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Archive for May, 2010

Gardening talk coming up !

It’s been some time since I last conducted my public talks. This coming June, I am honoured to give a gardening talk organised by NParks and People’s Association. The gardening talk is titled as ‘From Garden to Kitchen’, where I will touch on growing tips for common herbs and spices.

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These plants are commonly found in our markets and suitable for growing in our tropical climate. Not only they are mainly for culinary uses, most of them can be grown as ornamental plants! Over many years of interaction with local gardeners, edible and fruiting plants never failed to attract and encourage gardeners to grow.

The 2-hour gardening talk will cover various topics such as growing conditions, care and maintenance, and tricks and ideas from my very own experience! This is also my first gardening talk conducted in mandarin and in a Community Club (Tampines West). More details are available on the banner and registrations can be done on PA’s website. Hope to see many gardening enthusiasts that day!

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Breadfruit…

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a tropical tree which can grow to a height of 20 metres. They are grown for their fruits. When cooked, these fruits taste like freshly baked bread, hence its name Breadfruit, which are used to make many traditional dishes.It is very widely used in the Pacific Island region and believed that the plants are exported by the early Polynesian voyagers.

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Not only the fruits are edible, other parts of the plants have its uses. The sap is used by the native Hawaiians to trap birds and the wood pulp can be processed into paper, also known as breadfruit tapa. Currently these plants can be found commonly in South East Asia.

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The leaves are large and lobed and the fruits have tough skin with hexagon shapes, resembling another closely related tropical fruit, jackfruit. Both male and female flowers are found on the same tree and pollination is usually carried out by birds and bats.

The unique shape of the leaves and the wide range of uses of the entire plant makes it a very educational plant to grow in community gardens! It is not a fussy plant and can take many soil types. Do aware that it is a tree and ample space is needed!

Unique flowers!

Recently I made a trip to the nursery to search for new plants in my community garden. I happen to stumble upon a plant with very unique flowers, my fellow gardeners promptly shortlisted it as one of the plants for the garden, which I was rather skeptical. Usually whenever I see new plants, I would do some research to find out more on their growing conditions and requirements before getting them.

However this time round, this plant is thought to be too unique and uncommon, so my gardeners convinced me to ‘take it and try’. We got two of these plants, Strophantus preussii, and now growing happily in my garden. They are putting out new flowers now!

Strophantus 

Why is it so unique? Look at the flowers and you don’t need any more explanation. The flowers have these thread-like petals which extends over 15 centimetres!  It is believed that this particular species can reach more than 30 centimetres! Just like most tropical plants, the leaves are glossy and elliptic in shape and they enjoy full sun to partial shade. I can’t wait for my plants to grow tall enough to put out more blossoms! 

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