Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carting this guy home - hibiscus

This pot of hibiscus was from the cutting given by our late neighbor from next door. He was a bachelor who loved to grow flowers and look after injured pigeons and mynahs (seriously don't understand the fascination with those winged pests). It was quite sad really, he and his parents watched me and my brother grow up. First his dad died from a fall, then he died from cancer, and in the end, his mother had dementia and was taken away to live somewhere else. The apartment fell empty for 7 years until his remaining siblings were able to legally sell it and distribute the proceedings.  Till today, I consider them as our neighbors, and those people who lived in the apartment since, transient families. 

My parents have started reducing the plants in their garden and so my mom passed this guy to me because he had stopped flowering. I slowly carted him home on this trolley. I think he is suffering more because he can only get filtered morning sun now, poor thing, though he hasn't kicked the bucket under my care yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Papaya tree

I think they call this pawpaw Down Under. There seems to be an uncle who is cultivating a secret garden at the two patches of land near my old place. He has awesome luck with papayas especially. Check out the fruit on the tree!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

[Singapore Garden Festival 2014] Propagating Torenia

I was looking closely at the torenia that I bought at the Singapore Garden Festival. The stems that touch the soil have developed roots, so I was convinced that it would be easy to propagate them by the stems. Mutter loves the flower, but the cuttings she took from her garten never survive and she really likes purple color. The torenia she got from the garten is pink anyway.

So I did a stem cutting and soak it inside some water. But it didn't work, possibly because the stupid wind in the corridor blew the stem onto the floor *roll eyes*. So now I am attempting layering, which is to bury some extensive stems into the soil while they still take in nutrients from the main plant. Kind of like a umbilical cord :D

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sealing the Kitchen Sink

The silicon around the kitchen sink looked extremely gross, until a point that our food was coming with a sprinkling of bacteria and a dashing of mold. It was replaced by Bobo about 1-2 years ago, after the contractor gave such a thin silicon layer that while aesthetically pleasing, was useless.

In the summer dearth of American tv, and no longer having cable, I ended up watching anything and everything I could find online. One of which was the Home and Gardens show where this Aussie guy was teaching how to replace silicon caulking along the kitchen wall. He made it look really easy.

I also asked Dad how to do it, hoping that he would say "I will do it for you." Nope, he expected Bobo to do it. He threw shade at me attempting it, but advised that I should use white cement as it doesn't grow mold or bacteria as much. 

I bought the cement (powder?), and methanol (for wiping down the bacteria, and making the sink area dry) from the hardware shop. I asked the lady boss how to mix the cement, she said mix to your own consistency. WTF #1. 

So I went home, thought about it since I was only going to replace the silicon on the next weekend (I would be going to my cousin Man Utd's baby's 1st birthday celebration, which gives me ample time to dry the cement). What if the sink spoils and I need to replace it? Will I be able to remove CEMENT?

In the end, before I went to the birthday celebration, I went to the same hardware shop again, to buy a tube of silicon. The Uncle boss is another one, he asked me whether I needed more than 1 tube. WTF #2. Did he think I was going to caulk an entire toilet? Then he asked me if I needed anything else. I mulled a little, then said no, I don't think so. 
stuff i need for caulking
So armed with the following items, I attempted to replace the caulking. According to Mr Buff man, I needed  (in the following order): a scraper, alcohol (to wipe down residue dirt/germs/mold/bacteria and to make the sink bone dry),  detergent water in a spray bottle, masking tape and my middle finger. Ah yes, I need silicon.

Steps according to him:
(1) Scrape off the caulking with a scraper
(2) Wipe down the area with alcohol
(3) Place a strip of masking tape to gap the sink and keep the silicon in a constant bead. 
(4) Spray the detergent water, then run finger down the bead to press it down smoothly.
(5) Remove the tape.

I used my artist palette knife (no point spending money to buy a scraper right?) to dig at the caulking. After struggling for like 5 min, and with 1 hour to go before the birthday party, I decided to google on my phone.

Noob error # 1 - I need a hair dryer.

Hair dryer melts the silicon very well. Just apply the heat for 30-40s near the silicon and then scrape. Took me about 1 hour (I was late for the party).
applying hair dryer
Wiping the area down with alcohol was easy, but the next step was a killer. I  asked the uncle boss how to use the silicon. His words were: remove the cap, and squeeze out of the funnel. Guess what. When I tried that, I squeezed until I was going to blow up, nothing came out of the funnel. In the end, pop went the back of the tube. It was then I realized I was supposed to push the back inwards to squeeze the silicon from the front. 

Noob error #2 - I need a silicon gun. 

Well, Not everyone is as fit as that buff man. I nearly died trying to push the silicon along the tube, because my fingers are too stubby and short to push it past the middle of the tube. And struggling to push it out, I couldn't maintain a constant bead and the silicon came out in fits and farts. While I was struggling, it was drying.

In the end, I gave up, chucked out the funnel and applied the silicon on with my fingers, as if painting. Sigh.

Noob error #3 - Remove the tape immediately.
tape around sink. remember to remove immediately after applying silicon!
I ran my finger down the line, pushing whatever that went over onto the sink back down onto the gap for a constant seam. Since I applied the silicon free hand, I forgot I should remove the masking tape immediately and push with my fingers again. Instead I only realized the next morning (many hours later) that the silicon has solidified over the tape, making an irregular flap along the sink.

*silent scream*

Had to cut away the excess, and reapply another bit to make sure that the seam is perfectly adhered to the table top, and not flapping away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Office Rose (repotted and regrowth)

This is one of the 2 roses that Mr Bear helped me buy from the Cheers near his house. The particular rose has a gorgeous color that persists for a very long time. The effects of growing roses in the office versus growing them at home (in L shape / kitchen balcony) is astronomically different.
Had to carry them out with Mr Bear walking in front to prevent being crushed by the evening crowd
Since the office environment is always air-conditioned (except for weekends and late nights), the plants flourish very well, as if in a temperate country. At the beginning, I keep 4 pots of them in office as the "mummy plants" because the roses at home (kitchen balcony) were dying like mad. I also wanted to experiment on the various ways to transplant and propogate them. Eventually I figured out that it was the effect of no ventilation + heat, which killed most of them. So I moved the home roses to the L-shape. Till date, thank god, nobody stole them yet, but the rose blooms do not proliferate as many as those in the office. The best I got from office was 11 blooms at one single time (peach rose) versus 4 at home (pink baby).
I am ready for my close-up
However both pots came in very small pots after a while so the bush was very small and you could see that the roots coming out. So during a blooming lull, I transplanted this bush into a bigger pot. It went into shock despite my efforts and dropped A LOT of leaves. I thought it was doomed, but dumped in loads of goat poopoo, and bonemeal in a vain hope of rescuing them. In the end it was egg shell and egg shell water that saved it. But now I learnt that epsom salt was probably what was missing.

I was rewarded with rebloom and new leaves. phew. The awesome part of repotting is the new bush is bigger, and I get more flowers. But it was pretty stressful for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mutters Garden Sep 2014

I wanted to get mushrooms (the hydroponic farm near Mutter's garden also has a distribution and packaging arm), so when I heard that Mutter's friends were going to their allotment that Saturday, I immediately asked to hitch a ride there. The mushrooms are totally worth the trip, they cost like 30+ mushrooms for S$10, versus if you were to buy from the supermarket, you'd get about 8 for S$3.95. And I wanted to check out if the nursery was selling roses. I wanted to add more colors to my collection, now that I wasn't killing them out of inexperience (stupidity is another story).
Did I mention the kind hearted retiree uncles helped the ladies redo the entire garden layout?
After buying three pots of roses (the purple one was already not doing well, its lower leaves were turning yellow, but I never had purple roses before, so...), I walked back to the allotment and took some pics of the garden. The ladies were packing up some cuttings to bring to the new community garden. Saga on that later.
The solitary papaya.
Me yanking out the papaya tree
Lady C, our downstairs auntie, said that she wanted the papaya tree removed from "her" plot. So after harvesting the sole papaya from the tree, we yanked out the long suffering tree, and carried it to the end of the allotment, where it would dry up and become... I have no idea. Anyway it turned out later that it was Mutter who brought the papaya home. We ate it and it was wonderfully scrumptiously sweet. DELISH~! Quite a miracle, considering the women's sporadic watering (almost zilch, they depend on the water sprinkling system + weekly waterings, which meant their vegetables appear weed-like).

While chucking out the papaya tree, I caught sight of a slight movement among the "weeds". Crouching down, I saw this little guy. Uncle Toad!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stupid mynah strikes again

That NBCB bird is at it again!
Destroying the delicate leaves on my poor rose cutting. No wonder there were no new leaves! 

So I brought it to the community garden and planted it there. After <2 weeks, I am pleased to say, there is a bud forming. It is recovering nicely. Nothing like >6 hours of sunlight per day. Good thing it is going to bloom soon, because I have no idea which rose did I cut this from... I am waiting with bated breath to check it out.
See the bud growing nicely in the middle of the three sets of leaves.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Because Gardening makes me wanna Dance! Thanx for visiting!!!

Because Gardening makes me wanna Dance! Thanx for visiting!!!