Sunday, 23 June 2013

Purple Flowered Vine - Fantastic

Seen on the neighbour's fence in Darwin this week - it looks magnificent. 

Purple flowers, fading to light lavender then white [last photo]. Had trouble downloading off the camera so these are after a few days in full flower [had to use a different CF card - which worked okay] but colour has lightened a little.  Was a magnificent purple initially. Also seen in Singapore, but never as a fantastic display like this.

Look online for more - Mansoa hymenaea

Cultivation notes:

Scientific name: Mansoa  hymenaea
Family: Bigoniaceae
Common name: Garlic vine

Habitat: Native to Mexico And Central America. It is best to grow it in well-drained soil that is mulched at the base with compost to keep the roots cool and moist. M. alliacea occurs on solid ground, not close to bodies of water, in shaded areas of low vegetation and in small primary forests. It cannot grow in flooded areas or in open fields. It occurs in tropical areas with rainfall of 1800-3500 mm/year, at temperatures between 20 and 30 ÂșC. Mansoa hymenaea is a native plant of Brazil and Peru (Thetburanatham, 1987), but grows very well in most the parts of Thailand (Chirunthorn et al., 2005).
Botanical Description: Dicot. Plant grow up to 9 m , has simple leave that has elliptic margins.When the leaves are crushed a garlicky smell will be given out. Flowers are trumpet-shaped and is pale and purple in colour and grows in clusters. Flowers seasonally from March to May. Requires sun and partial sun.
Propagation: Stem cutting
Medicinal Uses: The entire plant such as roots, stems and leaves have medicinal uses and are used to reduce fevers, treat colds, throat, and respiratory troubles.
Source :

Mansoa hymenaea - used while own photos u/s





Saturday, 22 June 2013

Crazy Weather in the Tropics

Fires are creating an enormous problematic smoke haze over Singapore and Johor Bahru state in Malaysia - fires in Indonesia.

And while this seems to happen almost every year in the dry season, it has been exceptionally bad this week with the haze and smog reaching dangerous levels that can be very unhelpful to your health.

It might have cleared a bit today, but still NOT good.

The Top End is beset for over a week with overcast windy cloudy weather and a few light rain showers around the region.  None in our gauge, but certainly been rain around with falls up to 3-4mm, but most 1-2mm.  It is still very cloudy tonight, and wind has dropped, so humidity is up.

Might be a bit sunnier and clearer tomorrow, or so they say.

Cloudy weather means the solar hot water system needs an electrical boost, and with our current shortest day of the year it is currently just tepid - not good for showering! on both sides of the equator.  Not common at all!

UPDATE - on 26 June, HAIL recorded in Singapore.........definitely crazy.
smoke haze Singapore June 2013

smoke from Sumatra streaming across Singapore
Ours is not that bad!!! 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Shopping - On line or Not?

Today an op-ed piece appeared on the ABC web site.

It has several hundred comments, and the entire article is well worth reading.  Written by Emma Alberici about on line shopping, obviously after a struggle with an in store purchase.

This has received many positive comments from readers, and not too many adverse ones.

It is pertinent to repeat the theme of her article as well as that of many commenters - when will Australian retailers and the government wake up to the fact that it is not about the GST, it is about choice, availability, range of product, decent service and a better price.

Yes, I do my fair share of online shopping - do not think I have bought much computer stuff except on line for years, and that is for a business as well as for home.  But I WILL NOT buy fruit and veg on line........that is something I really need to check out and if unsuitable you can make an alternate choice of either the same or a different product.

Take the time to read it........well worth it.

I wonder if CEOs of major Australian businesses will?  They sure need to do so.

You wonder how so many medium sized enterprises in Australia can get it right, yet major companies cannot do so!!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Coffee Prices Are Falling

Arabica coffee is trading at its lowest level since 2009 but it is unlikely Australian baristas will slash the price of a macchiato.

The ICE coffee benchmark  [ that is NOT the iced coffee benchmark though] – which measures the price of arabica, the preferred bean for espresso coffee – has fallen almost 60 per cent since its peak in May 2011, The Australian Financial Review reports.

It is down more than 10 per cent in the year to date, falling below $US1.30 a pound, on the prospect of a record crop in Brazil and heavy shorting by speculative traders.

Robusta coffee prices are falling faster and further.  This is mostly used in instant coffee and other coffee blend mixes and drinks. not expect your local cup of coffee to decline.  BUT, if they want to increase the price at least complain loudly!

More detail is here -

will YOUR coffee price fall?