Garden Asia Asia's Premier Gardening Magazine
Monday, 16 September 2019
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Volume 6
VOLUME 6
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Cover Story

Climbing Plants

 

ImageClimbers or sometimes termed as vines are mainly plants with weak stems that need objects for support. The internal tissues of these stems differ slightly from normal stems, which contribute to the stem flexibility, an adaptive feature of climbing plants. Generally, climbers exhibit rapid shoot growth and hence require sunlight and sufficient moisture for their optimum establishment. It is not uncommon then to find the wild climbing plants growing in abundance at edges of forests, in forest clearings and along rivers.

Modifications of leaf tips, leaf stalks, stipules or leaf axils, leaf midribs, stems or branches give rise to tendrils, hooks, thorns and aerial roots enabling the plants to twine, grasp or curl round supporting objects or free-standing plants. Depending on the types of structural modifications or adaptive features, the climbers can be classified as twiners, tendril-climbers, hook-climbers, thorn-climbers or root-climbers. Some plants do not develop any structural adaptation for climbing but rather just sprawl and lean against supports. These are usually scandent or scrambling schrubs, which are not true climbers and can grow as free-standing plants if left unsupported. Some examples of such plants are jasmines, allamandas, bougainvilleas, roses and Congea spp. However most of the common ornamental vines are of the twining, tendrilled, clinging roots or sprawling types.

Feature Garden

A Blend of Asia

 

ImageIt is not uncommon to own a terrace house especially when one is living in Kuala Lumpur. A terrace house normally comes with a small garden, which sometimes makes certain owners assume that it is difficult to create a decent garden, not to mention a tropical garden. The restrictions in garden designs do not pose a problem for Puan Shima of Bukit Antarabangsa, for, in spite of space limitations, she has managed to create a showcase of an Asian tropical garden. The theme of a tropical garden immediately brings to mind the plants and trees indigenous to the tropical rainforest. In our second issue, we discussed the plant options of the tropical garden and the jungle effect. When I received an invitation by Puan Shima to visit her and her garden, I was expecting the usual terrace house garden with various ornaments. On the contrary, I found that she had planted her garden with lush green plants and indigenous flowering plants which gave the tropical jungle effect. The vibrant flowers gave generous splashes of colour to the tropical garden. It was a pleasant surprise to find an outstanding showcase with a difference. Creativity did wonders to a small plot of 10' by 7'.

Garden Gallery

Lessons in a Balinese Garden

 

Image"My father follows the traditional principles of the garden," said my friend, I Gede Ariana. "A proper balance of "rameh" (abundance) and "sepi" (empty stillness) is the guidance for this garden - as it has always been with our people." We were standing, in the early morning light, in his garden courtyard. The variegated colours of a clump of croton shrubs overlooked lower plants. The sun rendered the wine-red coleus translucent, giving them a rich ruby-like aura. Elegant heliconias and green lushness of ferns and Crinum lilies made the northern - eastern corner of the courtyard a refreshing delight. The rest of the courtyard was just hard-packed mud, swept clean, empty, and bare. Only a few low plants edged the garden.

The household ancestral shrines rose on stilts in the lush, northeastern part of the garden, their rush-thatched roofs sitting like some intriguing peasant hats on their square forms. I could see the thin smokey line of the incense that had already been lit by the visiting pemanku (priest) to sweeten the air of the spirits remembered in the empty shrines. The scented frangipani and tuberoses on the canang sari (offerings) sat in delicately woven baskets at their entrances. There was peace and stillness in the unspoken reverence symbolised by these simple tokens.

Young Gardener

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

 

ImageRecycle, reduce and reuse, may sound a lot like a children's sing along, but this song sends an important massage that both children and adults should listen to. Our government has been spreading this massage to the public since before I was even here! Advertisements, newspaper articles, and campaigns, all associated with recycling, reducing and reusing are everywhere. So why is there still a hole in the ozone? Why is the globe getting warmer? And why are the dumpsites still getting bigger every year? These are questions that are crowding my mind when I watch one of those recycling advertisements or posters around my school. We can see by what is going on around us, that recycling, reducing and reusing is becoming a major happening the world around.

First of all, recycling. To say it in a simple, nonscientific language, it's just making something new out of something old. Take for example, paper. Paper is the most obvious man-made material on this planet that can be recycled. Newspaper, magazines, note books, all are made of the same material: paper. And as millions around the world know it, paper is normally made out of trees. We use paper everyday of our lives. Without noticing it, we are using up all the trees. Most of the trees cut down, are not planted again due to lack of money to support the activity, apathy or simply because we are running out of space to plant them due to a rise in development. As a result, many species of trees are getting extinct and millions more are endangered.

Garden Science

Propagation of Ornamental Plants

 

ImageProducing our own plant materials is perhaps the most exciting gardening activity. Watching the seeds germinate or cuttings taking root and producing new shoots, and subsequently transferring them into containers can be very rewarding, not only because of the money saved in not having to buy new plants but because of the self satisfaction that comes from successfully propagating plants. This is applicable both for home gardeners as well as commercial growers. To get the best results out of our efforts, it will be worthwhile for us to take a few minutes to understand some principles and good practices that are related to propagation. With this information, the success we obtain is not merely by chance but through working with understanding. The actual process of propagation is only one of the many phases in the 'production' of a plant. Other phases that are related to the actual propagation process include selection of plant material, preparation of plant material and providing a conducive condition for regeneration and subsequent plant growth. All these phases are interrelated and equally important.

Plants can be propagated from many sources. It may be from seeds, stem or shoot cuttings, tubers, rhizomes, bulbs or leaves, depending on the types of plants and availability. For whatever source, we should make sure that the plant material is in its best condition. The starting materials should be taken from healthy stocks, which are free from any diseases. Remember that it is easier to control diseases in stock plants rather than on young seedlings or newly propagated plants.

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