Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Barter trading - How I traded my way to a free Rose plant

I was walking to the nursery to buy soil for my intended radish growing experiment. As I was cutting through some blocks of flats, I noticed a man standing outside a first floor unit of one of the blocks. I was thinking whether to continue on or walk up to chat with him.

Since I am very KPO by nature, you can guess what I did. While chatting, he asked me what kind of plants I plant. I told him that I favor roses. He said, did you notice that I have a pot of roses? It was behind the support pillar. 

He said got it a year ago from the rubbish collection point, which was within LOS from his house (I wondered inwardly about his apartment's value). While I examining it, he unexpectedly offered it to me. He said he didn't like roses. Sacre Bleu!
I added the wigwam support, the wind that arrives with the December monsoon is no joke. My plants are going bald!
I was super delighted, especially since it was the color and variety that I had been trying to propagate (updated: ok since then I realized that the color is closer to that of the blackish red rose I have, not the electric pink one I have been trying to propagate). Attempted three times (once the CU even gave me a pot with balling roses, it died after my enthusiastic repotting in a bid to get rid of the balling problem), twice with no success. I had some cuttings root on my third attempt but I am not sure if they will succeed once I replant them in soil.
I asked him if he wanted anything in return (it's only polite right?). Unexpectedly he said cactus. Now I remembered that my mother and her friends excavated some neglected aloes and cacti from their allotment when they took over it and abandoned them in a sad corner of the allotment. So that was why I ended up taking a very long bus ride to her allotment to liberate one of the long-suffering prickly prisoners. They were very ungrateful and poked me along the way, renewing my hatred for cacti. I decided that it was quite ugly and broke off two ears and cleaned them before passing them to the man.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Community Garden Downstairs

The community garden downstairs is pretty established. Several senior citizens have gardening at the plot long before I moved in, so there are many fruit trees there (e.g. sterile avocado tree, very fertile jambu trees). Right now the garden is manned by 1 Mr Malay uncle, 1 Mr Chinese uncle, and 1 Chinese Auntie, and now yours truly. Making an offering of Little Guy to the garden + sweeping up dead leaves in almost 3/4 of the garden for 3 hours were the key to my being offered a little plot too! Yes! No longer do I have to fight with those uncles and aunties at the other community garden for land, when I can have a garden here. Besides, this community garden has a much higher fence, so it is harder for bad people to liberate plants from it.

Or so I thought. Last Saturday, Mr Malay Uncle (let's call him MU for short) asked me if I had stopped by the garden two Sundays ago.

"No, I didn't. I hurt my back that day."

Upon further discussion, it transpired that some woman sneaked into the garden while CU was busy gardening, and cut up A LOT of pandan leaves without permission. But because CU didn't know she was inside, he locked up the garden when he left, effectively trapping the horrible woman inside.

Since she was trespassing, she couldn't call the police to release her, so she sat in the garden for almost an entire afternoon until CA came by to water the plants and saw her. Tsk tsk, talk about KARMA.

The very fertile jambu (water apple?) tree has been divesting fruit due to the monsoons recently.
Come on people, don't be cheap. If you must be cheap like me, be courteous about it.
MU's friend from National Parks Board gave him some sunflower seeds
So anyway I was given the tiny plot. MU suggested that I grow tomatoes, which is no problem for me, as I have had some success with them despite having to do pollination myself. But while the tomato seeds grow their true leaves in my little pots upstairs, I decided to grow some kangkong (water spinach) so as to not waste the land, which I tilled like mad for hours + dumped fertilizer + egg shells on, and to match the current monsoon season (as water spinach can tolerate excessive water very well).
3 days growth after sowing!
I moved some of the flowerpots so as to not hit them in my vigorous tilling, only to find some white stuff between the grooves. I thought that the white stuff was rice, but MU was right, they were ant eggs.

Less than two minutes (I timed them) after I lifted the pot, the ants came and carried all the eggs away to safety, one at a time. SUPER FAST. I admire and hate ants, for their efficiency. This same efficiency has allowed them to build nests in at least three of my more favored plants, the hibiscus cutting お母さん gave me, my big white rose and my black red rose (WTF), while I neglected my upstairs garden while busying myself with the community gardens.

お母さん says it is because I do not flood my plants with water, so the dry soil allowed the ants to make nests. Oh well... part of the problem that ants introduce is mealy bugs, which I enjoy squishing between my fat fingers.

Giant ass Toadstool

Now that I have increased my walking/ kick scootering (since last Saturday) as much as possible, I cut through a lot of apartment blocks on my way home between my old place and my new place during my stroll.

On Monday, Bobo and I decided to play hooky and take leave together to try out my new scooter at the park (kept raining so we ended up watching FURY at the cinema). But in the morning, before it started raining, we walked over to the prata restaurant near my old place. The prata was so-so, but the teh tarik was good. Unfortunately my tummy didn't agree, and began churning its displeasure.

So I waddled home as quickly as I could home, and on my way back cutting through the blocks, I came across these super giant toadstools (bigger than my palm!) growing at the bottom of a newly erected apartment block. WTF?

Been trying for days, but I still haven't googled what variety is this... anyone has a clue?

From this angle it looked like Mr Toadstool was puffing on a joss stick right?
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Because Gardening makes me wanna Dance! Thanx for visiting!!!

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