Tanaman Kencur


Tanaman Kencur Kaempferia galanga

Tanaman Kencur – Kaempferia galanga

Horeee…. pesanan tanaman kencur (Kaempferia galanga) dari Queensland sudah tiba pagi ini. Cepat juga, karena M (anakku) mengordernya hari Selasa yang lalu. Parcel tiba dalam bentuk kotak karton yang cukup besar untuk satu tanaman kecur. Eh…. ternyata diisi dengan kepingan stryrofoam untuk melindungi tanaman dalam perjalanan. Tanaman kencurnya masih banyak daunnya dan ditanam didalam seedling tub. Nanti  di musim dingin/winter tanaman akan dormant atau besar kemungkinan daunnya akan rontok, tapi akan tumbuh kembali dimusim semi. Selama musim dingin lebih baik tidak banyak disiram. Saya baca dari info internet, katanya kencur siap dipanen jika daunnya sudah mengering ??

Di Melbourne sini, hanya bumbu kencur yang agak sulit didapatkan. Kalau jahe, lengkuas dan kunyit segar bisa dibeli. Tadinya ada toko bahan makanan Indonesia di Clayton tapi sekarang tokonya sudah tidak ada lagi. Biasanya saya beli kencur kering di toko itu. Kebetulan bumbu kencur didapur kami sudah tinggal sedikit dan juga sudah hampir expired, jadi saya cari di internet barangkali ada yang jual tanaman kencur di Australia, eh…. ternyata ada dari Queensland.

Harapan saya semoga tanaman kencur ini akan bisa tumbuh dengan baik dan nanti bisa untuk masak. Duh…. sedapnya bikin bumbu pecel dan urap dengan kencur segar. Waktu saya keluarkan dari pot dan menanamnya kembali di pot yang lebih besar daunnya sudah mengeluarkan aroma kencur yang segar :) Karena udara di Melbourne sini sudah mulai dingin jadi saya taroh tanaman kencurnya di bawah naungan beranda.

Oh ya, tanaman kencur berikut ongkos kemas dan pengiriman hampir $20.

Tanaman kencur dikemas rapi.

Tanaman kencur dikemas rapi.

Tanaman Kencur - Kaempferia galanga

Akar kencur yang besar dan panjang.

Akar kencur yang besar dan panjang.

Tanaman Kencur - tunas daun

Catatan: Kalau daun kencur dibasahi akan terlihat mengkilat, di foto sampai terlihat seperti diminyaki :)

Late Autumn 2015


13/05/2015: Snow flurries in May?? It is snowing on Mount Dandenong, Kinglake, Toolangi, north-east of Melbourne and on top of Mount William, in the Grampians. Overnight temperature was around 6 deg. C and now it is 10.4 deg. with on-offrains and hails.

Snow near Toolangi

Snow near Toolangi


Pear Tree in late Autumn

Pear Tree in late Autumn

Windy, wet and cold Autumn…………..Today will have a chance of hail and storm. Our pear trees are displaying brilliant autumn colours. Most of the leaves are still intact. Some of the Cymbidium orchids have developed some flower spikes, but my prediction is that quite a few of them will not flower this blooming season as most of the new bulbs are still too young. The biggest surprise is that the Beallara ‘Eurostar’ is suddenly having a spike (about a month ago was still none), while the Dancing Lady still has not shown any flower growth. The Zygopetalum maculatum two flower spikes are getting bigger and bigger, still cannot get rid of the black spots. The spots make the plant look a bit ugly, but otherwise they don’t seem to affect the plant in general. Our new Psychopsis papilio flower has wilted away with a new spike growing next to it. Being sequential, it will continue to grow flowers on the same stem. The Zygocactus plants are in bloom. Pheeew….. the wind is getting harder blowing cold air from the south.

Beallara ‘Eurostar':

Beallara 'Eurostar' Flower Spike

Beallara 'Eurostar'

Surprise flower spike – Beallara ‘Eurostar’

Zygopetalum maculatum:

Zygopetalum maculatum orchid - Flower buds are getting bigger

Zygopetalum maculatum orchid – Flower buds are getting bigger

Oncidium ‘Dancing Lady':

Oncidium 'Dancing Lady' - growing very good but no signs of flowering this year.

Oncidium ‘Dancing Lady’ – growing very good but no signs of flowering this year.

Psychopsis papilio:

Psychopsis papilio new flower bud

Psychopsis papilio new flower bud


Cymbidium Spikes

Cymbidium Spikes


Zygocactus mauve

Zygocactus red

Zygocactus 1

Psychopsis papilio


Psychopsis papilio

Psychopsis papilio

Psychopsis papilio orchid (formerly known as Oncidium papilio, and the common name is Butterfly Orchid) has pretty flowers that somewhat resemble a butterfly. Psychopsis orchids are native to South America, Central America and Trinidad.

The seller in the market told me not to cut the 3 long flower stems, as they are sequential and will often grow more flowers on the same spikes. One of the stems has a flower. I still keep this orchid outside under cover, but will move it inside near a sunny window in the winter. Still not so sure of the specific growing requirements, but I will treat it the same way as the Oncidium, then see what is going to happen.

Psychopsis papilio 2 Psychopsis papilio 4 Psychopsis papilio



Chrysanthemum - yellow 2

It is when the summer has lost its beauty and gone. While autumn turns into red, orange and yellow. When the sun refuses to shine and the rain drops are cold and damp. Just before all the deciduous trees are naked and bare….. It is when the Chrysanthemum flowers bloom. Roses declare themselves as the summer queens, but during the dreary days that follow, the Chrysanthemums are indeed the autumn queens……

The weather forecasts lately say that the temperatures will feel colder. Like last night, they said that today was going to be 14 deg. C in Melbourne, but would feel like 10 degrees, and it is true that it is cold today. This year the Chrysanthemums in our garden are not doing so good with only few flowers. The mauve pink ones that always flowered every year in the past ten years or so are not growing at all. It seems that they have disappeared completely. Usually they have started to sell Chrysanthemums few weeks before mother’s day, but I haven’t seen them in the shop. I saw few were sold in the market but they did not look so good.

Anyway, these are some photos of the Chrysanthemums taken from our garden:
Chrysanthemum - Cream 2 jpg

Chrysanthemum - Cream jpg Chrysanthemum - Mauve Chrysanthemum - yellow

Chrysanthemum - yellow 3

Common Chrysanthemum synonyms: Dendranthema, Mums, Chrysanth.

White Chrysanthemums

My White Chrysanthemum

As purely white as is the drifted snow,
More dazzling fair than summer roses are,
Petalled with rays like a clear rounded star,
When winds pipe chilly, and red sunsets glow,
Your blossoms blow.

Sweet with a freshening fragrance, all their own,
In which a faint, dim breath of bitter lies,
Like wholesome breath mid honeyed flatteries;
When other blooms are dead, and birds have flown,
You stand alone.

Fronting the winter with a fearless grace,
Flavoring the odorless gray autumn chill,
Nipped by the furtive frosts, but cheery still,
Lifting to heaven from the bare garden place
A smiling face.

Roses are fair, but frail, and soon grow faint,
Nor can endure a hardness; violets blue,
Short-lived and sweet, live but a day or two;
The nun-like lily bows without complaint,
And dies a saint.

Each following each they hasten them away,
And leave us to our winter and our rue,
Sad and uncomforted; you, only you,
Dear, hardy lover, keep your faith and stay
Long as you may.

And so we choose you out from all the rest,
For that most noble word of “Loyalty,”
Which blazoned on your petals seems to be;
Winter is near, stay with us; be our guest,
The last and best.

Written by Susan Coolidge (1835 – 1905)

New Orchids, One Year Later


Last year around June I bought 3 orchids: Zygopetalum maculatum, Oncidium ‘Dancing Lady’ and Beallara ‘Eurostar’. Now almost one year later, only the Zygopetalum is developing 2 flower spikes. The Dancing Lady grows very well with many new bulbs, but there is no sign of flower spikes at all. When the Beallara orchid was bought it was a very small plant with only 1 backbulb and 1 flowering bulb. So far it has grown another new bulb, but no flower spike is growing.

Zygopetalum maculatum:

The plant is vigorous, the long and wide leaves grow quite large. I have noticed that the flower spikes grow at the same time as the new bulb, side by side. I found it a little bit odd. It seems that growing this orchid is quite easy, but the plant is prone to black spots. Ours has suffered from few black spots, but after I avoid the foliage from getting wet, it seems that it is not getting worse and the spots kind of faded. I read that Zygopetalum hates to have the leaves wet and also it needs good air circulation to avoid fungal problems.

Zygopetalum maculatum

Zygopetalum maculatum Orchid April 2015

Zygoptalum maculatum - Flower spikes

Zygopetalum maculatum flower spikes – April 16, 2015

Zygopetalum maculatum - Black Spots

Zygopetalum maculatum – Black Spots

Oncidium Alliance ‘Dancing Lady’ Orchid:

It has grown few new bulbs, the plant and roots look very healthy, but I don’t know why it is not growing flower spikes. Parhaps the new bulbs are not mature enough to bear flowers? Maybe…. that I have just to get more patient :(

Dancing Lady Orchid sp.

Dancing Lady Orchid sp.

Beallara ‘Eurostar’ Orchid:

I bought another Oncidium intergeneric orchid last year known as Beallara ‘Eurostar’ and the reason I bought it because I love the look of the flowers. Though the plant was very small with only a backbulb and a single flowering bulb, I bought it anyway. People prefer to buy orchids that have several bulbs as they will easily flower again the next year. Now it has grown one more bulb but it doesn’t seem that it will have flowers this year.

Beallara 'Eurostar'

Beallara ‘Eurostar’

Previous writing on the same subjects:

I hate fake plants and flowers, but I find this quotation is very amusing:

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them – Mitch Hedberg

Garden Mid Autumn 2015


Autumn 2015

Autumn 2015

Right now the ground is still wet from the storm early this morning. The very frequent lightning strikes and rumble of thunders woke me up. In general, autumn this year is mild and cool, plants look fresh and many are still blooming. The Hibiscus are still flowering and some of the roses are showing off the remaining autumn blooms. Some of those that flower in autumn are making themselves ready to bloom, like for examples the lucky jade Crassula ovata, Thryptomene and Zygocactus. The dwarf Nandinas have turn into vivid maroon bronze colour, while the Miltonia orchids are in full bloom.

Miltonia Orchids:

I bought 3 bare-rooted Miltonia orchids with different colours few years ago, but one of white ones does not grow very well and has no flower, while the other two always bloom every year.

Pretty white and purple Miltonia orchid

Pretty white and purple Miltonia orchid

Mauve Miltonia Orchid 2015

Mauve Miltonia Orchid 2015

White and Purple Miltonia Orchid

White and Purple Miltonia Orchid

Lucky Jade Crassula ovata:

Only this variegated Crassula has started to grow flower buds. The red and cream margins make this lucky jade plant pretty and colourful.

Flower Buds Jade - Crassula ovata

Flower Buds Jade – Crassula ovata

Rose ‘Peace':

Many of the leaves have fallen off and I could not resist to take a photo of the last blooms of the season.

PS: To my cousin Zefanya (Sien-sien) who passed away last April 8 at the age of 48 in Solo Indonesia, rest in peace and no more pain. I wish I could lay this beautiful rose on your burial ground. You will always be sadly missed by us all.

Rose 'Peace'

Rose ‘Peace’

Red Carpet Rose:

Carpet Rose - red

Carpet Rose – red


Hibiscus is a very versatile plant that flower all the way from Spring to Autumn, the single white one that we have is very fragrant.

Hibiscus Orange

Hibiscus D.J. O’Brien – Ruffled Orange

Hibiscus Fragrant White

Fragrant White Hibiscus

Hibiscus Single Pink

Hibiscus Single Pink

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide':

This small Camellia has single red flowers that bloom mainly in Autumn and Winter.

Camelia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’


I just divided and repotted the Neoregelia plants few weeks ago and now they have started to grow purple flowers. The tiny flowers remind me of the Tillandsia brachycaulos. Actually Bromeliads, Neoregelia, Tillandsia and Ananas (pineapples) are all from the Bromeliaceae family.

Purple Neoregelia Flower

Purple Neoregelia Flower

Bromeliads - Flower Bud

Bromeliads – Flower Bud

Bromeliad and Neoreglia

Bromeliad and Neoreglia

Easter Plants


Blood Moon April 4, 2015:

Blood Moon April 4, 2015 as seen from Melbourne. Picture source: The Age Newspaper.

Blood Moon April 4, 2015 as seen from Melbourne. Picture source: The Age Newspaper

The third Tetrad blood moon (of the four blood moons 2014 – 2015) could be seen perfectly from Melbourne area last night April 4, 2015. When the moon was rising there were many clouds, but it was clear during the eclipse process which took around 5 hours. During the short full coverage about  11 o’clock pm, the moon looked mysteriously dark and distant, the colour was kind of copper red. So it was not blood colour at all.

People in Australia will not see another full moon eclipse again until January 31/February 1, 2018….. as we will miss the fourth Tetrad Moon completely on September 28 this year. I did not take any photos as my camera is not good for taking pictures of the stars and the moon. The picture above was from the Age Newspaper.


Two plants in our garden are associated with Easter. Both are now blooming to remind us that Easter is approaching.

Crucifix Orchid:

Red Crucifix Orchid

Red Crucifix Orchid

Crucifix Orchid – Epidendrum ibaguense. This very easy to grow orchid that is very good for beginners, have clusters of small flowers and the long labia/lips resemble a cross. The blooms are available in red, yellow, mauve, salmon and purple.

Crucifix Orchid - Crown of Thorns Crucifix Orchid flowers Crucifix Orchid Red

Crown of Thorns:

Crown of Thorns - Euphorbia milii flowers

Crown of Thorns – Euphorbia milii flowers

Crown of Thorns – Euphorbia milii is also known as Christ Plant or Christ Thorn. In legends, the thorny branches are associated with the crown worn by Jesus during the crucifixion. The flowers come in many colours and shades.

Crown of Thorns Euphorbia milii

Crown of Thorns Euphorbia milii

Crown of Thorn - Euphorbia Milii

Crown of Thorn – Euphorbia Milii

Euphorbia Millii

Euphorbia Milii

Above the Hills of Time

Above the hills of time the cross is gleaming,
Fair as the sun when night has turned to day;
And from it love’s pure light is richly streaming,
To cleanse the heart and banish sin away.
To this dear cross the eyes of men are turning,
Today as in the ages lost to sight;
And so for Thee, O Christ, men’s hearts are yearning,
As shipwrecked seamen yearn for morning light………………

Happy Easter!

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