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Singapore Gardening Society visit to an Ewart Park residence

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Some month’s back, I attended a garden visit organised by Singapore Gardening Society in the Ewart Park area. I love attending their gatherings, especially when it involves visitations to private gardens and plant sales. This one in particular was three years in the making, due to schedule conflicts, and the stars had finally aligned.

The property is a sprawling 50,000 sq ft, with a large area dedicated to greenery, and as you will see in these photos, they really love their plants! They have a lovely green wall, and have incorporated green features inside and out. I found the property very soothing on the senses and loved the diversity of plants all around.DSCF4507

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Upcycling Dead Vines into a Natural Tray

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Lots of people love the Blue Pea flower and grow the plant on their corridors, in community gardens and home gardens. Once the plant dies, its vines are off to the compost heap or trash bin, which is such a waste. It can be turned into a tray, basket, screening, and a barrier for the garden. Grape vines, grasses, fruit tree stems, and banana leaves can also be used.

My Blue Pea plant was lush and grew against my (hideous) chain-linked fence for some months, I was quite sad when it died but I also knew that I could give it a second life as a tray for garden harvests. I was inspired by this video on Gardening Australia. Subsequently, I had a look on YouTube for other basket weaving ideas.

Singapore Gardening Society visit to Mr Tan Wee Lee & Mrs Rosalind Tan’s garden

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Over the weekend, I attended the Singapore Gardening Society (SGS)’s February meet up, I try my best to make it when I’m in town. This time, we visited Mr Tan Wee Lee and Mrs Rosalind Tan garden, which has previously received a Community in Bloom award. They were wonderful hosts, sharing knowledge about their garden, and ensuring society members were well fed.

All visitors were greeted by this majestic 50-year old Elephant Ear Fig Tree, abundant with fruit. Mrs Tan said that she cooks the figs with chicken soup, and that making tea from the leaves of this species is supposedly good for diabetes. I heard Mr Tan saying that in order to have a tree like that, one needs to shape it as such. He’s a bonsai enthusiast, as you will see later on.

Even though it was an unbearably hot day, their front garden is well shaded by this tree, and well cooled by their pond. The difference in temperature was remarkable, and made it a very comfortable experience.

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Crystal Castle’s organic food gardens

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Crystal Castle has an incredible cluster of gardens which Dan and I love to visit, and recently they began growing their own organic produce, and created the Shambhala Organic Food Gardens. In the above photo, part of the food gardens can be seen on the left, and towards the middle of the photo is their banana plantation. Yes, that’s Dan admiring the colossal clear quartz crystal.

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These inspiring food gardens have plants which include herbs, vegetables, fruits and beneficial flowers. The gardens are attractive and well designed, and inspired me to put more effort into Dan’s edible garden. Some vegetables that I’d spotted here include potatoes, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, collard greens, zucchini.

Garden Stories: Bhavani Prakash, the Mindful Gardener

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A few weekends ago, I paid a visit to my dear friend, Bhavani Prakash, who lives in the West Coast, and I was looking forward to seeing her inspiring rooftop and balcony gardens again. Bhavani hosted Ginny Giovanni (pictured above) and I for tea that rainy afternoon, and gave us an unforgettable experience of not just lovely treats, but also a tour of her garden spaces, and the condominium’s community garden, which she helped initiate.

I met Bhavani years ago through work in the sustainability field, where she is very active in creating and inspiring change. She is a strong advocate for green living, connecting to nature, and mindfulness, she raises awareness of these meaningful topics at corporate and individual levels through speaking at conferences, and by providing coaching and training. Bhavani is well known for her environmental advocacy website, Eco WALK the Talk, and sustainability and thought leadership platform Green Collar Asia. More recently, she has been conducting Mindfulness at Work training with The Potential Project. As busy as she is, she manages to be a hands-on, nurturing mother and gardener, and does well at both.

She has been able to grow a variety of fruit, herbs, vegetables and ornamentals on her balconies, including sugarcane, bananas, sweet potatoes, peanuts, winged beans, purple beans, mustard greens, watermelon, custard apple, mulberry, moringa trees, frangipanni, among others. Bhavani also makes her own compost which she uses for her plants.