Gardening Update: My Queen of the Night

By Andrea Pavee

In a previous article, I wrote about the Queen on the Night, or more colloquially known as either the Keng Hwa, or Tan Hwa.

This plant harkens back to my childhood.

My godmother, Aunty Gladys had 3 huge pots in her garden.

One night, at 11.30pm, she asked me to follow her to see the blooming of this special and unique plant. I was naturally curious to see what the excitement was all about. At 9, I had scant knowledge, if any, of gardening.

The whole family trooped to view the flowering of this beauty, which only happens at midnight.

It was a first for me, and I was mesmerized watching her bloom whilst inhaling her delicate fragrance.

As I grew up, my interest in gardening waned, and the Keng Hwa was nestled at the back of my mind. Then the pandemic arrived, and with it, my interest in gardening.

Gardening has always been a hot topic on my daily walks with Kar Im, and in our many conversations, the Keng Hwa came up. I told her of my early memories of the plant and wondered aloud if I would ever be able to nurture one in my garden.

A few days later, she popped by with a shoot!

I was elated and tended to it carefully. However, my elation was short lived as it refused to grow, much less, bloom.

Disappointed, I left her in a spot in the garden, out of sight and out of mind!

A few months later, I happened to pass her by and unbelievably she had green shoots all around.

If the watched pot does not boil, dare I say, the watched plant also does not grow!

I immediately brought her back into the fold and repotted her.

Since then, she has bloomed thrice, the last one being over Christmas, which I regretfully missed since we were away for a short holiday.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, I noticed a number of flowering shoots pushing out through her stem. It was a totally unexpected, but very welcome development.

The upcoming blooms are in various stages of growth, with the longest about 6 inches in size, and while I wait and watch, I greet her daily in great anticipation.

I gather she will bloom probably at the tail end of the Year of the Ox. What a great send off to the year!

Gardening, is its own reward.

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 19 January 2022

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