I enjoy my catch-ups with Suekay, sometimes I pop by her Bishan residence to talk about collaborations, where the garden offers a wonderful backdrop to our discussions. She lives with her in-laws, who have created a lush, pretty garden with the help of a gardener. It has quite a neat, unified, formal appearance, with mainly ornamental plants. There are plans to introduce edible plants in the near future, which is exciting to hear. As you’ll see, I couldn’t resist getting a little snap happy on the garden… It’s such a beautiful, relaxing space, I feel like I’m visiting a resort each time I go there.
I’ve known Suekay for a while now and I love her warm personality and down-to-earth approach to everything she does. She’s very driven with her online gardening supplies business, Urban Agriculture, which retails a range of gardening products including seeds, microgreen kits, fertiliser and soil enhancements. We have a working arrangement where I list seeds and worm tea on her website. On top of running Urban Agriculture, she looks after NONG (by Edible Garden City)’s retail operations.
She made a transition from the financial sector to go full-time into promoting urban farming, a profession that she finds a lot more joy and meaning in. Here she shares her motivation on making a career switch, and her journey so far. If you find Suekay familiar, you might have seen her in a previous post on her beekeeper colleague, Thomas Lim.
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.
I had the pleasure of visiting Donald and Rachael Tan’s green haven and corridor farm in Punggol recently, and was bowled over by how space-efficient and creatively laid-out it is. Between the couple, Donald maintains the plants, and Rachael harvests produce for the table.
Even though his corridor gets only two hours of sun each day, he has managed to grow a wide variety of plants. Beyond ornamental plants, he grows microgreens, herbs like purple basil, chocolate mint, thyme, dill, pandan, curry, sawtooth coriander etc, he has fruit plants such as gooseberry, grapes, gac fruit, and vegetables like kang kong, amaranth spinach, curly kale. There are so many different plants that I can’t list them all… in fact, I can’t remember them all!
I got to know Donald better when I caught up with the Edible Gardens team one day for a lunch discussion. We bonded over the subject of Daiso and its small but useful gardening section, and how he, as well as my parents enjoy buying supplies from there to supplement our gardening needs. It was after viewing photos of his green corridor from his phone, that I felt like I had to pop by for a look. The plastic baskets sitting on his verandah are all from Daiso, and he has lined them with geotextile, which provides good drainage while keeping all soil in place when watered.