Tag Archives: tillandsia

Tillandsia Talk by Green Culture Singapore members

Last Sunday, airplant growers gathered at HortPark’s multi-purpose hall to listen to the first gardening talk in 2010 entitled ‘Airplants – Plants For The Modern Gardener’. It is the first in a series that have been planned to take place in odd months of the calendar year that will not just be a talk but more of a gardening talk show that encompasses interviews and demonstrations involving hobbyists and landscape industry partners.

I decided to kick-start this special talk show series with airplants as they are small, relatively ‘clean’ and easy to grow by most gardeners who live in high-rise apartments. The ease of their cultivation makes them good for modern urbanites who are often too busy to find time to tend to a garden where space is also a constraint for many. Commonly called “airplants”, these plants are members of the genus Tillandsia, which are mainly epiphytes that literally live on air. They are relatives of the pineapple and hence make an equally auspicious symbol for the the Lunar New Year which will fall in mid-February this year.

The 2h session was not all talk or demonstration by myself. I have invited three fellow airplant enthusiasts from my Green Culture Singapore discussion, namely, Kevin Cheong (greenhorn), Benedict Tay (benetay) and Lynnette Terh (Velvetine) where they shared their varied airplant growing experiences which range from an outdoor community garden, high-rise apartment window/balcony to the rooftop garden. Near the end of the session, I also demonstrated to participants on how they can construct a unique 3D vertical garden using a range of epiphytic plants which included airplants, antplants, ferns, Dischidia and Hoya.

The Great Tilly Gathering @ HortPark

Last Sunday, HortPark’s Fruit Room was packed to the brim with gardening enthusiasts who came to listen to Paul T. Isley III’s talk on Tillandsia, a group of plants commonly called ‘airplants’. Paul is President of Rainforest Flora which is the oldest Tillandsia nursery in the USA. We are privileged to have Paul here  in Singapore to give a talk and I must thank my members of the Green Culture Singapore discussion forum who informed me of his visit.

This is his maiden visit to Singapore and many of us felt ‘we have finally met up with the man’. The talk can be likened to be a gathering of sorts as many of the participants of the talk are well-known Tillandsia enthusiasts in Singapore, as I recognised a large handful of them. In his talk, Paul treated his audience to a colourful slideshow of many Rainforest Flora’s Tillandsia hybrids and shared with us the parentage of each one of them as well as their interesting background information.


Paul also revealed the news of his latest publication, Tillandsia II, which is a long-awaited and updated sequel to the book that many Tillandsia enthusiasts  grew up with. I remember seeing Paul’s earlier book, Tillandsia I, back in 1990 which was when airplants made their first appearance in Singapore. Participants of the talk also took this opportunity to bring their volume of Tillandsia I for his autograph.

GCS’ First Gardening Workshop

Today marked Green Culture Singapore’s (GCS) first attempt to conduct a gardening hands-on workshop. During the past two to three years, we have been working closely with NParks’ Community in Bloom and the National Library Board to dish out gardening sharing sessions which involved only talks at the public libraries all over Singapore.

Our first gardening workshop’s title was “The Art of Airplants” and the synopsis is given below:

We’ve all heard of how indoor plants can be used to complement home décor. Often plants are chosen because of the touch of nature that its green colour brings and also for its therapeutic appeal. But have you ever heard of using plants that do not root in soil as a home décor ornament?

Also known as air plants, this workshop gives you the opportunity to learn more about the uniqueness of air plants as well as the basic day-to-day caring needs. More importantly, get your hands on these plants to creatively install them as your office or home miniature setups and scapes that will soon be the envy of many. Brought to you by Green Culture Singapore and NParks.

For those participants who have attended this workshop, I am sure it was totally a different kind of experience from other talks they have attended previously. As an observer and assistant to the session, I noticed it was very much like an art class more than a gardening class. Participants were involved in squeezing out their creative juices and getting their hands busy to make the little bamboo ornament which doubles up both as an airplant holder as well as a pencil holder that can be used to decorate a dull corner at home or the office.

An example of the bamboo ornament that was to be made by participants during the workshop.

I thought, since we have touched on the growing of airplants in the past year in a talk done by Xuan Hong, why not have a workshop that will introduce to people ways to use airplants to decorate the home? Like what I have mentioned in the opening of the session, we have seen for the past 10 years after airplants have been introduced to Singapore, we have only witnessed that few ways of displaying airplants – gluing them on rocks, seashells and driftwood logs as well as tying them to branches of trees. Nothing more.

The intention of this session was hence to introduce new, creative and tasteful ways of displaying one’s airplants. As one can see from the pictures I have taken during the session, Phillipe Noor (on the GCS forum, his userID is Wild Ginger), our instructor in-charge of the session, have shown brilliant examples of how one can turn cut bamboo sections into beautiful airplant holders.

The myriad of possibilities presented by Phillipe that can be used to display airplants nicely at the home or office working environment.

Our talks have largely been rather technical and “how to” in nature and that can be difficult for some newbies to follow and also can put off others. Saturday’s session was our maiden attempt to bring in the lifestyle element to our sharing sessions and aimed to share with others the bit on how we can “enjoy” our plants and gardening. We hope more people will be drawn to take up gardening because plants, as we all know, can be used to brighten up one’s home and can be an enriching past time.

At the same time, we also wanted to bring across to all participants that plants are also living things where we also share with everyone the proper care and the right conditions that need to given to the plants so that they grow healthily and look their best.

Participants happily working away with the guidance from Phillipe to make their own decorative airplant holder.

Last but not least, I must thank Phillipe, who has worked intensively over the past one week to make this workshop possible. He has put in much dedication, effort and time that were put in where he actually went through all the trouble to source for the several meters long, thick bamboo poles, that were all sawn up into manageable sections for the session. One must also take a look at the professionally done up pamphlet he has prepared as well. All the materials required for the workshop were put into a neat, simple brown paper bag that participants can conveniently carry home their creations after the session.