Tuesday, September 30, 2014

coffee for your plants

I went to a restaurant, Triniti of Silver at Mt Albert and asked for some coffee grounds. The woman said I was lucky, and she gave me 2 bags.

I bit off more than I can chew, they were so heavy when I lugged them to the car. They must weighing 10 kilos. I went there for Xmas lunch. That's how I know there are coffee grounds. I mix them straight into the soil.

My local gas station's cafe also leaves out coffee grounds for people to take home. Sometimes I ask my church MABC s coffee  makers to give me the ground.

The texture of the coffee grounds is like soil, dark and rich. They increase the bulk in you veg garden. They supply nitrogen retained from the bean. This is a must-have plant nutrient for leafy greens and vegetables.

our world/Red/outdoor wednesday: Running




Saw this man filming a group of runners reminded me  that ten years ago, I was training for my quarter Marathon in Singapore. My daughter is training for the half. I can't even run 100 meters now,

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spongehero: House Cleaning just got clever.

Many New Zealand families have two partners working, or have young children. On weekends, time is taken up taking children to sports.

House cleaning is a big chore. After that, you get so tired and you can't have a relaxing time. Worst of all, you have a guilt trip having  shouted at the kids,  " Don't you dare mess up the place, I have spent hours cleaning the house."

Why not get the professionals in?

I just did. SpongeHero is New Zealand's newest professional on-demand residential cleaning service. On-demand means they clean when you request it. No lengthy contract that you can't get out once you committed yourself.

"SpongeHero's philosophy is simple, realistic and perfectly in line with today's technology." You use your computer, smart phone or tablet to make bookings.

I did have a small hitch when I used my computer to make my booking. I must have clicked or not clicked. I went to their website and emailed them, I also phoned and left a message at their answerphone. The problem was quickly fixed with a phone call and followed up with an email. The next day, I got another phone to rectify something I omitted to do. All very polite and efficient.

On the cleaning day, the Hero Marie came promptly. She was polite and has a nice personality. "Mei LoLeiLei,"I greeted her. I left her to do her job, and this was just what she did. Did her job.  Sponge hero were certainly thorough, non intrusive and friendly, so a thumbs up to them.

I was very pleased with this Hero, and if like me, you like to have their service, visit www.spongehero.co.nz  or phone  0508 Sponge

I was given a coupon to redeem for my post. SpongeHero and Hero Marie have no idea I am writing this review.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eriobotrya japonica , piba fruit, loquat

seeds I found under the tree, but am told is a norfolk pine seeds.

an ingredient on the Chinese cough medicine. The fruit is quite nice, sourish taste.

loquat (plural loquats). The Eriobotrya japonica tree. The fruit of this tree. It is as large as a small plum, but grows in clusters, and contains four or five large seeds .

a bootie never worn

A cute little doggie bootie,
A  bootie never worn.

Today I had an idea,
I will use it for my camera pouch.

Twenty five years ago, at 7am,
My little boy Andrew was born.

Twenty five years ago, at 8 pm
We were told he was dying.

Happy 25th birthday in Heaven.
You are forever in my heart.

Red Vireyas


Vireya (vireyas)

Vireya (vireyas) is a tropical group of Rhododendron species,

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cockscomb flower/Celosia Cristata,

This is a flower of my youth. My grand dad used to grow them. In Chinese, we called them Kai Kuan Fa.  Kai Kung  is rooster, Kuan is the comb and Fa is flower.

I saw this patch at the Sandringham village.

This flower is favoured during Chinese New Year in Singapore. The feathery type is lined along the Nanyang Tenchnological University, NTU. After asking the manager the first time if I could recycle his plants after Chinese New Year, he told me to take them once the 15th day was over. I made a friend with the manager using my position as the Gardening club secretary.

I recycled so many pots of this flower and the small calamansi. When I left Singapore, I sold some of them to raise funds for my Charity for the Deaf in Kenya.

Cockscomb flowers are also known as Wool Flowers or Brain Celosia, suggestive of a highly colored brain. The flowers belong to the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. Cockscomb bloom with a compacted crested head 2-5 inches across, on leafy stems that are 12-28 inches long. The flower's name is suggestive of a rooster's comb. Cockscomb Flower blooms from late summer through late fall. The Celosia plant is an annual dicotyledon.

Sakura, Japanese Cherry Trees

Sakura, Japanese Cherry Trees  archives photos, our trees have not bloomed.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense is commonly known as the Chinese fringe flower. Two forms of L. chinense exist; a white- (to pale-yellow-) flowering green-leafed variety and a pink-flowering variety with leaves varying from bronze-red when new to olive-green or burgundy when mature, depending on selection and growing conditions.
They are evergreen with branches forming horizontal layers. The leaves are alternately arranged, ovate up to 5 cm long by 3.5 cm wide, and have a slightly abrasive feel.

Loropetalum-chinensis-rubrum.jpg  wiki photo


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tracy Mulgrew: Singing from the heart.

Tracy Mulgrew  have a lot in common. We live in New Zealand. The main thing is something I wish I knew her from different circumstances.

We both are bereaved mothers. Tracy lost her daughter to cancer at 10 years. Honestly her grief is deeper than mine as Andrew was just 55 days. 

Bereavement brings out some latent talent in us. Tracy shares her grief in song and poems. They are beautiful and they are sang from the bottom of her heart. Just like I express mine in writing.

I've written nine songs now, all of them unique. The local radio station has been playing some of them but home recordings and said I should go and get them recorded professionally, have been in contact with polytechnic in invercargill as they have an audio/sound production course, the guy is putting it to his students to see if it's one they want to take on. Curtis and I reworked this first song I ever wrote, it's adapted from a poem I wrote not long after Jessica's death. I was thinking if I did get a CD made I could give it away but ask for donations for Child Cancer instead.

Tracy has also helped other bereaved parents by forming the Bereaved Parents of NZ on facebook
Bereaved Parents of NZ.

Thanks Tracy. Paki Paki and Kia Keha.


Flower/ purple flower

My very practical husband, the water engineer gave be a bouquet of flower. It was a giant purple cauliflower.

The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.[10] Varieties include 'Graffiti' and 'Purple Cape'.
In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name "purple cauliflower"; it is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.  wiki




Friday flower/ Arthritis New Zealand street appeal.2014

They gave me this nice flower clip.

Arthritis New Zealand street appeal.2014

As a Chinese child growing up in Borneo, I am constantly told not to wear wet clothing, have wet hair. The maxim was, "Don't ask why, wait till you grow old, and suffer from Arthritis and  Rheumatism. It was a feared disease, my Grand Dad and Grand ma were constant in pain, and their mobility impaired.

Today is the Arthritis New Zealand street appeal. I went Downtown and were greeting with these three lively young man and women. I was touched that young people were involved in what is generally known as an old person's illness. Thank you, Gwen, Dean and Joey. Paki Paki.

more common among women and, according to the Lupus Trust of New Zealand, is more prevalent in Maori and Pacific Islanders.

• A chronic autoimmune condition that attacks healthy tissue.
• Affects mainly women.
• One in 900 people in NZ are affected.
• More prevalent in Maori, Pacific, Asian people.
• Can be triggered by sunlight, UV light, hormones and some medications.
Source: Lupus Trust of NZ

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

how to make a hibiscus drink

Since then, I have learned to make the drink. Hibiscus is full of vitamin C and high in antioxidants.
step1: boil 5 cups of water.
step 2: pick 10 fully opened hibiscus flower.
step 3: remove the stamen and the back of the flower.
step 4: rinse the flower.
step 5: remove water from heat.
step 6: stir in the flowers, cover and let it steep for 20 minutes.
step 7: infusion is done. you get a dark purple colour.
step 8: add sugar or honey to taste.
step 9: when infusion has cooled, remove the petals.
Step 10: add one lemon juice. you get a beautiful red colour.
step 11: add ice and drink.
It tastes like ribena.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Periwinkle and thoughts of my grandpa


My trip in July to Sarawak, my place of birth brought me to my roots. It was the periwinkle aka Catharanthus roseus flower that brought me a mixed emotion. My grand dad grew a lot of them and we were told never ever pick them. To put his point across, Grand dad picked one flower and let it bleed with white milky sap. He said it was poisonous.

It was when I was adult living in Singapore when I was excited about growing them. It reminded me of my time in grand dad's garden. As the secretary of the Gardening Club I didn't want to be responsible for growing a plant that could hurt children of the neighbourhood. A professor of Science gave me some literature to read. Periwinkle can be dangerous if consumed orally. It can be extremely toxic. So I put up signs at my plants to educate the grown ups not to let children pick my flowers.

On the other hand, I read in Canada, they were using this flower to treat cancer patients. It's like the Chinese saying, using poison to kill another poison. Still, I am cautious and would not suggest anyone to pick the lovely

Monday, September 22, 2014

Isabel Allende, woman writer

Isabel Allende - 001.jpg


Isabel Allende (Spanish: [isaˈβel aˈʝende] ( ); born 2 August 1942) is a Chilean writer.[1][2] Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author".[3] In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters,[4] and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize.[5]
Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has lectured and toured many American colleges to teach literature. Fluent in English as a second language, Allende was granted American citizenship in 2003, having lived in California with her American husband since 1989.

Isabel's second book was written when her daughter died. She wrote about void, emptiness, darkness Just like Isabel, my first book brings someone to connect with me almost every day.  As a writer, the greatest accolade back from a neonatal nurse from the University hospital of Toronto. She said she read my book. The head of the NICU there gave her the book to read before she took up her position.

I would be a dream I won't ask if I can achieve a fraction of her success. I have already succeeded. Recently, a counselor/therapist read my 4th book, Cry of oppressed women told me she will use it as reference for her work.

My books as reference for professionals

Published May 2014

Women face many kinds of oppression.

A counselor/therapist  read my book and said she would use it as a reference for her work. This is the best accolade one can get from a professional. Cry is my second book where it is used.

Diary of a bereaved mother is used in a university hospital in Canada as a reference for professionals in neonatal intensive care.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kigelia - sausage tree

Kigelia -

Its name in Afrikaans Worsboom also means Sausage Tree, and its Arabic name means "the father ... The bark is grey and smooth at first, peeling on older trees.

At the car park of my brothers Charles and Joseph's law firm at Elliot Street on the Gold Coast, a tree attracted my eye. I am telling you the address in case you want to harvest the pods as you will read below that it can be very handy especially if the cost of beer goes up.

My sister in law Audrey said I was very observient when I notice the tree. I replied it was all due to the blogging and always looking for things interesting to blog about.

Joseph did not know the name of the tree but he said," I can tell you this. The pod is so tough that even when you run over it by your car, it will not break."

I tried looking at the images of Australian trees but to not avail. Eventually I systematically read the web and came to this website: http://www.treeworld.info which I duly signed up and sent off my photos. This is a great site, as the moment I did, the adminstrator came back with the answer.



I found some information you may like to know, and may be you might like to plant the tree.

Human uses - The fruit is poisonous and inedible when green, but is used to brew beer when ripe. The seeds are fried and eaten. The wood is used for making canoes.

Gardening - This is an attractive ornamental shade tree, suitable for larger gardens. It is very susceptible to frost, and is not drought-resistant. The tree can be grown from seed, and is fast-growing.

Flowers -Big, red to dark maroon flowers with heavy yellow veining on the outside, up to 150 mm across the mouth, unpleasant scent; growing in groups of 3, up to 12, appear before the leaves in early spring, from July to October.

Fruit - unique, huge, solid sausage-like fruit, giving the tree its common english name. Greyish-brown in colour, heavily lenticel-dotted, indehiscent, heavy, weighing up to 10 kg, containing a fibrous pulp in which many seed are embedded. Ripe fruits fall from May through to April the following year. (500 x 100 mm) (1 m x 180 mm???)

Interesting Facts:

The flowers and fruit of the Sausage Tree is always an eye-catcher and conversation piece. The fruit is toxic but is used in traditional medicine to treat skin disorders, ulcers and sores. The bark and roots are also used in traditional medicine. Some modern skin ointments are prepared from fruit extracts. Research has shown that the fruit has got antibacterial properties. In Africa, women smear this fruit on their skin to remove blemishes.

**Note** Did you read the part about brewing beer? LOL

Banana Blossom for cooking

In many parts of South East Asia, like Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Philipines, they use banana flowers in their cooking. I have not used them myself.

I used to grow bananas and I would give the flowers to my friends. There is a lot of work removing the sap. My Thai friend makes a salad, my Sri Lanka friends cooks in curry.

I watch my friend cut and clean fresh banana blossom. It is such a tedious and time consuming process. It took her 45 minutes to clean it. No wonder the next time, I had a banana blossom, she didn't want it anymore.  It reminded me of processing durian flowers when I was young.

Then my Burmese friend cooks the heart of the stem.

I grew them, but I don't eat them. Other friends ask why I bother, I just like to see the plants grow and make others happy.

These are actually in Auckland. I am surprised because the fruits actually mature to be edible.