May 2008 — Before and After, 17 Years

Over the course of seventeen years, the constant planting, pruning, sun and rain have done their work in the garden at Rimbun Dahan. What was once hot bare expanse has become cool and crowded with greenery, as the before and after images below show.

The view above, taken from the dining room, looks out diagonally across the reflective pond to the balai beside the swimming pool, and to the rambutan orchard beyond, all of which can be clearly seen in the 1991 image. In the more recent image, the reflective pond is planted with papyrus grass, waterlilies and lotuses, which obscure the view. The lawn beside the house has been maintained, to prevent creepy-crawlies from having too easy access to the house. A rain gauge has been installed on the lawn. Note that the cool marble floor beneath the dining table continues to be a popular haunt for the household dogs.


The view above is from the guest house looking across the reflective pond back towards the main house and the durian orchard beyond. A hill of a palm oil estate can been seen in the far background, as well as a neighbour’s roof. The growth of the garden has increased the privacy at Rimbun Dahan, as well as reducing noise from the nearby main road. The 1991 image shows the emptiness of the lawn in front of the main house, with only a few small saplings. In the recent image, the trees are much bigger. The row of colourful canna lilies, native to South America, that lined the reflective pool has long since been replaced, and now a large specimen of the indigenous Congea tomentosa, a climbing vine with purple flowers, has taken over the plants beside the reflective pool.