Friday, 2 January 2009

journey through paradise

It has taken me quite a while to get this blog started. Somehow, I let my regular day-job, personal commitments and an unhealthy dose of procrastination get in the way. Even though I have now managed to start the ball rolling and appear to have gotten my act together, the real challenge is keeping this blog alive, updated and well, interesting.

Even as a young child, I have always had a keen interest in flora and fauna. Fauna I had aplenty. It was flora which I didn't have very much of due to the restrictions of apartment living. It wasn't until I moved into a terrace house at Chip Bee gardens in 2003 did my passion for gardening really take off and my fate as an avid gardener, sealed. Although I had to work within the confines of a rather small garden, I tried to make the most out of the space. Like any desperate gardener who has run out of gardening space, I started to lay claim to any conceivable space that I could find, from the common area outside my house, to the backyards which resemble the “cages” you find in some nurseries housing the prized specimens. (Mum complains that there's no where else to hang the laundry) To push the boundaries even further, I have recently started to create a living wall for my ferns and other epiphytic orchids, and used the roof of my car porch as a holding area for most of my bromeliads.

Despite the spatial constraints, I have over the years and little by little, explored and experimented with different types of plants. It is often through trial and error that one learns and becomes a better gardener. I would often scour the local nurseries for unusual finds, visit our public parks and tourist attractions like the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the zoo or the bird park for landscaping ideas or indulge in some online plant shopping. My neighbours will attest to the fact that I spend way too much time in the garden, just staring blankly at the plants before moving them around. In fact, my daily routine starts off every morning with a general tour of the garden, the roof and the backyard. The same routine is repeated at night after I get back from work. So it doesn't require a lot of imagination to figure out what it's like on weekends or public holidays. The truth of the matter is, there is always something to do in the garden; hosing down the plants, dried leaves to clear, overgrown plants to prune, fertiliser to be applied etc.

My friends insist that I have more plants per square foot than anyone else in Singapore. Actually, I know of quite a few people who are probably more deserving of that honour. However, I will not deny (and my mum would whole-heartedly agree) that I do have quite a large collection of plants and whilst I cannot with utmost certainty say just how many types I have, the entries which follow will speak for themselves. In many ways, I now consider myself to be a private collector of plants, one who may not have the space to grow them, but will try to get his hands on them at whatever the cost, just so that he can add it to his collection. Yes, I'm terrible that way.

I have rather eclectic tastes when it comes to the plants I collect. The ones which embellish my garden consists mostly of costaceae, etlingeras, nepenthes, hoyas, alpinias and various other members of the zingiberales family. I also have quite a huge collection of bromeliads which are mostly the result of online shopping. I also grow a bunch of other plants like plumeria, ferns, succulents, grasses, aquatic plants, an array of vines and creepers, flowering shrubs, carnivorous, foliage plants and various edible and medicinal herbs. I'm no expert, but I learn and try my best to keep these plants alive and happy.

I like to think that I have created my own “paradise”, a sanctuary to call my own and a refuge that I can retreat to. Although gardening is a deeply personal activity, I hope to share a bit of that paradise and botanical journey through my personal experiences and recollections. Who knows? It might actually inspire would be green-fingered people to pick up the shovel.

1 comment:

  1. Found it :P link both your blogs together. easier to read.