Friday, February 26, 2010

From my morning coffee patio

We always like to have our morning coffee at the patio outside our kitchen. The weather in Dalat can sometimes be cold, especially in early morning, but it doesn't stop us from sitting at these chairs, sipping the hot coffee every morning when we are up here.

From here, we can see the pine trees on the hills beyond our place.

On dewy mornings, the whole area seems surreal.

We just love it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring flowers in my home

I particularly like to decorate my home with potted plants I grow. During Lunar New Year, I have several pots of blooms to enjoy.
In this corner are the hippeastrums and anthuriums. The hippeastrums bloom for me regularly each season, but the anthuriums bloom all the year round.

And in this corner are the phalaenopsis and paphiopedilums. I'm so blessed with the right climate for orchids that these plants also re-bloom for me every year.

Sitting stately on the coffee table is a species dendrobium whose correct ID I don't have.

And last but not least is a pot full of miltonia blooms given me by a younger friend. I've come to notice that the miltonia blooms give off very sweet fragrance especially when they are fully open. Great!

Actually, I have more flowers than visitors in my living room!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lunar New Year in Vietnam

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in Vietnam, just like Christmas-New Year in the west. It's the time for remembrance of one's ancestors, for celebration, for contemplation. This year the LNY falls on February 14th.
Every Vietnamese household has been preparing for this festive occasion for the last several days. Ours has been the same. I have cleaned out our home (to some extent only..) and prepared some traditional food for us.

Together with the traditional food, there're "traditional" flowers for LNY too. For the folks in the South, the "Mai" plant is a must as it blooms once a year during this season. For the folks in the North, the Peach tree serves the same purpose.

Our "Mai" tree "mis-calculated" the season because 2009 was a leap year with two "Mays" so it bloomed almost a month ago. Now we don't have one for our home. I have made it up with an azeala and some other houseplants.
On New Year Eve, we went out for the count-down fireworks. We had some drinks and food, and at 00:00 sharp, the fireworks started. We were watching from a hotel terrace and the view was spectacular - in our standards, of course. Everyone around us was happy to be there at the moment the new year arrived.

We got back home around 2am, tired and sleepy, but very happy because we have had a wonderful time together.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New amaryllis cross

This amaryllis is grown from seeds given to me by a friend, Ann, from Florida in summer 2007. I started the seeds when I was still in the US and brought the seedlings back to VN. This season, after about 2.5 years, it is producing a scape with two blooms and several off-springs.
I'm so happy since this is a brand new color to add to my collection of amaryllis. I just love its delicate peachy hue. Looks yummy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My planters in blooms

I plant both in the garden and in containers. But until recently, I didn't have much success with annuals/perennials in containers. I guess I didn't know how to combine plants so that one might take way off leaving the others way behind.
But I'm very happy with these planters now.

Don't you think they look cheerful?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Miltonia orchids

Though I don't particularly like miltonias, I was inclined to buy myself two plants as I couldn't resist the seller's inducement to purchase! I sure have a soft heart for plants, I guess.
This plant was bought before CNY last year. I was lured by its sweet scent.

This season it rebloomed; however, the scent disappeared. I really don't know why.

Then I got the second plant some time after the CNY, on a discount. This plant was rather "showy" in its pattern but, again, I got lured by its price. It is now reblooming.

Recently I was given two more miltonias by a friend. She complained that she couldn't grow them as well as I could. When I repotted them two days ago, I understood why the plants didn't grow well at the friend's: they seemed not to like the medium they were in.
So I changed their medium to pine bark, which I have been using for the other two miltonias. Now they are in convalescence on the windowsill.

I hope they will bloom for me next CNY.