Category: Shrubs/Bush

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

Malunggay, photo by JMorton

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

There have been a lot of studies and testimonials regarding the health benefit of Malunggay or its scientific name of Moringa Oleifera.

Studies have found that malunggay (Filipino/Tagalog name) has a very high nutritional value.  This may be true as a young child in Marag, our diet often included marunggay (Ilocano name for the malunngay).  The tree grow almost everywhere in Marag, thus providing us a microbiotic diet which complements most soupy viands in an almost vegetarian existence.  I supposed as children, we did not get sick, except for malaria, brought about by mosquitoes, which is another story. 🙂

Malunggay is a superfood as well as super-herbal-medicine.

Lactating women are advised to make malunggay soup as part of their diet to produce more milk.

Apparently 1 cup of mallunggay, in terms of nutrients, is equivalent to 10 cups of broccoli.


Desert Rose Plant


Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton


Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton

Desert Rose Plant

I saw this plant in the Philippines and I’ve fallen in love with the flowers.  They were very eye-catching.

This plant is called Adenium Obesum or more commonly known as desert rose.  It is a tropical flowering plant.  It is a succulent, which requires copious amount of watering but it must not be allowed to stand on water, thus a free-draining soil is advised.

It likes hot climate or temperature, although with proper care, it can be grown anywhere.  It is a beautiful house plant in colder countries.  It should be placed by the window sill, where it can catch a daily dose of sunlight.

Pruning in the spring will prevent the plant from going too leggy.

Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii)


Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii) , photo by PH Morton


Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii) , photo by PH Morton

This succulent looking plant is perennial.  Beefsteak Plant, also known bloodleaf plant, Latin name: Iresine herbstii, has beautiful glossy deep red leaves,  They are truly eye-catching and will certainly enhance the colour of the garden.

They can be grown as indoor plants which is a bonus as beefsteak plants cannot tolerate frosty condition.  So at the end of the season, in autumn, border plants can be potted and brought inside the house and planted out again when the weather turns warmer.

The leaves are variegated with red and green markings all over.

Beefsteak Plant loves the sun and high humidity.  The sunnier location it is planted the redder the leaves will turn out to be.  As an indoor plant it should be placed near a south facing window where it can get the sun.  Placing it in a gloomy area will result in the plant becoming leggy.

To keep the plant bushy, it requires a regular trimming.  Keep it well water but with good drainage.  It does not like being waterlogged.

Beefsteak Plant is worth the extra care as it is a stunning addition to the garden and as an indoor plant.



Leycesteria Formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

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Leycesteria Formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

Leycesteria formosa is also known as Himalayan Honeysuckle, nutmeg bush, Himalayan nutmeg or even pheasant berry.  It is a beautiful leafy shrub, which is deciduous.  It belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Himalaya and southwestern China.

Though they are beautiful with their very striking berries laden crimson flowers, these plants are becoming a nuisance to some countries.  They can be rather invasive.

They can pop up anywhere very unexpectedly.  They grow where their berries fall.  The main culprits of the rather ‘locomotive’ property of this shrub are birds who are attracted by the deep purple berries hanging attractively in clusters.

Fatsia Japonica

Fatsia Japonica

The last photo of the series is our own Fatsia Japonica growing in a pot by our back door.

This beautiful shrub is evergreen and a native of Southern Japan and South Korea.

I am afraid those luscious looking juicy berries are toxic. Must not eat or try them for taste. Remember to keep away your nousy toddler from them and also your pets.

Fatsia Japonica is a very lovely plant to have in the garden because of its rather large elaborate green leaves, then tiny little white flowers, followed by those plump dark purple berries.

Pieris Japonica (Japanese andromeda)

Pieris Japonica (Japanese andromeda)

We have a couple of this plant in our garden which we planted in tubs.  They are currently in blooms as can be seen on the above photographs.

Pieris Japonica belongs to the heather family called Ericaceae.  They are a native of the eastern part of China, Taiwan and Japan and lucky us, they grow healthily and profusely in British gardens whether planted directly on the ground or make a statement by putting them in ceramic or earthenware tubs as a centrepiece to the garden in spring.

Pieris Japonica flowers in early spring.  The blooms looks like a string of little lanterns.  They are quite beautiful.

Shrub: Photinia ‘Red Robin’

Shrub: Photinia `Red Robin’

I love this shrub.  We used to grow it in a huge tub and it was absolutely gorgeous.  The young leaves are red and changed into different shades until it matures into a green colour.

During spring it grows an abundant spray of white, starlike flowers.

This shrub is water loving and will grow fast.  That was the reason we decided to dig it into the ground near the fence, we thought it will get more water in the ground rather than continually drying up in a pot. When not watered, the beautiful shiny leaves tend to fall.

This shrub is perfect as bush.  They are becoming popular as a form of hedges.  They grow fast as well as they provide a colourful backdrop for the garden.

If the photinia is left unpruned, it can grow as tall as 10 feet.