Tag Archives: Singapore Garden Festival

SGF 2010 – My Home Garden Display – The Living Room

After looking at the DIY ideas in the Home Office, the visitor can walk through the ‘slanted door’ into the living room. The living room is the place at home where one entertains our guests and often people display plants in nice containers in an attempt to beautify the space.

Note that the living room can be a little dark to grow many plants. Remember to bring your display plants to a brighter place such as just before a sunny/bright windowsill or balcony to recuperate after a week or two worth of display inside the living room!

One unique plant display item designed by my landscape architect, Ms Abby Ng, was a series of wall-mounted containers that seem to ‘grow’ out of the wall as they ‘fall’ from the top of the wall to the floor. Each container has a shiny, metallic finish.

We have another vertical garden system on display in the living room. This unique vertical garden system is called the ‘Grass Mirror’ which is a product carried by a local company, Imaginative Growth. It is designed by a group of French architects, H2O Architects. The Grass Mirror is not made out of glass mirrors but out of polished stainless steel. Each planter is stacked one on another to make a larger reflective living wall.

Another very interesting product from Imaginative Growth on display were a series of upside-down plant pots, called the Boskke Sky Planter. Designed by Patrick Morris, these pots house plants that see to defy gravity and make conversation pieces among our visitors who come to our Living Room. Unlike conventional pots that sit on the floor, these pots allow one to grow plants without sacrificing floor space! Get one of these pots and you can figure out how watering is done as well as how you can pot that plant inside each Boskke Sky Planter.

The next display idea is a terrarium coffee table. Not something you can easily fashion easily by yourself, you probably need to engage a competent carpenter to make this coffee table terrarium! An idea inspired by existing coffee table aquariums, this terrarium allows the plant-lover to grow his plants nicely in the living room. There are fluorescent light tubes installed inside this coffee table so that a range of low-light houseplants can be grown. The glass top can be lifted and give access to one to maintain and water the plants. There is a small gap left between the coffee table base and the glass top and that allows excess heat given off by the lights to escape (hot air rises!).

Here’s another DIY plant display idea that is probably much easier to construct but may be a little difficult to replicate due to the rather unique glass container. When powered up, the lamp in the center has colours that transit from one colour to another and we though the plants planted in this garden would dance like they were in the disco! The lamp stand and circuitry were taken from a store-bought lamp and installed onto a styrofoam base.

The same concept was extended to make a tabletop lamp terrarium. The terrarium this time was a closed one. The base of this set-up is a clear glass container which originally came with a lid. To fix a lamp on top of it, my team members fashioned a base that fits nicely on top of the glass container using circular sheets of styrofoam. The lamp and its necessary circuitry were taken from a store-bought lamp that came with a lampshade.

Because such a terrarium lamp is not always lit in a typical home situation, you may want to grow the plant inside a pot which can be put in and brought out of the glass container base easily. This allows you to give the plant its vital dose of sunlight so as to keep it healthy rather than allowing it to languish inside the darkness when the lamp is not turned on.

SGF 2010 – My Home Garden Display – The Home Office

The Home Office area in the ‘My Home Garden’ display is a small one but it is packed with DIY gardening ideas that visitors can look forward to. Note that the office environment is often air-conditioned and that allows one to grow some cool-growing plants in the tropics. These include African violets, Pelargonium, a range of foliage begonias, hostas and even orchids!

One piece of furniture in this area is a work table with a clear glass top and below it hangs a platform that is illuminated with fluorescent lights. The lights, when turned on during office hours, can support the growth of a selection of low-light plants.

Much of the DIY ideas can be found on the hanging platform located below the glass panel! How about a hanging pot made from recycled Milo cans that is cladded with a cork board so each doubles up as a mini-notice board? You can pin notes onto it! Cheap and easy to make!

Marimo balls are quatic algae balls that hail from selected lakes around the world, the best known is Lake Ikan in Japan. These balls require bright light to grow and they make good candidates for displaying inside small recycled jam jars with laid with decorative mulch at the base! Remember to change the water of this mini aquatic garden once a week! This is another easy to construct bottle garden that serves as a very affordable gift idea.

The next idea is a rock bonsai which utilises brown volcanic rocks as planters. These volcanic rocks are easily available from local aquarium shops and often come with holes in them. These holes can be used to grow your plant. Shown here is a succulent plant that requires very little watering and little growing media to grow in. You can also use cacti species too. One thing to note is that there is a need to bring this succulent out to be exposed to direct sunlight periodically as fluorescent light alone is not sufficient to grow these sun-worshippers properly.

The next home office plant display idea is the ‘Mossy Landscape’. My team members bought square picture frames bought from IKEA, waterproofed the internal space of the frames and planted moss into them! What resulted was a neat-looking terrarium where moisture is kept in and all one needs to do is to spray some water to replenish the water supply every few weeks. Mosses are great candidates for this set-up as they do not grow too tall and thrive under bright light. The internal space is saturated with water vapour, making it conducive for mosses to grow.

The next idea is a product that was loaned to us by Candy Floriculture Pte Ltd, a local landscape industry partner. It would call this a very simple hydroculture cum aquaponics system that allows one to grow a range of indoor houseplants that require little nutrients to grow on a table top. Most of us would know what these plants are and they include common aroids and dracaenas which can virtually survive for long periods with just tap water! This system allows one to grow a plant as well as keep a pet fish in it! The fish’s waste materials serve as food for the plant, albiet in very small amounts only.

Going away from the table, we now focus on the displays on the window. If sunlight streams into your office desk, why not make a simple screen that doubles up as a mini vertical garden? Shown in this example, you can even hook on test tubes that hold water for some beautiful flowers! If you don’t fancy cut-flowers, you can attach various small airplant (Tillandsia) on this DIY curtain.

The last idea is to help plant-lovers create more space in a office to grow one’s plants (can also be extended to a home environment too!).  What you need is a ladder and you can hang a series of containers onto its rungs using metal container holders widely available from local nurseries. It is recommended to secure the upper end of the ladder onto the wall.

Locate plants that need more light in the middle so that sunshine that streams through the window can directly hit them. Those that need less light can be situated higher or lower along the length of the ladder. As you can imagine, by hanging potted plants on a ladder, you are actually constructing a vertical garden!

Taking part in the Singapore Garden Festival 2010…

This year, the biennial Singapore Garden Festival took place at Suntec Convention Center from 15 to 22 July 2010. My role as a participant is different from two earlier runs  - I am a staff of the National Parks Board (NParks) and was given the job to implement a display on level 4 of the Convention Center.

Called ‘My Home Garden’, the display put up by my team at NParks’ Hort Excellence division consists of a series of living and working spaces which we thought people would like to have plants in. I hope to inspire visitors to take up gardening and to embrace and care for every bit of greenery wherever they are. Visitors to ‘My Home Garden’ can look forward to a range of simple ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) ideas which they can bring home with them. They can also get some tips on how they can display their plants at home, as well as, look at new innovative gardening products and plant introductions.

Below are some pictures I took at  Suntec Convention Center while our contractor was working hard to put together the facade of ‘My Home Garden’ display.

The section on the extreme left is the home office. Stretching far beyond it is the rest of the display facade. My colleague who is a landscape architect wanted to portray a fun and qwerty feel to this part of display - one can see a slanted door way which leads to the living room. There is a cool-looking spoon planter above the working table.

After one passed through the slanted doorway, he or she will arrive in the living room. The fun and qwerty decor concept flows into this section as well. The spoon planter is extended into a wave planter. The bright orange colour is a bold attempt to break from the norm in order to excite the young. A design that is designed by the young for the young.

Like what we have in most of our homes, the balcony area is where we arrive after the living room. The trellis for this balcony was yet to be built when this picture was taken.

The patio comes after the balcony. The patio area shown above was just an empty space then. What will go onto it?

The last portion of ‘My Home Garden’ display is the roof garden. We realised most of the displays around us concentrated on designs that revolve around outdoor gardens – those of Community in Bloom and Singapore Gardening Society. As roof gardens are increasingly becoming popular, we decided to put up a showcase to show what can be done in such a situation.

Borneo Exotics’ Season of Mist

The Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) Awards is a world-class competition showcasing award-winning floral, landscape and fantasy gardens created by local and international designers. Borneo Exotics is the world’s leading nursery for tropical pitcher plants and for the first time, they participated in this year’s SGF Awards.

Their work which was displayed on level 6 of the Suntec Convention Center was one that members from the Green Culture Singapore (GCS) discussion forum, especially those who are carnivorous plant enthusiasts, was looking forward to see. Many members wanted to know what new and rare species of tropical pitcher plants Borneo Exotics would be using for their garden design.

Named the “Season of Mist”, the work won a Silver Award under the Fantasy Garden category of the SGF Awards 2008. Diana Williams and Robert Cantley, founders of Borneo Exotics who are based in Sri Lanka, are already frequent participants at international flower shows even before they took part in the SGF Awards.

Diana and Rob are winners of the London Flower Show in 2004. They have also won a Silver Gilt at the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show and Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 and 2007. They are also winners the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Anthony Huxley Trophy for the best display of tender ornamental plants shown to the RHS in all the flower shows in the United Kingdom during 2006.

The Season of Mist is a rainforest fantasy garden that featured a dome-shaped enclosure, which housed some of the most rare and spectacular examples of tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) in cultivation. As written in the SGF official show programme booklet, the designers of this fantasy garden dedicated it to G. E. Rumphius (1627-1702) of Dutch descent who was the first to document in botanical terms this genus of carnivorous plants. At the age of 42, Rumphius lost his sense of sight and might have well dreamed of his days as a youth in Germany.

The garden aimed to illustrate the variation within this extraordinary genus of carnivorous plants, whilst depicting the life of Rumphius and the disastrous event surrounding the completion of his monumental life’s work, “Herbarium Amboinense”. The use of dramatic events emphasised Nepenthes as true wonders of evolution and the necessity for their conservation. All Nepenthes used in the exhibit have been artificially propagated by the designers themselves in their Sri Lankan nurseries.

I have been told that the dome structure was designed and constructed in Sri Lanka but it was dismantled again so that it could be transported to Singapore for the SGF. The structure was re-assembled upon its arrival at the Suntec Convention Center.

The dome is octagonal in shape and visitors to the SGF were treated to a “framed” picture of the beautiful gardenscape as they peered into each of the seven faces of this polygon. The one other facet of the octagon featured several foldable door with glass windows where one can look into to see a wax statue of Rumphius.

The interior of the dome is periodically shrouded in fine mist that conferred a magical and mysterious aura to the exhibit. It also help to increase the ambient air humidity for the plants, which can crash to a level that is too low for the comfort or even harmful to the plants that were planted in an air-conditioned indoor environment.

Diana used a variety of tropical plants to decorate the interior of the dome and naturally, being an exotic plant enthusiast, I began my hunt for uncommon plants used in the exhibit. One of my first finds were some small-growing sun pitcher plants (Heliamphora spp.) that were tucked at one dark corner. These temperate-growing carnivorous plants originate from the South American continent.

The other interesting find was a huge and handsome specimen of a dark red Nepenthes truncata. The gigantic pitchers found on the plant measured about 50 cm in length! As one can easily expect, the plant is extremely rare and there are only a few of such plants in the world.It was perhaps the most popular plant in the SGF! It attracted a lot of attention from the visitors to the SGF. Since people cannot bring the plant home, many visitors took pictures instead. I can still remember the uncountable number of camera lights that flashed before it.

Did anyone notice an overgrown Bucida tree that had broken through the roof of the dome? I believe some people might have missed this interesting addition to the exhibit as they have been mesmerised by the exotic array of plants that Borneo Exotics had brought for the SGF.

Edible Plants Galore at the AVA Booth!

Another exhibition area in the Singapore Garden Festival 2008 (SGF) that attracted much attention was the one put up by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority Singapore (AVA). The AVA this year showcased a range of vegetables and culinary herbs that can be grown under local conditions. All the edible plants were displayed inside fluorescent light lit, modern-looking, plastic troughs.

Many of the elderly folks who passed by the AVA exhibition area were fondly reminded of the days when they lived in the villages in rural Singapore and were involved in vegetable and herb farming. Many were seen sharing their experiences with both the AVA officers on duty and fellow visitors.

The younger crowd were intrigued to see the living specimens of the herbs and vegetables that they encounter their dinner plates. Some were inspired to grow and asked where they could buy the seeds so that they can try to grow some at home.

Besides the vegetable and herb showcase, the AVA also offered “a Plant Passport Service” which gives the necessary phytosanitary certification for plants that are bought during the SGF by our overseas visitors. Plant doctors were on duty in the “Clinic Botanica” section where visitors can ask and learn more about the pest and disease problems they face in their gardens.

In one of the sections of their display, the AVA offered some ideas to public on how they can showcase our edible plants in their home gardens. The first involved the planting of vining vegetables such as sweet potato vines or the Ceylon Spinach inside window boxes that is shown below.

Another example the AVA showed was how one can incorporate edible plants into a landscape – look at the clever use of the riot of colours that ornamental sweet potato vines and the nice contrast they can offer!

Various common leafy vegetable were on display and the most striking and beautiful one was perhaps the Chinese Flowering Cabbage. The dainty, bright yellow flowers that were produced high above the plants are highly decorative and difficult to miss!

The succulent-looking Chinese Kale, Chinese Mustard, Loose Leaf Lettuce and Red Chinese Spinach plants also attracted a lot of attention! Many visitors wondered how did the AVA managed to grow such healthy plants using containers!

Chinese Kale

Chinese Mustard

Loose Leaf Lettuce

Red Chinese Spinach

The selection of fruiting vegetables also “wow-ed” the visitors to the SGF. The fruiting vegetable plant that particularly got the most limelight were the corn plants that borne white shiny kernels. In the market, we often see the ones with yellow kernels.

Many visitors who saw the hot chilli plants were surprised with the high yield of fruits. Many of them asked the AVA how they managed to grow such healthy plants that did not show any signs of blemish.

The AVA also exhibited two types of Chinese eggplants – one bears long and green fruits while the other produces round, purple fruits. I have grown these before and I got the seeds from Known You Seeds Distribution previously.

Long, green Chinese Eggplant

Chinese Eggplant with round, purple fruits.

Last but not least, the display of culinary herbs was also equally impressive. For the first time, I saw Globe Basil plants with my own eyes. Although it is not a basil that I am not familiar with, I saw these only on pictures found on the Internet.

Chinese celery was one of other culinary herbs being showcased. A specimen was seen flowering and visitors who have never seen this herb flowering learnt something new.

The AVA also had some highly ornamental Purple Ruffles Basil plants on display. These plants are very difficult to grow nicely under local conditions. For reasons not known to me but I speculate that it could be due to the heat of the tropics, this variety of basil has a high tendency of its leaves to revert totally green and also losing its ruffled leaf margins.

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.

HortPark’s Exhibit at the Singapore Garden Festival

HortPark’s exhibition area showcased mainly exotic plants in this year’s Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) that took place at the Suntec Convention Center. Their exhibition area was not a big one but it was packed with a myraid of different plants.

The exhibition area has a winding path which visitors could walk on and on both sides, a number of notable plants were placed and showcased on cubical pedestals and they were accompanied by informative plant tags. I saw a couple of interesting bromeliads that are part of the huge collection belonging to the Gardens by the Bay, dish gardens that featured some succulents and carnivorous plants as well as an aquascape consisting of aquatic mosses.

Visitors who walked through the HortPark exhibit might have missed the three planted chandeliers that were hanging above their heads. These were the creations made by several HortPark staff who painstakingly constructed them over several days before the Festival opened. Do not forget to check out the planted border that surrounded the HortPark exhibition area as there are interesting plants to see and photograph!

Amongst the plants that surround the rectangular exhibition area was a shrub that featured showy heads of yellowish threads that are quite hard to miss. A plant from the Acanthaceae family, it is botanically known as Schaueria flavicoma. It’s common name is known as the Golden Plume and was introduced into Singapore by the current President of the Singapore Gardening Society, Mr John Tan. This plant is already available for sale in local nurseries.

Another interesting plant which I have seen being featured was a variegated spiral ginger from the Costaceae family. It is likely to be the variegated version of Costus varzearum because the physical appearance and morphological characteristics of the plant bear great resemblance with that of that species of Costus.

There was a delightful prayer plant on display which I have seen before only in Western houseplant books. It is known as Calathea crocata which I believe HortPark has imported from overseas for the show. Unlike other more flamboyant foliage calathea varieties, C. crocata has rather dark-coloured but plain leaves with wavy margins but it stood out from the crowd due to the striking bright yellow inflorescences.

There are several Curcuma cultivars (Zingiberaceae) on display as well. The first was a cultivar of the popular and rather common Siam tulip, C. alismatifolia, that produces inflorescence that is coloured light pink. There was another that borne bracts that were coloured purple but there was one cultivar that caught my eye, which was the plant that produces inflorescences where the lower bracts were covered with a brownish tinge while the upper ones were whitish.

There was also a variegated version of the Golden Chain Tree, Lophanthera lactescens, from the Malpighiaceae family that was put on display. The leaves of this tree are splashed with random patches of a golden yellow colour.

A beautiful, variegated Wandering Jew Plant with pink and white stripes that ran across the usual purple leaves was also spotted. This plant, which is from the Commelinaceae family, was labelled with the botanical name, Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Quadricolor’ and common name given as the “Four-coloured Wandering Jew”.

Last but not least, HortPark also exhibited some colonies of turtle moss, Leucobryum juniperoideum (Leucobryaceae) that were planted on a turtle-shaped sculpture. It was a very appropriate planting style and visitors who had seen this would definitely have a lasting impression of the moss.

Community in Bloom Exhibit at the Singapore Garden Festival 2008

Unlike the first Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) and previous large-scale exhibitions, I noticed this year’s Community in Bloom’s (CIB) exhibition area at the SGF 2008 involved quite a substantial amount of contribution and participation from the various groups from the local community.

The decor and landscape could have been deemed too perfect to the eyes of most visitors. I would not be too surprised because much thought and coordination had been put in by everyone that ensured the success of the CIB exhibition area. The crowd and participants that are involved in the CIB area appeared to be the happiest people in the entire SGF – all because of their love for what they have been doing – gardening.

I have noticed besides just plants, there were quite a lot of garden hardware being incorporated into the CIB exhibition area this time around. They were all crafted out by community gardeners even though some of them looked as if they were store-bought ones. Notably among those that have been featured were the several artistic and meaningful metal sculptures that were done by Mr Richard Ashworth from the Ivory Heights Condominium. Richard’s community garden is one of the winners of the Community in Bloom Award 2008 for the private housing estate category.

Several community groups have also been invited to do some landscaping in the CIB exhibition area. Green Culture Singapore (GCS) was among those that have been invited and  the few of us, namely, Richmond, Teresa, Phillipe and myself were there two days before the SGF was opened to decorate a mock-up balcony garden using a range of plants that had been provided by the nursery engaged by the CIB. Some community groups even carted in their plants and garden hardware taken from their own community gardens to be incorporated into their landscapes!

Located on the artificial wall behind the glass parapet of the mock-up balcony was a beautiful vertical garden constructed by Mr Albert Quek who is also a Community in Bloom Award 2008 winner for the balcony garden category. His vertical garden concept had been featured on Straits Times Life! a few weekends ago. His ingenius creation was made from recycled materials such as bamboo poles and paper egg trays. I have seen Albert at the CIB exhibition area quite frequently and from that, I know he is a committed and highly dedicated person as he makes it a point to be at the SGF whenever he can find the time.

There are also other artistic works being showcased in the CIB exhibition area. It won’t be difficult to miss the  sculptures that have been mounted on one side of a long wall that has been coloured black. The exhibit is known as “Claystellation” and it consists of a series of black and white and black ceramic objects that have been inspired by objects found in Nature. This meaningful piece of work was done in collaboration between the Yellow Ribbon Project and Zech Studio Ceramics. The Yellow Ribbon Project seeks to engage the community in giving ex-offenders a second chance at life.

Amongst the many plants in the CIB exhibit, the passionfruit plant that had been trained up a recycled umbrella structure drew the most attention from visitors. Sourced by Prince Landscape and Nurseries, this specimen gives gardeners an idea on how we can grow and display edible plants ornamentally. I believe it has become a hot item as I have heard visitors asking the CIB staff whether the plant is for sale after the show.

Various community groups have been invited by the CIB over the course of the SGF to come to Suntec Convention Center where they have been given mini-booth areas to showcase their gardens to the visitors of the SGF. Community gardeners who came are a generous lot – not only they shared their knowledge and experience with the public, they also shared cuttings taken from their garden plants as well as seeds. I often see the elderly and middle-aged ladies (we affectionately call them “aunties” here) clustering around these booths where engaged in idle garden chat. Below is the mini-booth space that has been set up by Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

The CIB exhibition area would not be complete if there was nothing to cater to youths. Two simple games that have been thought out by the CIB team could be found near the backend of the CIB exhibition area. I thought these were very ingenius ideas where common game gadgets were very slightly modified to fit the garden festival theme.

Instead of soccer players, the above game used mini-garden tools instead. In place of a soccer ball, the CIB team replaced with it either a seed from a plant or a small fruit, such as a lime. The same applies for the game shown below which employed seeds and fruits of various sizes.

These games had been highly popular with the younger members of the SGF crowd. I saw people, adults included, queuing up to take turns to try their hands on them! There is also IT-based game meant for an even younger crowd – kids – located in the same vicinity where they can use the touch-screen function to plant and landscape their own garden city. The height of the two touch-screens had been fixed quite low so that the children can reach them.

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.

Singapore Garden Festival Opening Ceremony

I am particularly happy with the National Parks Board’s (NParks) way of sending e-invitation cards such as the one used in the current Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) because this is much more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.  Once the event is over, the e-invitation card can be deleted without creating unnecessary waste which is created when people chuck their hard-copy cards into the dustbin.

I was so tired from the previous night’s worth of preparation work for the SGF that I almost could not wake up early enough to attend the Opening Ceremony that took place at 8.45 am at Suntec City this morning. But I finally managed to make it to the venue just a few minutes before the arrival of the VIPs.

The SGF Opening Ceremony commenced on Level 6 of Suntec City where the designer landscape gardens were located. The Guest-of-Honour was Mr Mah Bow Tan who was accompanied by Mrs Mah, as well as, Mrs Christina Ong (Chairperson NParks) and Mr Ng Lang (CEO NParks). Ms Zhou Xun, a special guest of the SGF, was also present. She is the Best Actress in the Hong Kong Film Festival 2006 for ‘Perhaps Love’ and Best Supporting Actress in the Hong Kong Film Festival 2007 for the ‘The Banquet’.

The SGF was declared open by Mr Mah after he cut the ribbon. The mascots for the SGF, namely, Lindy Ladybird, Benny Bee and Gary Grasshopper came out soon after to welcome them and rest of the guests who were present with their little dance.

After the Opening Ceremony, I was introduced to Mrs Ong by Mr Ng Lang and I also got to meet and speak to Mr Mah briefly after that. I was extremely glad that Mr Mah actually remembered me despite it has been quite a while  since I was last introduced to him and his numerous encounters with other people. I did not expect that.

The SGF was thronged with people today which came as quite a surprised to me as yesterday as it was a weekday, probably due to the better ticket deal. The crowd, I noticed, was made up of mainly senior citizens and school children. Quite a lot of visitors visited the Societies and Associations corner and many dropped by our booth to ask questions so as to get to know a little more about what Green Culture Singapore (GCS) is all about and our activities. Fellow GCS members also came by our booth to say hello.

The members who came to help out at the booth today were Chong Ren, Eng Ong, Richmond and Lily. Phillipe came by later in the afternoon while Xuan Hong and Lynnette visited us later in the evening, after work. Whoever who came by the GCS booth would have noticed we were a little ‘rowdy’ as there was much chit-chatting and interaction. Good chemistry was present and everyone probably was also happy to be able to meet and catch up. The session was fun and broke the overwhelming monotony of having to man the booth for long hours.

My guest from the Philippines, Mrs Jimenez, also visited the SGF and it was nice to be able to meet again. She told us that it was well-worth the effort, time and money to have delayed her flight so as to extend her stay in Singapore.

Today’s edition of My Paper had some coverage on the SGF and the landscape design competition winners. Two of my members who are airplant enthusiasts, namely Kelvin and Yoke Fong, were also featured in a separate column.  In the article, they both shared with readers of the paper on their experiences and tips on how to grow airplants successfully. Many thanks to Kelvin and Yoke Fong for accepting the request to be interviewed.