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Archive for November, 2008

My new Plants!!

November 26, 2008 2 comments

Finally my exams are over! Today, I collected my Borneo Exotics Order from one of the gurus… I ordered a Nepenthes bicalcarata ‘Red Flush’ and Nepenthes veitchii ‘Golden Peristome’, and they look very nice to me! I have also gotten a Cephalotus Follicularis too! Although it look small, but the pitchers are big!

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                          Just arrived!                                                 Cephalotus Follicularis

The plants were sent bare rooted and packed in plastic bags. I rushed home once I got hold of the plants and start to prepare the potting media. This time round, I used the same potting combination as what I posted here earlier on, 1:1 peat moss : perlite, sandwiched between a layer of  dried sphagnum moss to hold moisture and prevent the media from leaking out from the base of the pot.

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             N. veitchii ‘Golden Peristome’                     N.bicalcarata ‘Red Flush’ 

I potted them up in 3-inch pots and sit them on clay pellets to maintain the humidity around the plants. They are slightly bigger than my N. ‘Gardentech’ as they are ‘M’-size plants. My Cephalotus is potted up in 2-inch pot and it is not advisable to repot it. They don’t like their roots to be disturbed.

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                         Our new home!!                                           Can you see my teeth?

This is my second time attempting to grow these ‘fussy’ plants as they will just die on you when you don’t give them the correct growing conditions!…. It is a steep learning curve for growing one of the rarest carnivorous plants in the world!

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Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’

November 19, 2008 1 comment

I got this exotic plant from Borneo Exotics almost a year ago. It did not open new pitchers for me until only recently! I guess this particular cultivar is a extremely slow growing one. The ‘Harlequin’ produces just one leaf per month! This was also experienced by several growers too.

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One of the main motivations to grow Nepenthes ampullaria is for their spectacular basal pitchers. They are one of the few species that are able to form carpets of basals! My first mature pitcher was from a basal offshoot. It takes around 3 months from the growing tip to become an opened pitcher!

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Recently I realised my plant had somehow sped up in growing new leaves. This could possibly mean that the plant itself may take a year just to acclimatise to the growing conditions!

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Ampullaria pitchers are one of my favorites. They look like  beautiful red apples! The purple and green speckles on their pitchers really make this plant a collector’s must-have! Stay tuned to my blog, I will be receiving another batch of pitcher plants and Cephalotus soon! I will post them up as soon as I received the shipment!

Byblis…

November 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Byblis liniflora, just like sundews, they produce sticky nectar to attract insects. They are native to Australia, but they do not belong to the same genus as sundews. They are also known as rainbow plants, as their dews glitter like gems under sunshine!

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They also look like miniature Christmas trees! We can hang dead insects on their leaves as “decorations”! Growers also grow them for their purple flowers. Byblis is a collectors’ plant which you can’t find in our local nurseries. I got mine from a member in the Green Culture Singapore forum.

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They are also water loving plants. So we grow them in a water tray to keep the media moist at all times. I will post again when they start flowering and I may have seeds in the future!

I will be having my exams this few weeks and I may not be able to post regularly. But stay tuned! I will try to post whenever I can!

Categories: Carnivorous Plants Tags:

"Children Only" Garden

November 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Do you know that there is one garden where you just can’t access it if you are more than 12 years old? Situated in the Bukit Timah Core of the Singapore Botanic Garden, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is a place “only for kids”. This is the first time I heard of a “only children garden”. But do not fret adults, as long as you bring your children along, you can enter this kiddy garden!

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I visited this garden with some of my younger cousins today and the garden is extremely interesting! We are greeted by a large sculpture “Children’s tree” at the entrance to the garden. Once you step into the garden you can see that almost everything are catered for children! Benches, tables and steps are all “miniaturized”, even the toilet bowls become “kid” size!

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There are a lot of interesting plants in the garden, vegetables and fruit trees are planted for our younger ones to know where their food come from. Gardening themed playgrounds give the children a chance to try out their green fingers. There is even a maze made up of the “national hedge”, Syzygium Campanulatum!

IMG_0710 There is also a suspension bridge and a tree house within the garden, and my cousins were having lots of fun! The garden also included a “storybook” garden, made up of trees creating a tunnel to the other world. Children not only enjoy themselves there, they also learn a lot from the garden. How to water the plants, different types of plants and how photosynthesis works were presented in a very interactive and interesting way!

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Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is a must visit place for the younger ones and if you want to walk to the garden via the Tanglin Core, it might take a way to reach the other end of the Botanic Garden. The alternative and faster access is by Bukit Timah Road, right beside the NUS Bukit Timah Campus.

So remember to bring (or borrow 😛 ) children there or else you can’t get to see the amazing plants in the garden!

Potting up your Carnivorous Plants

November 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Your Venus Flytrap is going to outgrow its pot? Your pitcher plant’s pitchers has covered the entire pot? And that is when you need to repot your plants! If you are growing them from seeds, this post will also benefit you.

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                    Clockwise from the left :Peat moss, Dried Sphagnum moss, Perlite

Potting media for carnivorous plants are very different from those used for general potted plants. The media has to be nutrient free and moist but yet draining. So growers prefer using these media: dried long-fibre sphagnum moss (LFS), peat moss, perlite and river sand. They are not that hard to get as they are readily available in many nurseries in Singapore.

Today, I was preparing a pot to germinate those Droseras seeds from my previous post. I decided to use 50:50 peat moss and perlite as the main potting mix. Now preparing the potting media is very similar to cooking. I had provided you with the “ingredients” and now going to show you the “recipe”.

IMG_0691I placed a thin layer of dried sphagnum moss at the bottom of the pot to cover up the holes. This will hold the perlite and peat moss in place so that they won’t “leak” out when sitting in a water tray. The next step will be preparing the peat moss – perlite mix. Mix them together using the “frying method” or whatever method you like. As long as they look evenly mixed, then that will be fine!

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I will then pour the mix into the pot and cover the top with a thin layer of peat moss. This thin layer of peat moss will serve as a “planting bed” for the seedlings to root. Exposed perlite may not be desirable for these small seedlings which is just over 1mm wide! Now you are done with the media and time to wet it. Don’t trying pouring water into the pot directly, as this will cause the peat moss to sink down and perlite will float up, in the end you lost that layer of peat moss. A good way is to mist the layer with a mister. Keep misting till water flows out from the bottom.

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Your pot is ready and you can sow your seeds in it. This potting mix is generally good for most carnivorous plants. You can always alter the contents of the mix to suit your conditions. If you want water to flow through faster and only keep the media damp, you can add more perlite. Likewise if you want to hold more water, then more peat moss.

This will give you a good start for potting up your plants. If you can’t get perlite, you can always substitute it with river sand. Wash them thoroughly to drain the minerals off before mixing. Hey am I writing a gardening guide or a cookbook recipe?

Sundews Flowers!!

November 5, 2008 Leave a comment

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Droseras or commonly known as sundews are famous for their glittering leafs which attract and trap insects. The tiny hairs on the leaves produce a drop of sweet but sticky nectar. Any insects caught on it either die from suffocation or exhaustion. The hairs, which are equipped with digestive glands will digest and absorb the nutrients from the prey. See how fascinating Nature can be!

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Besides their leaves, their flowers are equally beautiful! They attract insects to it, not this time not for eating but for pollination. The flowers are sent high up away from the leaves so that the pollinating insects will not be trapped by the carnivorous leaves. The flowers open in the morning and fade away within a few hours.

Green fruits are formed and they are very small, so you can imagine how small the seeds will be! The fruits will mature in a week’s time and gradually turn brown. The fruits will then split open and the fine seeds will be dispersed away by the wind.

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Harvesting the seeds can be tricky though. The seeds are like dirt and they get blown away easily. I have to check the fruits daily and remove them into a zip lock bag once they start to turn brown. Seeds can then be harvested by shaking the zip lock bag and you can find black specks all over the bag and those are seeds!

Singapore Latest Reservoir

November 3, 2008 Leave a comment

On 31st October, Singapore added a new reservoir into her water catchment reserves. The opening of the Marina Barrage was held in the evening with the beautiful Singapore skyline as the background. The place was neatly designed, which resembles the Beijing’s Bird’s Nest oval architecture.

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The special feature of the barrage building is its green roof. Spiraling from ground level to 3rd level are patches of lush green grass! With water feature in the middle, it is a good place to relax. You also have a breathtaking, full panoramic view of the Singapore city skyline!

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I was there during the opening and the launch of Clean & Green Singapore 2008, where my Green Culture Singapore Administrator, Mr Wilson Wong, received the Community-in-Bloom Ambassador Award from PM Lee Hsien Loong. Exhibition of clean energy recycling campaigns was held there by various schools and organisations.

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When the Barrage was officially opened, the gates of the barrage opened and water gushed out into the open sea. The view was so majestic but terrifying too! The Marina Barrage is new place to visit and serve as a visitor centre as well as a garden. In the next few years, the new Gardens By the Bay will be right beside the Marina Barrage!