Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greener Pastures

The mall where the school is located within was having a eco-friendly bazaar all week. We were invited to participate and so had a chance to meet many nice families and mingle with the lovely stall folks. There were many stalls retailing organics products, recycled products, food and my favourite stall was Jolene's nursery.

I must have bought 7 plants from Jolene in the last two days. Some are for the school. Apparently these plants can absorb the toxic in the air during their photosynthesis (nope, she was not referring to carbon dioxide). Her plants are of good quality and health too. I could tell the difference when re-potting them. The roots are bigger and the plants resettled well. Most importantly, Jolene solved the mystery of the ailment striking my plants.

Some of my previously healthy plants are dying one by one. It all started with the serai (lemon grass) which got coated with a layer of white powdery substance. Soon the leaves dried up, and the plant died. It spread to its neighbour, the pandan which soon suffered the same fate.

So it was opportune that I met Jolene this week. She knows her plants and takes a natural approach to gardening. She diagnosed that my plants are suffering from powdery mildew, a common fungi that thrives in humidity (which is our local weather), and prescribed daily 'medicine' of garlic-onion-dried chilli-baking powder blend. After plucking out the affected part, that is.

I woke up just before 6 am the following day, eager to implement her prescription. Two days later, the powdery mildew seems less. Fingers crossed that my plants will return to their thriving days.

Thankfully, the edible plants seem to be immune.

From top, first comes the lime. Remember how small they were? Like babies, the seedlings grow up in the blink of an eye. Maybe, not as fast for these lime. According to the uncle from my usual nursery, growing lime takes around a year before I get a decent 20 inches or so.

My basil (almost two feet tall) smells great.

The lemon balm would be great for days when we have headaches or congestion. Add slices of crushed ginger with bruised lemon balm, pour hot water and sip. A natural way to get rid of the headache and congestion.

Lavender is apparently edible. I can't think of any recipes offhand other than lavender cookies. But the smell of lavender is fabulous. I'm hoping that the little bush I have will multiply now that I have shifted it to a bigger pot.

Say hi to chilli! You have seen it grow it from tiny green shoots to the 15 inches tall kiddo it is today. Very soon, it shall get married and bear me chilli fruits. ;)

Then there are the thyme, oregano, italian parsley, celery parsley, rosemary which are doing well. Having fresh herbs on hand is great. We have harvested a number of times and used them for our pasta, stews and roast meat.

Plus we have been doing sensorial activities in school (mainly cinnamon, coffee beans, lemon and cocoa beans). Dear Daughter gets excited during this activity. She would sniff, try to say the name and extends this outside the classroom. For instance, when we say smell the basil, she would lean closer, sniff it and gets excited with the lovely scent she detects. The other day, we were having a meal and when the food came, I commented that 'the food smells great'. DD leant over the dish for a deep breath and went 'hmnnnnn' in an appreciative manner. Cracked us up.

In any case, if you are interested in Jolene's services, check her out at her website or give her a ring at 0123211127. I think she does landscaping too and one of her recent projects was creating an edible garden. Sounds like a dream for me. :)


  1. Lavender tea would be great! I heard there's a bakery in Malaysia called Lavender, and they their breads and pastries are infused with lavender!

    1. Hi Joyce, I like Lavender. Didn't know that their bread are infused with lavender. Am having lots of fun finding lavender recipes. :)