Love will keep us alive…

This jasmine tree…

My jasmine tree

…that my late father planted in my garden many many years ago, along with the rambutan tree in the backyard, does not seem to be doing very well. It was doing all right all these years even when the branches were covered with wild orchids, moss and parasitic plants. I did make an effort to clear away all those that time when they came to rescue my rambutan tree.

What I found out was there were these HUGE black ants, what we grew up calling padak, infesting the roots of the tree and somebody told me that I could buy one pesticide and mix with boiling water to pour over the roots of the tree and that would get rid of the ants. In the meantime, I had no choice but to saw away the dead branches one by one…

Sawn branches

My problem is I have those daun hempedu bumi  leaves growing all around the roots and every morning, I would go and pluck a few leaves to brew tea with hot boiling water and drink because of all the medicinal benefits of those very bitter leaves. Of course I would not want to drink it anymore if I had poured the toxic pesticide all around.

These leaves are not easy to plant, it seems. The plants will just appear anywhere and everywhere by themselves and if you take them to plant them nicely in a more orderly manner at a proper place, chances are they will eventually wither and die.

I guess I have not much choice so I have tried transplanting the seedlings at a safe place, far away from the jasmine tree and it does look like they are getting on fine…

Daun hempedu bumi

Once they are big enough, it will be time for me to embark on my mission to get rid of those ants.

The tree has bloomed time and time again and once, the whole tree turned white with all the flowers and the fragrance filled the whole neighbourhood. It would be sad to see it wither away – I guess in the meantime, I will just have to treat it well and hope for the best.

So what’s new in my garden these days? Well, not much really but I have planted this sawtooth coriander…

Sawtooth coriander

…that I picked up at the wet market one morning, a whole bunch of the plant, 5 altogether, I think, including the roots for only RM1.00. I planted all of them and I am glad to see them doing very well including this one that I planted in between some bricks – there was a Thai basil plant there before and despite the rather unlikely location, it grew really well too. I wonder why.

For the uninitiated, if you do not know what sawtooth coriander leaves are, these are similar in taste and smell to the daun ketumbar used to garnish a whole lot of dishes in Kuching like their Sarawak laksa

Kuching laksa
*Friend’s photo on Facebook, edited*

…for instance, or their oyster omelette/pancake…or their butter prawns. They are very popular among the people there but it is very hard to come by here. I remember once some folks were having a popiah party and they actually had those leaves air-flown from Kuching!

Generally, people are put off by the smell – they say it smells of bed bugs but I do feel it is an acquired taste and now that I have learnt to take that, I actually quite like it these days. It is used a lot  in the Thai dishes here…and they also use it here and not too long ago, I stumbled upon it being used for the beef noodles…

Restoran Muhajirin beef noodles

here.

My ulam raja plants have all called it a day, the ones with the orange and the yellow flowers but my missus got the seeds for a different variety from a friend and I planted them…

My ulam raja

…and some have sprouted and are growing pretty well. Hopefully, I will get to see the purplish pink flowers soon.

Generally, all my plants are doing very well especially now that I am spending a lot more time taking care of them every morning and late afternoon or evening. Hopefully, the love that they are getting will keep them alive!

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