TomTato Plant

A Unique Tomato/Potato Plant

The TomTato . . . or how you can make tomato ketchup AND potato chips from the same plant!

‘TomTato’ is grafted from two separate plants grown or fused together with tomato at the top & potato at the roots.

Each one can yield over 500 cherry tomatoes and a crop of potatoes.

Long a favourite of experimental gardeners, it is now going on sale for the first time in the UK

By David Wilkes

PUBLISHED: 14:56 GMT, 25 September 2013 | UPDATED: 00:42 GMT, 26 September 2013


On Sale: Thompson & Morgan worker Michael Perry with the TomTato plant sold by his company

With tomatoes at one end and potatoes at the other, it looks like the product of some Frankenstein food laboratory. But far from being the latest genetically modified monster, this horticultural wonder is entirely natural. Called the TomTato, each plant can yield more than 500 sweet cherry tomatoes as well as a decent crop of white potatoes.

It is produced using a hi-tech grafting process and was unveiled to the public yesterday before going on sale to gardeners in the UK for the first time.The project took a lot longer to bear fruit than the plant does, however. 

It began 15 years ago when Paul Hansord, horticultural director of mail order gardening company Thompson & Morgan, was on a trip to the US. He spotted a potato plant growing separately under a tomato plant and learned that it is possible to graft the two together because they belong to the same family.

article-2432094-1841D5B400000578-89_634x821 Hybrid: The ‘TomTato’ plant produces cherry tomatoes from its stem and potatoes from its roots

His problem was how to develop the idea so the plants could be sold commercially. The stumbling block had been how to produce tiny potato plants which have stems the same thickness as seedling tomatoes, so that the two can be joined together perfectly. But after a process of trial and error, and with the help of grafting specialists, Thompson & Morgan hit upon a method using a variety of potato that produces the right size shoot.

Careful variations in the temperature at which the tomato and potato are initially grown are also made to ensure the two plants are a perfect match before being joined together.

At the start, we thought it’d just be a novelty thing to do. But as the trials developed we realised what we had produced was really high yield, had fantastic flavour and could be done commercially for the first time,’ Mr Hansord said yesterday.

Amazing Ginger



Ginger, a natural herbal food, is described as a hot fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant. It is chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied. It’s a Southeast Asian plant, which resembles bamboo in appearance, from which this rhizome is taken. & it’s a light reddish-yellow in colour. (On the human aspect, it means spirit or mettle : such as he had more ginger than her first husband.)

  • Amazingly, it’s packed with health benefits. But don’t just rely on hearsay, get the facts.


Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.47.04 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.47.29 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.47.53 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.48.22 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.48.37 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.48.55 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.49.17 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.49.48 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.50.07 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.50.21 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.50.42 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.51.21 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.51.42 AM Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 9.52.04 AM


Tulips Galore @ Rose Heritage Garden, Carmel

IMGP9597 IMGP9612 IMGP9613

Yesterday was a beautiful day, despite intermittent showers & cold wind. We went for lunch with Raymond & Hazel at the Rose Heritage Garden in Carmel, Kalamunda.

Hazel is profoundly in love with beautiful flowers & we had hope to see roses in bloom there. Instead to our utter surprise, a sea of beautiful tulips greeted our unbelieving eyes. Tulips of different hues, vibrant colours welcoming us & other visitors in all their glorious splendour.


I was so enraptured that my trigger-happy fingers went on clicking my digital camera non-stop. Hungry stomachs were momentarily forgotten. In the absence of blooming roses, for which the place is famous, tulips greeted us with even greater glory & colourful splendour.

People living in Kalamunda don’t have to go to Araluen to catch the tulip show every Spring, now that this is at our door step!

IMGP9601 IMGP9607

Winter shower has seen its last day, for Spring is now in the air. Lovers of nature & those young at hearts can delight themselves feasting their eyes with inexpensive delicious lunches or be there at the Rose heritage Garden in Carmel for afternoon tea or coffee.

Have  a wonderful day today!

Happy Father’s Day

Australians celebrate this day on the First Sunday of September each year.

IMGP9621 IMGP9622 IMGP9623 IMGP9624

White Orchids

As an orchid lover, I have grown a fair bit of them when in Malaysia. Over here in Western Australia, I came to discover over the abundance of the tropical Vanda Miss Joaqim the world of Cymbidium & Cattleya (my fondest among others) is quite different.

Orchids are easily distinguished from other plants, as they share some very evident apomorphies. Among these are: bilateral symmetry (zygomorphism), many resupinate flowers, a nearly always highly modified petal (labellum), fused stamens and carpels, and extremely small seeds. (Wikipedia)

English: The orchid, Singapore's national flow...
English: The orchid, Singapore’s national flower, photographed at the in the , . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Singapore, no other orchid is more worthy than Vanda Miss Joaqim to be hailed as its national flower, being the first registered plant hybrid from Singapore itself. This is apart from the abundance & beauty of Vanda Miss Joaqim. It is relative easy to grow & propagate such orchid & I found that the best fertiliser for it is a mixture of old urine & water.

Vanda Miss Joaqim

Tropical orchids & others have a great variety of colours, but white is rare. Conjure in your mind, as if by magic, the beauty of white – pure & graceful, elegant, classy & delicate, and a colour to match all colours. White orchids are popular in orchid bouquets & arrangements, weddings & all exceptional functions.

White orchids in nature are pollinated by insects that are active at night, such as moths. Some of the white orchids are fragrant at night, adding to their allure.

While out shopping today at the once-a-month Saturday variety market in Kalamunda, Western Australia, I came upon a very rare white cymbidium. It hasn’t any tint of other colours – truly pure white. I just couldn’t believe it and could not resist the temptation of owning it.

According to the grower, it was grown from seeds – very original and even yet to be named. Any buyer can have the honour & the privilege of naming it. Now, what greater appeal more can there be?

Well then, here’s a picture of this precious white cymbidium orchid, which my wife Lilian got the pleasure of naming it as DREAM SNOWFLAKE “LIANN”:

Picture taken at night – Pure White Cymbidium (Dream Snowflake “Liann”)

Slideshow – More white orchids

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oregano – The Herbal Cure For Cough

Oregano with Pinky Flowers

From the Editors of ‘Bottom Line Health’ in the edition of “Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments I came across these lines:

“The herb Oregano can be a powerful cough soother. Make as tea with a teaspoon of dried Oregano steeped in a cup of hot water. Strain before sipping. You may drink up to three cups a day during a cold or coughing spell.”


The warm, balsamic and aromatic flavour of oregano makes it the perfect addition to Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. This popular herb whose name means “mountain joy” is available throughout the year.

Oregano is known botanically as Oreganum vulgare and is called wild marjoram in many parts of Europe since it is closely related to the herb that we know as sweet marjoram. It is a small shrub with multi-branched stems covered with small greyish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. In Mediterranean climates oregano grows as a perennial plant, but in the harsher climates of North America, they grow as annuals. It’s a good ground-cover too.

Culinary oregano is a signature flavour of many Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. Most cooks are familiar with it in its dried form, but oregano is a hardy perennial plant that is easy to grow in the home garden. A handful of plants will provide you with enough oregano to use fresh in season and to dry for use throughout the winter.

Oregano seems like a straightforward enough herb. Anyone who has tasted a tomato-sauce-topped pizza can recall its flavour, which is hearty and assertive with a peppery bite and a zing. Yet once you take a closer look at oregano, things get a little confusing.

Many plants are loosely classified as oregano. Their flavour depends largely on where they’re cultivated; in general the hotter the sun, the stronger the flavour. To add to the confusion, some reference books call oregano “wild marjoram,” and many recipes suggest that the two herbs, both members of the mint family, are interchangeable. In fact, there are so many varieties of oregano that rather than thinking of oregano as a specific plant, one ought to think of it as a particular flavour.

Fortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it), when you buy fresh oregano, you’re rarely given a choice of variety. For much of the year, most stores sell Greek oregano, which is what the largest herb suppliers offer. But depending on the season and the availability of Greek oregano, you might instead find Mexican oregano, or some other variety. Though the flavours of these oreganos may be a little more or less intense (Mexican is usually stronger) they can be used interchangeably, so there’s no need to bring your botany book along to the grocery store.

An Oregano by Any Other Name, Would Not Taste as Sweet.