Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Special Visitors

Last Sunday, we had some special visitors. Mr Rob Cantley, CEO of Borneo Exotics, his wife Diana and a few local pitcher plant enthusiasts came to see my son’s collection of pitcher plants. I think Rob was in Singapore for some meeting with Nparks about next year’s Singapore Garden Festival, and he took the opportunity to visit the homes of some of the local enthusiasts and give some consultation.

My son is crazy about pitcher plants - thanks partly to my friend Dr Tan Wee Kiat’s children books on the subject. Wee Kiat even took the trouble to bring him to some of the little-known places in Singapore where pitcher plants can be found in the wild. My son and his buddies at Green Cultures Singapore the regularly chat about pitcher plants online. Sometimes, they jointly purchase plants from overseas suppliers such as Borneo Exotics. Occasionally, we have strangers dropping by to exchange or buy plants. I am quite surprised that there so many young Singaporeans who are passionate about this carnivorous plant. I understand that many of them live in high-rise apartments. I heard that some even rent space in local nurseries to keep their prized collections.

I am quite happy that my son is so passionate about his pitcher plants. For one thing, between this hobby and his kayaking training, he has very little time left for playing computer games like most teenagers do. I often hear friends complaining about how their kids are hooked on computer games. I think my kids have never even touched an Xbox or Playstation before. I also think it helps to develop his social skills, something his parents seem to lack.

One small price we had to pay is that, with his hundreds of pots of pitcher plants and my wife’s stag horn ferns and other plants, our house looks like a jungle. In fact, when my car is parked in porch, there is hardly room for one person to walk into our house. We even have a huge wooden frame tailor-built in front of our house for hanging pots and climbers.

Anyway, back to the visit. I am afraid I don’t know enough about the topic to share with you; although thanks to Wee Kiat’s book, Jack and the Carnivorous Pitcher Plant, I am no longer intimidated by names like Nepenthes, Rafflesiana and Ampullaria. I even know the difference between and upper and lower pitcher!

All I can do is show you some photos. By the way, I think Rob and Diana will be giving a talk about growing pitcher plants in an urban environment at GardenTech2007 next month. You may be able to see some photos of our home at that presentation.

Another quiz for you guys. What is the name of this carnivorous plant? It’s my favourite. I think it’s much prettier than the pitcher plant.


Victor said...

If they show photos of your home at the GardenTech2007, you may get offers from people to buy it.

Anonymous said...

While being lost in a 'forest' of plants, undoubtedly this reflects how paasionately people are in the pursuit of their interests. We read of scientists fainted in their labs because they had forgotten to eat, likewise in all areas of human endeavours, all because of passion.

Lam Chun See said...

People see the jungle won't dare to buy.

Anonymous said...

Chun See
I dont know the name of the canivorous plant as (much to my wife's annoyance) I hardly can remember any plant names! But we have one in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens in the hot house where it is always of great interest to visitors - so I know where to look to find out the name!


ps love those pics of your jungle like house - parts of ours look somewhat similar!

Tom said...

Tom said ...
Brian I think ,Iknow the
name of the canivorous plant Chun See, us to answer I use to be in a quiz team, so Iam going to put my head on the block, is it called
a Saracenia, Chun see.

Anonymous said...

An American friend visited us a couple of years back. I didn't know where to bring him for sight-seeing. I ended up bringing him to little India for lunch and later on to the Botanic garden. He was captivated to find so many plants and trees confined in one location, and was particularly attracted to the Orchid garden. Being a youngster from the mid-west (quite bared of greenery), he was simply overwhelmed by such lush environment.

Lam Chun See said...

Well done Tom. It is called the Sarracenia. I often have difficulty remembering it until my son taught me the secret. Just the Sarah Senior.