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LET THERE BE LIFE

Diana Khoo

Diana Khoo, Editor

Renowned landscape gardener, the late Made Wijaya, born Michael White of Sydney, Australia, once wrote: “To create gardens, one must love nature and understand plants. God is the best gardener; we are here but to emulate.” This phrase resonated greatly as the team and I were putting stories and pages together for this issue of Haven, our first for 2022.

Living in a tropical climate, we are lucky to be able to enjoy a sense of spring all year round, without the need to distinguish much between planting seasons or what constitutes indoor or outdoor plants — except perhaps when it comes to the matter of size. Whichever month it is, there is always something to admire: a new shoot emerging from the ground; a baby leaf unfurling; ladybugs on leaves; or bunches of fresh, riotous flowers approaching full bloom.

Inspired by this verdant richness — from ferns to palms and all manner of shrubs, ornamental trees and flowering plants — we present a cover story that is truly a testament to the beauty and fecundity of the modern tropical garden and the innate human desire to reconnect with nature. It’s on Page 28. Melding Malaysia’s verdant richness with our fellow countrymen’s equal love of food, assistant editor Anandhi Gopinath seeks out a rustic café, overrun with plants (“unruly greenery” best describes it) whereas senior writer Kong Wai Yeng rounds up three of the nicest plant cafés that have taken root in Kuala Lumpur. Read the stories on Pages 82 and 76.

Global travel restrictions may have eased somewhat, but there are still many among us who are not ready to whip out our passports. If you feel the need to let the eyes rove and yet still feel safe, consider a suburban staycation at the newly opened urban escape, Tanamekar The Hills, whose modern colonial vibe is certain to please. If you really do not wish to stay anywhere but in the safety of your own home, however, then armchair-travel to Spain and feast your eyes on Diyana Ladue’s beautiful hacienda-style home in Melaka. It’s on Page 20.

There is more, of course, in the pages within. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did putting it together. Till mid-2022, then. Golly, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?