Garden Asia Asia's Premier Gardening Magazine
Thursday, 02 April 2020
Your Garden Supplies
Volume 4
Cover Story

Scented Plants - Creating fragrance in the home garden


ImageAlthough the main attraction of a home garden is its visual appeal, the tantalizing scents from fragrant plants add an extra dimension of mystery and delight to the visitors. Scents vary from delicate subtle odours, sweet jasmine-like to spicy or lemony etc.; strong or mild. Whatever fragrance you may want to choose for your garden, the main objective is to fill the air with a rich mixture of wonderful aroma. Scents are known to relieve tension after a stressful day and the sweet scent of a home garden may even make boring chores such as weeding a pleasant experience.

In creating a fragrant garden you may want to consider several factors such as the habit of the plant, its flower colour and fragrance and the time of its strongest scent. The time of the strongest aroma varies from species to species. Some species exude the strongest fragrance in the morning or evening or even at night. Epiphyllum sp. (Bakawali) apparently blooms between 10-11 pm. Cestrum nocturnum (Sundal malam) and some varieties of water lilies are some examples of scented night bloomers. An interesting feature of several scented flowers is the change in flower colour with age. The flowers of Brunfelsia latifolia are initially purple fading to white in contrast to the Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica) which is white turning crimson pink.

Feature Garden

Greens Abound


ImageGreens abound. That is the predominant thought when one enters the garden of this intermediate terrace home in USJ, Subang Jaya. The front lawn is a modest sized 15' x 9' but the owner has planned her garden so cleverly that there is no feeling of being hemmed in even though there is an abundance of plants. Palms and heliconias remain at the fringes of the lawn that is neatly demarcated by whitewashed walls on both sides. A tall healthy Musa banana plant with spreading green leaves provide generous shade to those who seek repose at a spot with wooden garden chairs and a round wooden table. One is ever so tempted to just take a breather and to allow the caressing winds and sounds of rustling leaves to lull one to sleep Éah, the serenity of plants/nature transcends all.

The greens are not confined to the front lawn but they spill over to the porch and to the patio at the back of the house. These plants are housed in pots of variable shapes, colours and sizes and this variety deters any onset of visual monotony. Thought and care are given in the positioning of all pots: no pot is relegated to any obscure position as there is absolutely no need to do so for these pots all contain thriving healthy palms and water plants that seem to be vying for the admirer's attention. The porch area is cool and cozy as light streams in only through the bamboo blinds that shield the area from harsh glare or heat. A marble topped table with matching kopitiam chairs allow visitors time for a comfortable tete-a-tete.

Garden Gallery

Generalife (Janna-Al-Arif)


ImageThe Alhambra (the Red Fort) in Granada is a must-visit-attraction for any budding architect, landscape artist and those who appreciate Islamic forms of architecture or design. Naturally, it was with extreme excitement and pleasure that I greeted the news of our (at that time) imminent visit to the famous Spain monument that had breathtaking sprawling gardens. I had heard much about the gardens there but did not realize that the Generalife is by itself a summer palace garden that is separated from the Alhambra and that is situated on a neighbouring hill.

The main entrance to the palace grounds was a prelude of the themes of the gardens proper: hints of the need to enclose and protect were relayed through the Cyprus trees and the Vines of Vitris (Ivy) that shielded one from prying eyes; and hints of the need for water (a symbol of life) were given through the cascading waters from the slopes facing the entrance and through the water channels along the plantings of olives.

Once inside, we had the choice of taking two paths: one leading up to Generalife and the other to the Alhambra. We decided to tour the gardens first and took the path along an avenue of Cyprus trees that were standing tall like sentinels beside shallow water channels lined with pebbles.

Young Gardener

Disappearing Trails


ImageI've always found horse riding a sport that relaxes my mind and body. Sure, sometimes I do have to do a lot of work, especially when I'm training for an up and coming horse show. However, horse riding must never be all work and no play so that horse and rider will not suffer from the same syndromes as Jack, the dull boy. Amidst work, there is play and relaxing moments with our trusted four-legged companions. There are many ways to have a little fun with riding. In many equestrian clubs, there are horse tracks and polofields for a little fun cantering as well as serious exercising.

There are also some trails that lead you into little forests that are reserved lands. Well, my club, the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Center, has access to a little hill. The club has made a tarred trail into the forest. It is a lot of fun going on the trail with friends and our horses. We get to catch up with the latest gossip and at the same time, give the horses their reward of going out of the confines of their paddocks and stables. It is just like walking the dog in the park or having a bit of a stroll yourself. I often keep my eye out for trees or plants that I recognize when I go on the trail. There are occasional meetings with 'Mr Long and Scaly' which will always have my horse stop and stare in a quizzical manner. Thank god my horse does not get agitated that easily. There are also a lot of monkeys that hang from the treetops. I always get the sensation that I am a million miles from any city as I am totally enveloped by sights and sensations that are beautiful, wholesome and inspiring to both beast and master.

Garden Science

Towards Natural Gardens


ImageEverybody wants to have a nice looking garden around their house, full with healthy plants and flowers. At the same time, the members of the family would love to see butterflies, dragonflies and bees flying around seeking for their foods, shelter and mates. In another words, one do not want to have just a beautiful showcase of flowers and plants, but the garden must also be and feel alive.

In 'modern' agriculture, chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides are widely used to maintain the balance between plant needs and the ability for the earth to cope up with 'stresses' imposed on it. Continuous utilization of such chemicals could lead to a 'sterile' condition. In the late 70's, agricultural scientists began to talk and work toward a more sustainable production system. Various concepts that are sound ecological ly or environmental friendly such as zero-tillage, organic farming, good agricultural practices and permaculture (a contraction of permanent agriculture or permanent culture) were evolved. Except for organic farming, all other production concepts allow utilization of machinery and 'man-made' chemicals.

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