Sunday, September 29, 2013

Summer Travels 2013 - Part 3: Floria 2013 in Putrajaya, Malaysia

This post is really overdue by about three months - which might just be a personal record - and I contemplated not putting it up at all, but that would have been an all-around waste. Besides, beautiful orchids and lush tropical greenery are always a good thing, and perhaps even more so now that fall is starting to settle over these parts, with chilly mornings, leaves everywhere changing to red and yellow, and shops touting an ever-growing barrage of pumpkin-themed food products that seriously verges on the psychotic. So here I go with my report on the Floria 2013 Flower and Garden Festival which I attended at the very end of June. The theme of the festival this year was "Orkid - Khazanah Tropika" or "Orchid - Tropical Treasure" and almost all of the displays embraced it wholeheartedly. There were orchids everywhere, in huge numbers; it is hard to make something as beautiful and varied as orchids become monotonous but this event sure came close. There was an orchid competition in its own right, but they definitely predominated in the variously-sized display gardens that took up most of the festival and were front and center amongst the entries in the flower arranging competition. Only in the vendors' section where visitors could buy plants and garden supplies did they take somewhat of a backseat to fruit tree saplings and flowering shrubs.

Some colorful carpet bedding near the entrance

Obligatory bonsai

In the display of an orchid nursery

The state of Perlis was represented by miniature rice paddies... and a lot more orchids!

Orchids coming at you from all sides


Landscaping around a pool shaped like an orchid

The myriad display gardens were sponsored by all different kinds of entities, from nurseries and other businesses to government ministries, state governments, universities, and schools. They ranged from the tacky and shoddily executed or just plain weird to the stylish and gorgeous. Since we went on the last day of the week-long event, it was also interesting to see which design ideas held up better to tropical heat and throngs of visitors and who was putting more resources into maintenance.

One of our favorites

Another angle in the same garden

One of the miniature gardens designed by students from a secondary school

This garden was the best in my opinion - a riot of orchids, bromeliads, foliage plants, and fruit and vegetables (!), interspersed with water features and meticulously maintained

Pineapples, lettuce, and tomatoes among orchids and bromeliads

Flowery outlook

A tunnel of flowers!

In the display area for the entries in the amateur orchid competition photography was somewhat hindered by the greenish tint given to everything by the netting used to shade the precious plants. The lighting in the cut flower arrangement pavilion was somewhat better.

Orchids competing

Now for some (orchid) variety...

 Tall beauty

Colorful cut flower displays...

... very colorful!

Lovely lights in the evening

On the whole, an impressive event and a ton of fun for any plant junkie like me - even if there could have been a tad more floral diversity, given Malaysia's natural and horticultural abundance.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Birthday Flowers

Thursday was my birthday, and I came home from school to find this lovely delivery from the best of significant others:

Dutch iris (Iris x hollandica)

Lucky me... :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Last Cardoon

My mom just sent this picture of the last flower of a cardoon that has been growing for the past two years in the long border in the front yard. The large stalk had fallen over and was lying on the ground and while trimming and tidying she salvaged this last bloom.

Cardoon blossom (Cynara cardunculus)

It is a bit smaller than the average cardoon flower but apparently the perfect size for that little vase.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Somerville Garden Club Plant Sale

Perhaps of interest for those in my neck of the woods, the Somerville Garden Club is having a plant sale next Saturday:

Somerville Garden Club Plant Sale

I missed it last year but it might be worth checking out.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Plants Back In Their Places

Along with myself, a lot of my houseplants are back here at university. Yesterday I did a lot of repotting and arranging. I am glad to say many of them have grown considerably.

The living room window

My special pride and joy continues to be my Anthurium scandens, which grows and flowers without a break. I transplanted it into a a much larger pot in early summer, and thick roots have already filled it out and are starting to spill over the edge of the container. The two branches that started growing from the main stem about a year ago are now as big as the whole plant was when I bought it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Flowers

Today's selection consists of a stately bunch of red gladioli, very reasonably prized at $3.99.

The whole arrangement...

... and a close-up.

I was also contemplating a bouquet of orange African marigolds, which I have never really seen as cut flowers around here, but some of the stems were already damaged.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Plant Identification Please!

I came across this pretty little flower on an overgrown fence in Cambridge this afternoon and I wonder what it is - and where one might procure more of it:

The inflorescence...

... and another picture of the foliage

Anyone know? I have never seen this plant before but judging by how and where it was growing it is probably hardy and maybe even native.

Update: Apparently this is the groundnut or potato bean (Apios americana), which is indeed native and produces edible tubers, for which it is even farmed in Japan.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quelques fleurs au Québec

Amidst hunting for a new apartment and the general hustle and bustle of the beginning of the new semester, my parents and I made use of the long holiday weekend for a short trip to Québec. For once we did not make it to any specific garden-themed destinations, but there were still some lovely flowers by the wayside.

A view towards the old town of Québec

Meadow flowers

Beds of dahlias

Apart from impressive landscapes and quaint architecture, I think for me the highlight of the trip was a Tarte au sucre bought at a farm stand on the Île d'Orléans. Basically a maple sugar pie... Delicious...