For those who have known me from the Green Culture Singapore discussion forum when it started about three years ago, they would have been able to tell you that Wilson Wong at that time is basically a farmer and he knew nothing about most ornamental plants and trees. I wasn’t too keen about these plants then.
But in recent times, I declare that I have picked up quite a lot of knowledge and nowadays, I am able to identify most of the common plants grown in Singapore via both their common and botanical names, as well as, the families they belong to. I haven’t stopped learning yet and I hope I can get to know more about the greenery around me.
Interest is definitely an important factor that has been crucial that helped me to accumulate this huge amount of plant-related knowledge but there is yet another factor that I also be given roughly the same amount of credit is the existence of a very comprehensive pictorial tropical plants handbook published by the National Parks Board entitled “1001 Garden Plants in Singapore.”
This book is now in its second edition. I have written a book review on the first edition of this book which has been published on the Green Culture Singapore website some time back. In its second edition, the number of plants have nearly doubled from a thousand and there are still many plants that have yet to be listed.
Although there are still some mistakes, I guess nothing done by humans is totally perfect. I can safely say that the authors and NParks have done their utmost to ensure the information contained in the book is correct at the time of publication. I also noticed that the errors did get corrected with each printing.
As I have mentioned in the book review that I have written, this book goes by the popular saying, “A picture tells a thousand words.” The book’s numerous pictures have helped me to associate the plants I see so often with their names, both common and botanical and later, remember them. The first edition of the book in my possession has fallen apart. It goes to show how many times I have flipped the book just to check and verify the identities of the plants I saw during my nursery trips and other gardening-related activities.
It has another very important use. Because the book is armed with many colorful pictures of plants, one can just flash the picture of the garden plant one is looking for at a local plant dealer and he will instantly know what one wanted. This works better than mentioning a string of English or Latin names which many of our nurserymen are not familiar with.
This book has been lauded (at least by me) a successful publication at home in Singapore. It has also been recommended to Australians living in the warmer northern states in the issue number 5 of the Subtropical Gardening and Landscaping in Warm Climates magazine. I feel proud as a Singapore gardener as a result.
A virtual version of this book is now available – check out NParks FloraWeb which has been launched in January 2008 on NParks’ corporate website. This database of tropical plant information will be updated regularly to include the latest information.