Tuesday 4 November 2014


I spent a bit of time tinkering about the front yard.

Well, it was hardly a couple of yards in length, really, but we have some ornamental plants lining one side of the house.

It wasn't much of a garden, just some plants that had been in the family for a long time.

Almost every plant has a history.

We have a sago palm sprawling under the climbing roses, courtesy of an old tree that Dad treasured and on which he spent as much time as he did his orchids.

We have three other potted palms, a couple of areca palms that Mom planted when we were children that we sort of inherited, and a kentia palm that I got for my birthday.

Yes, I buy myself gifts.  Often.

I also got myself a sanseviera plant, more commonly known as mother-in-law's tongue, currently tucked on a ledge by the postbox, simply because I love the variegated leaves and it is supremely easy to take care of.

It had been on my nightstand, my work desk, in the library near my favorite chair where I would tuck in with a good book.

And it had produced numerous little babies, two of which are still growing happily in pots in the backyard.

Then of course the roses climbing up the kaffir lime tree that we grew for the occasional rendang, deep pink and blush pink, which were grown from cuttings that we got from Mom's favorite roses, which she grew from cuttings that she got from Gran's house.

These roses are really hardy, and they grow and bloom abundantly all year round.

See, aren't they pretty?

I took that photo this morning.  And they smell heavenly.

There are other plants, of course, the neglected ficus bonsai that I got as a gift from my brother, the lily that a family friend bought but left in our care that seems to now be a permanent resident in a corner near the entrance, and my sister's euphorbia with orange flowers which she kept saying she still wanted but is still there under the porch.  

We have sweet potato plants practically functioning as ground cover, but they also provide shoots that we would harvest regularly.

My sister planted lemon grass, ginger and tumeric in a sunny corner, the only place the lemon grass would grow.

Since we rarely eat out, they are useful for the kitchen, especially the lemon grass, and pretty too if well taken care of.

We also have a potted pomegranate, a gift from our sister-in-law, that my sister is trying to grow and coax fruits from.

We had more plants at the back, more edible than ornamental, but most are in pots for easy re-arranging as we do not have a very large backyard either.

I guess we are lucky that we can afford to own a home, no matter that it is small.  Many others who earn far more than we do apparently seems to find it difficult to afford a house.

To be honest, I am not really sure how they did their pricing, but I do think that nowadays houses are indeed exorbitantly priced.

To give an example, when my sister bought this house two years ago, it was undeniably affordable, below RM300K and we thought it was pretty much a great buy.

Two months later, they began marketing the row of houses opposite the one my sister bought, and when I made enquiries with the intention to buy, I was shocked to find that the price was almost 60% more.

It couldn't possibly be the cost of land as those houses share the same street as ours, nor could it be the cost of materials, as they were eventually built and delivered at the same time as ours.

Someone really should explain the reason for such a large disparity between the prices of houses on the same street.  The salesman definitely couldn't.

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