The lady with green fingers

Syazwani Hj Rosli

Having 200 different types of plants decorating her house in Kampong Jangsak, Salmiah binti Haji Sabtu said her hobby began by the end of last year, when she was pregnant.

“I wanted to have my own plants and after a while, my collections grew and filled the outdoor space almost immediately, making the area look like a garden. Looking at them now, it feels like I have my own personal park,” she said.

Today, her collection includes plants such as Calathea, Anthurium, Philodendron, Begonia and Alocasia. She also has different kinds of cactus and succulent plants.

To Salmiah, plants are more than just decorations. “Their presence in the house is therapeutic and it adds colour to otherwise a lifeless and boring outdoor space. My plants make me happier and helps me to relieve stress.”

She said that her family also appreciates the green scenery. It has become a routine for her family to enjoy their breakfast outdoors among the plants.

Salmiah binti Haji Sabtu tends to her plants. PHOTO: SYAZWANI HJ ROSLI

With regards to taking care of the plants, Salmiah said that it does take time to water, feed and re-arrange them to ensure the plants get the light, humidity and warmth they need.

“When people come over to my house, they often wonder why I have so many plants and think that it must be stressful for me to take care of them.

“But the act of caring for the plants is like a meditation for me. I always find peace whenever I sit down and spend time with my plants,” she said.

As her passion grows, so does her interest in photography. Salmiah is learning photography to capture stunning photos of her plants and flowers.

She said that the simplest way to take the best photos is to pair her plants with a white wooden background.

“Every picture taken has its own storyline. Every photo that I took, I would post it on my Instagram account. It is exciting to share something that I love with other people,” she said.

Since Salmiah never attended any courses on how to take care of plants, she taught herself by researching on the Internet.

“I also talked to other plant collectors on how to take care of plants through WhatsApp,” she said.

“The Sun, water and nutrients from the soil such as tanah hitam (black soil) are the three basic requirements for plant growth. It is best to water the plants once or twice a day with moderate exposure to sunlight. Fertilisers are also necessary for some plants,” she added.

“A gardener can grow through observation, experimentation, and learning from failures and hardwork. I went from zero to this and I am proud of it. It requires patience and I am glad that I was able to care for my plants with love. Caring for them gives me a sense of serenity and joy,” said Salmiah.