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Archive for January, 2009

Office Gardening

January 30, 2009 2 comments

Wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year!! It was a busy new year for me as there were so many relatives to visit! I have to go even when I knock off from my workplace!

I was serving my University industrial attachment in a research company where I met more “green fingers”! I was greeted with GIANT pots of African Violets on my first day of work! The office environment is very conducive for growing these beautiful plants, with big windows and great morning sun. The long hours of air-con brings the temperature down significantly.

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                                                          Small office nursery

I felt so motivated that I brought my own collection of African Violets to the office and bought some new plants too! My colleagues were also very surprised to see an engineering student who is so obsessed with plants and they were very amazed with the wick-watering system I used for my African Violets.

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                                                     Tasmanian Sphagnum Moss

Not long ago, I managed to get hold of  live Tasmanian Sphagnum moss, which is one of the most useful plant in gardening. The moss is a good indicator of nutrient fluctuations and humidity provider, therefore it serves as an early-warning system for the plants. Sphagnum moss cannot survive in mineral rich media and they absorb lots of water, making it the best candidate for growing carnivorous plants!

I am currently growing them in various conditions as part of my private research, to see how the moss will react and grow. It is believed that they do best in cool and humid conditions and growing in the office is the best place to carry out my experiments!

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Community-in-Bloom Induction

January 18, 2009 Leave a comment

I attended the first Community-in-Bloom Induction programme for CIB Friends at Hortpark. It was held early in the morning and we started the programme with a mass planting at the CIB plot. Participants got to try planting plants into the ground and it was a very good ice-breaker session!

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CIB Friends is an initiative launched by NParks for gardeners who go for an extra mile to foster gardening spirit and bringing people together. CIB Friends enable participants to help out and promote gardening during events. CIB friends can also share their experience by giving talks or help others to start a garden.

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After the mass planting, we went to the event room where we were briefed about the upcoming events and how we can contribute as CIB friends. We also have a networking session where we exchange ideas and contacts with like minded gardeners.

It was a very exciting programme and we learnt a lot from one another. Gardening is never just a planting and watering job but more of a friendship bonding and social activity! Those who are interested to become a CIB friend can sign up at NParks CIB website.

A trip to Woon Leng nursery

January 11, 2009 4 comments

Before I start my post, I would like to apologize that I havent been posting for the past week! I am currently on Industrial Attachment and the first week was busy.

I managed to find time to make my way down to Woon Leng Nursery, at Jalan Lekar. With my Green Culture Singapore founder, Wilson, we are heading there for our new-found addiction – Hoya!

Hoya is a genus of plants that are tropical climbing and belong to the Apocynaceae. Also commonly known as Wax plant, some Hoyas produce flowers with overpowering fragrance!

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                                                                         Hoya lacunosa

At Woon Leng nursery, the place was crowded as people came here to purchase the Chinese New Year plants and we headed to the quiet area of Hoyas. Immediately we were greeted with the pleasant fragrance of the Hoya flowers. The flowers are formed in umbels, and some almost spherical shape!

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                                                                       Hoya nummulariodes

Some of the Hoyas with strong fragrance are Hoya nummulariodes and Hoya lacunosa. Hoya nummulariodes can produce more than 50 umbels on a single plant! As we scanned through rows and rows of Hoyas, I finally found a Hoya nummulariodes which was flowering, and indeed bears numerous umbels. Without a second thought, I took it down into my shopping cart!

Hoya lacunosa flowers resemble a local delicacy, the “Tu-tu kueh”. Small disc-shaped flowers are arranged in a uniform manner and give out a very strong fragrance. The plants are not very big but they have the ability to produce several umbels.

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                                                                             Hoya archboldiana

Another beautiful Hoya we encountered was the Hoya archboldiana. The flowers were big and look like inverted bowls, have pink stripes on white background which resembles the strawberry ripples ice cream! It took us some time for us to track down that very plant which put out the long vine with flowers!

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                          Taiwan Raddish                                                    Miniature Apples

Woon Leng nursery have brought in numerous Chinese New Year plants, like the new Taiwan Radish, which is red in colour and believed to bring good luck! There were also miniature apples and they looked delicious!

Do-it-Yourself

January 2, 2009 Leave a comment

There were times when you just can’t find any gardening hardware that suits your needs in any nurseries. The fitting, size and colour is not to your expectations and the staff told you that is the only kind they have!

I have been encountering such problems since day 1 of my gardening experience and I have to come out different ways to solve the problem. Instead of buying ready made hardware, I DIY some gardening hardware myself.

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A common problem is plant racks as they can only fit when certain measurements are correct, the height of the hooks and length of the rack can be sometimes tricky. It is not easy to find one that fit your own need.

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I came out with my very own gardening rack, with all the measurements I need. The plant rack is made up of very simple and easily available materials. The construction of the rack is fairly simple. I used PVC pipe, cable casings, S-hooks and pot frames for this rack.

Mount the PVC Pipe with the S-Hooks and the pot frames will hook on to the pipe. Cable casings are attached to the base of the frames so to keep the frames upright, parallel to the ground. There you have it, a plant rack! This rack can be flexible, use a longer pipe if you want to put more frames on it.

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                                                                    Modified Rack 

I came out with a modified version of the rack. Instead of the ugly sight if cable casings, I attached a section of PVC pipe to the bottom of the existing pipe and the frames will sit properly on the new structure! With a few screws and pipes, the entire masterpiece has become something you are proud of!

My article for Green Culture Singapore on this plant rack is on this link: http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/oct…8_plantrack.pdf