Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hot on Heels

It was an interesting afternoon just now. I walked through my collection of heliconias at the Heliconia Valley area at my eco-farm here in Bintulu. The red hot 'lobster claws' (Heliconia stricta) sent an appealing look I couldn't resist. I had planted many varieties of heliconias here and many have established and attuned themselves to the environment that they are able to provide me with dozens of colourful bracts on daily basis. A respectful tropical garden should now have at least 10 species due to the fact that most varieties are easily obtainable from many nurseries or flower markets in Sarawak. The good point about the Heliconia stricta is that it has a long shelf-life. Secondly being heliconias they attract wildlife like the humming birds or the sun birds which sip their nectar or eat their tiny fruits.
Arrangement # 135

Today I was very occupied with work on my nexart exhibition. The strong colours of the Heliconia strictas stimulated me to express my eagerness and determination to make the show a success . I've less than 27 weeks to do so. In quick successive steps I plucked and make cuttings of the Red Hibiscus ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Red Ginger ( Alpinia purpurata),Parrot Flower( Heliconia psittacorum) and lastly the striking Heliconia 'Sassy Pink'. My mind ran so fast that before I finished the composition, the title just kept on flashing my grey matter....Hot on Heels.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Geisha

I was taking a walk at one of the vegetation islands behind my chalet yesterday. I noticed a clump of Licuala palm ( Licuala spinosa) in its prime best. I took a stalk of its broad fan-shaped leaves for the day's cut flower composition.
Licuala palms grow best in humid and filtered light with rich humus cover for its roots. As such they are ideal plants under a forest canopy but not in potty environment. At my farm I find that the tallest ones are now reaching 4 meters. Locals here use the leaves to wrap food or thatch them to make sleeping mats or sun hats.

Their wedge-shaped leaves look fresh and deep jungle green in colour. To provide a refreshing contrast to the composition I add two stalks of the frangipani or plumeria flowers ( Plumeria obtusa).I like to use them for they are scented and the flowers will last for a couple of days when other buds slowly open up to the world. By cutting the leaves edges in a staggered formation I achieve the effect of movement.. The plumeria flowers being white and gentle in colour like the lily indicate gracefulness and the green leaves connotes growth . The slender glass vase and the outspread leaves look like a Japanese geisha in kimono. Thus, today's composition is called......The Geisha.