Sunday, June 29, 2008
As a follow up from yesterday's composition, I have added a lily flower, some brown bracts and the stiff leaves of Phormium cookianum, which has a creamy white and green foliage. The vertical structure of the brown bracts and the foliage would render some dramatic effects to the composition, or so I thought.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The yellow bamboo culm ( stem) still fascinates me and this late afternoon I decided to cut its top section diagonally. I was thinking of the best candidate to fill up the empty bamboo vessel. While passing by the side of my chalet I saw a group of bleeding hearts flowers ( Clerondendron thomsonae) customarily lowering its sprays in late afternoon sun. "That's my candidate", my heart sang out. To enhance the emotion of heart felt passion I thought two bracts of red lipstick heliconia ( Heliconia stricta) will help accentuate and yet harmonise with the general emotional intensity of the composition. I thought the best title for the composition would be...yes, for sure....Bleeding Hearts.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Arrangement # 16
The orangish pink lily flower and a few petals of red ginger would provide fire or spark of life to the whole composition. Thus for the purpose of naming it, I call the composition...Sparkling Fragrance.
Arrangement # 15
I had some leftovers from yesterday's collection of sassy pink heliconias. I experimented by removing the bracts to expose it true flowers and bend the stalk to create the impression of a flower basket handle. Then I combined it with the jasmine flowers and one gardenia flower from the variegated species. I call the above composition......Evening scent.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
A view of the display to indicate the placement of the heliconia flowers inside the core of the rotten piece of wood .
The meter long wood with a string of the heliconia 'sassy pink' bracts placed inside its hollow core. Shall we call this display....Pink sprouts?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The earlier composition....without the fine touches is pictured below.
From the area relatively cleared of its undergrowth and thickets above, I was able to harvest some heliconias and a yellow bamboo culm ( stem). Could this culm be used in a flower arrangement? I wondered......since bamboo is botanically the tallest in the grass family, how can you represent it in a table arrangement?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
In a moment's notice I rushed to get my gardening tools and with a zeal and enthusiasm I have not felt for quite sometime, I began scrapping the overgrown footpath from the bottom step and quickly moved up, step by step. By the time I finished the morning hours, it was time for lunch. Along the side of the steps are a collection of six varieties of heliconia, which I will describe shortly.
Heliconias make splendid cut flowers, not because of its flowers which are very insignificant and almost enclosed by the bracts but it colourful bracts. Herein lies its appeal. The bracts can be golden yellow, pink, orange, lipstick red or combinations of the these various colours and more.
My favourites? It's difficult to say because In my collection presently are twelve species. And there are hundreds more! Pressed further, I would say heliconia 'sassy pink'. I love its long pendulous string of pink bracts some one meter long or more. Then there is the dark red and the 'dare you try me' look of the heliconia stricta. I have two varieties of the golden yellow coloured heliconia as in the heliconia psittacorum species ( lobster claw or parrot flower) . Another striking variety I noticed this morning was the heliconia latispatha which have tiny bracts of yellow and red colours. At one corner I found the bright and attractive heliconia rostrata ( fire crackers).
Most heliconia bracts last long, some more than a week in a container filled with water. There are easy to grow. Requires shade and respond well to fertilising. Needs lots of water though.
My arrangements for today:
I had an empty round glass fish bowl in the store which I took out from its hiding place and made it to hold three short stalks of heliconia'sassy pink' as above.
Arrangement # 9
Below is the scene of my morning workout. At this one spot is a collection of six varieties of heliconia .
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I made the gardenia as the focus of today's arrangement. To add a jazzy touch, I included the end tips of a young coconut frond, red leaves of the 'fire brand' ( Cordyline terminalis) , and young leaves of the wild banana. To upscale the mood, I added the golden yellow bracts of the heliconia lobster claw species.
It has been narrated that among the Tahitian islanders, if a man wears a 'tiare' ( Tahitian gardenia) on his left ears, it means he is 'quite content' romantically, If on the right ear, he' is looking' and if on both ears,'has someone and wants more'. In Sarawak however, the Malay girls like to collect the petals and broadcast it over the bed or under the pillow to enjoy its heavy fragrance.
There are about 200 known varieties in the world andhere in Malaysia the gardenias were initially introduced from China. For that matter the gardenia flower is sometimes called 'Bunga Cina', meaning'Chinese flower.'
Gardenias love semi shade. Be generous when watering them and will respond you in kind if you dress it in rich compost and fertiliser. These simple acts will be rewarded with abundant flowering.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This morning I woke up early to catch the early blooms and was surprised to see the frangipanis exhibiting their best . I plucked two branches with a handsome cluster of flowers at its terminal ends. Rushed back to my chalet. Found an old sea shell. Turned it upside down and pleased to see the result as below.
Way back in the 17 th century, a French botanist by the name of Charles Plumier had journeyed to the tropics and described various species of this plant. The botanic name 'Plumeria' is therefore a recognition of his studies. This plant is one of the easiest plant to propagate and grow.
Take a slightly old branch, preferably a meter long, hang it to dry its sap for a day or two before planting it in a soil mix of damp sand and peat moss. Do not water too heavily or else the succulent branches will rot . Once established fertilise them with a rich compost and decayed manure.
In Sarawak and Malaysia for that matter, the great frangipani loves the open sun and rain. They flower continuously and just recently have gained a big following among gardeners here due to its evergreen quality and heavy clusters of white flowers that they freely exhibit the whole year long.
Besides ,the white frangipani has gained a certain degree of spirituality due to its focal point and prevalence in the Balinese garden concept. Overall, I love frangipanis for its fragrance, its showability ( I mean showy character) and ease of maintenance.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In the wild, this dwarf pineapple species produces tiny fruits which I think are very decorative . Here's a small clump just outside the front door of my country home , I called 'my chalet'.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The green fronds are from the sea cycas plant or what locals here call 'pakis laut'. They have been given an extra cut to match the size of the glass container and the heliconias.