Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Packing for home

Can you believe it? I finish my first stint here in Jakarta on Friday. Time has absolutely flown by. I have  rarely had the chance to revisit a favourite spot (like those great antique markets or Bogor's botanic gardens) despite the best of intentions. Thank heavens, I get to do it all again in a few months' time.

Still, many would say the best is yet to come, as I head to Bali on Tuesday, albeit for a conference. I have a whole day to myself after it finishes, and I'm sure there will be lots to share. Then, on Sunday, I am heading to Jogyakarta in Central Java. Everyone who has been there tells me that it is just wonderful and the cultural heart of Java, so I am really excited.

In the meantime, there is lots to do here (apart from writing conference papers!). I have started to pack because it will be a mad flurry getting back for just Saturday night and then heading off again the next day. I will stay on at the airport when I fly back from Jogya on Wednesday as my return flight to Australia leaves later that night. Luckily, I can store some of my stuff with my friend Adri and collect it in August on my return.

So, on my breaks from writing over the weekend, I have been packing. I am taking home the 'souvenirs' I have gathered up to now, so there is more room for new additions next visit. I think I have been fairly restrained (for me), but then a few things I really loved were way too expensive or too big and/or challenging to contemplate, for this visit anyway. And I saw another absolutely brilliant blue and white antique umbrella stand that wasn't that expensive, but I recalled the fate of my last (non-antique) one. It stood in pride of place just inside the front door until, in the usual frantic melee of setting out for the morning walk with the dogs, someone's lead looped the hook of an umbrella. Imagine if history repeated itself with a beautiful antique version that would be a nightmare to get home. I think it is just not meant to be!

Far safer to think of plants. Of course, I can't actually take anything from here home with me, but there are some great plants I have spotted that I definitely think could be worth a try in my Brisbane garden. The only problem with these beauties that I am sharing today is that I don't know their names. Any ideas?

This is Number One on my list. If I can track this down, I think I have the perfect spot. My dwarf poinciana  Caesalpinia pulcherrima recently expired, and I made arrangements to have it cut down and removed while I am away.

I can't even think of another small tropical tree with blue flowers. I am sure from the flowers that this is a member of of the genus Solanum. I knew there were annuals and perennials, but Wiki tells me the genus includes small trees, and here's the proof.  I'd love to find out the name and try my luck with this beauty.

Postscript: I'm home and reunited with my trusty "Tropical Garden Plants" by  William Warren, and  I now know that this is Solanum macranthum (S. wrightii), known as the Potato Tree.  I'm still thinking I could have a spot for this in the garden.

Here it is in situ behind the clipped shrubs.

Great fig-like leaves and round fruit.

I don't think I have a spot for this tall shrub with tubular orange flowers, but I would love to know what it's called.

This is another small tree with a lovely golden flower. It is really widely used in street plantings throughout Jakarta. The yellow flowers (sorry they're out of focus) remind me a little of the marmalade bush Streptosolen jamesonii, which I know as browallia in Brisbane, but coincidentally is also a member of Solanum family.

Below is the only half-decent photo that I managed to snap inside an exclusive precinct near me before I was given my marching orders by over-zealous (clearly non-gardening) staff.

I have seen a lot of the pale pink flower in the foreground and, more frequently, the blue version, which is a little further back in the centre of the garden bed, but I had no idea what it was. Thanks to lotus leaf at garden tropics, I now know that it a ruellia. It seems it can be very invasive, but it is so pretty and is everywhere here in Jakarta.

Finally on the floral front for now, and growing in the same garden bed along with coleus, was this pretty little cream and yellow flower. Any suggestions what it could be? (Thanks to Bernie from My Dry Tropics Garden, I now know this is Tunera sublata)

So, here are some of my tangible reminders of my first visit to Jakarta: those brilliant table runners that I picked up at the antique markets. A single one also looks brilliant across the bed.

I picked up this handsome carved wooden couple at Pasaraya department store, which has two whole floors dedicated to batik and handicrafts. I have had them on display since I got them on one of the runners, on top of the sideboard.

Also at Pasaraya, I fell in love with these packets of batik table napkins. I thought the blue and white ones would make great easy-to-pack gifts to take back with me. I love them so much that I ducked back on Saturday and picked up a couple of different designs.

Finally, these were my latest addition. Until now, I haven't had much pink in the house, but my lounge room sofa is being recovered in a very vibrant stripe while I am here. I thought these little Indian vases would pick up the colour and look pretty as table centrepieces on the new dining table. Most unfortunately, the bag they were in rolled off the chair I had put them on within about 5 minutes of my return home, and two now sport tiny chips. Ah well, they had a slightly rustic finish to begin with, which is now accentuated.  Perhaps there is a message here for my dreams of expensive antique purchases!


  1. I love all your purchases - those Indian vases are really pretty. It is so hard to know what to purchase to take home - I hope you find out what the plants are that you want to try.

  2. It is a challenge both deciding what to buy and then trying to find space in my suitcase. Luckily, I am coming back so I can leave my boring work clothes with one of my colleagues, take home my 'treasures' and return with a relatively empty suitcase in August to do it all again!

  3. Marisa, lovely to see tropical plants we do not encounter here in general, the blue one looks a little like the Peruvian morning glory, I have never seen one with the big fig leaves. Your purchases are so beautiful you must be so excited to get home and start decorating, not forgetting to see your beloved garden. Great for you that it all went so well and you may return. All my best wishes T♥

    1. It's hard to imagine that I will be home in a little over 48 hours. It will be fun playing with things for the house, but Number One will be lots of cuddles with the dogs, closely followed by a circuit of the garden. Glad to hear it has been raining recently. It should be keeping things fresh and healthy.

  4. Hi, I love your photos; all so beautiful. I have seen the tree solanum in Brisbane; it is quite common in a few areas. If you would like to know where, let me know.

    1. Thanks Adam. I'll try out my local tropical plant guy (Palms for Brisbane), but if no joy there, I will be in touch.



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