The Mature Years period gave me an unprecedented opportunity to transfer my artistic
feelings and aesthetics inclines to landscaping planning, design and creation. But for a moment I would like to blog on the origins of my interest in gardening.
Origins of gardening interest
The origins of my interest in gardening found its early roots when my mother began planting the roselle plants, botanically known as Hibiscus sabdariffa or in what locals termed as asam susur( sour relish) . My mother began planting these roselle plants in front of the government quarters where we stayed in the 1960's.
These were to become the source of pride for my mother who would show her skill in preparing us the jam made from the thick calyx lobes of the plant. This was a fad among housewives in the little town of Bintulu back then. When the sun was about to sink in the horizon, she would ask me to water the plants along the footpath leading to the house from the grass-laid road that acted as sub-arterial linkage to the government quarters area or kampung perintah area as it was known then.
Bintulu kampung scene of the sixties.
Bintulu was a typical Malay or Melanau kampung in the sixties. The kampung houses were built on stilts from the nibong palm trunk or the belian wood species. As we walk through the kampung road we could see how the houses were overtopped by tall coconut trees, betel nut trees, huge mango trees, bread fruit trees, guava trees of various species, rambutan trees and a host of under-storey trees and shrubs. The middle canopy consisted of starfruit trees, langsat trees, cermai trees, papaya trees and many more. I could recall the wonderful excitement we had in catapulting the birds that occasioned these fruits trees. A walk around the kampung was greeted by the numerous calls of the punai, serindit,squirrels and many other tiny birds. Vegetation was a delight to the senses as it was a haven for wildlife. Thus my affinity with plants and wildlife started at the kampung level and very early in life.
Abundance of greenery was as natural a feature as the water and jungle fringes that
surrounded the kampungs.