Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Touch of Red for Lucky Garden

Russelia equisetimosformis (Firecracker Plant)
Tropical America Collection, Taman Botani Putrajaya

Coral red will lend some good cheers to any garden

I had a wonderful time today talking about nothing else but plants and nature. Two of my most senior personnel gathered around for an interesting talk. It was superb!

Fine weather enhances flowers and the recent rain gives vibrant lustre to the leaves. Thank God for that. Every morning is a breath of fresh air. Beginning from walking in the expensive parking lot with marble tiles scattered on it (yes it is true marbles), to the climbing of the special water inspired wave-like staircases (beautiful but dangerous, better watch for your steps) to the panoramic view of the palm trees and colourful foliages lining the undergrowth; the walk to my office is truly a scene to behold. It’s truly something that will calm your restless soul.

To cut it short, what I am trying to say here is that my senses are sharper today than any other day. When my mind started to wander on negative terrains, out of a sudden something beautiful happened to correct it. Small deeds such as a simple hello and a sincere conversation could change the whole thing.

So today, I’ve spent most of my time with two of my senior personnel talking about plants and nature. It really made my day by talking to these two intelligent people. One of them is studying for his MBA majoring in Environmental Management which I considered very cool. Very interesting that he’s willing to share some of his knowledge with me. We talked about fungi and penicillin, carbon dioxide and oxygen and most interestingly the wonder of terrarium (an art of growing plants in glass container - my new interest at the moment) and vivarium (a combination of terrarium and small living things). The other person was busy decorating a terrarium. I got to learn how to do it as well by observing him.

I would love to talk about terrarium later in another posting but for now, I must write something about the Firecracker Plant and The Tower Tree from our Tropical America Collection. I’ve wanted to write about it since the very beginning of seeing it for the first time. These are the two most beautiful and fascinating plants that I’ve personally like. I took lots of photos of these plants because of its uniqueness in beauty and its rarity in our local landscape sceneries.

Russelia equisetiformis has many common names such as the Firecracker Plant, Coral Plant, Coralblow Plant, Fountain Plant and whatever else you could find it in the net. However, its most common name is the Firecracker Plant. Most probably because of its colour which is coral red and tubular shape flower that very much look like firecrackers. Oh! And because when you squeeze the unopened flower, it will make the popping sound. POP! It’s such a fun thing to do. I did that when there’s no one looking (without plucking it – plucking will kill its beauty).

Back to the plant, it does not really produce leaves; instead it has lots of green pendulous branches that make up the whole body of the shrubs. May be that is the reason it is also called the Fountain Plant. It all falls down to earth like weeping shrubs. Firecracker Plant is native to Mexico, South America so it grows healthily in our climate. Those who like exotic plants should have this one at home. You could have it as ornamental shrubs lining the garden or simply treat it as a hanging plant because it falls down nicely. It sure will lend some healthy glow to your surrounding.

I always believe that a good garden should have a combination of colours and textures. It should have a theme or at least compatible plants are chosen for each corner so that with one look, you will be able to tell the sense behind it. It should be able to impress and to sooth with just one glance. It should be able to make you want to look for second glance and hold your eyes to it for awhile in appreciation of its beauty. If not, it’s not a good garden at all.

See the tall trees behind the Firecracker? That one is called the Tree-Fern or Tower Tree. How it never fail to enchant me. I will tell you about it in another posting :)

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