Friday, December 24, 2010

Small stream

The stream meandering at Zone E and showing better flow after the clearing works.

Today it rained light over the farm and thus I was able to brave the rain for a short but important task. At around 3.00 pm I decided to widen the stream, clear the sides of roots and debris ( twigs, silt) in order to improve the flow. I was working in light rain because I wanted to see those bends and corners of the stream that hold on the traffic flow. I took me about three hours of raw power to finish the job. I was happy to note how the stream improved tremendously once the debris were cleared and the sides widened. The area that I focused today was at Zone D and E. The above picture shows the stream as it meanders a section of the Heliconia Valley at Zone E area. The long shot view shows a tiny white flower at the center of the picture. It is the White Costus ( Costus speciosus ) as shown in close-up at the inset to the left. Somewhere to the right of the picture is seen a banana tree and below is the medium shot of the fruiting tree.

There are a couple of banana varieties at the garden. Bananas belong to the genus Musa and as you can recall the popular heliconias are also of that banana family ( Family - Musaceae). I intend to build up a collection of edible varieties next year. CU of the picture above shows the purplish terminal head which Malays call " Jantung". In Malaysia the jantung are favourite for salad, of course to be eaten with the ever popular " Belacan" paste or cooked in coconut milk called " Santan". The popular banana cultivars that are readily available in Bintulu tamu or jungle produce market are the " Pisang Berangan" ( Note: " Pisang" in Malay means banana), Pisang Embun, Pisang-pisang, Pisang Hotel, Pisang Keling or Rastali, Pisang Emas, Pisang Kapok, Pisang Tanduk, and many more. Ripe bananas contain about 27% carbohydrate and surprisingly very little cholesterol or fats. They are a good source of vitamin C . The banana varieties that are commonly used for making banana fritters are the Pisang-pisang, Pisang Kapok and the Pisang Tanduk. All three are my favourites too!.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hues of the heliconia

Heliconia rostrata

Heliconia 'Sassy Pink'

Heliconia psittacorum

Heliconia psittacorum

Heliconia psittacorum 'Golden Torch'

Heliconia latispatha

Heliconia psittacorum

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Garden views today - vegetation island no.2

Entrance from east showing philodendrons and the bird's nest fern.

Close up of the Bird's nest fern ( Asplenium nidus) and Philodendron 'Yellow Spathe' growing naturally on site.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Garden views today - vegetation island no.1

View looking west
Location : Top hill footpath, Vegetation island no.1, Zone E

View looking west
Location : Mid Hill footpath, Vegetation Island No.1 , Zone E

View looking west
Location : Valley foot path, Vegetation Island No.1, Zone E

Monday, December 13, 2010

Garden images - Agave americana

Agave americana ( Century plant)
Family - Agavaceae ( Agave family )
Zone C
I was clearing the area at Zone C when I noticed this Century plant in prime form. Even though the Century plants are from the arid tropical and sub-tropical regions they do very well in our humid tropics climate. This is a variegated form of the Agave americana. I estimate that the plants have been planted about four years ago and still not bearing any flowers. For that matter the Century plant is known to flower from 5-35 years , long enough to seem like a century.

Infill planting of heliconia psittacorum 'golden torch'

Heliconia psittacorum 'Golden Torch' infill planting along main road at Zone B
Since last week I have started to undertake infill planting of heliconias at Zone B. A few varieties will be planted between the Eugenia oleina trees. The infill planting is mainly for the purpose of ornamental shrub planting and will cover a distance of about 200 meters from the farm entrance gate to the garden's office.