Growing Green

Bye Bye Scales

Scale insects, before and after.

Scale insects are a common sap-sucking pest on many plants and can vary dramatically in their appearance. There are over 8000 species of scale insects, superfamily Coccoidea, ranked in the order Hemiptera, suborder Sternorrhyncha, which makes them true bugs and related to aphids, whiteflies, and mealy bugs. 

As a defence, they secrete a waxy substance impervious to most liquids, and the wax from one species, Kerria lacca, being so durable that it was used to make shellac. Because of this coating, they are quite resistant to many pesticides and can be...


Saving Cassia

 

A couple of months back, we've had a fair bit of construction work started around our estate for some new public apartments and upgrading work. There was a large, four storey high Golden Rain Tree* (Cassia fistula) that grew at the end of the community garden next to the construction site.

A drought tolerant and relatively fast growing member of the legume family native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia, it is popularly used in streetscapes and has ethnobotanical uses in ayurvedic medicine. 

This particular tree stood for many years giving...


Sometimes When You Buy Orchids...

If you've been following our posts, you'll see that we've gotten a few beautiful peloric dendrobiums from the market. Although the plants seemed healthy and were in full bloom when we got it, an inspection of the roots after purchase told a different story.

While the plants were at some point growing extremely well, as we can see from the mass of roots, most of them are actually dead, either soggy/mushy, or dry and hollow, probably a result of overwatering. Sadly this is quite a common occurrence with store bought orchids, as the...


Peloric Dendrobiums are Gorgeous!

By chance we found this gorgeous dendrobium at the market—actually there were three plants in this pot, that's why the sprays of flowers have an inverse coloration from each other.

Notice the blooms do not have the usual two planes of symmetry but instead have three, and they are also slightly frilly around the edges. These orchids have a mutation in them that causes them to produce these unusual floral shapes, and while they are not as rare as they were in the past, they are still quite uncommon and a lucky find for...


A Vertical Garden at 10 Weeks

Vertical gardens allow us to enjoy a little bit greenery in our concrete jungle. With a bit of space and planning, bare walls can be not only transformed to lush flora to rest our eyes and soothe our senses, but also help to cool the surrounding environment and purify the air.

About 10 weeks ago we planted a vertical garden for a client. The location is quite windy, so we have opted for a hydroponic growing method for easier care and lower maintenance. The area receives around 2-3 hours late morning direct sun, with bright indirect light for the...