Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Secret Garden, One Utama – Fruiting Plants and Vegetables

This is the second part in The Secret Garden series.  The Secret Garden is situated on the rooftop of One Utama Shopping Centre, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. 

Part 1:  Amazon Water Lilies 

A fallen bottle gourd
The Secret Garden is home to a variety of fruiting plants and vegetables.  I never thought that fruiting plants could thrive and even bear fruit atop a shopping mall.  I wonder who gets to keep the produce……….

Calamansi lime
Calamansi lime is used in Malaysian cuisine and drinks.  It has a refreshing, tart yet sweet taste.  It is quite common for households in Malaysia to plant calamansi lime in their gardens.  

I think is a citron fruit (based on the labels at the garden).  


You would never expect to find coffee in a rooftop garden but there they were in The Secret Garden.  It was my first time seeing coffee plants up close.  They are very cute!  

Guava tree
There were also guava trees in the garden.  My grandmother used to have a few guava trees and she would wrap up the fruits in newspaper and plastic bags (!) to protect them from being stung by insects or eaten before they were ripe.  

Local pomegranate plant
This is a local pomegranate plant.  It looks slightly different from the Turkish or Spanish pomegranates that are found in supermarkets.

Papaya tree and fruit
There were several papaya trees in the garden but I loved how tall and majestic this one looked with the leaves fanning out at the top.  And just look at all the papayas on the tree!

Passion flower
Passion fruit
Passion fruits grow quite easily in Malaysia.  In the garden, the creeper was supported by metal structures.  The passion flower is beautiful, complex and delicate.  It also reminds me of the THX advertisement shown in cinemas......

Decorative miniature pineapple

Another perennial Malaysian favourite, the pineapple, was also found flourishing in The Secret Garden.  I think this is a decorative pineapple that cannot be eaten.  There was a whole row of them.  

Pomelo tree
Pomelos are very popular in Malaysia.  They are eaten, used in desserts, offered to deities or peeled by lion dance troupes during Chinese New Year for good luck.  I spotted this beautiful pomelo tree with waxy dark green leaves and a good-sized fruit in the garden.  

Rice plants
These are rice plants!  I cannot believe that they can plant rice (or paddy) on a rooftop.  I had never seen them before.  

Sayur manis/ Mani cai
This is another common plant in Malaysia.  Its scientific name is sauropus androgynus but it is referred to as sayur manis (literally sweet leaf) in Malay or mani cai.  The leaves are commonly stir-fried with eggs.  They can be toxic if consumed raw but I distinctly remember old people saying that it is not advisable to eat too much of the cooked leaves either.  

Snow pea plants and bird's eye chili plants
I was so excited to see this snow pea plant complete with flowers in the garden!  Can you see the snow peas on the right?  The plant in front is a red bird's eye chili plant (cili padi in Malay).  Don't be fooled by their miniature sizes, the chilies are extremely potent and hot!  By the way, when I googled "snow pea plants" to check that I had gotten the name right, "Plants vs. Zombies" kept popping up!  

Soursop tree and baby soursop
Last of all, this is a soursop tree with a tiny soursop fruit.  Soursop is another local fruit with a sweet yet sour taste.  It tastes delicious when served cold, in dessserts or blended into drinks.  

That is all for this part of The Secret Garden series.  Stay tuned for the next part!

The Secret Garden is open to public on weekends and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Admission is free!  

More information is available on One Utama’s Facebook page here.  

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