Garden Asia Asia's Premier Gardening Magazine
Thursday, 02 April 2020
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Volume 7
Cover Story

Diversity of Landscape Trees


ImageThe diverse and vast forest ecosystems, which make up the rural and highland landscapes of Malaysia, are among the richest in the world in terms of species diversity. It has been claimed that the country has an excess of 12,500 flowering plants. These remarkable forests offer far more than mere trees and greens. Pause for a moment to consider the almost incredible richness of the natural biology of Malaysian forests, one is bound to appreciate the colour, architecture, deep green foliage, scent and other attributes. With many diverse forest types, this wilderness contains more than 4000 known species of trees. Within these forests themselves live more than 200 species of mammals and an unknown number of insect species, the latter constitutes one single and largest group of organisms in term of biodiversity. The fact that Malaysia is home to so many more species of plants and animals than other nations in the world of her size, makes Malaysia bear the greatest responsibility towards the indigenous utilisation and conservation of these species.

In Peninsular Malaysia alone, there are over 2800 species of trees belonging to many different genera and families. While the majority of them are still in the wildness, many of them have been introduced either into the urban landscape as ornamental trees or into the village orchards as fruit trees. Some tree species produce edible fruits such as petai (Parkia speciosa) whose seeds are taken for flavour more than anything else, jering (Archidendron jiringa) and kerdas (Archidendron bubalinum) which are similarly taken, however, with more caution because it has some jencolic acids which could upset oneÕs urinary bladder. There are others such as keranji (Dialium indum) whose fruits offer powdery orange aril, rambai (Baccaurea motleyana) whose arils are white, juicy and translucent, langsat, dokong and duku (Aglaia domesticum) whose white arils are sweet and juicy, pulasan (Nephelium ramboutan-ake) whose arils are like those of rambutan but firmer and hence their wild relatives were once introduced and now widely domesticated in the village orchards throughout the country.

Feature Garden

An Artist's Haven


ImageAn article on this artist's haven in a local daily fueled my curiosity and I was really looking forward to visiting the home of these owners who are nature lovers. One could easily miss the entrance to Rimbun Dahan if not for the instructions to look out for the really unassuming gate. The tall trees along the fencing acted as a screen and we did not know what to expect as we drove along the narrow road that was lined with travelers palm and lontar palms. The house was not visible even when we turned into the road that led to the courtyard. As we parked in the courtyard I was amazed to see how the house, a concrete structure, could blend so subtly into the surroundings of a tropical rainforest. That was what the surroundings looked like to me as tall trees were all around, and had obediently formed a forest canopy.

The owners, Hijjas and Angela Kasturi, decided to build their home in concrete as part of their contribution to the efforts of saving trees. The house had two wings, the main house and the guesthouse, and these wings were joined by a covered loggia. Steps from the loggia led down to the Gallery where works of art of the last resident artist were displayed. Since we were there for the garden we headed for the steps leading down to trees. On both sides of the steps, water flowed down a concrete structure into lily ponds that had softly diffused reflected light. The lily ponds were actually reflective pools with very well planned contained plantings to avoid overcrowding and also to ensure that the resident koi were comfortable.

Garden Gallery

A Garden for the Games


ImageIt was truly a great Games, and having a beautiful permanent park to commemorate the month-long event as well as the Commonwealth organization is a fitting act indeed. Not only was Kuala Lumpur's hosting of the Commonwealth Games in September 1998 its first time in Malaysia, but also the first time ever in Asia as well as the first in a non-English-based country. And not only were so many world-class stadiums and facilities offered for the Games, but judging from the numerous recorded comments by foreign participants and visitors, apparently it was also one of the friendliest (there were over 15,000 enthusiastic volunteers, for example) and the best organized for a sports event deemed second biggest after the Olympics!

And so, beside the magnificent collection of stadiums at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex including the huge 100,000-pax main stadium, the Government and the games facilities organizers have bequeathed a large 48.8ha Commonwealth Park on the Sports Complex's hill area, itself fittingly called Bukit Komanwel. The park is also bordered by the Star LRT line along its northern flank, where the unique tent-like Bukit Jalil station and further up the Sri Petaling terminal each mark a corner of the gardens – thus making access to the park quite easy.

Young Gardener



Image".. Only God can make a tree," a very true phrase and a very inspiring poem. All our lives we have been dependant on that special creation that God has given us. Trees have given us shelter, food and most importantly, life. I am very sure that every person on this earth will agree with me that we cannot sustain life on this earth without the existence of these wondrous trees. So why are these beautiful creations in danger today? Species of trees are in danger of extinction; species of animals are in danger of losing their homes and there is a possible break in the delicate cycle of nature. Trees are a source of life. No matter what kind of tree it is, it will always play a significant role in the cycle of life. Different types of trees hold the responsibility of sustaining our different kinds of needs: fruit trees give us mouthwatering fruits (mangoes, apples, coconuts, oranges, papayas, mangosteens and many others all around the world), fruits that are not for human consumption feed the birds and squirrels and the ample branches provide shelter and homes to little critters.

Garden Science

Pruning of Landscape Plants


ImageThe word pruning simply means the removal of plant parts, especially shoots and branches. It is indeed an important horticultural practice for landscape and ornamental plants. With proper pruning techniques, the growth of plants can be regulated and their performance in the landscape enhanced.

Generally, plants are pruned for different reasons. Among them are: Plant training, Reduction of pests and diseases, Plant size control, Compensating root loss, Stimulation of flowering, Interference with human activity or physical structures. Pruning or removal of vegetative plant parts such as vegetative buds and leaves actually reduces the burden of plants to feed themselves.

This would then allow roots to supply more water and nutrients to the remaining leaves and shoots, which results in more vigorous and structurally stronger plants. Pruning also alters hormonal balance in plant system, which tends to promote the formation of floral buds.

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