Month: May 2017

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in May 2017

I have written 888 blogs so far. This is the 889th.

This month it has rained every second or third day, sometimes only a little, but sometimes heavily.

There appears to be some water works being done somewhere, and the water pressure at home has often been very poor, making it hard to water the garden when I have no rain water left.  So the best way has been to fill a big bin with water and come back five or ten minutes later when it has finally become full, and then use a ladle and or bucket to water.  This is actually a very quick way.

Our neighbour created a garden at the back, and we have filled it with plants.  This has been the main gardening activity this month. It’s so much easier for plants to survive in the ground, and much less work to maintain them.

grasshopper – only one, so I left him alone – he didn’t eat too much

grasshopper – only one, so I left him alone – he didn’t eat too much

part of the new back garden – just starting to fill it with plants

part of the new back garden – just starting to fill it with plants

part of the new back garden – just starting to fill it with plants

part of the new back garden – just starting to fill it with plants

more plants

more plants – there are mock orange, mother-in-law tongues, aloe vera, Canna Lily, ginger poker, citrus (planted after photo) and a couple more plants I can’t name

I planted a tiny citrus plant – the next day it had totally disappeared.

I planted a tiny passion fruit plant – the next day it had totally disappeared.


We moved the grape vine to where it could grow more – and in a bigger pot

passion fruit are growing

growing new papaya trees

the lime tree has a lot of limes, now – it took a few years before it fruited well

duranta is happy so long as it has water

rosemary – not too much water – but it doesn;t want to be too dry either

mini egg plants – growing in a pot

aloe vera growing

aloe vera picked for juicing


aloe vera growing

Bougainvillea has kept blooming through everything

ginger poker are so nice

this plant is easy to propagate, has shallow roots and survives easily with little maintenance


Canna lily keeps on blooming


basil – have to water every day

papaya getting bigger

Plumbago seem to like semi-shade and water. They are very happy in their present position

A neighbour gave us some pandan. We’d been hoping to get some for a long time.

the egg plant plant – had to cut off the top half as something decimated its leaves

This citrus wasn’t happy upstairs, with yellow leaves, so I transplanted it into the back garden

papaya growing strongly – some have flower buds already

lemon grass was attacked by something – this was where the little passion fruit plant disappeared from

I put in a lot of blue pea flower seeds. Some have germinated now and have started growing.

Borapet plant?

something attacked this plant

I got a few cherry tomatoes from this plant, but it was riddled with mealy bugs and I had to pull it out, sadly

So it’s been a busy month, and what with rain and sunshine plants are generally growing well.

Living dangerously – I went for a walk

Mostly it’s not easy crossing Gurney Drive on foot.

But I thought I was doing everything right. A brief break in the traffic was coming, which is often all you can hope for, with a motorcycle proceeding straight ahead in the left lane. So I started across the right lane, ready to nip behind the motorcycle and cross before the next car came. Suddenly the motorcycle swerved right and almost hit me, to turn into a side street.

Normally to judge if a vehicle is turning one looks for a turn indicator (bearing in mind that for motorcycles they are often indicating simply because the indicators weren’t cancelled), being in the turning lane – in this case the right lane, and the vehicle slowing down. This motorcyclist did none of these.

So for more safety, now I think I should cross where there are no nearby side streets. However, walking along the other footpath, one is often blocked by parked cars and forced onto the road, anyway.

Very recently a lady was knocked over and killed on a pedestrian crossing by a motorcyclist at a red light on nearby Kelawei Road.  Whenever you cross a road you must watch for motorcyclists who ride between cars, and often ignore red lights, too.  You can’t just look straight ahead and cross safely.


Thunderstorm and heavy rain – Telekom Malaysia Internet down at home

I have two backups for this situation, the easiest one is to broadcast my mobile internet as WiFi, and so that’s what I’m doing. Most months I don’t use my allocation anyway.

TM sometimes goes down after heavy rain. More often it just becomes even slower than usual. I pay for 8 Mbps, but sometimes get around 1  Mbps, and often even 35 Kbps.  In contrast, my mobile connection is 35Mbps consistently.  Makes me want to give up TM and pay for more mobile internet allocation.

Meanwhile I’ll restart my router sometimes and maybe TM will come back. 

Rats’ revenge and large leaping lizards

I have been gardening a lot recently.

Rats have started to come into our driveway at night. Two or three of them.  If we leave the light on to discourage them, moths come instead.  So I put out a rat trap last night.  Then it rained, the rain soaked the bait – bread – and it fell to the bottom of the cage. Thus a rat could get the bread without getting caught. But it seemed to understand it was a trap, and wreaked revenge on our pot plants – digging up five or six small plants and leaving a mess.

Meanwhile, a neighbour created a garden at the back, and we have been planting various things in it.  In the afternoons two large (camera-shy) lizards appear.  They’re two or three feet long. They seem to have discovered the new garden, and they dig a little – somehow they seem to like digging up an onion we planted, but they don’t eat it. We replant it, and they dig it up again. But they are cute.