Tuesday, July 30, 2013

50,000 Square Metres of Orchids!

I can remember a long time ago as a young Canadian girl of 7 or 8, seeing an orchid for the first time. My sister Nan was donning a glittery ball gown and there was extra excitement and anticipation because her boyfriend Garth had promised a corsage of orchids. I had no idea what that even meant but I picked up from the vibe that this would be a flower of some significance. Honestly, that first glimpse I remember as a letdown. Unlike anything I had seen before, I did not appreciate the exotic, rare, likely very expensive and lovely thing before me. It seemed plain and oddly coloured. (Who knows what my imagination had conjured in the lead-up to the big reveal!)

Years later, my tastes honed, living in South East Asia, I know a thing of beauty when I see one! (And my family and friends at the quilt shop could attest that the puce, lime-tinged, acid yellow colour is one of my favourites!) So, a trip to the Ragunan Orchid Garden in South Jakarta yesterday to admire a few of the many orchid species native to Indonesia was a real treat as well as a sight to behold!

The Jakarta Post newspaper describes the Orchid Garden as a 50 hectare establishment with 42 vendors. We didn't see all of this, and only visited 3 of these huge, outdoor greenhouses, but this was impressive enough! My friend Wendy is visiting from Perth, and she was the perfect person to accompany me today - interested and appreciative, and much more knowledgeable about these exotic beauties than I. As I quibbled prices with vendors, Wendy wisely reminded me that the prices at this market were small change compared to what I would be charged in Australia.

There were row upon row of beautiful colours and varieties, lush green tropical plants, flowering succulents, seedlings and new cuttings, mature plants and everything in between. The ceilings of dark coloured shade cloth seemed to compound the humidity and the air was dense and moist - perfect growing conditions it would seem.
Wendy helped me choose 6 standout orchids. It was a trick to whittle the wish list down to six but I now have a lineup of plants with various coloured flowers, healthy looking stems and lots of new growth. One plant's blooms are a rich dark chocolate, nearly black colour! Exquisite!

I don't have a terrific track record with my gardening efforts, but I am counting on this very forgiving tropical climate and the packets of fertiliser I purchased to help me out! On the drive home, we stopped at a roadside nursery and found a concrete planter box that fits nicely along the pool's edge and camouflages a bare patch in the garden. I hope my new orchids will settle in and thrive!

Another successful Jakarta outing! This city has so many pretty pockets! Thanks Wendy for sharing this experience with me! I have been wanting to get to the Orchid Garden ever since we moved from the apartment to our house, but I am glad that I waited until today and had your company. If I need help coaxing these orchids to grow and bloom, will you be able to return to Jakarta and help me tend them?!!!?

Friday, July 26, 2013

From Week to Week

How can one week look so different from the next?
Last week the house was full with the delightful company of these four...
The girls are wearing the Harry Darsono creations.  We had a private tour, led by the famed haute-couture designer himself!
...Kim, Claire, Leah and Tamika...
...Tamika, Claire, Kim and Leah...

And the week before that we were a group of 8 here at the birdhouse!
The week was a blur of activity.
Driving to and fro...

...seeing the sights...

Indonesia's National Monument, the Monas, topped with a flame of real gold!

...checking out the local shops...
Plaza Senayan

Lewis loved this handyman shop/hovel, streetside, next to the tailor.

...and doing crazy things together!
okay! More Harry Darsono fun. 

This week, all is quiet on the home front. The only sound I hear this morning comes from our poolside fountain, a brief rain shower, and the occasional toot toot of a horn or the putsy-putsying of a motorcycle passing by out front.

The only visitor so far, has been the "Aquaman", with this week's delivery of clean drinking water.

Very quiet indeed. From high to low - well not quite, and only if I let it.
I have kept myself active with a different kind of busy - paperwork, catching up on emails, hanging artwork, doing some baking for Idul Fitri...

...and looking forward to the beginning of next week when yet another dear friend indulges us with a visit! Hurry here Wendy! We are (and this is) waiting for you...!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Oasis Nearby

In the midst of the commotion and hubbub which is this city, I have found a beautiful place of calm where the conditions for safely walking the streets are ideal. No more excuses for failing to exercise! This post is a show and tell of this morning's walk through "Bukit Golf".

Ringing the inside of the Pondok Indah Golf&Country Club, is the residential community of Bukit Golf.

For homeowners, this prime real-estate boasts backyard views of the course, but in my case, Jalan Bukit Golf Utama, is a short drive from home (traffic cooperating) and offers access to a 1.6 kilometre circuit of road that is perfect for walking (jogging, running, cycling).

It used to be when we lived here last, that the 18 hole course was open to pedestrians on a Monday morning. Things have changed and this option is no longer available, but no complaints from me as the neighbourhood still obliges and leaves their gated community open for exercise any day of the week.

Green space...

open road...

and canopies of tropical palms and bamboo shading the street...

There are incredibly beautiful mansions behind decorative wrought iron gates...

lovely to admire...

and all meticulously manicured.

I imagine 2 options for this beautiful aspect: 1. A bride and her wedding party walking up the frangipani-lined drive. Or, 2. This drive covered in a carpet of my quilts for a photo shoot.

There is a peaceful quiet on the street as the locals go about their early morning routines. Along with the steady swishing of sweeping brooms I can hear the birds chirping and that distinct rattle of the cicadas...

the lazy trickle of water as gardens are watered and Drivers wash cars...

and the occasional approach of a motor bike. (Someone is receiving an early morning special delivery.)

The roosters and chickens, also getting on with a new day, are clucking and crowing, pecking the dirt looking for breakfast.

And this little pal is so friendly. A dear reminder of Bower!

But of course, amidst my oasis there must be the reminders that I am in Jakarta and let's face it, this little blip of lovely quiet and postcard perfect is an anomaly. There is also the noise of the power tools and construction progress....

the makeshift, less-than-perfect erection of the temporary fence/wall marring the scenery (Although I happen to think that this slap-dash fencing is amazing with the tree protruding from it and the patchwork of shiny silver corrugated metal!)...

behind the green door is quite a bit of chaos...

and the cats are everywhere, some like this one scavenging.

Thanks for sharing this pretty piece of Jakarta with me this morning! Any time you feel like walking round and round and round the circuit with me, you are more than welcome!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Colour Me Happy

It was a bit rainy and overcast today BUT, drumroll, we have COMPANY and so it matters not the cloud and smog, we are seeing everything through rose tinted glasses - having Liz and Lewis Bint visit us in Jak has this effect!

Therefore, in celebration of friends in the guest room, here are some happy-coloured-Asia shots:

brooms for sale in Singapore's Little India

Louis Vuitton anyone? (Leah, Claire, Tamika, Kim????)

Incredible tropical flowers

Rent a bike, and a fancy hat in Batavia's Fatahillah Square

Cashmere Pashminas

Ok, I snuck this in. My coloured votive art from Praha.

I am loving the Ikat textiles here!

Intensigreen! Not a word and not a colour, but how do you describe this chroma anyway?

She is pretty! These bugs are quite tolerable.

Love. Thinking of how/where to put it in my new house.

Boat wood furniture. This has found a new, happy home, hurray!