This is quite a different year…

I can’t believe that we have reached the end of this shocking year with so many turn of events! Sure, Covid-19 threw us off our feet, but on a personal basis, I have never in my wildest dream imagined that I would do the things I do this year, and even now, I think I am still in recovery mode. This is the last chance for me to add one more post before the year folds.

Some of my most notable “achievements” and highlights include these:

1. Started gardening

Like so many people who contributed to the rising price of plants, I am one of them who caught the gardening flu during the Movement Control Order because of Covid-19. I have a whole blog post on this so I’ll save myself the hassle of regurgitating of how it all started. Here are some awesome pictures of my garden.

My little bromeliad corner
My little “princess corner” for the plants which couldn’t take too much sun
Another corner for those who love the sun
My significant other helping to create shade for the princess corner

2. Moved house

My moving house signifies a different stage of life and era for me. I rented a room in my friend’s house mainly because I find coping with lupus while travelling the distance (30km per way) to be quite taxing. I was very grateful that my bestie lent me a helping hand by allowing me to stay at her place. Two years went by, and many things happened to our lives. We went on to our separate ways, she moved out, and after 9 months I moved out as well. We kept in touch, but we have different priorities now. So moving out is a huge change to me. Furthermore I made a conscious decision to stay in a suburban area instead of in the city so that I could have a garden instead of staying in an apartment where I know I have to give up some of my plants. I was not ready for that.

I think this is one of the most tiring year for my other half

3. My blog gained more viewership even though I only wrote 6 posts this year

Truth to be told, this year has been a rather tough year for me, work wise. As much as I love to, I had no time, and was not in the state of mind to add more posts to the blog. In fact at some point, I felt that I was so overwhelmed that I might be mildly depressed. The strangest thing was my blog’s viewership actually increased when I was not posting any new blog posts. I suppose this has something to do with the “3-year rule”, i.e. many of your efforts will only be seen after 3 years, especially websites and blogs. I think the 3-year rule rings true for many things. Even for my plants, some took 5-6 months to blossom. If I gave up on them prematurely, I will not be able to enjoy their beauty.

In 2021 I am going back to develop my blog further, edit and weed out some of the not-so-great posts. I am going to think about content and have more interviews with lupus patients so that my readers could be inspired.

4. Quit a stressful job and moved on to a less stressful role

My job has always been a stressful one, as long as I lived. However there was something else end of last year and almost the whole of this year, which made me pull the trigger. Covid-19 was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Due to the pandemic, my team could not work at the client’s place, the clients were not fully digitised, and therefore work was delayed and there was nothing much we could do. By the time work resumed, it was already 3 months down the road, and there was just no rest for anyone. It was really tough.

I have been contemplating about moving on to something else for quite a long time. For me, the question was always: when will I hit my magic number for early retirement?

Amidst this pandemic, I have other questions such as:

-Is not working going to make me happy?

– Why am I feeling so reluctant to work?

– Is this money going to be enough for me to indulge myself in my expensive hobbies?

– Am I shortchanging myself trying to save more to early retire?

I think I have been in withdrawal for the longest time. I always spent time tending to my garden, surfing the internet to buy more plants, doing something else instead of spending time to pen down my thoughts in my diary. I thought once I have nothing to do, I could sit down and contemplate about these questions. But it turns out that I could not actually sit down and do nothing. It is tough. Or maybe I could, but I would be surfing the internet. I do not have answers to these questions, so I carried on with the other job that does not leave me depressed and exhausted all the time.

I tried a few new things this year, namely getting writing jobs, selling plants and trying to sell some printables. I could not persist too long with my full time job. I also dislike packing up plants and earning peanuts trying to sell expensive plants to people who will not appreciate it. I might be doing it wrong but I think even if I changed my method to sell, I am not entirely sure I want to make this a career, not before I have a piece of land to place all my merchandise.

5. Did not use my passport at all this year

This goes without saying with the current pandemic situation. I think this has to be the first time in 20 years I have not used my passport at all. It is saddening, yet I now sometimes consider what would happen to my plants when I am travelling. What about my dream of living in a different country every year? Probably just have to install some irrigation system that can be controlled from abroad.

6. Only read 2 books this year

I suppose for me the most surprising turns of events was reading only 2 books and adding more than 100 plants to my garden. Maybe deep down I will always be a hoarder, be it hoarding books or plants or some other collectibles. I also have a secret dream that one day maybe I will be selling off everything and start living a minimalist lifestyle. Until then, I will recommence my reading habit soon after I tidy up my garden and made it the one I have in my head.

This is a year that gave me a lot to think, and I see many different things in new light. It maybe my quarter life or mid life crisis, there was just so many things to think about, I rather not think. Humans are complicated beings, or can things be less complicated? Am I overthinking or there are some merits to the things going through my head? This is such a quizzical year, and yet I felt that I have done quite a fair bit this year. I hope things will improve next year, and I could find some answers to all my questions!

Happy New Year to you and I wish you all the best!

I am now my mom’s daughter – a passionate gardener

Warning: Plants ahead! Don’t continue if you hate plants.

Guess you have not seen any posts from my website for a long, long time. My last post was back in May 2020, a whopping six months ago. So what have I been up to lately?

One word: Gardening!

Yes I am one of those crazy plants people who literally go broke every month spending on plants! I started with a couple of plants exchange within the vicinity of where I live. I was like a busy bee, exchanging plants after work and before work. I mostly exchange with mints and tomatoes, the two plants I know how to propagate the best back then.

Slowly there were more and more plants. I started to propagate plants. Some plants start to give babies. Some died. My days are filled with joy when I greet my plants in the morning and come back to them at night.

I start to have more conversations with mom on how she took care of her plants. I am amazed at how gigantic some of mom’s plants are.

I continued with my edibles journey. I had many tomato trees.. they born some fruits and then died. It was a bittersweet affair.

I learnt to propagate by various methods. Most of them from cuttings. Sometimes from leaves as well, such as my gloxinias. I cut one leaf into 4 parts, and it grew into 3 plants! It took around 2 weeks for little leaves to shoot out from the mother leaf. Patience does pay off!

I started selling plants too! I need money to fund my addiction. When I see two types of plants, I have an urge to buy them: a plant that is below market price or a plant which is uncommon and pretty! My mom does not know how much I spend on plants. I used to ask her how does she defend her plants from pest or disease. She said she doesn’t. I asked: what if they die? Mom says: “Just throw them away!”

Oh my. We don’t have the same philosophy in terms of keeping plants alive. But mom’s natural selection philosophy does have its merits. Mom showers her love with her rice water and compost. Her plants are looking might well, many of them in sizes that you cannot imagine.

I have started to move on to ornamental plants. It does not mean that I have no more edible plants. Mind you, I am extremely proud of my rosemary. It is quite hard to keep a rosemary alive in our hot and wet climate. My bad boy has been staying alive for me for more than 6 months for now. I kept it under rain and shine. This is my rite of passage or badge of honour amongst my fellow gardeners.

My bad boy

I love all of my plants. I don’t think I have a favorite. I check them out everyday. I am especially happy when they woke up from their hibernation and started to give me babies or flowers. I am truly amazed by how beautiful nature has created these plants to be.

My flowering plants:

Gardening has helped me cope during this period of stressful time because of Covid-19. Things have been looking up for a while but now with the 3rd wave that has not recovered, the future is looking quite bleak. I saw a lovely quote somewhere that says:

“A garden is a friend that you can visit anytime.”

No wonder I have been seeking therapy from my friend all this while! I’m glad to have all of them. I am also glad that I have a boyfriend who is willing to help me with my gardening chores, including repotting more than 100 plants over the past few months. Oh my god. I gotta treat him better.

Last but not least, this is my “finicky plants corner” or the “princess plants” corner.

All the fellows who can’t get too much sunlight

What are your favorite plants? Let me know in the comments!