13 Sep – Celebrating biodiversity at the garden

Our garden is one of the community gardens selected by NParks to plant butterfly-attracting plants, to help extend the reach of Tengah Nature Way.

Tengah Nature Way is an initiative by NParks and the South West Community Development Council (CDC) to bring biodiversity closer to the neighbourhood, while hopefully also provide a green corridor for birds and butterflies to travel between the forest areas of the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment nature reserves and the Western Water catchment.

We must be doing something right for we encountered butterflies, lady birds and even a tortoise beetle at the garden!

Here are some photos:

Plain Tiger butterfly on dill

Plain Tiger butterfly on dill. Neighbour Steven said we are blessed to see this and other butterfly species in our garden because of our crown flower plant (host plant)

Mottled Emigrant butterfly on plant Cassia alata

Mottled Emigrant butterfly on plant Cassia alata. In this photo, the egg, caterpillar and butterfly of the same species. (ID credit: neighbour Steven)

Contiguous Swift skipper butterfly (ID credit: neighbour Steven)

Contiguous Swift skipper butterfly (ID credit: neighbour Steven)

Green mottled tortoise beetle

Green mottled tortoise beetle (Photo credit: neighbour Steven; ID credit: neighbour Dennis). A first sighting! We initially thought it was a ‘bad’ lady bird, and was rather relieved to know that it was not. But it does feed on leaves, so we will need to monitor what it feeds on!

13 Sep – Learning about our new irrigation system

In just 3 days, HKS Engineering installed a fully sponsored automatic irrigation system at Pavilion’s edible garden in the park. They did so as they are partnering Nature Company, which selected our garden to share technical knowledge and tools, etc for 6 months to help build the community spirit & sustainability of the community garden.

Jack and team came to share about the system they designed, and patiently listened to our questions and feedback.

They shared that they plan to come down every 2 to 3 weeks during this 6 month period, to guide the neighbours to maintain & troubleshoot the system.

Neighbours listening intently to Jack of HKS Engineering

Some of the neighbours listening intently to Jack of HKS Engineering

Reflections that stemmed from the garden’s launch.

It’s been nearly a week since “Pavilion Celebrates”, an event that seemed like the appropriate culmination for all the reasons the garden is there. Sure, it is a little strange to think of the garden as “award-winning” even before it’s launched, but that’s how it happened. Now that it’s launched, It is amazing to think back and realize just how much our garden has grown.

Having diverse views about everything under the sun is a part of human nature. It makes for healthy debates and compromises. In this peculiar way, the garden has brought us closer as a community. As the day of the event drew nearer, neighbors from all over the estate came together, faces and names now more familiar and friendlier than they were before. They took time out of their busy lives to chip in to the preparation efforts. On the day of the carnival, they brought their hands, willingness, eagerness, stories, dreams, laughter, and hearty foods of all sorts to share – some of which included harvests from the garden in their recipes! Memories of the delightfully simple fare from when the CIB judges came down surely created anticipation in some of the neighbors.

Moreover, we’ve managed to expand our circle beyond the estate, by reaching out to other community gardens, commercial farms, landscape companies, and other interesting communities that were willing to help us in their own ways. There is always something to learn, and something to share. Everybody knows, that knowledge is power.

Putting aside the temporal loss of ladybird bugs (read: temporal), the garden is now green(er), providing, and provided for. What was once a flat piece of grass land is now a thriving, ever-changing mini-ecosystem that was built upon the principles of biodiversity, permaculture, and sustainability. It provides a home to all the plants that we’ve planted, as well as the insects and animals that have been attracted to the area. It provides delicious harvests that we are always grateful for. This is only possible because of what we’ve sown. Neighbors are always helping in their own ways to keep the garden healthy. Everyone who has ever been involved in the garden’s growth, how ever seemingly small the input may be, should be proud of what we have achieved thus far.

Thank you neighbors, and thank you Garden, for the memories we’ve created together. Let’s look forward to growing and learning even more, from one another.

(Originally posted on Lydia’s personal blog.)

and… the garden is launched!!

It has been a really busy weekend, with last-minute preparations for an afternoon of celebrations – starting with a green carnival, followed potluck, launch of the edible garden, lantern stroll & guessing of mid-autumn riddles.

The garden was launched by Ms. Low Yen Ling, who holds a multitude of government posts, but is really welcomed by the community as our MP. Our launch mechanism was a coconut – when the lid was pressed, spotlights on our new edible garden signage are immediately turned on! A truly innovative idea by one of our neighbours, Benny, who also helped a lot in the initial construction phases of the garden project :) 

the most innovative coconut use ever!

an ordinary looking coconut… and the most innovative use ever!

Our new signage for the garden!

Our new signage for the garden!

Pavilion celebrates! photo booth

Pavilion celebrates! photo booth

some of the many neighbours who came for the event

some of the many neighbours who came for the event

Graphic recording in progress. Neighbours say what they want to see in the neighbourhood, and their words are drawn immediately after by Melody

Graphic recording in progress. Neighbours say what they want to see in the neighbourhood, and their words are drawn immediately after by Melody

Edible garden team and Mayor Ms. Low Yen Ling

Edible garden team and Mayor Ms. Low Yen Ling

4 Sep – The edible garden gets its own irrigation system :)

Pavilion’s edible garden has been selected by The Nature Company for a 6-month sponsorship and technical guidance programme. It is an honour for us to be selected :) For the programme to work, they gave us a criterion: the neighbours need to come together to learn, work & play together at the garden as a large, committed group.

One of the things they decided to focus on is getting an auto irrigation system set-up in the garden before our garden launch this Sunday.

There-in lies the first challenge. The garden didn’t have its own water supply as yet! It was only in the last week that we finally had a water tap installed in the park. The minute the tap was installed, plans for setting up the auto irrigation system were made.

An irrigation setup team from HKS Engineering (which partners Nature Company in sponsoring irrigation products) started working on piping the entire garden from the new water point today.

They re-assured us that over this 6-month period, they will try their best to train up our neighbours so that we know how to maintain and trouble-shoot the system ourselves.

PVC pipes being installed

Irrigation pipes being installed

Irrigation pipes being installed

Irrigation pipes being installed

Irrigation pipes being installed

Irrigation pipes being installed