Ever since I was a small child I have been surrounded by plants. My family lived in a small city that was surrounded by Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. So needless to say there was a lot of open green spaces which was part of my childhood. Our house was situated on a large piece of land with a large front yard and a huge back yard. As long as I can remember my father had a very large garden, where he grew all kinds of vegetables which we ate all summer long. My mother canned much of it for us to eat during the winter months. We also had apple, pear and plum trees scattered around the yard. When I lived in Boston I also had a garden and all kinds of plants and trees on my property. In the winter I had to settle for indoor plants as my garden. So when I moved to Penang I was really looking forward to having all kinds of tropical plants, all year round.
Upon moving to Penang I purchased a partially furnished thirteenth floor apartment in a condominium. It has a beautiful view of Gurney Drive and the ocean, as well as a view of the palm tree surrounded pool and gardens. When I moved into the condo it was more like moving into a sanitarium, however. Everything was white. The only contrasting color was that of the air conditioners, which were gray. There were no pictures on the wall and apparently the previous owner never hung them either. The apartment environment was cold and sterile. I just had to go out and buy some plants.
I had purchased many plants, but not all lived. I found out that the sun was too hot to keep some plants on the balcony or in the corridor and some plants just did not thrive on my floor. I love to start plants from seeds, such as oranges, lemons and limes,so I tried it here. The oranges and lemons sprouted and grew to about 2 or 3 inches and then stopped growing. They didn't die, but they just stopped growing. The lime seeds grew into trees of about 3 to 4 feet, but died from some strange plant disease and fungus. I tried to grow tomatoes, but only a few of the seeds germinated and only one survived to have blossoms. There were blossoms, but they never produced a tomato. The blossoms, merely fell off. I think the problem was that there were no bees or insects to pollinate them.The plant grew to about 5 feet in height before I let it die. The best luck I have had is planting Jack Fruit seeds. They germinate rather quickly and are quite nice looking plants. I don't know what I will do when they grow to be very tall and outgrow the corridor.
Most of the plants that I have on my balcony and in the corridor are plants I bought from Cold Storage (a grocery store) or local nurseries. Other than a few cacti I have no idea what species of plants I have. All I know is that they are surviving quite well, whereas many before them have not. Whenever I go to a nursery I cannot resist buying at least one more plant. The way I figure it, there is always room for more plants. the greener the better. Here are some photos of my very own tropical gardens.