted it along property fence or walk ways. Nowadays, they have cultivated it for cut flowers. Each bloom stalk is sold for 3000 dong (about US$0.20) at the market. Visitors from outside Dalat often buy the blooms only to find they won't last more than a day elsewhere! But who could resist such pretty-looking blooms?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An interesting succulent - the string of hearts

String-of-hearts is an interesting plant/vine that is so easy to grow. I got only a small piece of cutting last year and now it has almost filled the pot.

The plant got its name thanks to the heart-like shape of its leaves. It also produces a ball-shape tubers, from which new vines will grow.

String-of-hearts belongs to the Ceropegia family. This is my plant, now flowering. Click here for more information of this interesting succulent.


I like the shape of the artichoke plant so much that when I saw my neighbor growing one, I couldn't help but begged for a seedling. Then the seedling came and I planted it in my veggies patch last summer.

This year, it produced five huge blooms!

Artichoke can only be grown in Dalat and it's considered one of those "specialties" of this region. It's said that the plant can help purify the blood, doing good to the liver, and as such can also beautify one's skin.

People here make use of the whole plant: the blooms and the stalks are used for cooking, the leaves and the stems, and even the roots, are used to make tea.

I grow my plant for enjoyment only. It looks good when not in bloom but also looks good when in bloom, too. These blooms have been on the plant for almost a month now but I don't want to cut off. They are so huge, so healthy looking.
But as with other plants producing blooms on the growing tips, this artichoke will soon finish off its life cycle and other pups will replace the mother plant.