Archive for June, 2012

Patchouli Wannabe

2002 – I heard about the Patchouli during a visit to the Provence and learnt that it was highly sought after for its scented leaves.

My radar went on high alert. But nothing showed for more than ten years until a few months ago when I chanced upon something unfamiliar at the market.

“That’s reserved,” the lady told me. “… but keep this leaf. It’s scented.”

When I described the plant to a gardening pal, he said it was probably the patchouli. He was right – or so I thought.

As the leaf in my wallet dried, its essential oils intensified and it became increasingly fragrant. After all these months, the dry and crisp leaf still perfumes my money and wallet.

A few months down the road, this same friend smelled the leaf I had in my wallet. “Hey, this can’t be the patchouli after all. It’s more fragrant than the patchouli I have.”

Not the patchouli?? How could that be?

But having obtained a pot of the real patchouli, I’ve come to appreciate my still nameless plant (my patchouli-wannabe) even more.

It’s a familiar fragrance that brings back memories; memories of gran who used to make her own face powder. She would keep her dried pearls of powder in cut-glass bottles. Scented leaves were dried with the powder and stuffed into the bottles as well. Gran had discovered this plant long before I even heard about it.

My patchouli-wannabe now takes pride of place in the garden. Gran, this one’s for you!

2015 – Lately someone said it’s called Strobilanthes Nivea Bremek, but apparently the name is still ‘unresolved’. But I guess it doesn’t really matter what its name is after all.

Care and propagation: Shade to indirect sun; loamy moist soil; water generously. Propagate using cuttings

Read Full Post »


It’s hard to say goodbye.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave away two macadamia plants I’ve had for 12 years. These were grown from seeds picked from a backyard in up in the hills of Queensland.

It’s odd not seeing their familiar holly-shaped leaves in the garden, or having to be cautious when I’m near them. The leaves are prickly.

I removed the plants from their pots and bundled them up to be transported to a homestead up in the tropical hills.

I left the plants there with more than a twinge of regret and came home to a garden without two familiar long-time residents.

But after sweltering  all these years down in the muggy heat of the tropical lowlands, I think it’s time they were relocated. I bet they will be happier where they are now.

Nestled among other tropical plants at 2300 feet above sea level, perhaps they may even think they’re back home at Mount Tambourine.

Read Full Post »