Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Nine O’clock Flower
When I was growing up in the kampong, my mother’s favourite flower was the moss rose or Portulaca Grandiflora, which she called Kow Teem Fa in Cantonese (九点花) or ‘Nine O’clock Flower. She said that the flowers would start to bloom at 9 in the morning. I have never checked the accuracy of this statement.
The moss rose is a very easy flower to grow. It can be propagated by two ways. Firstly, by seed that can be collected from plants that are already growing. It can also be grown very easily by taking cuttings. To do this, cut off a small stalk that is not flowering or about to flower and place it in the ground. They will grow and multiply very quickly (see photo below).
The moss rose, sometimes call rose moss, can be planted in pots. In fact you can buy them from the nursery in pots. But I think it is best to have a patch or cluster of significant size to give a carpet effect. A big patch of brightly coloured moss rose is really a lovely sight to behold.
We used to have a huge patch of the red variety growing in the front yard of our kampong house near the main road. Passers-by liked to admire our flowers and pluck them.
Red and pink are the most common colours found in Singapore. But I have also seen white and yellow ones in the nurseries. They usually bloom in the morning and close in the afternoon. They need plenty of sunlight.
Today, in my garden, we have a pot of this lovely flower. After nearly half a century, I finally decided to check the accuracy of my mother’s statement and took a couple of photos for you to enjoy.
This photo was taken at 9.00 am
This photo was taken at 10.00 am. Hey maybe we should rename it 10 o’clock flower eh? :)