Friday, 13 April 2012

Purple Foliage Plants...simply irresistible!

I was encouraged by Autumn Belle to start planting foliage plants to purify the surrounding air inside my garden. Remember, my garden was under pests attack a couple of months ago. So its time to start growing new plants, with caution, I would say. Never want to see the new plants being invaded by leftovers 'aliens' which I can't see in my garden.

Off I went to Sungai Buloh to check out foliage plants. Oh, there were so many of them but the ones that attract me most were the purple-colored foliage. Simply gorgeous and I fell in love just looking at them.

'Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum' 
commonly known as the Chinese fringe flower or Chinese Witch-hazel. The burgundy leaves and fuchsia flowers are gorgeous. Love it! Needs full sun.

This plant makes nice topiary. Shape it the way you want it, be it round or almost bonsai. Spectacular.

'Oxalis Triangularis'
fancy the butterfly-shaped leaves and its light purple flowers. Requires minimal light and survives pretty well under shade. The leaves open during the day and close at night. Impressive, just like butterfly wings! For more pictures of this beauty, click here

The above plants were from Scenic Tropical Garden at Lot 22. They have plenty of foliage plants and the price are comparatively cheap. Highly recommended nursery.

Not sure the name of this plant but I love the various shades of green in this plant alone. Very common plant in most home gardens in Malaysia. I bought it from Paling Horticulture at Lot 61. Many selections and the price ranges from RM38, RM48 to RM128 depending on its height and 'bonsai' shape.

The way this plant is 'bonsai-ed' is gorgeous!

These plants are still in their polybags. The houris will leave them to adapt to the garden surrounding for a couple of weeks before repotting them in appropriate and nice ceramic pots.

Updates as at 15 April 2012

Thanks to Autumn Belle's feedback on this post. Apparently, these plants do not purify the air. No wonder, the houris felt something not right after having them in the garden for a couple of days now. They look nice no doubt yet dainty and soft. Autumn Belle recommended me a link for a list of air-filtering plants as compiled by NASA. According to NASA, "most of the plants on the list evolved in tropical or subtropical environments. Due to their ability to flourish on reduced sunlight, their leaf composition allows them to photosynthesize well in household light". Looking at the air-filtering plants, they are the same common ones found in most offices and building. No wonder they are there.. for a reason! The houris felt good having one of the plants which she brought home from her office upon retirement. The plain old money plant. She will surely tend to it for abundance growth in her home.

Money plant 

The houris also came across a very good and highly recommended video on how to grow your own fresh air . Seriously?! Fresh and purified air from just having houseplants?! No need for artificial air freshener or expensive bulky ionizer, what have you. Time to observe a healthier you the nature's way. For family members who are suffering from asthma, do your bit to bring ease and comfort for them starting at home. You'll never regret it.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Herbs...naturally good for body and environment

I headed along to Sungai Buloh  nurseries today with the sole intention of getting the Cat Whiskers plant. Seems that it is a natural pest repellent. Now that I have one in my garden, I would say it's true with the distinctive odour the plant excretes.

But look at what I ended up buying! Host of herbs! Actually I have been looking for these herbs for quite sometime now so when I saw them right in front of my eyes, I had to have them all. I really like the nursery  Delima Tani at Lots 49 and 50 of the Selangor Green Lane. The plants here are grown from seeds and they are organic. Let me tell you they taste delicious too! You may want to check out this place on your next visit there. However, the plants sold here are comparatively slightly expensive than others down the lane. Its their organic nature, I would say which boost the price. But if you are like me, if it's quality food you are looking for, then this is the place to go. 

The houris had to create a temporary makeshift in the corner of the garden to stack the herbs. She really wasn't prepared for this. It's alright for now. Most important is to get these herbs flourish and healthy.

Sweet Basil

According to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), sweet basil is good for stomach and food digestion. 

Looks similar to lavender. You have to sniff it to tell. Great for soups. Kak Chombi, a dear friend, shared a simple yet delicious recipe for baked chicken with rosemary. Marinate chicken in lemon juice with zest, garlic and rosemary for half-hour before putting in the oven. Sprinkle in salt. 
Lemon Balm

Lemon balm looks similar to mint. So how to tell the difference? Tear the leaf and sniff. If it smells of lemon, that is it, otherwise it is mint. Great news for lovers of iced lemon tea. Just crush a few leaves into the hot lemon tea till it is fragrant before adding in the ice. Or if you like it hot, you may omit the lemon juice because the lemon balm itself is enough. To soothe sore throat, put about 5 leaves into a mug of hot water until the leaves become soft before adding a few drops of honey. Sip gently and savor every drop of it. Thanks to my good friend, Natila, for sharing these tips and delicious concoction. 
Cat Whiskers

My one and only natural pest repellent. Please refer to Autumn Belle's web page here for a host of cat whiskers' natural goodness. Thanks Ms Belle, my garden looks brighter and healthier now.

Sought after for its fragrance, the flowers are a natural air freshener for the home and closet. Do check out Kelly's blog here for more ideas on lavender. 

Great for tea especially Earl Gray or any of your favorite tea. Boil tea leaves then add-in the mint leaves and sugar to your liking. My mom would pound the mint leaves together with tamarind paste, dessicated  coconut, shallots,green chillies and salt into a thick green mint sambal and make it as a condiment for chicken curry and briyani rice. Or you can try my homemade 'mojito' drink. Blend 7-up, mint leaves,  calamansi (limau kasturi) juice and ice together. Wholesome goodness and its 'halal'.

That's how the houris consumes the above herbs. Have any other ideas? Do share and thanks :-)