Saturday, October 17, 2015


I realized more and more that my gardens are greatly influenced by childhood imagination, feed by the books I read. My heroes eating the delicate Elderberry flowers and berries while lost in the forest. Given a treat of Elderberry cordials when they were good. Taste unknown but imagined, this is my second attempt to grow Elderberry. 
June 20, 2015

Temu Kunci Boesenbergia Rotunda

September 2015

Thai Krachai or Malaysian Temu Kunci Boesenbergia Rotunda, also known as Finger root , lesser galangal, Chinese ginger has been exciting addition to my garden. I love it delicious and unique taste in Thai curries. Needless to say I did everything I knew to encourage the ginger to take root. The Krachai is planted in the same bed as the Cekur. Both these Asian ginger seem to love the filtered sunlight of the location and hot summer. It too has been gracing the garden with its beautiful bloom. The blooms are hidden within the leaf stalk and it is easy to overlook the fleeting bloom.

My Temecula Cekur patch....

September 2015

Let you into a secret, shh.....I have a sweet little dream; that how I think of it - A DREAM. Queue music.... sighs.The heart of Malaysian and Asian cooking is the herbs. My sweet little dream is to have a Malaysian herb garden just steps outside my kitchen. Over the years I have collected and cultivated many of these herbs in my San Diego garden. My heart had been broken too many times to count. Sigh again... The sight of a dead herb that I had searched long and hard for is always devastating. But it is a dream I refused to give up on.

This year has been particularly trying. I had been transferring these herbs to Temecula, a climate far different from San Diego. It is hotter and drier than San Diego and at the same time, it is subject to frost which these tropical herbs cannot withstand. I hedged my bets; keeping one or more plant in San Diego in case the herb failed to thrive in Temecula.

So far it has been gratifying to have my little Asian herb patch in Temecula and watching the herbs flourish. They love the hot heat! The trick going forward will be to keep them alive through the fall and winter, and then have them emerge in spring.

I have a soft spot for 
Cekur Kaemferia galanga. It is an essential herb for traditional Nyonya cuisine. Whenever I do manage find some Cekur roots they live for a period and die away over the winter. So far, I am optimistic they will do better in Temecula. The Cekur likes its location in the planter, under the queen palm tree. It appears it thrives in filtered sunlight condition. 

September 5, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015


September 27, 2015

Everytime I slide open the door to the garden, I brace myself. Each season, my tomato plants gets decimated by Tomato Hornworm. These evil caterpillars seem to appear out of nowhere and wreck havoc. It is always when and how bad, never if.........

Today, from the doorway I can see from afar that something had bitten into the tomato. So I get closer. When I see the leafless stalks I start looking for the tomato hornworm.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Walla Walla Harvesting Time

August 18, 2015

Since I started cultivating the onion seedlings instead of viewing them as weeds, my attitude changed towards their care. I had been cutting off the onion flowers as soon as I see them forming so that the energy could be directed to forming the onion bulb. It is satisfying to see the swollen bulbs all in a row.

I started wondering whether it was time to harvest them....The last time I had a significant crop of onions was August 2013. August was here. A quick research to refresh my memory suggested when the stalk start to fall over it would be time to harvest the onions!! My husband walked by and glanced at my computer screen, and makes a suggestion that BLEW MY MIND!! I cannot believe I had never thought of it before.... but that is a topic for another post.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September Colors

September 23,  2015

Finally, the tomatoes are ripening!! Not many but some. My favorite are the gorgeous Speckle Romans with the beautiful striations.

Transplanting self seeded onions seedlings

August 30, 2015

As the flower blossoms ripen, the seeds form within the flower globe. The seeds look like little black sesame seeds. Onion blossom globes stand high above plant, on the end of long stalk.  Some of these stalks are as tall as 3 feet high. Wind blowing through the garden sway the onion flower globes and scatter the seeds all over the garden.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Drought equals fewer and smaller fruits

August 2015

California is experiencing extreme draught. Both San Diego and Temecula Water Authorities have limited irrigation of gardens to 2 days a week, 5 minutes a day if using standard irrigation. Since my gardens are on drip irrigation, I am not restricted to the 5 minutes a day but the 2 days a week limitation still applies. 2015 summer is probably the hottest summer we have had in quite a while. My plants are stressed.

This routine has drastically reduced the size and quantities of fruits. Tomatoes are my summer delight. This year, while the tomatoes were covered with blossoms, the high temperatures caused most of the flowers to fall. Instead of harvest dozens of tomatoes each day, I have only be able to harvest 3-5 tomatoes a week....
Speckle Roman -September 5, 2015
Speckle Roman tomatoes

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Walla Walla Onions Flower

Onions is something my garden does not seem lack these days. Ever since I planted some Walla Walla onions in 2012, I have never had to buy onions sets or sprout onion seedlings since. It seems each season I get more and more onions. So much so, I have taken them for granted. Sometimes, I even found myself viewing them as weeds.This year, I decided to change my attitude towards these weeds and cultivate them.

My first approach in controlling these "weeds" was cutting off the onion flower heads. The flowers of the onions are marvelous to observe!.They start off small like the flowers of the chives; growing bigger and bigger, covered with a translucent papery skin. The whole flower bulb is actually a head of multiple onion blossoms. 
Flower blossoms encased in papery wrapper

You can see the buds through the papery skin. As the blossoms develop, they break open the translucent papery wrapper covering them. This allows the individual buds to mature and flower.

The flowers are so beautiful and looks like snow balls. Noisy snowballs a buzz with bees pollinating them. I know that bee are dying around the world but not in my garden!! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Exotic Blooms

August 17, 2013

Cekur (Kaempferia galanga) is a herb I have tried to grow numerous times with very limited success over the years. Even if it sprouted and I tended to it with the tenderest of care, it inevitably dies. It does not matter if I keep it in the house or outside..

This year I planted the cekur in Temecula instead of San Diego. Temecula's climate is more extreme; hotter in the summer than San Diego with a chance of frost in winter. So far, it has been a fine balance of watering, shade and heat. Too wet and the tuber rots. Too dry, they become dry and shrivelled. Then there are the snails that absolutely love to devour them. 

Temecula went through a weekend of over 100F this past weekend. I made sure that the cekur had the moisture to combat the heat. I was handsomely rewarded by a delicate and beautiful bloom that rivals and resembles an orchid!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

See how I GROW......

July 12, 2015

We went away for a mini vacation in Montreal and Vancouver. When I got back I was astounded at what greeted me!! Apparently, the Choy Sum had its own summer vacation and was "glowing". Compare the pictures from June 25 and July 12, 2015.

June 25, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Underwater Garden

June 25, 2015

I was so excited to see how the the transplants had grown since I last saw them. Also, a little bit afraid.... Before I left, I had sprinkled the beds with Organic Sluggo to take care of the millions of snails that seem to be everywhere. No matter how many I physically removed, when I turn around there would be more snails- sometimes stuck together...meaning future generations of snails. It seems be no end to these snails.

Apparently, snails was the least of my worries!! As I excitedly, slide open the door to the patio and garden, my jaw dropped. It was an unbelievable sight! I was in shock and shouted for BH. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It is Planting Time!!

June 21, 2015

Now that the planter beds have been renewed, I was excited to transplant the seedlings that we had brought over from San Diego. I installed drip irrigation and planted Choy Sum and Swiss Chard in one bed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Making the trip

June 18, 2015

I am way behind on my blog posts....
In the midst of the chaos I call life, BH and I have surely but slowly been moving our stuff from the San Diego house to the Temecula house. Now that it is summer it is only natural that we turned our attention to the garden; looking at what plants we could bring with us.

Without a single doubt, we were taking our Kaffir Lime and the Calamansi Lime. It proved to be quite a feat as the trees have been in the pots for quite a few years. In addition to that, I had  been neglecting the plants for the past year or so. The landscapers had repeatedly knocked off the irrigation emitters from the pot. Often, I don't notice until weeks later during my infrequent visit to the garden. As a result, the trees were stressed  and the roots were crazily entwine within the pot, seeking out every bit of water.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rehabilitation and new planter beds

June 14, 2015 

We did a lot this weekend. On Friday, we transplanted three pomegranate trees that the birds had so kindly planted in one of my raised garden bed. It is only fair as they had feasted on the pomegranate fruits from the tree up front. Dear husband dug up the three trees which were already flowering and fruiting from the planter beds. That in itself was quite a feat. The roots were deep. I think this is their second spring. Then DH had to dig the holes to transplant the trees to. We moved it to the south hillside next to the goji berry.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dogs in the Mist

I spent this weekend going through my photos on my phone, uploading to computer and backing up the photos. I came across these photos of Frasier and Ellie following my husband. My husband is allergic to dogs so the dogs are outside dogs. He does not play with them, just talk to them from the door. I think it is because of just that, they lap ( no pun intended) up any interaction they have with him. They just love him. He says he does not like dogs and they dogs are just for us. Secretly, I think he loves them just as much as we do.

One morning I woke up and look outside. It was all misty. I could not see beyond our property, could not see the vineyards.

The mist started clearing up a bit and what do I see? My husband strolling around our property with his morning cup of joe, and our dogs just leisurely following him around.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sprucing up the courtyard

May 3, 2015

We were too late in preparing our courtyard of tropical plants for winter. Renovations too longer than expected. Frost hit. Plants struggled but was still alive. We went away for vacation. A freaky snowstorm blew through the area over the New Year night. Snow actually stuck to the ground instead of just flurries, the most extreme snow the area has experienced. Kids were sledding down snow clad hills. Come on, this is Southern California!! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

What seed am I?

April 24, 2015

Do you know what seeds this is? A tiny speck at the end of a fluffy hair like puff. Hint: it comes from a beautiful edible flower. Okay, another hint: flower is purple in color. Viola? No, a much larger bloom.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


March 6, 2015

Really??? My last blog post was July 2014!!! Year after year resolutions to blog more has not happen. I was going to post a flurry of mini blog posts as 2014 drew to a close. That did not happen. Even thoughts of just posting pictures with captions did not happen. Then 2015 started and I was going to.... yes....

Renovation to the house is finally done and we will be spending more time in Temecula. I love my beautiful new kitchen, family room and the gorgeous new travertine floor throughout the main house. The kitchen is a dream to cook in, all the more inspiring me to have a bountiful kitchen garden and orchard.

Today, I will post disjointed snippets from my garden in Temecula. I wore a face mask to rip out last season plants. Past seasons spring clean up have subjected me to allergies that do not make me sneeze but instead clog up my ears. All the fluid just fill my years. Hence I look like somebody in a Helix episode combatting a deadly disease!!

A strange cold winter that subjected our Southern California garden with a freak snow storm dealt a blow to a number of my tropical fruit trees. My Jamby Air, Wax Guava Syzygium Samaranengse shows no sign of life. I am heart broken but I will leave the plant in the ground until mid spring to give it a chance. Maybe, it needs to be at a specific temperature for a prolong period to leaf out? I am hoping so.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Haircut for Lemongrass bush

March 6, 2015

Time to cut my lemongrass bushes again. They grow very quickly during the hot months in Temecula. I normally cut it 2-3 times a year. I grow more than I could use but I just love the rounded shape of the lemongrass bush. The blades of the lemongrass turns red during cold spells. As you can see, this is a monster of a bush. I have two lemongrass bushes.

I have to wear long sleeve shirt to do the trimming or I would be covered with numerous cuts from the sharp blades of the lemongrass. I use a large clipper to cut the bush. What do you think? I think I did a decent job of being a hairdresser to the lemongrass bush.