Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in October 2015

October is supposed to be the wettest month of the year. So it hasn’t rained for three days.  As the haze on some days resembles the surreal landscape of the aftermath of a nuclear war, the rain is missed as it does clear the air somewhat, washes the haze off the plants’ foliage, and saves me the trouble of watering.  Anyway, rain is rarely an imposition as it normally rains for a no more than an hour or two per day.

The haze is making some plants sick, but not all.  It seems to be suppressing mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes detect us apparently by detecting the CO2 we breath out.  But with the haze they can’t easily detect it perhaps. On the other hand, I am coughing a bit now. Breathing outside smells poisonous. And I noticed that within a minute or two of heading off in the car from home, despite closed car windows and running air-con, my eyes had become itchy.

This morning at 7AM I looked out the window at the landscape and thought it just looked too poisonous to exercise.  I went back to bed.  Perhaps I will give up exercise entirely until the air is clean again.

haze one morning

haze one morning

repotted canna lilies into two pots

repotted canna lilies into two pots a fortnight ago – now I miss the blooms, but hopefully I will end up with two pots of blooming canna lilies

a couple of canna lilies starting to come up

a couple of canna lilies starting to come up after my repotting


caterpillar on lime tree – I left it alone so we’d get a butterfly


the same lime tree – the caterpillar ate all the nice new leaves – then got eaten itself by a bird, I suppose.  Next time I won’t keep the caterpillar as now I must wait for a while for new growth

happy lime tree

a happy lime tree – no caterpillars

beans growing

beans growing


pumpkins – they came up in the compost and I moved them to this garden.  They been there a week and seem happy and are growing.

aloe have created new babies

aloe have created new babies


tomato plant grew big – but no more tomatoes


tomato plant grew big – but no more tomatoes

passion fruit

passion fruit

passion fruit

passion fruit



sick mock orange

sick mock orange – I had kept it in the corner of death – other plants had died there but I thought this one would be fine – then suddenly it wasn’t

mock orange

mock orange


papaya getting bigger

many are flowering

many papaya are flowering

blue pea flower

blue pea flower always survives

oldest papaya

oldest papaya – the only survivor of the great flood of last October.  After one year it is finally starting to grow again


duranta is happy


Bougainvillea is not so happy with the haze

aloe vera

aloe vera is doing well

lemon grass

lemon grass is doing well

That’s it for this month.  We’re hoping the rains will come and the haze will clear. It would be nice to see blue sky again.

And now we have a thunderstorm, just before this blog is published on the web.  Lots of rain.



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