Sunday, August 31, 2008

Heliconia sassy pink beauty

Arrangement # 78
From yesterday's composition I now add the fragrant blooms of gardenia and jasmine and finally the crowning beauty of the heliconia sassy pink bracts.
The jasmine(jasmine mutiflorum) is synonymous with sweet fragrance and many of today's refreshers ( car, home or office) make use of its essence for their fragrant flavours. And the gardenia too are chosen for its fragrant and pure white flowers.
The long pendulous stalk of heliconia sassy pink provides the balance to the composition i.e. to top heavy flowers are balanced by a strong pink long cascade of equivalent mass of bracts.
 Because the pink bracts stay outstanding infront of the brown jar,in an already rich arrangement, I would therefore name this composition...Pink Beauty.  

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Jarful of Satisfaction

Arrangement # 77
( In Three Stages)
I have these 'tongkat ali' roots ( a local aphrodisiac) inside the jar for sometime. But it was just the tongkat ali and the brown jar. I was however inspired to make a composition based on the jar and the aphrodisiac this morning.
To match the jar's brown colour I add three bracts of calathea with its minute yellow flowers hiding behind their thick brown bracts, making the flowers less showy as is charateristic of this species. At the lower storey I placed a few stalks of the pseuderanthemum ( Pseuderanthemum recticulatum ), the flowers of which are held by terminal spikes. They have white blossoms with purplish spots radiating from the center. The young leaves are very attractive due to its golden yellow colouration.
Then I add another heliconia species, the orangish heliconia latispatha with its lovely green tips.
Finally to add drama to the whole scene, I made the heliconia sassy pink to circle the base of the jar.
Yes...completely satisfied I felt and in no uncertain terms call this composition....a Jarful of Satisfaction.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vibrant Colours of Heliconia Bracts

Arrangement # 76
When I arrived Bintulu yesterday  ( 27/8) it was dark and rainy. Couldn't see much and there wasn't time to make my daily cut.  I thought sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The very fact that I arrived Bintulu safely after a ten hours land journey was something I should be thankful for. Therefore I slept last night tired and grateful.
Today's composition was done late in the afternoon after about a half day's shopping,meeting friends,checking my postal office box, banking matters and most of all to repair my computer and handset modem that had went a bit haywire. With every thing in place, I set about to have my pick for the day.  By one turn of my shoulder, I saw heliconias in various colours stealing my attention.
Without further ado,  two varieties were chosen. Then I made a cutting of a mild pink canna.So the three goes into a rotten tree trunk, which became my favourite tall container for quite a while now. The above picture captures stage one.
Stage Two:
The heliconia 'sassy pink' with its long stalk and some of its pink bracts removed was made to circle around the rotten trunk suggesting an entangled affair. The top section of the display's space was occupied by the bright orange heliconia latispatha. Such strong showing of colours I thought need to be smoothen and given interest. Therefore I added a few blooms of the jasmine ( jasmine multiflorum)
Stage Three:
Finally to conclude I added scent to the composition by throwing fresh white and fragrant blooms of the plumeria ( plumeria obtusa).
Feeling happy and much pleased, I call this composition .....Red Twine in the Sunset.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Exotic Plant Therapy

Arrangement # 75
I am pretty impressed by the survival factor of yesterday's cut flowers. To recall I had the heliconia sassy pink, calathea, costus , parrot flower and finally the fragrant white blooms of the spider lily.
Today I thought of just reorganising the presentation. Therefore I had them placed inside a special square container that is made from four pieces of the abacus. I let the green tips of heliconia sassy pink peep out and cascade from the front side of the container to suggest movement.
For having counted days of blessing my soul as I watched them and still do, without a tinge of doubt I call the above composition...A Continued Blessing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Too few to mention

Arrangement # 74
Didn't have much flowers in bloom today principally due to our Kuching garden still very much in its infancy. However this calls for an imaginative moment. Like what people used to say, opportunity knocks on every man's ( or woman) door but few recognise it at the correct time.
My eager eyes were caught by one inflorescences each of the costus, heliconia, hibiscus and finally a gardenia. Since the flowers are a bit limited I thought some broad foliage would do the balancing act.
Three, two, one..goes the inflorescences and the foliage into a mini tambuk. A variegated caladium was placed in the foreground to add much needed contrast and life to the display.
" Regrets I had a few, but then again too few to mention".....and so the final curtain goes and the composition credits remain as......What Have We Got ?
I am not over with the composition. No regrets. Just a minute addition wouldn't do no harm. Therefore in goes an orange canna.
Finally when the whole episode is over, I put the display next to yesterday's composition which apparently still remain in superb condition. Since last night two buds of the spider lily have opened up and tonight I guess another two or three should come out in full bloom. By the by, the tissue box cover in front is made from beadswork in the Sarawakian native design. The figurative and fern-like motifs are essential elements in the local ethnic design patterns.

Friday, August 22, 2008

An Exotic Cut

Had a good look at the front garden this morning.  Love those young fragile cycas fronds (Cycas rumphii) welcoming a new day.  My front garden has slowly turned out to become more exotic as the various large and multi-coloured foliage reveals their true identity.  The under story of colourful foliage too are showing colours of pink and purple especially the species belonging to the rhoe discolour and the irisine.  The upper story of palmate leaves are rising to the occassion as well.
From yesterday's composition I noticed that the spider lily flowers are still stiff and freshly fragrant and more buds are blooming even as I am writing this post.  This prooves that the spider lily flowers are  quite lasting  materials for cut flowers. Not to miss this new found love of the spider lily as cut flowers I therefore decide to retain yesterday's cuttings and to add that tropical exotic lustre to the display, I placed a flowering stem of the sassy pink heliconia with some bracts removed to expose its beautiful green tips.
Arrangement # 73
I strongly feel invigorated with this new discovery of the spider lily as cut flowers. Pleased and entertained as I watch the above display , consequently would love to name this composition... Exotic Cut.
As I type this post the sweetly fragrant scent from the spider lily flowers perfumes the ambience around the dining table. A day to remember.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spider Lily

Arrangement # 72
My house garden in Kuching is still in its infancy since we decided to 'look west' .  While trying to make my pick for the day, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bed of spider lily ( Hymenocaullis caribaea) bearing a couple of flowers. I just took one stalk thinking to make a simple,fast and elegant composition.
To match its long stalk and white flowers, I chose the contrasting colours of the brownish bracts of calathea ( Calathea lutea) and stopped at that. Not to complicate things further.
Glad to call today's composition ....In Contrasting Mood.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pink Canna Hybrid, Hibiscus and White Ginger

Arrangement # 71
I have not been able to get any reasonable good show of blooms yesterday( 19/8) .Thus was unable to post an arrangement.  However I seemed to be lucky this morning.  My waiting game for the stalk of pink canna hybrid and white ginger to come out of their buds and flower paid me handsomely today.With the pink flowers of canna and the red hibiscus in one hand and the white ginger on the other, my mind was working in quick mode.
In a vase of water they go and ooops in split second an arrangement was done. With a good day to remember ( 20.08.2008) and an effortless composition, I call this display...Lucky Me

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bunga Kenanga ( Canangium odorata )

Arrangement # 70
What an exciting moment when I discovered my perfume tree ( Canangium odorata /Cananga odorata ) producing its first cluster of fragrant yellow-green flowers. I thought it should have a focal point in today's composition.  Therefore I sandwitched it between the flowers of ixora and bracts of heliconia.  In Malaysia this tree is locally referred to as the ' kenanga '. 'Bunga Kenanga " means the flowers of kenanga. From the  distilled oil in the flowers , perfume is produced. In some literature, this tree is sometimes called the ' ylang ylang'.
An interesting feature of its flower is its long, twisted and drooping petals.
To add greenery to the composition, I placed a few leaves of draceana with its longitudinal yellowish stripes, thespider plant with its stiff grass like variegated white-green leaves and the lanceolate leaves of the mother-in-law's tongue .
For such a fragrant flower creating a huge perfume industry, I call today's composition.... A Perfumed Presence.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Three's a Crowd

Arrangement # 69
This morning I woke up early because I'll be attending an 'akad nikah' ceremony where in the Muslim custom the prospective bridegroom will pronounce his acceptance of marriage to the bride in front of elders and a big crowd ( or small according to one's preferences).  Therefore a quick stroll around the garden will suffice.  To my delight three hibiscus ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) flowers were ready for the picking. In quick succession ,I placed them in a glass of water with some leaves of the mother-in-law's tonque ( Sansevieria trifasciata ) and then kept the glass in a mini 'tambuk' and into an antique iron. The title...Three's a Crowd.
An interesting  use of the hibiscus image as coloured lighting motif is seen yesterday on a urban road,Kuching City.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This Morning Brightness

Arrangement # 68
What makes my day?  From yesterday's recycled beauty I retained the bracts of heliconia , costus and the variegated leaves of cordyline. This morning's  blooms consists of a stalk of pink canna hybrid, red hibiscus and light orange bougainvillea. Not to be missed is a white bract on a flowering stem of a variegated caladium.
To express this morning's early achievement and painless search I call the above composition...This Morning Brightness.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Variegated Cordyline

Arrangement # 67
Sunday (10/8) when I went hunting for plants at the Satok flower market, I came across an interesting cordyline hybrid.  It has pale cream leaves with green streaks and edged in red which was very much different from the more ubiquitious red variety ( Red Ti) used very often in today's landscaping for their strong red and sometimes light pink leaves.
To match the variegated cordyline leaves, I chose the bracts of costus woodsonii and heliconia psittacorum which has survived days after having been placed inside a container filled with water.
Being happy for a moment with the rather 'hot' colourful collection, I thought then of a flower that could define their beauty better in somewhat finer and milder colours. My choice is the pink hibiscus hybrid.
With an abstract painting as the backdrop, I placed the display on my dining table to add lure for this morning breafast.  For being such useful and lasting decorative foliage and bracts, I call the composition...Recyled Beauty.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Orangy Ixora coccinea

Arrangement # 66
There is not much good blooms this morning at the garden outside except for an ixora shrub which apparently do have some fresh early morning flowers. Instantly my mind was driven to make an interesting composition based on its rich orange colours. Once satisfied with three cuttings, I strolled around the garden for leaves to match. Three variegated leaves species I selected were the wild banana ( green and dark purple colours), mother-in-law's tonque ( Sansevieria trifasciata ) and the irisine leaves of light red and dark purple combinations.
I placed them in a glass container which I hide inside a local mini 'tambuk' ( carrying basket ) sold as a popular souvenier item to tourists visiting Kuching. Finally, I added a stalk of white ginger ( Hedychium coronarium) to add a much needed interest.
Ixoras to me is a must for our local garden. They flower furiously year round. They are native to this region ( South East Asia) and have a good range of colours. Those that have pink colours are called Ixora siamensis while yellow ones are sometimes referred as Ixora coccinea var.lutea . One peculiar feature is their tubular flowers with four spreading lobes in dense clusters. I used to pluck these flowers and suck its tubular stamens for its nectar. Nowadays there are cultivars that possess traits of special appeal to landscapers like dense inflorescences, tiny leaves, low maintenance shrub, hardy ( especially for shaping and or topiary purposes) and sun loving. One such cultivar is the popular dwarf ixora known also as ' ixora sunkist '.
For being such a popular, hardy and lovely native species, fitting the bill of landscapers and home gardeners alike, I shall call this composition....My Lovely Native Ixora.

In Jubilating Mood

Arrangement # 65
Today I spent a very hectic day at down town Kuching City, where a handicraft show and sale was held. On reaching home , I met three striking beauties that greeted me as I approached the front garden.
One, a light pink hibiscus, then a lighter red canna hybrid and finally a handsome crimson red hibiscus.
It would be unthinkable if I would not pick them as my favourites for the day.
I was exceptionally happy this afternoon after I met some strangers who were so willing to share knowledge about batik at the show. All in all, I felt jubilatingly happy. With a little help from a stalk of costus and orange bracts of heliconia, the composition was completed in record time.
Therefore I dedicate today's composition to ....Feeling Exuberant..
A corner at one of the exhibition stalls displaying various containers using rattan as the chief material and given modern colours.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Delightful Sarawak

Arrangement # 64
Waking up early to a Saturday morning, less rain, I felt somewhat elated.  Saw the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics 2008 last night live on RTM 1. What a dazzling show it was. The moment I stepped out of the front door the heady sweet scent of a white ginger blossom ( Hedychium coronarium ) pricked my senses.
This particular bloom was next to a clump of wild bananas that are at present flowering and fruiting too.  A unique combination of events that I thought would be the subject of today's arrangement.
Moving around the garden I saw a small stalk of golden eranthemum ( Pseuderanthemum reticulatum ) in partial bloom.  These two blooms would make it to the table today.
I placed the two blooms and a couple of young variegated wild banana leaves into a mini 'tambuk'.  At the background I placed a favourite batik painting of mine which shows an Iban design motif. For a unique mixture of sorts, I name this composition....Delightful Sarawak.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sarawak Delights Series

It is raining this morning here in Kuching. And today is memorable to start something new. Today the 2008 Olympics begins in Beijing, China. Therefore I will start a new series themed 'Sarawak Delights' in this weblog that will showcase Sarawak handicrafts that can be used in conjunction with floral displays.

View of my front garden in Kuching. To the right is a dense collection of wild bananas.  To the left are the broad leaves of calathea ( Calathea lutea)
Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, Malaysia and it is one of the best lanscaped cities in Malaysia.  In my opinion, the whole Kuching city is just like one big oversized botanical garden.  But it is more than that.  Kuching is rich in cultural heritage that is based on the forest and ethnic diversity. In Kuching you can easily sample all the various handicrafts of the peoples in Sarawak by walking through its hundreds of handicrafts  and sovenier shops along the Kuching Waterfront.
In my collection at the moment is a piece of bamboo 'coin box', a bamboo weaved container and a 'rattan' woven mini 'tambuk' ( which is a Bidayuh term to mean a carrying basket). These will be used in today's presentation.
Arrangement # 62
I have placed the bracts of heliconia, costus and calathea inside a glass and then fit them inside the mini 'tambuk' ( which is sold in Kuching as a sovenier).  In the above example, I have removed the pink bracts of heliconia sassy pink to expose the beautiful green tips.
Arrangement # 63
Finally, I placed two Sarawak handicraft items, the bamboo 'coin box' and a bamboo woven container next to the 'tambuk'. I would like to name this composition....Sarawak by Design.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pumpkin Delight

Arrangement # 61
This morning I had a marvellous time tending to my small garden here in Kuching. Though it is still in its formative stage, there are lots of plants that I planted months ago that are showing their true colours right now. Of particular interest is the Sassy Pink heliconia which I made a cutting . I was thinking of displaying it differently. Thus I made use of the unique unglazed earthen ware piece which I have kept for more than twenty years and brought here to Kuching as a decorative living room piece. I could very well remember that is the kind of water pot that people in Kedah, West Malaysia called 'Labu Air' and used to sell them to visitors as sovenier items. In fact I bought this particular pot years ago while on a family holiday trip to Kedah and Langkawi Island. The word 'Labu' in Bahasa Malaysia refers to the pumpkin fruit. This pumpkin fruit shaped vessel is used to store drinking water in Kedah.
Next , I went around the beds and saw ixoras flowering together with a couple of yellow and orange bracts of heliconias shooting into the garden air. The leaves and red stalk of the sealing wax palm ( Cyrtostachys renda) though still small, is used in this display for its tropical look and stiff leaves. Finally to add height and structure to the composition, I used the spider plant leaves ( Chlorophytum comosum) which have about 30 cm length of grass-like straight leaves with white edging. Normally the spider plant is used as a hanging basket plant. To add a little bit of interest I threw in two leaves of the alocasia species at the back of the pot.
For an enchanting and a memorable arrangement I call this composition...Pumpkin Delight

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

An Amazing Fascination

Today's Specialty:
  • Bright red (scarlet) spikes - Costus woodsonii
  • Golden yellow with green tips ( red bracts removed) - Heliconia latispatha
  • Brown bracts ( unnamed species)
  • Small circular disc cups ( unnamed species)
Display as table arrangement with abstract painting background and laid on a Sarawak bead table mat.
Just the other day while at the Sarawak Regatta 2008 I bought a Sarawak bead piece ( like the one you see on the left of the picture) based on an Orang Ulu design. It is extremely colourful and intricately done. When I plan to produce today's composition, I was thinking of the bead piece and an abstract painting I did a long time ago ( still in my collection).Thus this composition explains it all.My fascination with Sarawak beads, heliconias and painting.
Arrangement # 60
Straight out, I couldn't think of any other title except....An Amazing Fascination.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brief Afternoon Glory

Arrangement# 59
Returning home late in the afternoon today, I wasted no time in picking my target for the day. Couldn't resist the orangish red colours of this regular single petalled hibiscus hybrid. Looks like they have just blossomed in the late afternoon sun. The tonal values of some light orange and lilac colourful bracts (couldn't get to name the species yet) creeping on the fence waited excitedly for my eager hand. For a fast late afternoon collection of cut flowers due for my dining table arrangement, am pleased to call this composition....Brief Afternoon Glory.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bright and Lovely Sunday

Arrangement # 58
I am feeling super great this morning . I have recovered from the long trip to Kuching. And yesterday spent a lovely day at the Kuching waterfront watching long boats, jet skis , kayaks and sampans and lots and lots of people and food was everywhere. I am still feeling the air of festivities today as I wake up late to a lazy Sunday. As I was about in the garden outside, I picked up a spray of pink frangipani and few orange and light red bracts of heliconia. I thought a simple composition will do for a Sunday. So here goes my....Bright and Lovely Sunday.