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April Session of Soil Class

Soil Class is back again in April, join us!

Soil Class (Basic Level) by The Tender Gardener

Relatively new to urban farming, and looking to demystify the subject of soil? Through this talk, learn soil basics and what your plants need to thrive instead of just survive. We will cover what you need to know to gain confidence in growing healthy edible plants, so join us!

Date & Time: 15 April 2017, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Venue: NONG at HortPark (33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Rd), Beside the lawn
Cost: $39 per person, with limited spaces available, so booking is essential
RSVP: Sign up here!

What you will learn in this session:

– Different types of soil
– Physical needs of plants
– Nutrient requirements of plants
– Fertilisation
– Tips on growing seedlings
[To learn about soil amendments and mixing your own soil, please join us for the intermediate soil workshop on a later date]

Upcoming workshops on Kokedama and Edible Flowers at Plain Vanilla Bakery

I am stoked to be partnering Plain Vanilla Bakery on a couple of workshops in August, as part of Picnic Days – a series of events held over Summer. I’ll be leading workshops on making Kokedama, also known as ‘moss ball’ or string garden, and growing edible flowers. There are lots of interesting activities, including film screenings and an exhibition, see below for all listings.


A visit to Lentor Forest


Photo by Leong Kwok Peng (that’s me, furthest from the camera)

Over the weekend, I joined my friend Kwok Peng and a couple others to explore Tagore Forest. This secondary forest is slated for housing development later in the year, but it is a pity to clear it, as it houses two rare freshwater streams, nationally and globally endangered mammals such as the Sunda Pangolin, Banded-Leaf Monkey and Sunda Slow Loris, endangered and vulnerable plants, as well as naturally and globally threatened birds.

I was most keen to view the Elephant Foot’s Fern, considered vulnerable by NParks. I also got to see tree ferns, which I rarely see here. Interestingly, I saw a lot of dumb cane plants – an introduced species, which is invasive and is a bit out of place in our forests, also, there were lots of plants that are commonly displayed as house plants, you will recognise them in the photos below. I hope these photos will interest you in paying the Lentor Forest a visit. Scroll all the way down for instructions on how to get there!


Garden Stories: James Ip and his balcony fern forest


[photo courtesy of James Ip]

When I first began following James Ip on Instagram a few months back, I dreamed of seeing his balcony fern forest in person. I was amazed by his love of ferns, how he had dedicated his entire balcony to plants, and how beautifully put together his garden is. I paid a visit to his apartment in Kembangan, Singapore, to experience it for myself, it was a marvellous sight!

From his choice of plants and how he has exhibited them, it is immediately obvious that he has a keen eye for details and is a romantic at heart. The plant arrangements present lots of depth, visual texture, and demonstrates careful curation on his part. By staggering his collection of plants at various heights, he has managed to ensure that his balcony accommodates his numerous plants and their needs, as well as allow enough light to enter his home.

His two fish ponds form the backbone to his garden. With its arrival, James began adding plants, and it lends an adequate amount of humidity to his plants. Other than ferns, the garden also features begonias, ivy, dracaena, syngonium, bromeliads, umbrella papyrus, pink alpinia, among others.

His ferns require a bit of care, such as an afternoon misting on very hot, dry days. The water in his ponds experience a 30% per cent evaporation rate daily, which is as frequent as he needs to top it up.

James has done a remarkable job creating a zen balcony space. Read on to find out more about how it all came together!


[Images from James Ip’s Instagram account]