gardens by the bay at night

Dearest ______,

Some say it’s best to visit Gardens by the Bay during the day, when you can actually see everything; when your pictures come out more punchy thus less reliant on phone camera filters.

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Some months ago, the office went to the GBB right after work; as the sun was about to set. Because colors or shapes are indeed less pronounced in the dark, night time lent the garden an air of mystery and maybe a little bit of magic.

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versus zombies

Dearest ______,

Despite the utter lack of greenness in my thumb, I always imagine having a small patch of green- anywhere, any way- around me when I finally get my own place in the future. I always sense an advancing herd of zombies on their way to attack, thus this fixation with plants. Taking a cue from that annoyingly addictive game from last year, I need plants to defend myself from impending, full- on zombie attacks every now and then.  

Surely this isn’t some preposterous need for:-
a. (literally) a breath of fresh air
b. a natural piece of beauty nearby
c. both

My best friend in LA sent me The Selby’s book for my birthday last year.  The most inspiring spaces always seemed to have pockets- if not pots- of plants and vegetables, or some very cool backyards.  I wish I had any one of those.

And probably one excellent gardener on speed dial.

Love,
Karlita

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black thumb turned black thoughts

Dearest ______,

Remember that minor meltdown involving newly acquired orchids and my apparent case of black thumbism (inborn, nothing new)?

Well the other day, someone else who got the same pots of orchids, from the same batch, from the same garden, from the same day, etc etc sent me a picture of his very own progress:

If you remember correctly, mine as of last week had shed 80% of its glory unto a heap of biodegradables: all yellow and rot- infested.

I then proceeded to do some research and realized that I had probably over- watered my plants…  So I stopped, put crushed egg shells all around the pots, aired them to dry, etc etc.

When we asked above picture’s owner, what in Fern Gully’s name he ever did to get his orchids to bloom this way (and give birth to a brand new stalk at that!)… he said,

“Oh, I don’t know…  I guess I just put it on the floor and watered it twice a day.”

Black thumb turned black thoughts.

Hope you’re having less of a Rage Comic- day yourself!

Love,

Karlita

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black thumb

Dearest ______,

I almost had a faint on my way out of the house this morning, walking past the long- neglected bicycles, the batch of laundry hanging out to dry, then seeing my orchids shedding yellow, wilted leaves with rotten black spots at the tips.

Wait a second- what?

Yes, it’s true. They’re already dying, after just five days of owning them! A record feat on black thumbism , even for me- who had just come up with such a ridiculous name for being a hopeless gardener!

Wait a second- what? Now you have orchids?

Why, yes, I do. Or I did. Or I don’t know.

It feels so freakin’ frustrating, that’s what it is. My grandmother used to have a huge orchid garden, with exotic species flying in from Indonesia and stuff… My grandfather can plant on a barren piece of land and grow literally anything on it… My mom’s brothers are legitimate farmers, for crying out loud. So, it just might be that… I am the black thumb of the family!

I’ve read up a good deal on orchids since my sad discovery and found out a few basic things I should have known before attempting to even take care of these plants:

Many people make the mistake of assuming that since orchids are native to tropical rainforests, they must be watered several times a week. Unfortunately, watering this frequently will kill the roots of any orchid in short order. The general rule of thumb for orchids grown in the home is to water every 5 to 12 days, depending on the type of orchid, the temperature the plant is grown in, and the time of year. …Okay, so should I be totally bothered that I’ve been watering them every single day, for five straight days now??

– Yellow leaves on orchid plants can be due to too much light. In fact, in the mid day summer sun orchids can actually get burned spots on their leaves. This may be one of the more common reasons for yellowing of leaves.

Although, not usual, too much water can also cause the leaves to turn yellow. But in addition, there will be evidence of “rot” as well. Too much watering can cause a fungal infection and this is seen with black areas within the yellow.

Stop watering for a week or two and then only once a week after. You need to treat for a fungal infection (i.e. Phyton 27 solution)

Don’t die, babies!

Love,

Karlita

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vegetarian kitchen: garden state

Dearest ______,

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What you do, basically, is run through a garden of vegetables with arms and fingers widely spread apart. Speed is the key here, my dear. Because as you go past rows of lady fingers, bitter gourd, and a variety of leafy things, you just need to mercilessly grab as many as you can. You stash the whole bunch in scalding hot water, et voila. Pepper for more fun. Salt for good reason.

Alternatively, one may just come over Singapore and go to any regular hawker center (read:public food court). This should have at least one stall that says Yong Tau Fu. There’s a pretty good one (read: fresh) in Bras Basah, which is just within the city. I obviously haven’t been to any gardens these past 27 years, so…

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