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Archive for November, 2011

Gardens by the Bay – Preview!

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

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Many would know that Singapore has a big garden project underway and more recently two glass structures can be spotted right opposite of the Singapore Flyer. That’s right! Gardens by the Bay is a massive project which took several years to complete. The highlights are the two giant cool houses and its signature ‘Supertrees’ structures where creepers and bromeliads provide the lush greenery over its metal structures.

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With the 20th World Orchid Convention event in Marina Bay Sands, visitors are entitled preview passes to one of the new coolhouses at Gardens by the Bay, which is conveniently connected to one of Singapore’s two integrated resorts. Flower Dome and Cloud Forest were the names given to the two coolhouses. Flower Dome, which was opened for the preview, provides a cool-dry environment, was home to the Mediterranean and semi arid plants, such as colourful Geraniums and tall date palms and Baobab trees.

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While there were permanent plants in the Flower Dome, there is a big area sufficient to hold world class flower shows and displays, which will mean that more spectacular temperate plants can be showcased in tropical Singapore!

The entire setting changed in the evenings at the coolhouse. Coloured lights light up the area, provides a whole new experience of exploring plants. There were also dimmer  corners and can be as romantic where you can stay in dim, cool ambience overlooking the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay waterfront!

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The Gardens by the Bay will be officially opened in June 2012, where you can visit the coolhouses again and not forgetting the awesome outdoor grounds around the super trees!

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Breadfruit harvest!

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I followed one of my gardening comrades to harvest some fruits from a nearby primary school. It turned out to be Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) we are going after. A close cousin to the common Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Breadfruit is used for culinary purposes. When cooked, it gives out a hint of aroma similar to freshly baked bread, which gives the name of the plant.

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The tree was tall, more than 5 metres, was bearing more than 20 fruits, were quite a challenge to us.  Some of the fruits were really high up and out of our reach. The mature fruits were the size of a basketball, and cutting them from below worry us that we might need helmets! The leaves are big, and deeply cut into pinnate lobes and the stalk of the fruit was too thick to use a stick to knock them off.

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We have to use a pole cutter, to reach for the higher fruits, and it took us more than an hour just to collect 5 fruits! When cut, the tree excretes its sap, which was used by the native Hawaiians as glue to catch birds.

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The entire experience was exciting, harvesting fruits after years of maintenance and care was something gratifying and hard to describe…

Vertical Gardening with Recyclables!

November 12, 2011 2 comments

I was in Jurong Primary School this morning where I was greeted with walls of greenery! Vertical gardening has been a popular form of growing greens here in Singpore as many of us do not have the space and luxury of growing plants on the ground.

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What truly amazed me is the entire set up of the vertical garden. It was made with CD racks from IKEA and bottles cut into gardening pots! The idea was great! Using recyclables and low cost, you can actually own a vertical garden!  Even the bottles chosen were green in colour and secured by just cable ties.

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The elaborate set up was innovative, having two CD racks installed over each other, and bottles are supported by the pivoting action which create the slightly slanted area suitable for growing plants!

 

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There were more than 50 rows of bottles and hundreds of plastic bottles were used and the entire wall was filled with greenery. The teachers told me that this wall actually helps to reduce the room temperature by a few degrees! Wow this is just too awesome…

Gardening is not really just about growing plants, it is also about beautifying places with greenery and innovative ideas can really bring gardening to places you never thought it will be!