Today was an exhausting day for me but one that was very fulfilling. I was “gardening” all day long or more exactly, involved in various gardening-related activities which started at about 10 am in the morning which lasted only in the evening.
The first event was community planting at HortPark which commenced at about 10 am. I was so tired out by work in the past week that I overslept quite a bit and had to take a cab to rush down to Hyderabad Road. The skies were overcast and that meant quite a comfortable day ahead without the glaring sun that was well-suited for outdoor gardening.
My friends, namely, Albert, Chong Ren, Eng Ong, Phillipe and Xuan Hong, were also there to support the community planting event organised by the Community in Bloom (CIB) at their display plot at HortPark. Shirley from CIB invited us from Green Culture Singapore to introduce us to gardening enthusiasts from the various community gardening groups. It was nice to be able to meet up and interact with fellow community gardeners!
Take a look at the pictures below that are saturated with lots of smiling faces that I took during the community planting event:
It is a good initiative by the CIB to organise community planting sessions at the CIB plot at HortPark. In my opinion, this serves as a good opportunity for community gardeners from various groups to come together to know each other. After the casual planting activity was over, we were treated to some refreshments and I felt quite pampered as the CIB has ordered some Delifrance coffee and tea as well as some pastries. How nice right?
We then adjourned to the Fruit Room located below the Visitor Center at HortPark for a talk by Dr Varughese Phillip from the Agri-Veterinary Authority (AVA) on the fertilisation of plants. He covered some basic knowledge on plant nutrients, the types of organic and inorganic fertilisers that can be used to feed our plants and ways to spot nutrient deficiencies in our plants. These are something that would be useful for beginners. I was happy to meet up a friend, Ms Rosalind Tan, our famous Madame Butterfly from Alexandra Hospital, whom I have known from doing gardening, at the talk.
The activities at HortPark ended roughly at about 1 pm and I was back in my lab in NUS to do some labwork. I guess I was a little slow with the work on hand but I knew I cannot rush through the cell culture work that I have planned to do. I had to be meticulous and focussed with what I was doing and that took me a full two hours. It was around 3 pm when I was done and I had take another trip via a taxi to fly me down to Bishan Community Library to attend a talk that was organised by GCS, CIB and the National Library Board (NLB) at 3.30 pm.
The speaker of the talk was Mr Gan Cheong Weei, a fellow member from the GCS discussion forum. As mentioned before, he is a butterfly enthusiast as well as a avid Nature photographer and in this talk, Mr Gan shared with members of the public on how to use the popular “point and shoot” digital cameras to take good plant pictures. It was very well-received, I must say as the room was filled. The talk was concise and definitely not too technical. The tips given throughout his talk were very useful as well.
It was about past 4 pm when the talk ended. I was then pleasantly surprised by an invitation to visit Madame Butterfly’s home. It was a long-awaited visit that I had been eagerly looking forward to go on. The notion of the visit erased the fatigue and pain from a throbbing headache that were probably a result of a rather hectic day.
Rosalind’s house was easy to spot from a distance because when we were near it in the car, I could see her signature broad-leaved fig tree (Ficus auriculata) that fronted her porch. Her broad-leaved fig tree, now several decades old, was a sight to behold where it majestically stands as the main focal point of her garden.
Rosalind also brought me on a tour of her garden where I expectedly saw many butterfly plants that were grown to serve as a source of food for her caterpillars. I also got to see her caterpillar nursery where she nurtures caterpillars until they pupae. These were then brought back to Alexandra Hospital’s grounds to be released into the butterfly garden there.
What our Madame Butterfly has done – bringing her work back home – is evidence of how serious and passionate she is in her work at Alexandra Hospital. Most people leave their work at the office after work. She doesn’t. She is indeed a gem of Alexandra Hospital, our local natural heritage and Singapore.