On Friday afternoon, I attended the talk by Mr Eric Simon at the Function Hall at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The talk was entitled “Growing Bougainvillea” and is part of this year’s Garden Talk Series. Despite the fact that the talk was held on a weekday afternoon, it attracted quite a lot of members of the public, as well as, numerous staff members from the National Parks Board (NParks).
The e-flyer for Mr Eric Simon’s Bougainvillea talk.
I am still quite surprised by the turnout because I have always thought the Bougainvillea is one flowering shrub that has largely been taken for granted by most Singaporeans. The talk was delivered in a rather casual manner using a mix of English, Malay and even Hokkien too (a Chinese dialect)! Mr Simon was a very humourous and conversant speaker and he was able to keep his audience engaged throughout the talk.
Cover of Mr Eric Simon’s Bougainvillea book.
Mr Simon was quick to make his talk useful, interactive and relevant to his audience. Instead of the usual way of presentation via a series of slides flashed in a logical manner, he went right onto the Q&A segment, after a brief introduction about the plant. Most of the numerous questions that were asked during the Q&A segment revolve around the fundamentals of plant care that require the understanding of a plant’s growth requirements.
Most of the time, Mr Simon’s talk revolve around the general horticultural issues of growing Bougainvillea. He did not go too deep into the specifics or technicalities as the answers to such questions can actually be found in the book he authored, “Brighten Up Your Life With Bougainvillea“, which is, to date, the only gardening book that has been written on Bougainvillea.
As for today, on Saturday afternoon, I made my way to Woodlands Regional Library to attend another plant-related talk. The title of the talk was “Amazing Trees” and the speaker was Mr Lua Hock Keong, one of the Senior Biodiversity Officers working in the National Biodiversity Center of the National Parks Board (NParks). This talk is our first that focussed on trees and it was aimed to let the public have a great awareness of the different types of trees that have been planted in Singapore.
Speaker of the talk, ”Amazing Trees”, Mr Lua Hock Keong.
Hock Keong’stalk was made simple and delivered without botanical jargon, so that it is one that the layman public can appreciate easily. A brief introduction on some of the common trees that are planted in Singapore, some of the interesting features and facts about trees and how trees are important for everyone were given. Some dried fruit and seed capsules produced by some of the interesting trees were also brought to be shown to the audience.
Hock Keong engaging a young audience.
Interestingly, quite a large number of children were present in the room, probably due to the fact that the year-end school holidays have just commenced. Hock Keong’s talk was most suitable for this young audience as he had dispensed mostly bite-sized bits of interesting information which children can easily understand. He also cleverly used cartoon animation to grab the attention of young minds. Chocolates instead of using the usual Community-in-Bloom souvenirs were given out as small rewards for correct answers given for quizzes. The effect is easily envisaged when one brings children and chocolates together - it would be like bees to honey.
I have much to learn from Hock Keong on how to be able to engage the young in my future talks and workshops. We do need to tailor our sessions to make more attractive to the young so that they can become interested with plants and gardening from a young age before the frenzy of achieving good examination grades and addiction to gaming consoles such as the Playstation catches up with them as they grow older.