Archive for the ‘Garden centres’ Category

World Farm Revisited

20141213_095719b“So what animals do they have?” L asked as we headed in the direction of what was easily the republic’s largest plant centre. I suppose the name ‘World Farm’ is kind of a misnomer.

WF isn’t stocked with farm animals; its sprawling acres boast an impressive catalogue of flowering plants, foliage, ferns, culinary and medicinal herbs, carnivorous plants, bog and aquatic plants, climbers, fruit trees and more.






What caught our eye first were two big pots of giant citrus. We couldn’t tell what it was exactly as the fruit didn’t really look like a lemon, orange or pomelo. It was intriguing, but I was more fascinated by a couple of other plants.





First, the pretty fan-shaped Lobelia Blue; a totally unfamiliar plant which reminds me of the Scaevola Aemula but looked more resilient and much easier to handle. Definitely a plant worth checking out.



Then there were the small bio-domes housing juvenile nepenthes Lady Luck with their rosy red pitchers. Ingenius. This may just be the thing to have in an office – before the plant outgrows its dome anyway.

20141228_161248sThese two were lovely, but I was on the lookout for a Petrea; not the more common P. Volubilis but what is supposedly a better variant. Apparently, the racemes of this Petrea are more impressive and its true flowers bigger and a more vivid purple.

Not having much success locating the Petrea, I gave up and approached a helpful and professional WF personnel who pointed me in the right direction and even gave me a ride in a buggy. Many thanks, Mr G! I’d never have found it on my own.

And how is this Petrea different from the P. Volubilis; could it be the Petrea Racemosa? The leaves have the same sandpapery texture of the P. Volubilis but appear to be bigger and have more pointed ends. Unfortunately the plants were not in bloom so I can’t say anything about the inflorescence.


Back at the main section of WF, my companions were adding media and other gardening paraphernalia to their purchases; sand, compost, clay beads, stakes …


We must have spent close to two hours at WF but could not cover everything.  With so much to look at, one should be prepared to allocate half a day … and be prepared with a stuffed wallet and lots of car boot space as well!


Point to note: World Farm is also known as Hua Hng.




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Mobile plant kiosk


I hone in on this car wherever I visit the market. It’s there rain or shine.

Depending on the circumstances, the plants are either packed in the car or displayed by the road. Either way, I’d check everything out.

There is always something to see – flowering plants, herbs, orchids, fruit tree saplings, adeniums … Sometimes I even spot plants that are not offered at garden centres.

IMG_0108It was here that I saw my first pedilanthus bracteatus with its bird-like blooms. The only thing that stopped me from getting a plant right away was its price.

It was also here that I found the bulbine frutescens with its unusual citrusy coloured flowers.

I had never seen that beautiful plant before so, as you would have guessed, I held onto the pot before anyone else could take a fancy to it.

IMG_7698_Bulbine frutescensThat’s the thing. This mobile kiosk can only carry as many plants as can fit into the boot and the interior of the car.

So this means she may only have a single pot of a particular plant. If I see anything I like, I have to grab it before it’s taken.

IMG_7696I hate to miss anything. I’d peek into the open boot, as well as the back or passenger seats.

The lady who runs this business uses every nook and corner of her car. She even hangs plants from the boot lid and balances pots on the roof. If you need a packet of fertilizer, look in the boot.

Once I took a closer look at what seemed like a covered dish of perlite on car. “What’s she selling now?” I wondered. What I thought was planting medium turned out to be the lady’s breakfast instead.

So much for my hope of getting another new plant! But then again, maybe she will have something new tomorrow.


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“You’ll love this place,” Ju said. After visiting half a dozen garden centres as well as Bunnings I thought it would just be another garden centre. I was in for a surprise.

It looked like someone’s been having fun! I love my plants, but hey, there is someone at Dawson’s Garden World with green fingers, talent and a great sense of humor too!

An over-enthusiastic ‘gardener’ had filled his truck with plants and then toppled into it. Half-buried in the dirt and flowers, only ‘his’ yellow pants and black boots showed.


Anyone keen on a similar display can actually purchase the hay-stuffed pants and boots from the store. I suppose a twist to this could be to reverse the colours and use signature yellow Phua Chu Kang boots and black pants instead.    😀

Life may not be a bed of roses, but at Dawson’s, it is definitely blooming! A four-poster bed was planted with pots of flowering ericas and dwarf genistas.

There were wheelbarrows of poppies, primulas, pansies and diascia.

And to show that gardening can be child’s play, a tricycle’s basket and carrier were filled to the brim too.

Copper cats came a-calling while a stone kookaburra and kingfisher hid from its sight in a corner beneath the grevilleas.


Dawson’s definitely more than a garden centre. 


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Sungai Buloh, anyone?


“… want to go to Sungai Buloh?”

Ah, these words are music to my ears. How can I say no? I’d be ready in an instant.

IMG_2729This is one of the better known sites for garden centres (we call them nurseries) in the state. Imagine dozens of nurseries beneath the shady canopy of towering old trees. The trees are a delight; festooned with pigeon orchids, birdnest ferns and other epiphytes. I love the trees and the fresh water stream that runs through the place. But then, I digress.

A trip to Sungai Buloh has its own set of SOPs. First, the car. I empty the boot and line it, as well as the floor of the car, with newspapers. Once that’s done and I have the requisite bottle of water and cash, I am ready to hone in on one of my favourite destinations.

I make a beeline for the nurseries I like best, giving the rest a once-over in case I IMG_4633spot anything out of the ordinary. Before long, the car would be filled with flowering plants and herbs, and the boot with bags of soil. Often, fitting in the purchases require some ingenuity, especially when we usually buy more than we should.

Over the years, we’ve seen nursery ‘owners’ come and go. I miss old Mr Tan. He used to shuffle to the back and return with a pot in his hand. “This one’s special,” he’d say. “I propagated it myself.” More often than not, we’d leave with more than the bags of fertilizer and soil we intended to buy.

Mr Tan had a way of making you feel that you were a really special customer. He didn’t have a glib sales pitch but he could have sold ice blocks to the Eskimos with his disarming manner.

IMG_4639bSungai Buloh has seen many changes – the more recent being the clearing and disappearance of many nurseries and the emergence of new hospital buildings.

I have been collecting call cards and contact numbers of my favourite nurseries – just in case. At least then I can still contact them if they are suddenly relocated. I guess that’s the kiasu syndrome rearing its head. 

In the meantime, maybe I should just go there more often.

Anybody wants to join me…?


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