Idea for pitcher plants!

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Many woul think that tropical pitcher plants, Nepenthes, may not be the best candidate to beautify your home. Well, just a bit of gardening skills and being adventurous, they can make good houseplants too!

The previous post I worte was about Borneo Exotics’ Biodome, a plastic container with sponge, provides the necessary growing conditions for them to grow well in different settings and environments. However, they may not be aesthetically pleasant, so they can be removed and potted in glass bowls. With decorative terrarium materials, I have managed to create something close to their natural habitat.

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With pumice and pebbles as potting media at the bottom, which will served as the reservoir for the attached wick which came together with the biodome. All I need to do is to set the plant together with the sponge collar and top up with pumice and pebbles, making sure that the wick is able to reach into the pool of reservoir. Viola! its done!.

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The glass bowl will act just like the biodome, trapping the much needed humidity and at the same time allowing adequate sunlight to reach the plant. It’s been a week, and looks like the pitcher plant looks happy!

Categories: Uncategorized

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!

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!

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!

Talks & Workshops coming up!

October 29, 2011 Leave a comment

 

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Hi Everyone, I have added a new page on my gardening talks series. These talks are generally catered to small groups, with ample time for sharing and Q&A. I will be conducting these talks personally and share about my gardening experience to help you to be more successful in gardening!

These talks are just for a start, but if you want a certain topic in mind, do let me know and we can work something out! 

Categories: Uncategorized

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!