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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Kalabo, The Philippines Oregano for Coughs and Colds

Kalabo is a Philippine oregano. Also called origanom vulgare, Suganda in Tagalog language and coleus aromaticus, its scientific name. The Philippines oregano plant can grow up to 90 cm (from my tropical garden) tall and the leaves can grow as big as a baby hand. The leaves are in heart form and a bit hairy. 

Kalabo is a perennial herbal medicine which is not only used by the local people in healing their coughs and colds but also using the leaves in their cooking. The leaves are very aromatic and they have balsamic flavor. 

My Kalabo Plant

I was in my home country for a few months last year. The weather was so hot and humid. I think I  was no longer used to the tropical weather that I  thought my childhood asthma was coming back. There were days when I was okay and there were nights that I kept on "barking". It usually happened in the middle of my sleep. Water was always nearby to consume.

One evening when I was attacked by my coughing, I remembered my herbalist late grandmother. She had always chopped herbs packed in wilted banana leaves just in case one of her children and grandchildren got sick. The packed herbs were then roasted in an open fire in our "dirty kitchen". We cooked with coconut firewood and charcoal at that time. No electricity yet. 

Kalabo, Philippine Oregano

How my grandma made Kalabo / Oregano tea:

I remembered how my grandmother made Kalabo / Oregano tea. She prepared every afternoon wrapped Kalabo/Oregano in a piece of wilted banana leaves for emergency purposes. 

1. She got a handful of Kalabo or Oregano from her packed herbs, washed them and put them in a mug. 
2. Then she poured boiled hot water from the thermos in the mug.
3. Left the Kalabo leaves in the mug for around 15 minutes.
 4. Remove the leaves from the mug.
5. She then added brown sugar from sugar cane she bought from the market.
6. Then she gave the Kalabo tea to me and I had to drink it.

After that drink, I  was able to sleep well. It reduced my coughing and it was very calming to me that I could rest the whole night. Kalabo was and still is the best organic plant remedy for my coughs and colds.

Remembering the sleepless night when I had an asthma attack, I  saw my grandmother in me now, collecting Oregano leaves in our backyard. How I wish she is still here beside me. I have a lot of herbal questions to ask.

                                   My YouTube Channel

Some parts of this post were published before on Niume site in 2016, which is now gone forever.

Here are some beautiful plants in my tropical garden:

Thank you very much for reading my blog. Please feel pray to comment, like and share this post on your social media sites. Have a great day everyone.

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Oleander, a Toxic Plant?

Yes, it is. That was what I have read online when I was searching information about the beautiful plant in my tropical garden. There were many pieces of information I got from reading and I was thinking, "shall I keep this plant in my garden or not?". I have to think about it for sure as we have dogs and small children at home. Well, before I have to continue blabbering on here, I have to tell you and show you the fragrant flower in our tropical garden.

                          Oleander in my tropical garden. 

Oleander which is called Nerium in other countries or Adelfa in the Philippines is a beautiful, showy and fragrant flower. It is easy to care shrub which can grow tall as high as 6 meters and the stems are straight where the flowers are on top of the stems. The flowers are in clusters and the leaves are in light green colors. They are in white, pink, yellow and in red variations.This plant is very common in my home country Philippines as well as in other Southeast Asian countries and in the subtropical countries.

Oleander / Nerium / Adelfa in my tropical garden.

Oleander is indeed a showy stunning plant but sad to say that it is a toxic plant one should be aware of especially if you have small children and pets at home. All parts of this plant are toxic due to the chemical ingredients oleandrin and digitoxigenin in Oleander. These chemical components are related to a heart medicine digitalis.

Oleander / Nerium / Adelfa in my tropical garden.

If you already have Oleander in your garden and you have no small kids and pets at home, I understand if you don´t get rid of this plant. Knowing that it is toxic, please wear gloves when you cut or trim Oleander because it can cause skin irritation and skin allergy. Don´t put the Oleander cuttings on fire as the smoke is toxic too. You might collapse after smelling the smoke or having a hallucination.

Oleander / Nerium / Adelfa in my tropical garden.

I have Oleander in my tropical garden and I am thinking of getting rid of this after reading my research about this plant but I have other thoughts not to destroy it because I know what to do to keep away from danger. I have planted this a few years ago and I just watered it and when I pruned the Oleander, I just threw them in my compost bin and nothing happened. It is just a few days ago that I know much about this plant that I am careful. My relatives who live nearby are informed about this plant. I know that Oleander is not the only toxic plant in my garden. As long as my relatives and I  know about the plants in my garden, they are safe.

Oleander / Nerium / Adelfa in my tropical garden.

Anyway, here are the signs of Oleander poisoning:

blood in the stool
heart problems

If ever this happens, bring the poisoned person to a doctor immediately.


  1. Always use gloves in cutting the Oleander plants.
  2. Don´t use the Oleander plants as firewood in cooking.
  3. Don´t use the Oleander cuttings in stirring your food while cooking and don´t use this as a stick for your barbeque or making Schaslik.
  4. Don´t burn it as the smoke will poison you.
  5. Tell your kids the danger of this plant and not to play with this plant.


Oleander / Nerium / Adelfa in my tropical garden.

Thank you very much for reading this blog. If you have anything to say about Oleander, please comment below. Have a great day! Please comment, like, pin, tweet and share this blog on your social media sites.

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell In My Garden

Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell is a common flowering plant in the Philippines. The local people called this flower Yellow Bell as it looks like a bell before it fully opens the blossom.

Golden Trumpet has many names. Besides being called Yellow Bell in my home country, it is called Butter Cup, Golden Cup and  Yellow Trumpet Vine. Its scientific name is Allamanda, after the name of Frederic Louis Allamand, a Swiss physician and botanist. (Source: Wikipedia)

 Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell is a tropical vine plant which climbs up to 8 meters or more if it is not trimmed. The flowers are fragrant. They are shaped into trumpets while the long leaves are glossy and green. It is a perennial plant.

 Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell in our garden climbing the pomelo tree.

A few years ago, I was only admiring Yellow Bell flowers every time I passed by in those houses in our town, with those flowers climbing on their fences, vibrant looking. I knew that I had to plant one of those flowers. I envied those people who had those stunning beauty in their yards. One day, a friend of mine gave me cuttings of her Yellow Bell. I was happy. At last, I owned some cuttings to plant in my tropical garden.

 Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell climbing our pomelo tree. 

It was easy planting the Golden Trumpet. The lower end of the cutting was cut into a slant. Then after digging a hole in my front yard, I dug the cutting in it. Watered it every day when it was not raining. I have planted many cuttings in my front yard but only those I have planted directly to the sunlight were growing.

 Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell climbing the fence of our neighbours' house.

What I learned about planting  Allamanda / Golden Trumpet / Yellow Bell:

  • This flower loves the sun.
  • It needs a lot of water.
  • It needs a very good and rich soil and should have a hole in the pot to avoid being soggy.
  • It grows only in a humid temperature.
  • It can be trained by putting a trellis or plant this near a fence.
  • Cutting back an old stem would encourage the flower to grow more and give more beautiful golden buds.

Thanks for reading my garden blog. I hope you know now the name of the flower you might have in your garden. For more information about my tropical plants, please visit 

Please feel free to comment, tweet, pin and share this blog to your social media site. Thank you!

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dancing Ladies and How I Planted Philippines Ground Orchids

Do you love orchids?

I do love orchids. Different kinds of orchids. Some of my late mothers´ inheritance are the orchids in my tropical garden. Taking care of her orchids while I am in my home country means being near to her, spiritually. 

My late mothers´  Dancing Ladies
The striking yellow dancing lady orchids below were her flowers. These orchids were once hanging on a palm tree but the palm tree died as well and what was left was the trunk of that tree. The trunk was divided into two and the lower part of the trunk was carrying the bougainvillea flowers while the upper one showed in that photo below.

I am a lucky person. I have a friend at home who is taking care of my plants while I am away. She sent me these 2 photos of dancing ladies a few days ago.

Here is a link to Orchid Care Gift box, a complete set for taking care of an orchid.

Dancing Ladies,  taken at night time when my friend took this photo. 

Dancing Lady orchids are called Oncidium orchids. They are called dancing ladies or dancing doll ladies because the flowers look like the stunning dancing ladies. There are many varieties of dancing ladies, some you can hang on a tree and some just on the ground or in a pot. Orchids are very common in the Philippines and so I can buy them in the open market or ask my friends for some orchids rhizomes they have in their yards. 

My new  Ground orchids.

How I planted my Ground Orchids:

One day one of my aunts came to visit me at my Philippines home. I have not seen her for a few years and so I was delighted to see her. I was more delighted when I saw a plastic bag full of orchid rhizomes. She said those were the rhizomes of her orchids. After her visit, I planted the rhizomes on the ground near my aloe vera plants and ferns. I did not know that they were ground orchids rhizomes until they bloomed. 

Philippines Ground orchids (near Aloe Vera and fern) from the rhizomes my aunt has given.

Anyway, I planted the orchids in the soil. Watered them every day just enough to get wet. Like aloe vera plants, they didn´t (and still don´t) need a lot of water. They were best planted in a well-drained soil and received a lot of sunshine. After 2 weeks, one of the Ground orchids that I have planted blossomed. 

Ground  orchids from the rhizomes my aunt has given.

The last 5 photos were the photos I took last May before going back to Germany. They were the orchids I have planted before I left.

Isn´t it beautiful?

Thank you very much for dropping by. Please feel free to comment or share my blog to your social media sites. Have a blessed day.

Yellow Philippines Ground orchids

Here are some links to my garden and orchids articles, please come and visit. Thanks again!

UPDATE: I have found out that the orchids that I have planted which grow in the soil are called in the Philippines, Ground orchids. Another variety of Orchids. These orchids grow in the soil maybe because of bark chips that were still in the soil in my land, the remnants of coconut trees. I have found out too that there are plenty of Ground orchids not only with yellow but also with red and white blossoms. BTW, I have changed the title of this blog but the URL has not changed.

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Oxalis Triangularis, a False Shamrock In My Garden

Oxalis Triangularis is one of the flowers I have in pots in my tropical garden. It is an easy to plant flower, so easy that I didn't know where I got it in the first place. As what I have mentioned before, I used to get plant cuttings and seeds of flowers and other plants from my friends in the Philippines. 

Oxalis Triangularis is also called False Shamrock which was adopted from an Irish shamrock with 3 or 4 leaves clover. The difference is, the color of Oxalis Triangularis is purple with pink tiny flowers while the Irish shamrock is green with white, pink or yellow small flowers. During the day, oxalis open its leaves and closes them during night time.

How To Take Care of Oxalis Triangularis:

  1. It is best planted in a flower pot or container.
  2. It is best situated in a shady place as the sun can easily burn this plant.
  3. Don´t over water oxalis as the bulbs don´t like it. Better wait until the soil is dry. 
  4. When the foliage of the oxalis withered and dies out, don´t throw the plant as some bulbs will still grow after a few weeks.
  5. Replanting oxalis is very easy. Just transfer the nursery plant bulbs in a well drain soil and water a bit. Remember, don´t over water it.

Gardening is one of my hobbies but I can only do this  hobby when I am in my home country Philippines. When I am not there in my tropical garden, but here in my 2nd home Germany, I write about my plants and my experiences with them.

Here are some flowers in my garden:

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will visit my garden online. Take care and God bless us all.

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 

Monday, 3 April 2017

How To Grow Torenia Flowers

Torenia flowers are annual plants that are easy to plant. Torenia is also called Wishbone flower as the anther arch form inside the bloom when it is open resembles a wishbone. This wishbone is broken by the bees when pollinating. Torenias are in white, pink, blue and purple color. They are good planted in the pots. They don't like hardy dry soil. They should be in a shady or half shady place in the garden, terrace or any where you want them to plant as long as they are not in direct sunlight the whole day.

Blue Torenia with white throat.

How I discovered Torenia flowers

I was traveling with my friends in Davao City, Philippines.  We visited one of the tourist spots which was  Eden Nature Park and Resort. It was located at the foot of Mt. Apo and in the middle of the forest. The park had a lot of beautiful flowers including Torenias.

Those are the pink with white throat and dark  blue with light throat torenias planted in a pot in the terrace of my tropical home, Philippines.  They are near the "Butterfly" plants and succulent.

How To Plant Torenia From The Seeds 

It is very easy. You just have to open the seeds pod (which is under the Torenia flower) and spread them in a moisty  but not soggy soil. Cover them lightly with the soil. If you live in a tropical country, you can let the seeds germinate outside but if you have a cold weather country or you will plant the seeds in Spring time, better germinate them indoors.

One of the Torenia flower pots I have.

How To Take Care Of  Torenia Plants:
  1.  Keep Torenia pots moist but not soggy.
  2.  It is best planted in the shady but bright place. 
  3.  Fertilise once a month.
  4. Cut off the dead seed pods.

A Torenia pot with roses and other beautiful plants.

Thanks for reading and I hope you you liked what you have read. Please feel free to comment and share this to your social media sites.

I planted this violet with white throat Torenia in the pot together with roses. Actually I just spread Torenia seeds on the soil of this rose pot and the seeds grew into beautiful  flowers.
Here are some garden links for you to check:

 My Tropical Garden in my you tube channel        
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Torch Ginger Photography

Hello Guys! It has been a few months since I have written about my garden here in this site. Sorry about that. Anyway I am here now and I want to show you the beautiful torch ginger flowers in my garden. Well, my torch ginger plant has spread so widely. The one piece I have planted a few years ago has multiplied. They are plenty now and have a lot of blossoms these few days. I am happy about it and I want them to share with you.


As you can see in this photo below, some blooms got brown already. The beauty they have shared has passed. Some of them have just started to bloom.

 When I took this photo, I have chosen the fully bloomed torch gingers. They were so beautiful but I had to harvest them for bringing them  to my late mothers' grave.

Is it not pretty? The beginning of an awesome flower. I have read online that this un-bloom torch ginger can be cook into curries. I still have not tried it but I will, soon.

This photo below is in the heights of its beauty. Amazing how a piece of torch ginger root I have planted can produced a stunning and gorgeous flower.

Thanks for reading. Here are some torch ginger blogs to check:

Copyright 2017 by Thelma Alberts, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Hibiscus In My Garden and Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus is a beautiful flowering plants in many colors. They are in red, pink, yellow and white. This plant is not only for decorative purposes at home and in my garden, it has also medicinal purposes. Hibiscus is also called Gumamela in the Philippines. Hibiscus is native to many countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, China and of course in my home country Philippines.

I was planting hibiscus again in my garden as I have found a vacant place to plant them. I have planted 4 different colors of hibiscus cuttings in a hole. Dark red, red, pink and a mixture of pink and peach color. I wonder how they will look like in a few months from now when they bear flowers.

There are 4 hibiscus plants in my front yard and two of them are getting huge that they almost reach the electric wire. They have plenty of flowers, too. I have heard about hibiscus tea. In fact, I have seen hibiscus tea in some supermarkets and drugstores in Germany.

My sundried Hibiscus/Gumamela.

Thinking about it and feeling thirsty, I decided to make my own hibiscus tea for the first time in my life. Well before I did it, I researched about this plant and its health benefits. I have found out that drinking hibiscus tea  is good in lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, lowering cholesterol, helps aid menstrual pains, satiates thirst and other some health benefits.

Decided to make my own hibiscus tea, I harvested the red and pink hibiscus flowers. Some of those flowers were closing their petals already as they have bloomed for that day. I decided to harvest them as well before they landed on the ground and dried them under the heat of the sun.

Fresh harvested Hibiscus

Red Hibiscus in a pot.

Red Hibiscus poured with boiling water.

How I made the hibiscus tea:

  1. I have washed 6 red hibiscus flowers to get off the dust.
  2. Put them on a kettle.
  3. I boiled 1 liter of water in the water cooker.
  4. Then added the boiling water in the kettle with hibiscus flowers.
  5. I let the mixture stayed for 5 minutes.
  6. Then drink a glas  of this warm tea with a bit of sugar and calamansi juice. 
  7. I have put the remaining hibiscus tea in a thermos.
  8. Don't wonder when the hibiscus flowers becomes violet when poured with boiling water. It will still turn red when added with lemon or calamansi juice.
Hibiscus / Gumamela tea.


  • You can put more hibiscus in a liter of boiling water if you want a stronger taste.
  • You can put the hibiscus tea in the fridge when you want to drink it cold but wait until the tea has cooled off.
  • You can add lemon or lime instead of calamansi juice. For every glas, at least half a teaspoon of this juice I mentioned.
  • If you want it sweet, you can add sugar or honey.
  • Only red and pink Hibiscus are good for making tea.

How did I like the selfmade hibiscus tea? Yummy😀 It has a tangy refreshing taste. I am drinking it every day now but only 2 mugs a day to boost my immune system. 

NOTE: If you are taking any medicine, please check with your doctor if you are allowed to drink Hibiscus tea. Hibiscus tea is dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause abortion.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Aberts

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Mango Fruits From My Garden

Mangoes are one of the most delicious fruits in my home country Philippines. It´s mango season in my home country. Have you tried eating those Filipino  sweet and very fragrant mangoes? They are very different than the mangoes that are sold here in Germany, which come mostly from South Africa.

Last Sunday when I was skyping with my family in the Philippines, they showed me plenty of mangoes they have harvested from my front yard. My mouth watered upon seeing those mangoes. I was even mentally smelling the luscious fragrant of those fruits.

The mango tree in my garden is bearing fruits for the first time. I was not the one who planted this tree. It was my father if I was not mistaken. Two years ago when I was still having my long vacation in my hometown, the mango tree was still young when I kept on watering them. I was indeed surprised when my family told me where those mango fruits came from. 
These are the fresh harvested mangoes from my tropical garden. Some of them are not yet so ripe but in a few days, they would be.

I am already worried if I will be able to devour the fruits of my garden and so I told my cousin Jane to freeze the   ripe mango slices without skins in the freezer. I told her how to do it just like how I freezed my fresh harvested strawberries for winter season here in Germany. 

I have a lot of plans what to do with my mango fruits when I am there in my Philippines home. I will make mango cakes, cupcakes and other recipes I am going to bake or cook. Besides that, I can use the purreed mango fruits for my facials and body scrubs. I can´t wait to do that thinking how my skin feel smooth because of mango. 

Have you tried mango and papaya fruits for your homemade beauty skin care? I hope there are still mangoes when I arrive in my garden. I think that will be the second thing I would do. Harvesting my mango fruits. 

Here´s a link if you want to try.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Have a lovely day! Take care and God bless you.

Copyright 2016 © Thelma Alberts, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 15 November 2015

3 Mussaenda Bush Plants In My Garden

I have not visited my garden for a year as I am still here in Germany but I receive any new updates and photos of my garden from my cousin who take good care of it while I am away. I miss the beauty of my garden as well as the birds and butterflies that come to visit there everyday. I hope it will no longer takes too long for me until I can talk to my plants and hug my dog Angus again. Off course I miss talking to my relatives, too. As I am still here, what I can do is to talk about my plants.

The 3 Mussaenda Bush Plants In My Garden:

                                                     1. Doña Aurora Mussaenda

This is the young planted Mussaenda bush plant which is commonly known as Doña Aurora in my home country Philippines. It is named after the wife of the 1st President of the Philippines. I bought this from the neighbor who was selling plants. It was planted in the small pot but I transferred it when it went  bigger for the pot. I dug a deep hole in my garden which covered the whole roots and soil of the Mussaenda. I bought this beautiful  white bracts flower in 2011.
4 years later,  Doña Aurora Mussaenda grows in height. It is 2 meters high now and my "garden care taker" keeps on trimming the branches  to  let it looks good. As you can see, it really looks good. Mussaenda loves the tropical weather. This plant love the full sunshine for at least 6 hours a day. No wonder, it´s growing so well. With the TLC of my cousin and my small nieces who are helping with the care of my garden.

                                                         2. Doña Sirikit Mussaenda

This is the young Mussaenda Doña Sirikit plant I have planted with the cuttings I had asked from the neighbor of my sister. It was so easy to plant. I just cut the cuttings a bit slant in the lower part of the branch and dug it in the hole in my tropical garden and watered it. I made a small fence around it so the playing dogs would not destroyed it. I was lucky it grow well. That is the first photo of Doña Sirikit with beautiful slightly pink bract flowers.
This photo above was taken last year. It has survived more than 2 strong typhoons that I thought it could die. Gladfully, before it broke the whole Mussaenda down, it was strongly tied up with the ropes. Well, some of the branches were broken, but the plant survived.


                                                   3. Doña Cory Mussaenda

I have seen a lot of this plant on the way to Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao del Sur.  I did not know those plants but since then, I kept on looking for a seedling or cutting of this unknown plant. Then I saw this in a flower shop in the city. I bought Doña Corry Mussaenda  before I went back home to Germany last year. This is the only photo that I have but I will add a new one soon. As far as I know, this flower is called after the name of the former President Cory Aquino. Maybe because the color is yellowish to dark yellow.

Here is the link of my beautiful garden if you want to see it. Thanks for your visit and feel free to comment or share this post in your social media sites.

Copyright 2015 © Thelma Alberts, All Rights Reserved