My son John has moved into a new house in Kuala Lumpur. He used to live in a condominium. Now he has land for gardening: a strip in the front and a rectangle in the back. John's neighbours are doing their gardens, and it is interesting to see all the different kinds of ideas being implemented by proud houseowners who are probably gardening for the first time.
John complains that my book Tropical Horticulture and Gardening is of little use to him and other absolute beginners. I have to confess I did not write the book for absolute beginners. I also found that house builders do not provide for gardeners. I had to have a water tap installed at the back, drainage holes drilled through the back wall, and a proper soil mixture spread over the ground, not to mention the stones we had to dig out. We bought stone slabs for a garden path and John laid a path with the slabs arranged left and right in two parallel lines. I told him normal people walk by putting one foot in front of the other, and rearranged the slabs in a single line. For an instant garden, we bought flowering plants at their peak. Among them were the daisy-like Melampodiun paludosum, which, I warned, would only last one or two months, but would produce seeds and seedlings. A month later as the plants started to fade, John complained about the weeds he was having to pull out from the flower bed. The 'weeds' turned out to be seedlings of Melampodium paludosum.
OK, so a book for beginners has to be very different from the one I wrote. Also, Melampodium paludosum is too much of a mouthful, and needs a suitable nickname. Maybe in a year's time we will have something ready for testing on beginners. By that time, John will have graduated to the next level.