Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Leek, known by its botanical name Allium ampeloprasum variant porrum and occasionally as Allium porrum is a plant with edible leaf sheaths. These sheaths are sometimes referred to as a stem or stalk. When cooking it can be boiled, fried or simply raw, with the darker part of the leek not used due to bitterness.

Leeks are an easy to grow plant, with pests and disease not much of a worry for leeks. Harvesting can begin as soon as it reaches the size of a finger or at a much larger and more mature size. Leeks, while hardy and generally worry free from pest and disease, is a slow grower, needing a long growing period. It is a biennial but generally grown as an annual.
This plant can grow in a variety of soils conditions as long as not waterlogged, although moist soil that is sandy-loam and heavily manured is what it grows best in. Firm soils with a pH between six and seven is very much enjoyed by leek. Full sun and deep soil is needed by leeks.
Compost and well rotted manure should be well prepared before planting as rich soils.

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Year (And A Bit)

When one has been doing a blog for a year, it tends to get mentioned. And I kind of forgot that I have now have been continuously making posts for this blog now for a year (and a bit). Huzzah…?
Heh, maybe I shouldn’t be focused on how I have been creating posts for a blog for a certain period of time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Yue Xia Lao Ren

Yue Xia Lao Ren is also called The Old Man Under The Moon. As god of marriage, he decides who marries whom, although only decides marriages between males and females.

He originally was a young man of the Tang Dynasty, his name Wei Gu and to his misfortune he had lost his parents at a young age. He was a nobleman but was bankrupt, so he attempted to better his situation by trying to marry the daughter of an official. This endeavour was however unsuccessful.

It was one year that Yue Xia Lao Ren travelled to a city where it was suggested by a friend to be introduced to the daughter of a deputy major. Anxious, he woke up far before daybreak, so he left for the temple. When arriving at a temple he saw no one but a single man reading a book, looking at the book Yue Xia Lao Ren saw strange characters. Asking the man on this book, the man explained how this book contains all the marriages of the world, current and to be. This man told Yue Xia Lao Ren that he will marry in fourteen years.

The girl Yue Xia Lao Ren was to marry was mentioned and the mysterious man disappeared, leaving Yue Xia Lao Ren in a rage. He found the girl he was to marry and stabbed her, fleeing the scene and joining an army under a false name. He eventually got to marry the daughter of a provincial governor who turned out to be the girl he stabbed so many years ago.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Totems: Butterfly

Butterflies take on many forms, with differing colours that can be of great beauty. This creature starts off as a caterpillar, an eater of plants with possibly acting as an annoying pest to people. People do fear insects and the butterfly, alongside the ladybug, seem to be the exception with such fears.
The butterfly teaches that three things do not have to be traumatic to happen; growth, change and transformation. It can be a rather gentle experience to grow, to change, to transform. A tough time, it may be, but it doesn’t always have to be so. It can be a calming time, where both rest and learning occur at the same time.
Being reminded of being in a state of transformation constantly shall be what the butterfly does. Teaching that change is good, change should be encouraged and to do what possible to turn dreams into reality. Transformation is highly important to the butterfly, for it once dwelled the land and now is free.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Strelitzia reginae is the botanical name of the plant commonly referred to as the Crane Flower, Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia or sometimes as Crane Plant. It is a plant growing up to two metres tall and with large leaves 25-70cm long and 10-30cm wide. It is a popular ornamental plant that is easy to raise, but is slow growing.

An evergreen perennial, it is from South Africa. Its flowers are however long lasting, with peak flowering in winter and early spring. Strelitzia is tolerant of soil conditions, but does great in rich loamy soils. Once established it needs little water, but before establishment needs plenty of it. Frosts are not enjoyed by this plant.

Strelitzia is a low maintenance plant that grows well in positions sunny and warm, although will grow in part shade. Strelitzia can be propagated by division and from seeds, although it will take two to five years from germination before flowering. Very young plants need to be kept in shade due to leaves burning in direct sunlight. Regular re-potting of young Strelitzia will be needed to allow for rapid development.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beauty of Nature

Nature in itself is a wonder filled with beauty, and such is what can be found within gardens. The wonder of botanical gardens, with plants by plants and is an area to be loved by botanists, horticulturists and aspiring gardeners alike. Plants from nation to nation can be found, Mexico’s Pineapple Sage, Banksia of Australia and oaks that would likely enjoy the climates of Europe.
Look at life, it is itself of curiosity. The extremes life can live is of utter amazement. Plants provide beauty, their survival can be just of amazement as extremity life lives within. The stress they survive. The odd angles some trees live at the seeming metaphorical laugh at gravity. The strange places they grow. From space on trees to soil at the gutter, as long plants are able to grow, the gist of intention is survival.
Winter it still is, with multiple trees having given the earth fallen leaves. A clever trick by the plant itself, letting leaves fall in cool weather to conserve energy for the upcoming growing season. Looking at the ground below one sees leaves, a mess to clean up to many, yet food for the tree that once used them. Slow decomposition by micro-organisms releases nutrients for the tree and nearby plants. Self-fertilisation is the second trick of the deciduous tree so easily forgotten.
Spring so near, plants have grown new shoots. While plants already give presentation through flowers, those plants who became lifeless are beginning to show that they aren’t so lifeless after all. Buds ready to let out leaves and stems, with plants already in growth. So young are the new growth, pests surely will eat it when possible.
Plants are known to be attacked or infested by pests, a worrisome problem to gardeners who so lovingly tend their gardens. Yet plants have found their ways to defend themselves from certain pests naturally, leaving companion gardening to allow for a natural ridding of those troublesome creatures. People have also used ingenuity to use the pest susceptible plant known as the rose as an early warning for pests. Multiple is the ways of defending against those problematic pests with plants as repellents, hands to rid of with labour and pesticide for those with a good day to use such a thing.

Nature is filled with beauty, with I being able to enjoy its very beauty yesterday at the Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens. It is a place to bring on thought to the philosopher, to create art in the medium of photography, to inspire gardens with no design. The thick trees give the power to impress. There is a multitude of plants to enjoy the sights of. It is the beauty through the natural world that seems to have great power over people. To protect the plants adored and loved. To grow them ornamentally or for practical use. Imagination is likely the limitation of what one does with plants.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Suiren

Suiren, also spelt as Sui-Ren and known as Sui-Ren-Shi, Yen Di and Yen Ti, is the god who taught how to cook and to use fire.
He is also said to have been the discoverer of fire, and is whom got people to use fire to cook. He is one of the three rulers of China known as the San Huang (the first Fu Xi, second Shennong and the last is Suiren). He notably has three eyes and is bearded.
Originally a man who came from another land to China. Suiren feed all those who needed food, human and non-human. It was one day that he saw a bird, a woodpecker, that began pecking at a tree. At this moment he realised how to start a fire, by drilling a twig into a branch. However, upon learning this method of creating fire he didn’t know much of keeping and utilizing it. Over time it was however learnt.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Totems: Chipmunk

The chipmunk is a creature that is found in the parks of cities and in the wild. Curious creatures, the take time to explore what they comes across. Chipmunks are able to be on their own at only twelve weeks old.
Observation and appropriate movement is what this totem teaches. One can learn much by observing others, and the chipmunk knows this. Appropriate movement must be remembered at the same time. Is what one does in movement appropriate around people? Or is inappropriate movement causing issues?
The chipmunk teaches to store and save for a harsh day ahead, a rainy time. To protect oneself from future problems by protecting what will help deal with problems. It may be tempting to use ones resources elsewhere, but saving them now for future problems will save grief for when it comes. It may also be time to look at ones spending habits, for spending might be an issue undealt with.
This totem teaches to explore but to pay attention of how energy is being used. Is too much or too little energy being used? If so, what problems are arising from such? Is one left overly tired each day? Or is it that one has excess energy at the end of the day?
Truth and lies are either to be told, the chipmunk totem teaches to be able to tell what is being told. Is the truth being told? Or is it a lie? Take note of how their words are said, rather the words. It can tell plenty about the person, especially if it is words of truth or not.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Basil is also known as Sweet Basil, Common Basil and Saint Joseph’s Wort, with the the botanical name of Ocimum basilicum. Basil has many varieties that are often annuals, with the occasional perennial variety. In magical use, burning it rids of negativity from the home, and its scent is of protective power.
Ocimum basilicum is specifically an annual that is easily grown within full sun or partial shade. Plenty of moisture and drained soil is needed, with times of drought not being of favoured by this plant. Basil can be grown in pots and its leaves to be harvested when young. The pH of the soil is loved at 6.0 by Basil.
Butterflies and insects are attracted by Basil into the garden, while white flies are repelled. The seeds of Basil should be sown into the ground in spring or early summer. Frost and the overall cold isn’t enjoyed by this plant, and shouldn’t be grown next to rue (Ruta family).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coming Spring

Spring is soon upon the people of the Southern Hemisphere. Sunshine is slowly turning into the usual once again, with clouds and rain still of dominance for time being. The stalks of corn and sunflower plants are of waiting to be seen once again, yet only the present time is of a preventing factor to the sowing of seeds of such plants.
A couple days ago the seeds of snow peas were found while in an opened seed packet. According to the packet around now is a good time to sow the seeds of snow peas, however the seeds were supposed to have been sown before August 2007. To think such seeds were left to lie around for so many years in a packet. The seeds were placed into soil yesterday, now it’s a matter of being a game of luck and wait.
The current time being of to enjoy the warmth of a house and the words within books. The weather being of a nuisance still of those enjoying being outdoors, yet the coming spring is pleasing knowledge to remember.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Fei Lian/Feng Bo

Fei Lian, also known as Fie Lien and Feng Bo is the god of the wind. He takes the form of a beast with the horns of a bull, a head of a sparrow, the body of a stag and the tail of a snake, this is where he is called Fei Lian or Fie Lien. But does come in the form of a winged dragon with the head of a stag and tail of a snake.. He also takes on human form, this is when is referred as Feng Bo.
He has a goatskin bag which allows for the use of wind and is a bit of a trouble maker. Also nicknamed as Uncle Wind and Elder of the Wind. Fei Lian has challenged the authority of Huangdi (or Yellow Emperor) while his reign, sending fogs and rain. However Huangdi’s daughter Ba dried up the rains with her powers and defeated Fei Lian.
His archrival is Houyi (also known as simply Yi). Fei Lian was causing storms that was uprooting crops and tearing down houses, which prompted Houyi to track down Fei Lian. When Fei Lian knew he was to be caught, he hid in his very own bag to which Houyi shot at with an arrow. It was after Fei Lian attempted to run from Houyi and got stuck on his knee that he promised to not cause troubles again.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Totems: Leopard

Leopards are creatures similar in appearance to the jaguar, and share similar lessons. Both are powerful creatures, the leopard being of focus. The leopard used to live in a huge range across the globe, and hence is known and thought of differently from culture to culture.
When the leopard totem comes into ones life, it is time to become more active and even aggressive. It might be that one is being too shy, being of not enough activity. Becoming more active and aggressive will be of a need, much to one might despise.
To have inner strength and perseverance is what the leopard takes note of, teaching the power of having such. To stay strong and to keep persevering is what the leopard gives importance, teaching how to have both.
A part of having inner strength and perseverance is to get past ones inner demons, even what haunts oneself. So the leopard totem teaches of defeating the inner demons and haunts of the self.
To feel around, to use ones instincts and not think. The leopard teaches this, especially of the use of instincts. Sensibilities should also be of use alongside instincts. While it is often thought of best to not use ones instincts, the leopard totem teaches otherwise.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Offering On Hungry Ghost Festival

Sunday being the Hungry Ghost Festival, it’s a day to venerate ancestors. It is a day where the doors of the underworld are most open. While it is recommended to offer incense on all days of Ghost Month to appease ghosts and ancestors alike, it is of extra importance on the day of the festival where food and drinks are most likely to be offered also.
The offerings vegetarian in nature, it is easy to forget about one thing. That offerings do not need to be grand or expensive, it doesn’t have to be much nor complex to make. All it needs to be is simple and appropriate. But what is appropriate? Vegetarian meals and what ones ancestors would enjoy seems to be the best answer I can give.
How much should be offered can be of an issue. How does one know the amount of offerings to give? To put it as bluntly as possible, a stick of incense, a glass of a drink and a bowl or dish of food. Of course other kinds of incense and bottles and cans of drinks can be given, it comes down to availability. Offer what can be given, it being a small amount or not does not matter.
Should what’s offered be consumed? If the offerings are to ancestors or even ghosts, no. It is considered inauspicious to do so, even considered to be highly unlucky to eat offerings. Interestingly, it is considered lucky to eat the offerings of gods, buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is due to the belief that offerings to ancestors and ghosts gain a yin/negative energy, with offerings to gods, buddhas and bodhisattvas gaining a yang/positive energy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bouncing Bet

Saponaria officinalis is the botanical name of the plant so commonly called Bouncing Bet, Sweet William and Common Soapwort. It is a perennial herb which is much grown for its flowers that come in dense clusters of pink to white in colour and have a fragrant smell. The flowers will grow in late spring. This plant will grow to a metre tall.
A hairless and erect plant, the leaves of bouncing bet is narrowly oval and greyish. Tending to grow in areas that are bushy, while also on roadsides and homes. The leaves of this plant used to be gathered and soaked or boiled in water, where the liquid that came to be from such was used as liquid soap, and can be used to wash ones hair.
Bouncing bet has the potential of being used as a groundcover thanks to its vigorous spreading. Well drained soil with a neutral to alkaline soil is needed to grow this plant, along with full sun or semi-shade. There is some tolerance to drought.
Best grown in sandy soil, bouncing bet does not deal as well with loam and clay soils. This plant is also hardy, growing in low to high moisture. Bouncing bet has rhizomes, and if allowed to, will spread using its root system at a quick rate. The very rhizomes can be used for soap.

Monday, August 8, 2011

20th Century Photographs

Going out place to place, amazing things can certainly be found. Markets can be a great source to be to find junk, even really worth while items. Go to a market and it is likely that one thing will catch an eye, it be of a small statue or a game.
I can say that fortune certainly went my way yesterday, for I went to a market itself and found three black and white photographs on their cardboard frames, the purchase was only $10. An amazing find for me, due to the interest in photography.
The three photographs may not sound much, but do have something to say both in the images and on the back of each. Two of them have a date on them and it is amazing these photographs are in such good conditions considering the age of them. It is a true wonder why the low price is there for all three.
I took a couple photos, of one of the photographs and what it says on the back of its frame. Indeed it says Xmas 1919, and another photograph purchased seems to be of the same young girl at least a year and a half earlier in February 1918.
Details of what had been purchased should have really been asked, it really could have told of the identities of the people photographed. Sadly, the seller may never been seen again, and it may have been that the very photographs were originally purchased from someone else before reaching my hands. It may never be known, but the mystery of the identity of the people photographed so long ago seems to be quite the allure to such photographs themselves.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Tai Sui

The Tai Sui, or Grand Duke of Jupiter, are a group of sixty gods whose names are difficult to find all at once. They all rule over a certain year, depending on the Chinese zodiac (one rules over the year of the Fire Dragon, another Water Dog, etc), taking charge of the well being of the mortal world. Many have a military background and hence are sometimes referred to as the Military Generals, but at times referred to as the Cycle Gods and Lords of the Year and Age.
Offending the Tai Sui is taken in care to not be done, as it is this group of gods that are in charge of ones fortunes. It is the deeds that the Tai Sui note of people, as it is happiness, health, luck and fortune that the Tai Sui will affect.
Ones head is generally advised to not point in the direction of the Tai Sui of the year, as it is seen as a way to offend the Tai Sui, with protective amulets seen as a way to deal with this offence. The direction of the Tai Sui depends on the animal of the year:
North if year of the rat.
Northeast if ox or tiger.
East if rabbit.
Southeast if dragon or snake.
South if horse.
Southwest if sheep or monkey.
West if rooster.
And northwest if dog or boar/pig.
In worship, the particular Tai Sui of the year is worshipped usually once or twice a month, with an altar set up. Worship will generally begin on the ninth day of the first lunar month, with offerings of incense, food and drinks and the asking of protection against evil, inauspicious energies and of blessings. This will generally continue every full moon until the end of the lunar year where the Tai Sui of the year will be given thanks, worship may fall under any day throughout the year however, with many giving worship on the first and fifteenth days of lunar months.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Totems: Gorilla

Gorillas are powerful apes with social behaviour, often seen in groups known as troops. With a keen sense of observation and great memories, it is the gorilla that will remember whom they can and cannot trust.
The gorilla totem asks a number of questions, one greatly relating to a single lesson. What role does one have within ones family? Each individual has a responsibility within a family, and the gorilla teaches that ones responsibility is important. Regardless of how small the responsibility is.
Many questions the gorilla asks is self and family orientated. Such as if one is being too materialistic and if ones family is suffering for being so. Questions that would be about the self and how family and friends are affected.
The importance of friends and family are what is told of by the gorilla totem. Family and friends are indeed important, especially to the gorilla. Such people are those who are cared for, loved, and the importance of them in ones life is what shouldn’t be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Salvia elegans

Salvia elegans is known by its common name of Pineapple-Scented Sage or simply Pineapple Sage. A native of Mexico, it is a perennial growing 1m tall and 60cm wide with long ovate leaves. When crushed, the leaves give off the scent of pineapple. This plant can be used in a number of foods, drinks and as fresh or dry seasoning.
Good drainage is needed alongside full sun to partial shade. Salvia elegans has tubular red flowers which bloom at the end of summer to the end of autumn, allowing for softwood cuttings earlier in summer. It has some frost tolerance, but will die in colder climates making it an annual in some regions. It is a quick growing plant, with flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Propagation is easy with this semi-woody plant. Regular watering will be needed, but Salvia elegans is able to go a day or two without being watered. A herbal remedy can also be made with leaves if one wishes to do so.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hungry Ghost Month

Already it is the month of the Hungry Ghost, where it started yesterday and shall end on the 28th. It has been a fast few months, leaving wonder of how the Hungry Ghost Festival has come so close to the current date with so little notice. Unbelievable how this festival is so close, being on the 14th.
Regardless, it is the month of the hungry ghost where the spirits of the dead roam the earth. A time seen by many unlucky, where spirits are appeased by the smell of burning incense and aroma of food. A time to be extra careful.