Living among Durian Trees?

OK, OK, I apologise if I do digress from the King of Fruits itself, but as the season is approaching towards its end, I thought it would be nice to include some other interesting stories around the Durian. Not too long ago, I happened to chance across this advertisement for real estate (constant love affair here in Malaysia) and thought it rather funny that a property “enhanced by fruit trees” would be considered quality of life and perhaps aid the developers in hiking the price… or perhaps not hike the price but be able to sell property that would otherwise be considered too far away and not good value.

“Imagine your house with a garden of all your own fruit trees…” speaks the photos in the advertisement, durians, jackfruit, mangoes, etc. Makes you daydream about how you can simply wander into your garden and eat off your own plants and breakfast among the greenery. BUT hey it isn’t so easy… maintenance of fruit trees is exhausting work (sweeping, pruning, watering, fertilizing, pesticiding and other forms of troubleshooting) and plants are akin to pets in terms of demanding your time, care and upkeep (think bugs, infection, bird do, bats, moths, ants, rats) – if you want them healthy, flowering and fruiting of course.

If I were to consider a property which was using these sales tactics, I think I would certainly have to inspect the property thoroughly and ask if those trees are mature, newly planted or have yet to be planted. Further, the cost of on-going maintenance before you get entirely fed up of gardening on your own (or your partner gets fed up).

And another note. SW asked my mum last night (who has a small garden plot) whether she wanted to adopt our little durian plantlet and grow it in her garden. She said: “NO WAY, those durian roots are going to upset by granite terrace tiles…” Well, there you have it. It’s not only what’s above ground you need to consider, but bear in mind also what happens below.

Living on a Fruit Farm?

Living on a Fruit Farm?

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Linda shares her Durian growing experience

A big thank you to Linda for sharing her durian growing experience with me. Since I am also new to this entire process, its helpful to have other fellow novice durian germinators sharing what they did (whether it succeeds or not).

In a durian nutshell, Linda brought the seeds home from her trip to Thailand where she first sampled this delectable delicacy. Her husband, now addicted to the heavenly aromas and textures, requested his beautiful wife to keep the seeds and cultivate these gems into living souvenirs of their journey and maybe provide stinky annual reminders of their experiences from the Kingdom of Smiles.

She dutifully washed them and soaked them but a week passed and there was no sign of life. Then she planted them in soil and voila! after a few weeks, a wriggly stem appeared.

Linda sent me 3 photos, I’ve put it into a composition so that you can clearly see how its grown.

Linda's Baby Durian Plantlet

Linda's Baby Durian Plantlet

Sadly, it is truly the end of the Penang Durian Season

SW, CL and I were up in Penang on Thursday and Friday and apart from the work obligations, were really excited to try and catch the last of the durian season. Mage and C were tasked to find us whatever was good and bring it in so that we could enjoy it after dinner.

Unfortunately, I have to report that the entire durian experience was a thorough disappointment as Balik Pulau’s durian season is well over and there isn’t much left at the stalls. When we were approaching our feasting destination, the aroma certainly wasn’t very strong but we were pleased that the color was still temptingly sunshine yellow. But, when we picked up the durian, you could just tell that the texture (although creamy) lacked weight and upon introduction to the palate was just flat.

We persisted and tried a seed from each box but in the end could not even attempt a finishing as quality is always one notch above quantity.

The Durian season in Penang is officially over by August, if you’re a fussy eater like us, don’t spoil your tastebuds with any fruits which are only mediocre.

Durian Seed Husk Finally Falls Off

This blog entry is dedicated to Linda, who wrote in and asked how the baby durian seed is doing. It is finally a little plantlet but I think it isn’t completely out of the danger zone yet. SW resisted assisting it by taking off the husk thinking that there might be big leaves waiting to unfurl inside but to our surprise, no big leaves appeared, only the small ones which we saw peeking out before.

The leaves themselves seem a bit pale and we’re wondering whether these leaves might just dry up and die due to the shock of the soil transplant and pot transfer. I mentioned this to AC who advised me that the Durian is in fact a very large tree and thus all energy will be diverted to root construction first, followed by the upper dimensions of the plant. I hope she’s right.

Durian Seed Husk Finally Falls Off

Durian Seed Husk Finally Falls Off

Here’s a photo aerial view of the durian plantlet. You can see that the stem hasn’t grown much since the last photo. The seed husk has now fallen off and dropped directly down onto the soil surface.

The leaves seem to curl off the crooked stem because of the initial weight of the husk which it had to be strong enough to lift off the surface.

We’re not sure if the leaves are going to make it but there are some small shoots that are appearing off the side of the stem between the junction of the “bark” like area and the green shoot.

Durian seed husk finally expelled

Durian seed husk finally expelled

In this next photo, you can see the artistic bend in the shoot with its beautiful leaves curled round like the delicate fingers of a Thai classical dancer.

There are a few green nodes appearing along the side of the stem but we’ll have to see if they develop into new stem and leaves. Judging by how slow it has been to get this far, I suspect that we’re going to have to be very, very patient.

Had durian cravings this week, but I’m heading to Penang to make sure I catch the last wave of the Balik Pulau durian crop and will let you know how it goes. 🙂

Updates on baby Durian seed

Baby Durian Seed gets more space

Baby Durian Seed gets more space

The baby durian seed was finally getting too big for its pot, the leaves haven’t fully manifested yet but the roots were already penetrating the surface of the soil. We went out to the mall today and acquired a bag of potting soil so now the durian seed is in its own big pot and we shall see how long the space lasts for.

Durian shoot standing tall

Durian shoot standing tall

Almost a new leaf peeking out there...

Almost a new leaf peeking out there...

If you take a good look at the seedling, you can see the difference in texture of the stem, it is interesting that the bottom part of the stem is almost furry while the upper part of the stem looks green, thin and sleek. I’m waiting to see when the seed husk will fall off and reveal the leaves. It has been a long wait, but I suppose the durian seed is setting itself up so that it can try to become a tree.