to top

Garden Stories: Edible Flower Enthusiast Joanna Chuah

Joanna Chuah is a breath of fresh air, at only 22 years of age, she is a spirited young lady experienced in growing edible plants. While she specialises in edible flowers, she also shows a keen interest in medicinal plants. Her passion for plants is evident in the manner she speaks about them, there is an unmistakeable excitement in her voice as she introduces me to her garden. She lives in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore, where she grows a unique selection of plants on her rooftop garden, she also has an extended playground for plants in her grandmother’s backyard, and even grows some plants at her university.

My first interaction with Joanna was on Carousell, where there are many willing buyers and sellers of gardening related items. I was so impressed with the variety of plants on her shop and Instagram page that I requested to visit her without delay, I was certainly not disappointed. In her garden she is growing figs, starfruit, passionfruit (a variety found in Taiwan), banana, lemon, coffee, cinnamon, Japanese air yams, chilli, tomato, tulips, blue porterweed flowers, edible roses, among others.

Aside from plants, she sells produce which include edible flowers, fruit and vegetables. Joanna expands her collection of plants through propagation, some of them through a marcotting technique, commonly used for roses and fruit trees. It’s not all purely commerce for her though, she has previously dedicated 100% proceeds of produce for charitable causes that benefitted elderly people and her school’s janitors.

When it comes to fertilising her plants, Joanna mostly uses soil amendments like spent coffee grounds, tea leaves, and crushed eggshells, on rare occasions she uses organic chicken manure. She shared that her pots contain earthworms that help with soil conditioning also. Which then leads me to her penchant for breeding and raising of worms, caterpillars and moths – this is to do with her love of pollinators, and she keeps pollinator-friendly plants to cater to their needs.

My Interview with Matter

Singapore beekeeping

I recently did a photo shoot with Matter in my garden, and there’s an interview too, which you can read here. I got to try on their new tops made using unique ingredients such as banana fibre, and coloured using natural dyes, and also pants from their current collection. I love the pics they took,  especially the ones featuring my bees and chickens.

Of course I hardly look this glamourous when gardening, but this was a little more than just a photo shoot – I did go about my gardening duties that day as usual and managed to check my hive, repot a pandan plant and harvested some ginger.

Our Next Beeswax Wrap Workshop!

Agy and I are back for another beeswax wrap workshop in March, at a new venue!

Looking for a safe, natural and reusable alternative to plastic wrap and aluminium foil? Join us for this fun, hands on workshop to learn how to make your own zero-waste beeswax food storage wraps for use at home! These perfect for encasing freshly cut fruit and vegetables, and sealing a variety of cooked food, and sauces in containers.

We are pleased to collaborate with Funan for this session. During this 2 hour session, textile artist, Agatha “Agy” Lee, and self sufficiency advocate, Olivia Choong, will guide you step by step in preparing a delicately scented beeswax mixture for application on any natural fabric, and evenly setting the mixture to create a beautiful beeswax wrap, ready for you to take home for immediate use!

Once you learn how simple it is to make your own beeswax wraps, you will no longer wish to buy (and throw) plastic wrap and aluminium foil.

Each ticket is priced at $75 per participant, and includes all materials. Limited seats available, so book your spot today!

What will I learn?

We will teach you how to make your own beeswax wraps.


  • Adequate preparation of beeswax mixture
  • Even application on cloth
  • Uniformly setting the mixture on cloth
  • How to choose and prepare cloth for beeswax application

All materials provided!

  • Beeswax
  • Pine rosin
  • Jojoba oil
  • 2 sets pre-cut cloth per participant (one 5″ x 5″ for a mug and one 9″ x 9″ for a bowl)

What to expect?

In this 2 hour interactive session, expect a fun learning experience:

  • Hands-on learning with both facilitators
  • Relaxing, cosy and supportive environment
  • Minimum 5 pax to conduct the workshop

Date: 25 March 2018
Time: 11am – 1pm
Venue: Funan Showsuite, Junction of High Street and Hill Street
Price: $75
RSVP: Book your seat here! Only a few spots left!

Green Manure Crops & Crop Rotation

There are many benefits to growing green manure crops, mainly to improve soil conditions for growing your next crop of healthy vegetables. These benefits include higher nitrogen availability, additional organic matter, increased beneficial micro organisms, improved soil structure and water retention, breaking up hard soil, and in some cases soil fumigation and weed suppression.  I would highly recommend growing green manure plants as part of a crop rotation strategy – don’t have one? I’ll show you how 🙂

What is green manure?

Green manure consists of leguminous plants such as those in the peas, beans and grass family which have nitrogen fixing capabilities. Liberally distribute or broadcast seeds in your pots or garden plot, and after around 6 weeks, “chop and drop” these plants and dig it into the soil and leave to break down for 1-2 weeks to add nutrients back into the soil. Don’t wait till it begins to flower or fruit or you will lose these nutrients.

For our tropical climate in Singapore, I would suggest the following:

  • Mustard seed
  • Cowpea
  • Pigeon pea
  • Soy bean
  • Green bean / Mung bean
  • Winged bean
  • Lab Lab

If you happen to forget to chop and drop your plant in time, at least you can eat the pods of pea and bean plants, or use mustard seeds, leaves and flowers in your cooking. If you are looking to purchase some of these seeds, I have cowpea and lablab available here. I will eventually update this post to include links where you can buy these seeds.

Cowpea plant

Christmas Gift Guide for Gardeners 2017

christmas gifts for gardeners 2017

Tis the season to be picking out meaningful gifts for those we care about! Are you wondering what to gift a gardener friend, family member or spouse this Christmas? Or maybe something for yourself? Here a quick guide to great Christmas gifts for gardeners in 2017!

1.Botanical Watercolour Workshop Voucher – Know someone who loves art and plants? The highly talented Lucinda Law of Within hosts botanical watercolour workshops at her studio. Get your Single Visit Workshop Voucher here for $138 or email to purchase one or more vouchers.

2. DIY Beeswax Wrap Kit – A natural, reusable alternative to aluminium foil and cling wrap, beeswax wraps are breathable and can last up to a year. This is perfect for growers who love to cook, DIY and opt for a zero waste lifestyle. Get the kit for $49, complete with all the ingredients you need to make 6 beeswax wraps here!

3. Pots – Tumbleweed stocks some pretty attractive pots. This marble pot is great for indoor plant lovers who like design that is simple yet sleek. lt’s yours for $60 from the Tumbleweed shop.

4. Plant stands – Add a bit of style to the indoors with these plant stands, great as a standalone statement piece or one in a cluster of plants. Available from $100 at Tumbleweed and Noah Garden Centre.