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Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks in your Garden’ Category

My Herb Article in Magazine

February 11, 2012 1 comment

Recently I wrote an article for a local magazine, Simply Hers, on herb gardening. The article featured easy to grow herbs and useful in the kitchen. The journalist who had interviewed me was thrilled and excited about herb gardening and even thinking to start her own garden!

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As the magazine’s mainstream readers are ladies, I roped in my gardening friend to talked more about herb gardening, in a feminine perspective.. Haha! The journalist was amazed of the wide range of culinary herbs which can survive in our tropical climate!

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Terrarium Workshop

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

I have recently conducted a Terrarium workshop for my colleagues and it has proved to be fun and enriching. Everyone was so satisfied with their creations and wanted more of such workshops in the future!

The workshop started with an in-depth understanding of terrariums and how everything is put together. I went on to talk about the different potting mixes to be used, to selecting and arranging plants. These knowledge are important to maintain a terrarium and definitely equipped you the right skills to create terrariums of any sizes!

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The highlight of the workshop is the hands-ons session! I have also gathered the necessary materials for all participants and guided them step by step, to create a simple terrarium. Some who are more creative and adventurous, even tried their own design and they looks really good!

It was an enjoyable session, as there were lots of interaction among one another. Not only it is to learn something new, in fact it also helps in team building too!

I am planning to open up this workshop to anyone who are interested in making terrariums. Just gather a small group (not more than 10) and we can arrange something. I will provide the materials needed and everyone will walk home with their own terrarium!

Another Pitcher Plant Project

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

My craze over Nepenthes is back after having success with African violets in the office! That prompted me to order some pitcher plants from Borneo Exotics, through my old time friend. Nepenthes ampullaria has always been my favourites as their squat round pitchers are just too cute!

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Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’ (L), Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’

I have made orders for Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’, which bears red speckled pitchers with green peristome, and also Nepenthes ‘Harlequin’ (‘William’s Red x ‘Harlequin’), similar but red peristome. I am definitely surprised  that the plants delivered are much bigger and healthier!

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As they are shipped without potting media, I have potted them into a round glass dish filled with pumice and topped with sphagnum moss. The setup was pretty fast and simple, but the end product is simply amazing! As they are grown in office environment, the wet sphagnum moss will supplement the necessary humidity for them to grow well.

Indeed, it’s a showpiece in the office with my colleagues crowding around and asking questions. I took the opportunity to share knowledge with them and some are even interested to grow! This is definitely gratifying moment to me that I have sparked interest in many of them!

Biodome, another gardening innovation

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

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Many of us may have heard about wick watering, where there is a wick coming out from the bottom of the pot to a reservoir of water. The water is then drawn up to the pot when the soil is dry. It was a hit within my gardeners specifically in growing African violets. We improved the design quite a bit to make the entire system last longer and better. Check out my previous entries for that!

  As I am also a carnivorous plant enthusiast, I was quite amazed that our long time dealer, Borneo Exotics, made wick watering system for tropical pitcher plants! It was named Biodome, after its dome shaped lid with an opening at the top. The pitcher plant is sitting in a small pot with a sponge collar around it, which absorb the excess water and provide humidity. The dome actually helps to contain and maintain the relative humidity in the dome, which is extremely helpful since providing humidity is always a challenge in gardening.

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There is a also a wick that leads to the water reservoir, this will mean that you need not worry about watering it everyday! All you need to do is to top up the reservoir by pouring it into the sponge through the dome opening. This actually reduces the chances of the plant dying from root rot, fairly common cause of death in growing pitcher plants.

The only downside about this is that there is too much plastic around the plant. It does not look natural, and it resembles kind of take away lunch boxes! Well, you can easily decorate it with some stuff, but I will be trying out something else.. Stay tuned, I will share it in the next post!

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!

Asparagus growing…

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I received seeds from my friend, which turned out to be asparagus seeds. They are known for their slow growth and rarity here in Singapore.

Not all Asparagus can be grown in Singapore, the larger ones found in supermarkets need lower temperature to survive, which is not viable for them to grow well here in Singapore.

What we can grow here are the smaller versions of it. Thai Asparagus, which yield thinner and smaller spears can be grown in Singapore. My seeds germinated in two weeks, using organic draining soil. It was pretty exciting, the first spear is needle thin and gradually open up with thin leaves.

To get a crop of edible spears, it will probably take 2 years! However, it is a pretty easy to grow plant, it does not need special treatment and can be regarded as a usual household plant. Asparagus generally needs at least 4 hours of direct sunlight and bright light throughout the day to do well.

They are hard to get, but it is a great plant for any garden! I will put up the photos pretty soon!

Stretched leaves

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Many gardeners have approached me with their plants during an informal sharing session. I was pretty shocked to see many of their herbs have somehow looked different. Instead of the usual compact and bushy rosemary or oregano, their plants are long, with leaves far apart from one another.

IMG_2292 Inadequate light leads to viney plants such as this oregano 

This is a problem with the growing conditions. Remember my previous posts, growing conditions will determine the success of your gardening hobby and juggling them well may be challenging for the amateurs. However, most plants are forgiving and can adapt themselves to the growing conditions. The five main growing conditions are light, water, humidity, temperature and feeding.

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Stretched leaves of Oregano (left) compared to healthy compact Rosemary

The stretched leaves are due to the inadequate amount of light. Most herbs are actually sun loving plants and to reach for more light, they have to grow taller and longer with lesser leaves. However in Singapore’s tropical climate, more light usually means higher temperature which is why not all herbs can be grown here.

Many of the common culinary herbs such as rosemary, oregano, sage, marjoram and mint can be grown easily. They are hardy and less fussy of their growing conditions.These herbs will require at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight everyday.