Thursday, 31 December 2015

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Succulent Plants - They Are So Pretty

Succulents are popular for two simple reasons: they are beautiful and nearly indestructible. I am into succulents now because they are hardy and easy to take care and I have bought a few mini succulents back from KL during my last trip to Semenyih.  
I asked a dear friend to get them for me and she took pictures from the nursery and asked me which one I wanted...such a great friend. With whatsapp...it is so much easier to get stuff for friends..just point , shoot and send :)  and here I would love to share with you the ones she bought for me on my behalf.
this excerpt is taken from about home
A succulent is any plant with thick, fleshy (succulent) water storage organs. Succulents store water in their leaves, their stems or their roots. These plants have adapted to survive arid conditions throughout the world, from Africa to the deserts of North America. This adaptive mechanism has resulted in an incredible variety of interesting leaf forms and plant shapes, including paddle leaves, tight rosettes, and bushy or trailing columns of teardrop leaves.
As a group, succulents include some of the most well-known plants, such as the aloe and agave, and many almost unknown plants. Succulents make excellent display plants in dish gardens.
No matter what kind of succulent you're growing, the rules are pretty similar between the different species.
Here are the general rules for growing top-quality succulents:
Light:
Succulents prefer bright light, such as found on a south-facing window. Watch the leaves for indications that the light level is correct. Some species will scorch if suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. The leaves will turn brown or white as the plant bleaches out and the soft tissues are destroyed. Alternatively, an underlit succulent will begin to stretch, with an elongated stem and widely spaced leaves. This condition is known as etoliation. The solution is to provide better light and prune the plant back to its original shape. Many kinds of succulents will thrive outdoors in the summer.
Temperature:
Succulents are much more cold-tolerant than many people assume.

bought a few succulents from the
Jade , Aeonium , Echeveria family

Graptopetalum Macdougallii
is a plant belonging to the succulent genus Graptopetalum.
It is native to Mexico. It grows on shady rocks






Sempervivum (sem-per-VIV-um) (Semps, Hens and Chicks, Houseleeks)
 are very popular cold hardy and drought tolerant succulents. 
They have many different textures and forms:
 from velvety, wooly, and satin, to fringed, tufted, and spidery webs. 
Some are large (up to 4" or more in diameter), 
others are tiny (only 1/4" diameter ). 
Most produce tight clumps that form interesting mounds.

Colors range from shades of green to silver-blues to
the darkest of purple, to delicate pinks. 
Most of the varieties show their best color in the spring 
and again in the fall. 
There are also many forms, including rosettes, 
tight balls (rollers), artichoke look-a-likes, 
and some that have the appearance of stones.

Sempervivum will produce multiple “baby chicks” per growing season. 
Some of the cultivars are more prolific than others but 
you can usually count on at least four chicks per season. 
You can leave them attached to the mother hen to
 fill in your garden planting, or you can remove the chicks
 and start a new planting elsewhere. 
They grow best in hardiness zone 5 (-20F) and up

Delosperma pruinosum
An unusual shrubby succulent with rich green leaves to 2cm long 
covered in tiny white translucent hairs. 
Masses of yellow flowers in summer. (South Africa). Sun/part sun.

 Echeveria runyonii cv topsy turvy -
A fast growing rosette-forming succulent with pale blue-gray leaves 
that curve upwards and are strongly inversely-keeled on the lower surface with 
leaf tips pointing inwards towards the center of the plant. 
This interesting Echeveria has become a common sight in 
Southern California succulent collections, likely because 
it offsets profusely and plantings quickly become mounds with 
individual rosettes to nearly 1 foot across.
Bright orange and yellow flowers rise above the foliage on 
tall arching inflorescence, usually in late summer or fall. 
Plant in a well-drained soil in full sun in coastal gardens with 
some light shade in hot climates. Water occasionally. 
Hardy to about 25° F. This plant was named by
 past Huntington Botanic Garden Director Myron Kimnack. 
The genus Echeveria was named to honor 
Mexican botanical artist Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy in 1828 













Echeveria 'Perle Von Nürnberg'
A beautiful rosette-forming succulent that has interestingly 
colored acuminate leaves that are a pale grayish brown with 
pink highlights and have a white powdery dusting, 
sometimes referred to as pruinose. 
The leaves overlap nicely in 5 to 6 inch wide 
solitary rosettes that eventually grow up on a slender stem. 
The flowers, which appear in summer on 1 foot long 
reddish-stemmed inflorescences, are a corral pink color on the exterior 
with a yellow interior. Plant in a location that has good drainage or
 in a container in full sun, shade or a bright location indoors
 (pink colors in leaf are enhanced by bright light) and
 irrigate occasionally to often. Hardy to 25°F. 
This hardy hybrid echeveria is noted for its tolerance to 
a wide range of conditions including regular irrigation,
 moderate frost, inland heat and considerable shade
 but looks the most attractive when younger so it benefits
 from being deheaded and rerooted every 3 to 4 years - a nice plant in a pot. 
This plant is a hybrid between Echeveria gibbiflora 'Metalica' x E. potosina (now E. elegans) 
that was created by Richard Graessner of Perleberg, Germany in the 1930s,
 who was considered a famous succulent plant grower in his time. 
It has long been admired by succulent growers though the cultivar name
 is sometimes anglicized as 'Pearl of Nurnberg' as was done 
when it was distributed by the International Succulent Institute (ISI) in 1979 
as ISI 1138 Echeveria 'Pearl of Nurenberg'. 
The ISI recommended it for growing in a container, and 
described it as one of the most beautiful plants that one can grow.

Crassula Ovata   
commonly known as jade plantfriendship treelucky plant, or money tree,
 is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers.
 It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and
 is common as a houseplant worldwide. 
It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however,
 Pachira aquatica also receives this nickname.

The jade plant is an evergreen with thick branches. 
It has thick, shiny, smooth, leaves that grow
 in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green, 
although some may appear to be more of a yellow-green.
 Some varieties may develop a red tinge on the edges of leaves 
when exposed to high levels of sunlight. 
New stem growth is the same color and texture as the leaves,
 but becomes brown and woody with age. Under the right conditions, 
they may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring



For succulent care click here


Year End - Wedding Bells And Wedding Rings

I received many wedding invitations the past few weeks. Usually when it is year end, there will be many weddings invites. WB and I loves to attend weddings of loved ones and friends. Attending wedding is a joy though getting gifts for the couples will be mind taxing :)

My nephew Jarod will be getting married early next year and being his aunt , I was asked to give tips and advises as my own son just got married six months ago.  It was a first wedding preparation for his parents and I can imagine the excitement and my nephew wanted a garden wedding too like his cousin.  Preparation can takes up to six months...booking the venue, invitation cards to be printed in time , wedding cake from the best baker in town and booking the best restaurant in town has to be done early.  Though the preparation can be tedious but it can be fun too. 

The first item for his wedding preparation has been taken care of.  Wedding rings - Jarod and his wife to be has chosen a pair of 18kt Yellow Gold and Platinum 7.5mm Wedding Band.  


The first item for his wedding preparation has been taken care of.  Wedding rings - Jarod and his wife to-be has chosen a pair of 18kt Yellow Gold and Platinum 7.5mm Wedding Band from Joy Jewelers platinum bands  -a 18k yellow gold channel sleeve with a center insert of platinum for a bi-colored appearance only on the outside of the band. It has a grooved edge, flat center and polished finish 18k yellow gold and platinum 950 and has a hallmark PLAT on the interior. A comfort fit of 7.5mm width.  Size 7 band weighs approximately 12.78 grams and is made in the USA. 

The rest of the preparation is going on smoothly...restaurant is booked and now they just have to engage a wedding planner to get the rest of the things done.  It is worth getting a wedding planner to help organise the garden wedding.  We did that for my son's wedding :)





Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sharing My First Experience On Growing Pepper Bell


I love pepper bells and especially the yellow ones...so sweet and fragrant.  So I decided to grow a plant to see how well I can manage to grow pepper bells.  It was a great experience even though I did not managed to grow the bells to maturity.  Learning process and through the process, I learn a lot and would like to share with you the common factors that why blossoms dropped before they can be pollinated.  Thought I would like to share with you in case you  too would like to grow your own pepper bells.

Mine produces lots of blossoms but they dropped and two managed to be pollinated but was attacked by Cyclamen Mites causing the fruit to have ' rust ' texture on the skin.  I have shared below the two important factors when growing pepper bell. Hope it helps you to understand why the blossoms doesnt stick to the plant :)  And when you have the ' rust ' like texture, you will know what causes it.

Pepper Blossoms Falling Off The Plant

Of the different reasons for the lack of flowering or bud drop on pepper plants, the most common include the following:
Temperature. Pepper plants are extremely sensitive to temperature. This is probably one of the most common causes for lack of flowering or bud drop and one of the most likely to suspect first. Optimum daytime temperatures for bell pepper varieties are between 70 and 80 degrees F., with up to 85 degrees F. for hot varieties, like chili peppers.
Nighttime temperatures falling below 60 or rising above 75 degrees F. are also indicative of bud drop. In addition, overly cool conditions, especially early in the season, can prevent buds from forming.
Poor Pollination. A lack of pepper flower production or bud drop can also be contributed to poor pollination. This can be due to a lack of pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies, in the area. To help alleviate this problem, you may need to entice pollinators to the garden by adding some bright colored flowers nearby. While there are also blossom set products available, they are not full proof and may be time consuming to apply.
Poor circulation, which contributes to pollination, may also be to blame. While moving in-ground plants may not be feasible at this point, container grown peppers can be relocated. In addition, pepper blossoms are even more sensitive to the temperatures during pollination.

Poor circulation, which contributes to pollination, may also be to blame. While moving in-ground plants may not be feasible at this point, container grown peppers can be relocated. In addition, pepper blossoms are even more sensitive to the temperatures during pollination.
Fertilizer/Water Practices. Oftentimes, too much nitrogen fertilizer will affect pepper blossoms. Instead of producing a pepper flower, the plant puts all of its energy into foliage growth. However, low fertility and low moisture levels can also result in poor flowering, bud drop and stunted growth.
You can try adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to a quart of water and apply to plants to help improve fruit set. High phosphorus fertilizer, or bone meal, can help offset high nitrogen levels too. Uneven watering or drought will cause pepper flower and bud drop. Try to avoid overhead watering and use soaker hoses or drip irrigation instead. Water regularly and deeply.

many blossoms drop before they can even grow to edible size :(
so sad

so sad to see the ' rust ' on the surface of the skin

Cyclamen Mite Damage To Green Pepper

This article was published originally on 9/14/2011 - taken from Horticulture And Home Pest News
One of my favorite ‘oddball’ samples is peppers damaged by mites. The peppers look like potatoes growing on the plant the way they are scabby and misshapened. Cyclamen mites are the most likely culprit for these dramatic symptoms. The mite feeding causes the peppers to russet; the russeting is brown and rough to the touch and appears over large portions of the pepper. If you look closely the russeting has a crackled or net-like appearance.

Cyclamen mites cause this impressive damage by feeding on the young developing fruit. They inject auxins (growth regulators) as they feed which cause the fruit to form the russeted appearance. It does not take very many mites to cause damage. Once the damage is apparent the mites are long gone and curative treatment is not possible.
Controls focus on cultural methods that prevent cyclamen mites from getting to the peppers. Problems with peppers in greenhouses are often from cyclamen mites moving onto the pepper plants from nearby ornamental plants, so keeping ornamentals away from peppers can reduce the chance of damage. In a field situation strawberries can serve as a source of cyclamen mites that infest nearby peppers.
The damage is only skin deep with the inner tissue appearing normal. I suspect the peppers could still be eaten but I think the skin would be a bit too chewy! Luckily cyclamen mites are only an odd occasional pest of peppers and this is not something that most gardeners will ever encounter.


Severe russeting of high-tunnel-grown peppers apparently caused by cyclamen mites.


























the whole pepper was infested with worms...so scary!


I will not give up ...will be planting another batch 
will blog about it when the time comes :)



Busy Shopping For Christmas Gifts

I can't believe it that Christmas is just around the corner..... house cleaning to be done, christmas eve dinner menu to prepare and the most enjoyable and yet brain storming shopping to be done.  I have to seriously sit down and do some surfing and see what to get for my two sons.  One loves music and the other loves cameras.   It is so much easier to get for the two daughters ... * wink 

Ok , first I think I will head over to musical store MF and see what they have in store for Christmas. I am sure they have special Christmas sales going on. If there are , I am sure to get Piggy Josh something from there since he loves music.  I can't wait for them to be back celebrating the joyous occasion of Christmas together.  Food and music are a match made in heaven.  

Shopping online has become my favourite past time and it has made shopping so much easier. Hassle free and we can shop in comfort :)