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air plants singapore
City, Garden Stories

Singapore Garden Stories: Air plant artisan Daniel Goh

Hidden away at Sungei Tengah in Singapore is a serene air plant haven, aptly titled ‘Airvatar’, managed by Tillandsia enthusiast Daniel Goh. A senior financial consultant by day, Daniel makes time to tend to his plant collection daily, and regularly runs workshops to spread his joy for air plants, sharing knowledge while highlighting its aesthetic qualities.

Daniel’s air plants are neatly laid out and well presented. There is a lot to take in, with hundreds of plants on display yet it feels moderately minimalist. At Airvatar, Daniel showcases his plants, a collection amassed from places like Pick a Plant and other private air plant collectors in Singapore. Here, he also runs workshops and uses it as a space for visitors to experience the beauty of Tillandsia, inspiring them with the possibilities of decorating their homes with air plants.

I sat down with him to find out about his passion for air plants.

When did you begin taking an interest in gardening?

I was as young as 10 years old. In school, they used to get us to grow beans into bean sprouts. From then onwards I liked growing plants. But if you ask about when I started liking air plants, it was 6 to 7 years ago, when I got my first air plant. I thought it was very intriguing because it is a plant that doesn’t need soil to grow, and then I started my air plant collection.

air plants singapore

What do you find intriguing about air plants?

It is an amazing plant to have because you can hang it by the window, or glue it onto a rock. But what really got me interested was as I started my collection, I realised that every plant is different. When you talk about species alone, there are around 3500 species of air plants. When you look at the varieties — the shapes, the sizes, the colours, the leaf structure, textures, they are all different. Singularly as a plant itself, it is very sculptural. When you put two separate plants side by side, they each look so different. That to me is like an art piece by itself. When you hang it up, it looks like a floating sculpture to me. That’s how it started for me, I was really, really amazed by air plants.

Subsequently I decided that I wanted to do more with just growing or collecting air plants, and that’s when I started designing. I used branches, rocks, materials that you can find from gardens or aquarium shops, and put them together and made art pieces with it. From then onwards, I called myself an air plant artisan and then I started doing this to share with people that air plants are not just a plant in itself, but it has a lot more dimension and aesthetic value. So it is no longer just growing plants but appreciating the aesthetics of the plant itself.

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cherry blossoms gardens by the bay
City, Uncategorized

Sakura Matsuri 2020 at Gardens by the Bay

From now till 29 March, you can view cherry blossoms in Singapore at Gardens by the Bay. The Sakura Matsuri is back with 500 stunning cherry and peach blossom trees in over 20 varieties. Here is a video postcard from me, which gives you a taste of what you can expect.

This year I had planned to visit Japan to experience my first autumn and cherry blossom festival, but with the pandemic, this will have to wait. The next best thing is to see the plants at the Sakura Matsuri.

I love these miniature Gassho-style farmhouses with the thatched roofs. These traditional roofs are a more sustainable option and offer good insulation against heat and cold.

Gassho farmhouse sakura Gardens by the Bay
Cherry blossoms Singapore Gardens by the Bay

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Garden pots in Singapore
City

Where to buy plant pots in Singapore

New to gardening or urban farming, and wondering where to buy plant pots in Singapore? Whether you are seeking common or fancy plastic pots, rustic or painted terracotta pots, or stylish, perhaps quirky looking plant pots, there are lots of options locally. Here are some of my personal recommendations of where you can find pots to suit any space.

If you’re looking for plant stands and/or plant racks, see here for a list of places you can buy them in Singapore.

Plastic Pots

Lightweight, affordable and practical, plastic pots are also better at retaining moisture than terracotta pots. However the lower quality pots may not last more than a few years, depending on how much sunlight it is exposed to. This is due to photodegradation from UV rays.

One thing that bothers me about some types of plastic posts is how it can get powdery as it deteriorates, and that is when I throw them out because I don’t want this plastic dust getting into my soil, especially for my edible plants.

I tend to veer towards the larger, long planters, which I can use to grow a mix of plants in, although it ends up being harder to move around.

Here are some places where you can find plastic pots:

1.World Farm
Practically a one-stop shop for all things gardening, World Farm is pretty much the most affordable place to buy essential gardening items and they have a massive variety of ornamental, fruiting, flowering plants and edible herbs. The physical store stocks a variety of plastic pots and planters, and you can find the commonly used plastic pots in different sizes here, they also have colourful, small round ones. Find them at 15 Bah Soon Pah Road in Yishun.

Plant pots Singapore
Image taken from Noah Garden Centre

2. Noah Garden Centre
Online however, Noah Garden Centre has one of the widest range of attractive plant pots in various materials within Singapore. They also offer a good variety of garden essentials, and even nice plant stands. First time buyers get 10% off, how lovely.

3. Far East Flora
A household name, Far East Flora’s physical stores have a lot of good quality products and their online shop is hard to top. They offer a wide variety of plants and gardening items in their Thomson, Bedok and Queensway branches. Online shoppers get 10% off their first purchase and Singapore Gardening Society members are eligible for discounts in their physical stores, remember to flash your membership card.

Other places that retail plastic pots include Toyogo, Daiso, Ikea, The Garden Store, some supermarkets, and garden nurseries.

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best gifts for gardeners 2019
City

Gardener’s Gift Guide 2019

When shopping for a novice or experienced gardener, there is no lack of gift options in Singapore. Whether it’s for Christmas or any other occasion, here are some great gift ideas for gardeners.

1. Green Spade Xmas Bundle
Green Spade has put together a special package for the festive season. Their Xmas Bundle consists of a 20 litre bag of Veggies Mix for growing vegetables,  Nutri Yield fertiliser, Bio Protect organic fungicide, and Bug Shield,  an organic pesticide. Get it for $38 at www.greenspade.sg.

2. Basic Starter Kit
A wonderful gift for someone sinking their toes into edible growing, this gardening starter kit from Crops & Co. comes with a SeedCell which contains seeds, 250g of potting soil, a paper pot plus growing guide. Priced at $12.80, this starter kit is available at http://www.cropsandco.com

3. Felco secateurs
This one’s for serious gardeners. Felco is known for its high quality tools and these secateurs are built to last, with parts that can be replaced for a lifetime of service. Priced from $109.90, find them at www.monotaro.sg.

4.Compot
If you only generate a small amount of kitchen waste and wish to cycle nutrients back into the garden, the Compot is an ideal composting solution. Bury it in the soil, put anything biodegradable in it, cover it with the lid provided. Each pot has a 10 litre capacity. Get yours at $30 from Plant Visionz at https://eshop.plantvisionz.com.

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