What I'm Growing In My Garden

I’m quite pleased that my garden (little though it may be) is growing quite well, thanks to the rich compost I make. (In case you want to make some compost of your own, you can read about the composting method, that a very gungho couple from Bukit Mertajam taught me.)
It’s been a little more than a year since I started to use compost for my own plants and herbs and I can tell you, there is a BIG (pardon the pun) difference with regular soil. Compost is full of nutrients and plants love it!
Here are some photos I took just this morning – I’m already in the Chinese New Year mood so I decided to take it easy and show you what I like to do when I am not busy with website design projects or doing business writing or networking or going out.
Besides cooking which I love (I think I like experimenting with food), I enjoy pottering about the garden, watching my plants grow. It’s quite fulfilling to see something growing from a seed – and I have had much success growing plants from seeds or cuttings (thankfully). I do know some people who can’t seem to grow anything or rear anything. Unlike Midas with his golden touch, certain people have poisonous touches, killing plants with their vibes.
At the moment, I’m satisfied that my little roselle sapling (is it a sapling or a baby plant) actually has roselle fruit! Look at the photo below. It is about 4 inches tall but it is mighty cute with a single roselle bud. I grew this from seeds which I saved after I made roselle syrup. Roselle is one of those plants which need a lot more publicity because it can be grown in Malaysia and it is full of vitamins and tastes better than the sugary-rich Ribena.
roselle plant, roselle fruit
The next plant or sapling which I am quite pleased with are my markisa plants (also grown from seeds, after I ate most of the markisa or passionfruit which I so adore). Nic isn’t too keen on passionfruit as it’s a tart fruit.
I figured I could grow the fruits I like to eat so this was one of those experiments. Passionfruit seems to be making a comeback now as I see lots of fresh passionfruits sold in the Lip Sin market. The flowers of this fruit tree are gorgeous, I am told, and a little research online confirms this. However this passionfruit is a climber vine sort so I have yet to find out how to let the little ones climb and where! I cannot wait when it fruits!
markisa, passion fruit,
The next plant which I really love is pokok kemuning. For the longest time I didn’t know what it was called because Nic calls it by its Mandarin name “chit lee xiang” (roughly translated, “seven mile fragrance”). But a search and some garden blog scrutinising later and I found out it is called Murraya Paniculata.
Like most plants with nondescript tiny white flowers, it needs an added ‘feature’ to get the bees and butterflies excited (and come over and help them pollinate!). That is why Murraya Paniculata has an enticing fragrance, one so heady I swoon (in a good way of course).

Murraya paniculata, pokok kemuning
Murraya paniculata is a sun-loving shrub and grows well in pots or in the ground

The tiny white flowers are five-petaled, with each petal curved back. Their fragrance gets released as the days grow into nights and I can tell you, it’s an unbelievable aroma, coming from smallish white flowers like the kemuning.
When I was in HK last year, one particular white flower caught my ‘nose’ too. The osmanthus plants I saw grew in the HK Botanical Garden – the plants were grown around the bird cages where their delicate aroma masked the stink of the birds. I thought this was a splendid idea. When I came back, I was dismayed to know that our tropical weather did not bode well for the temperate osmanthus. Luckily I got to know about the Murraya and it is as good as the osmanthus! The Murraya can be grown as hedges, in the ground, or in pots (like what we’ve done). It loves the sun so anywhere which gets the sun is good place to position your dark-green plant.
By the way, the city of Gui Lin in China is named after the osmanthus. In Mandarin, the osmanthus is called “gui hwa”. Osmanthus flowers are also used in TCM; its dried flowers are steeped as a tea. I have seen dried osmanthus flowers sold by local herbalists to promote beautiful skin.
Here’s a photo of the fruit of the Murraya. The fruits are oval-shaped green berries when unripe but become attractively orange when they ripen. As with all plants, they entice birds to come eat their berries and help spread the murraya seeds far and wide. My mom-in-law grows saplings easily from these seeds back in Kuching. You can do the same too by plucking the ripened berries and putting them into separate pots to help them grow.
Murraya paniculata berries or kemuning fruits
Ripe Murraya paniculata berries which can easily grow if planted

Since this post is quite long, come back for the next post of what else I’m growing in my garden and why!
Do you have a garden? What do YOU grow in your garden? It doesn’t have to be a garden at all. When I was in my old apartment, all I had was a tiny balcony. Even so, I had pots and pots of plants. I believe all of us derive great pleasure from seeing things grow and progress. Plants are one of the easiest and when they grow well, we get the added benefit of seeing their flowers or inhaling their fragrance.
So tell me, what are you growing right now?

14 thoughts on “What I'm Growing In My Garden”

    • Haha UnkaLeong – yes, thanks. I do have my share of plants dying….sometimes Nature gets the better of me with her mealybugs and insects. I try to salvage plants whenever I can. If not, I think, que sera sera – it’s Nature’s way of telling me, what lives will die and the cycle of life goes on. I know you are a big biking fan. Are you a closet gardener?

  1. I am a new gardener. Although I have always, like many, loved plants, I have not had the time nor energy to be involved in the garden. My new maid has injected an enthusiasm as she loves working with the earth. I have now started growing flowering plants such as pentas, roses, bougainvillea, cockscomb, anthurium, frangipani (trying to) as well as lime, lemon, pineapple and yes markisa. I am happy to learn about the pokok kemuning and will be my next project. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Revathy: You are welcome! I might have to give up my markisa plants as I can’t seem to find a proper place to let them climb (they are vines anyway). My bunga telang is growing OK but not fabulously so maybe some trimming is in order. Lemon? That sounds lovely. Let me know your lemon plant stories. Yes, do try pokok kemuning. They are such fragrant flowers. I just hacked away some old ulam plants (they were attacked by mealybugs – I think this warm-humid weather encourages a lot of insects and bugs to come out of hibernation!) a few days ago. My pegaga got attacked by mealybugs too so that had to go. Pulled them up and tossed them away. A lot of plant-growing comes with its own wisdom – there’s patience and then there’s Patience. But I still love my little plot of garden. Do you grow chillies?

  2. Hi Maya,
    I’d like to get your permission to use your foto (roselle in a pot) in my presentation on “growing the roselle industry”.
    If you happen to be in KL please call me at 018 377 2121 n I’ll share what I’m doing with / for roselle.
    I hope I get your permission.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Alain – I propagated mine using seeds so I am not sure about stem cuttings. I haven’t had very good experience with stem cuttings though.

  3. love your plants Maya! It’s beautiful when you’re able to grow your own vegetables and fruits! we’re on our 2nd round of passion-fruits after our first 4 year old plant started dying! Not sure if you’d like to try a simple recipe for a passion-fruit presse; strain off 2-3 old wrinkly passion-fruits into a tall glass to remove the seeds, squeeze a lime and a can of F&N’s extra dry tonic water. Lastly, add sugar syrup to taste ~ don’t stinge on the sugar as you’d need something strong to cut through all the sourness. This would make nice refreshing afternoon drink after a hard day’s work in your garden ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep up the beautiful work!

    • Hi querked: Thanks but my passion fruit vine didn’t last very long! Ha, it must have died of neglect. Sometimes Nature reminds me that I need to work harder and take better care of my plants. My pomegranate tree is doing well though. It likes the hot (afternoon) sun and the brilliant red flowers remind me of the upcoming sometimes tart, sometimes sweet fruits. Oh well. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That sounds like a good drink to imbibe after a good day’s gardening. My curry leaf tree is flourishing really well – at 9 feet tall! I am waiting for my papaya harvest as well. Life’s good when you can grow your own food. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Maya,
    is the passonfruit leaf tri-lobed or ovate-oblong? I planted some seeds from passion fruits and the leaves are ovate oblong.
    When I googled for information, all the other blogs had tri-lobed leaves.
    Thanks for any information.

    • Hi Jennie: Mine were ovate oblong. My passion fruit plant died sometime ago. (sob sob). Hope yours get to fruit. Right now I have a thriving pomegranate tree in my garden. The fruits take a long time to mature though. Planted that from seeds so I guess anything that gets planted from seeds (especially fruit) take time.

      • Maya, thanks for your reply.
        I sowed about 50 seeds and 10 seedlings sprouted, but I will keep only a few. If you want a passionfruit seedling, let me know.


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