Tag Archives: Green Culture Singapore

Green Culture Singapore 5th Anniversary Gathering

Last Saturday, we celebrated Green Culture Singapore’s 5th anniversary. The actual birthday date this year was supposed to be on 15 September 2009. Due to a number of events which happened around the weekends then, the celebration was postponed. A million thanks to Green Baron who has helped us to book the function room at his condominium so we got a venue to hold the birthday party. I should also not forget Ah Kee’s effort for helping to coordinate various administrative matters such as the registration of members and for coming up with a very environmentally friendly name tag for everyone who came. Her husband has also helped to take numerous photographs for us put up on this blog post too!

As per previous celebrations, we organised yet another pot-luck party (what I term it as ‘by members, for members’) where we invited all members of Green Culture Singapore to come and chip in with food and drinks. There were also others who came with small pots of plants and cuttings for sharing with others. Generous members like Sean donated a couple of orchids which were put up for a lucky draw. This gathering we saw close to 70 members and my sincere thanks to them for making time to attend the celebration.

We have also progressed. Besides the usual family photograph that we must take during each gathering, one of our younger members, kiddyduck, did a video that documented what occurred during the entire session. The polished version has been uploaded to YouTube and linked to his blog.

In my short speech to all members who came for the gathering, I shared with them that we have come a long way to being half a decade old. I told them to not call me their ‘boss’ since I am a gardening enthusiast like each one of them. If they must give credit to me, I told them I would accept it on the fact that I was the one who started the website and forum and nothing more. Getting the forum up and running and making it what it is today is something that is not entirely my effort. Their participation and support were instrumental in making what Green Culture Singapore is today. I reminded all that mutual respect and peace are two very important factors that are essential in ensuring the success of a discussion forum and a cohesive online community.

Some Overdue Green Culture Singapore Feature Articles (Apr & May 09)

I have been rather busy with work lately that I have not been able to find time and gather enough inspiration to pen gardening feature articles for my Green Culture Singapore website. Here are some articles that I have managed to put together for your reading pleasure. Just click on the links to download the pdf files!

Green Culture Singapore Feature Articles (Apr 09)

In the month of April 09, I wrote an article on bird’s nest ferns, which are tropical ferns commonly grown as garden and indoor plants. In it, I described three common species and their cultivars that are often encountered. I also wrote an article that contains my thoughts after reading a book entitled ‘Jekka’s Complete Herb Book’. It is a fantastic publication that opened my eyes to Western culinary and medicinal herbs.

Getting to know Bird’s Nest Ferns

Bird’s nest fern is a common name given to several related species of ferns in the genus Asplenium and several species and their cultivars are commonly sold as foliage houseplants. They generally grow as a tight, nest-like clump with an unbranched rhizome where broad, undivided, green fronds emerge. Read this article written by Wilson to know more about the three different Asplenium species and their cultivars and how to cultivate them at home!

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/may09/may09_gathering.pdf

Jekka’s Complete Herb Book

Eager to learn more about various Mediterranean and Western herbs? You may want to take a look at the work by Jekka McVicar, one of United Kingdom’s foremost authorities on herbs, published in association with the Royal Horticultural Society. Read this book review by Wilson to know more what the book has to offer as well as whether it is relevant to a herb grower who resides in the tropics.

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/apr09/apr09_jekkaherbbook.pdf

Green Culture Singapore Feature Articles (May 09)

For the month of May 09, I was blessed to be able to get some help from two of my discussion forum members to help write an article each. Xuan Hong penned an article that focussed on the growing of slipper orchids which contains the information that were shared in his gardening talk on the same topic. Petunia Lee kindly wrote her thoughts after attending a recent members’ gathering for Green Culture Singapore members.

Learn to Grow Slipper Orchids

Slipper orchids produce attractive flowers with their characteristic pouch-like lips that resemble a lady’s slipper. Although these plants may be mistakened as pitcher plants by having a pouch, it is a common misconception that slipper orchids are carnivorous. Read this feature article written Lim Xuan Hong, one of Green Culture Singapore’s young orchid growers, where he clarifies this confusion and shares how one can grow these alluring orchids in the tropics. This article is a summary of the talk which he delivered on the same topic on 23 May 09 at HortPark.

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/may09/may09_growslipperorchids.pdf

GCS Gathering on 23 May 09

Green Culture Singapore had its first gathering for Year 2009 on May, 23 at Varisty Park Condo’s Function Room. The gathering was a memorable one for many of us. Unlike previous gatherings, this one was initiated by two members, Green Baron and Ah Kee. Read this feature article written by Petunia Lee, one of our very active and talented forum members, where she shares her thoughts and insights.

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/may09/may09_gathering.pdf

Green Culture Singapore Feature Articles for March 09

My sincere apologies for delaying the putting up of gardening feature articles on the Green Culture Singapore website. Despite my busy schedule and lack of inspiration for writing, I squeezed my brain for ideas over the weekend and managed to come up with two feature articles. The two articles have been uploaded onto the server and are now available for downloading from the Green Culture Singapore website for reading at one’s leisure.

The first article entitled “A sunflower that likes it wet!” focussed on Helianthus angustifolius which is a perennial that produces flowers continuously throughout its growing season. It can tolerate slightly wetter soil conditions which make it a good candidate for planting in waterlogged areas where the common sunflower cannot be successfully grown. Click on this link to download the article  “A sunflower that likes it wet!”

The second article was written on how to make a vertical garden. I have received a couple of requests to share how I constructed my own version of a vertical garden that was featured in Straits Times Life! a few weeks back. That was the impetus that got me started to pen down the steps that one can follow so that they can also make a similar vertical garden at home.

Note that a vertical garden is perhaps the best way to maximise the limited amount of space for gardening in a high-rise apartment. A vertical garden can also serve to decorate a plain and boring wall at home! Click on this link to download the article  “Vertical Gardening made Easy”.

GCS Feature Articles for Jan 09

This month, I have written two gardening feature articles for members of Green Culture Singapore to read and enjoy. The month of January 2009 is the Lunar New Year period and both articles revolved around this joyous, festive theme.

The first article focussed on the popular houseplant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, that is also commonly called the “ZZ Plant”.  Unlike most other festive plants that produce showy and colourful flowers, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is grown more for its elegant growth form and shiny foliage. Read the article below to know how it became a Lunar New Year festive plant and how to propagate it.

The second article is a book review on the work by Peter Valder entitled “The Garden Plants of China”. This book was recommended to me by a fellow Green Culture Singapore member some years back because I was looking around for a good book to learn more about the many Lunar New Year plants.

Click on the URLs below to download the pdf file to read the articles.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia: More than just a Lunar New Year festive plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, commonly called the “ZZ Plant” is a popular Lunar New Year festive plant that is also grown as an ornamental, mainly for its attractive glossy foliage. It is evergreen in the tropics and constitutes one of the worthy buys in the category of festive decorative plants because it does not die away and had to be discarded like those that originated from temperate or subtropical climates that are imported prior the festive season. Read this article to learn more about this cast iron indoor plant!

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/jan09/jan09_zamioculcas_zamiifolia.pdf


Book Review on “The Garden Plants of China”

Want to know more about your Lunar New Year plants? Read the book entitled “The Garden Plants of China” by Peter Valder! It is a colourful and highly informative book that is a must-read for those who want to know more about these festive plants as well as many others that are also grown in Chinese gardens. The information about many of these plants are scanty and scattered and this work is a bold attempt to bring as much as what Valder can gather into one volume. It also enables the interesting knowledge about these plants to be made accessible to non-Chinese readers too.

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/jan09/jan09_garden_plants_of_china.pdf

Catching up with GCS Feature Articles for Nov 08

It was as if I was trying to run after a leaving train… Over the Christmas holiday, I have managed to churn out two feature articles that were put up on the Green Culture Singapore website for my members to read.

Since the year is coming to an end and that the website still lacked articles for the month of November, I thought I should convert and elaborate two originally shorter write-ups that were published on this garden blog  into articles for the website, since not every member would have visited this garden blog.

The information published on some of the posts here may still be informative and enjoyable to read for those who has not visited this site.

1. Getting to know the beautiful Hibiscus acetosella

Hibiscus acetosella is a Hibiscus species that is unique in its own way. Noted for its distinctive, deep red-purple foliage that consists of deeply lobed, palmate-shaped leaves, H. acetosella is a striking addition to any garden. Besides being used as an ornamental plant, it also possesses food and medicinal uses. Read this article written by Wilson to find out more!

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/nov08/nov08_hibiscusacetosella.pdf

2. Make Your Own Plant Sign

Want to have plant signs that are made of stainless steel that were used to display the names of plants in places like the Singapore Botanic Gardens and HortPark but cannot afford to make some for your garden? Read this feature article written by Wilson where he shows you the steps that you can follow to make similar plant signs using very affordable materials!

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/nov08/nov08_planttag.pdf

Long-awaited Green Culture Singapore Feature Articles for August 2008!

I have been feeling guilty for not being able to put up the staple feature articles on the Green Culture Singapore (GCS) website since August this year. Even though three months have passed, I told myself that I have to make it a point to put up two articles.

The first article is entitled “Introducing Jewel Orchids” which was contributed by Ian Chung, one of the moderators for the orchid subforum in GCS and he is well-known for being an accompanished grower of these beauties.

(picture courtesy of Ian Chung) 

Introducing Jewel Orchids

Jewel orchids have attractive leaves that can be likened to the stars that glitter in the night sky and during daytime, they also sparkle like gems when their leaves reflect the sunlight that shines upon them. Learn how to grow these beauties by reading this feature article contributed by Ian Chung.

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/aug08/aug08_jewelorchids.pdf

The second article was written by myself which is entitled “Hand-pollinate Your Curcubits!”. Young fruits get aborted or become deformed if female flowers are not pollinated well. The article contains a step-by-step guide on how to pollinate the curcubit flower as well as some tips on how to do it properly, such as to perform hand-pollination only on fair days.

I have included a tip that has been used in squash breeding. Although this tip has not been tried on other curcubits, it may be worth trying and it requires one pick and store almost mature male flower buds inside the refrigerator which can be used to pollinate female curcubit flowers on a day where no male flowers are opened.

Hand-pollinate Your Curcubits!

Did your curcubit vines been producing deformed fruits or aborting young fruits? These observations could be due to the lack of pollination of the vine’s female flowers. Give your plants a hand by performing hand-pollination! Read this feature article to learn how to do it!

URL – http://www.greenculturesg.com/articles/aug08/aug08_curcubitpollination.pdf

Green Culture Singapore 4th Anniversary Gathering

Green Culture Singapore, a website and discussion forum which I started, celebrated its 4th birthday yesterday. This year, the party was held two days earlier than its actual date so that it falls on a weekend, so as to make it easier for our members to attend.

The celebration was marked by a gathering similar to those organised in previous years. Members of the Green Culture Singapore discussion forum would bring food and drinks for the potluck dinner. It was also a time for everyone who attended, to mingle and to catch up with fellow members. Some members also brought along some plants to sell as well.

This year, we did something different: we gave out souvenirs to all those who came. It was a handmade token of appreciation and a display ornament that was made out of different plant seeds stacked in layers. Many thanks to Lily and Teresa who came forward to help complete the making of these souvenirs. I also want to thank Richmond who has volunteered to help me print the stickers too.

There were two persons who we wanted to thank, namely, Mr Ng Cheow Kheng from the Community in Bloom for his support and collaboration and Phillipe Noor, who is one of our forum moderators who helped to conceptualise the GCS booth during the recent Singapore Garden Festival. We presented to them each a handmade souvenir as well.

We also did not forget to express our thanks to those members who have volunteered their time to help out at the GCS booth at the Festival as well. They include Lynnette (Velvetine), Cindy, Chongren, Xuan Hong (limxuanhong), Eng Ong (Bluefly), Teresa (sasa), Lily (davidia) and Richmond (kiddyduck).

There was a small highlight at this gathering where one of our members brought in a rare fruit, called the gac fruit, from Vietnam. I was asked to share with fellow members who were interested what I knew about it. Many of us also got to eat the carotenoid-rich aril that surrounds each large seed. Some of us also had the opportunity to bring some seeds home to grow. Many thanks to Karen79 who gave us all this pleasant surprise!

This year is a memorable one for me. I am extremely glad and invigorated because I have found a couple more likeminded members who have come forward to join me in this same league to promote gardening. I am heartened every time I noticed three of my young members, namely, Richmond, Chongren and Xuanhong, wearing the GCS collar pins on their sleeves during the occasions where I did not expect them to wear it. I have also seen Eng Ong proudly donning on the GCS t-shirt when he visited various gardening-related occasions.

Last but not least, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to:

1. Fellow GCS members and Mr Ng Cheow Kheng who have made the effort to come down to support the GCS 4th Anniversary Gathering.
2. Greenhorn – for providing some exotic airplants for the gathering.
3. skyfiery and partner – for helping to take the numerous pictures to commemorate this gathering.
4. davidia, chongren, limxuanhong, kiddyduck – for being the advance party to help set things up at the gathering venue.

More pictures of the gathering can be viewed by clicking this link.

The Last Day of the Singapore Garden Festival

The Member of Parliament for my constituency, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, visited the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) early today afternoon. Mr Simon Longman, Mr Ng Cheow Kheng from the Community in Bloom (CIB) and I were there to welcome her when she came to Level 4 of the Suntec Convention Center. Mrs Lim was first brought to the CIB exhibition area and then introduced to various community groups. She then also visted the booth of Green Culture Singapore (GCS) as well!

Later in the evening, GCS members who held the exhibitor’s passes were invited to attend the SGF’s Appreciation Party that was held in the Hospitality Pavillions on Level 6. As one can easily expect, due to the large number of people who were involved in one way to another in the Festival, the area that was cordoned off for the Party was filled with people!

Before the Party started, the Guest of Honour for the Party, Mr Mah Bow Tan and Mr Ng Lang (CEO NParks) went on stage to give their respective speeches where they also thanked all participants as well as partners who were involved in the SGF. Mr Mah’s speech can be read via this link while Mr Ng’s is available here.

The Party was officially started after the speeches and we were all treated to a sumptuous dinner. I was glad to see that the effort that the SGF organisers had actually put in to ensure waste production was minimised while we enjoyed the plants, flowers and landscaping at the Festival. The crockery and cutlery used at the Party are all made from corn and yam and hence they are totally bio-degradable. But does that mean they can be eaten as well?

Many thanks to my friends who were involved in the GCS booth this SGF, namely, Phillipe, Lily, Teresa, Richmond, Chong Ren, Xuan Hong, Lynnette and Eng Ong posed for a picture. Your contributions have been valuable and without them, the GCS booth won’t have been so impressive and interesting. The booth’s exhibits have been educational and particularly attractive to the crowd who visited the Festival. The beautiful decor at the GCS booth has an important part to play as well. I gave them all an SGF collar pin to express my thanks.

After we were done with the SGF Appreciation Party on Level 6, we were back to the GCS booth on Level 4 for yet another celebration. It was a much smaller potluck party and gathering which was initiated by Teresa which was attended a handful of GCS members. My sincere thanks to Teresa and those of you who took time off to attend our mini-gathering!

I must thank Herb Lover, Karen79 and Jolantu for being present to help entertain the crowd who visited the booth while the rest of us were away on Level 6 for the SGF Appreciation Party. I have noticed, to my surprise, that even after our little party had started, everyone could still be seen standing around the booth multi-tasking away. I watched with amusement as members were seen introducing the GCS website and the exhibits to the SGF visitors, chatting among themselves and enjoying the homemade snacks that were brought for the potluck, all at once!

Our gathering continued until 10 pm which was the time that SGF was officially supposed to close. All of us stopped our merrying soon after and we reluctantly started to take our exhibits at the GCS apart. With the effort put in from members who were present, we managed to take down all the posters and decor by 11 pm. Everything was consolidated and put in one corner so that we can cart them off easily later on.

The SGF was fun but a tiring time for those of us who were involved. I must say the chemistry between the members who were present was great and we got to know each other better from this event. I believe we all look forward to visit the booth each day during the Festival so that we can meet and catch up again. With the end of the SGF, I have to admit that I suffered from the ‘SGF hangover’ because I felt quite uneasy for not returning to Suntec Convention Center and I know I am not alone.

Grocery Shopping at Tekka Market & Surfing on the Airwaves from Radio 1003

Yesterday marked the third day of the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) and it started with me meeting up with Richmond and Lily at Little India. We then visited Tekka Market to hunt for some interesting vegetables for showcasing and educational purposes in the Green Culture Singapore booth at Suntec City Convention Center where the Festival was held.

I found two interesting vegetables on sale in the makeshift Tekka Market. Both were cucurbits and I intuitively knew the first one was a bittergourd relative from the seeds found inside the fruit. They borne their characteristic ‘bite-marks’ on the edge of the rather flattish seeds. The identity of the plant that produced these fruits is probably Momordica dioica rather than Momordica foetida. Young green fruits sold in the market are shown in the picture below.

Another fruit that I bought is most likely to be the pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) and a picture of the immature green fruits of the pointed gourd sold in a number of stalls in the market is shown in the picture below.

 After all the grocery shopping had been done at Tekka Market, we made our way back to Suntec Convention Center. At about 2 pm, I hosted Wilson Ng, a radio host from Mandarin radio station, Radio 1003 where I then brought him around the SGF and introduced him to the various exhibits on both the fourth and sixth levels.

After a quick, two hour long tour, we headed for the radio station at the Singapore Press Holdings located at Jalan Toa Payoh. The radio show about the SGF started at about 5 pm and we chatted at length about the various exhibits we saw at the Festival.

Halfway through the show, I found myself succumbing to the fatigue that had been accumulated over the past several days. My thought processes kind of slowed down and my mouth also did not cooperate with my mind and I found it somewhat difficult to convey my thoughts in the spoken form.  

I just hope that the radio show went well.

More Singapore Garden Festival Preparations

Phillipe and me, as well as Richmond and Teresa, who are all members from the Green Culture Singapore (GCS) discussion forum had been busy at Suntec City over the past two days with the preparations for the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF).

We have been asked by the Community in Bloom (CIB) to landscape a mock-up balcony area that is commonly found on a ground floor unit of a condominium.  On Wednesday afternoon,  all of us gathered first at the CIB exhibition area hunting for plants that we thought may be interesting and new, but more importantly, growable in a ground floor apartment unit’s balcony.

We settled on a tree fern, a Ensete banana, a couple of spiral gingers, some ferns and had a small pond with some water lettuces in it. The design that Phillipe had in mind with the selection of plants we have chosen was a simple one and team then began to assemble everything together after we rounded up the plants we wanted. Do drop by the CIB exhibition area on level 4 of the Suntec Convention Center at the SGF to take a look at our little masterpiece!

After we completed our work at the CIB exhibition area, we proceed back to our booth and continued with the preparation work that was required. The booth was kind of plain to start with and thanks to the CIB but we were able to borrow some plants that were in line with our booth’s feature of ‘kampong’ plants, which brightened the area up tremendously.

We worked continuously until it was quite late in the night. We were near the completion of the GCS booth before we left for home. Phillipe has two more paintings to bring as they are still in the process of drying before they could be framed up and then brought to the Show.

I am grateful to Phillipe’s efforts and his creativity as well as fellow GCS members who have come forward to lend their hands and time to make our booth’s decor so impressive. Phillipe had squeezed his brain juices to the max because we were working on a very low and tight budget.

If you have noticed, alot of waste is created whenever there are large exhibition or shows like the SGF and I am glad that Phillipe’s design was environmentally friendly because he recycled quite alot of our previous exhibition materials used in GardenTech 2007 for the SGF’s exhibition booth this time round.