Singapore Garden Festival 2008 Part 1 – Overview and Nepenthes Galore!

July 28, 2008 at 11:23 am | Posted in exhibitions and events, nepenthes, orchids | Leave a comment

On 24th July,  I attended the media preview of the 2nd Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) 2008. The preview was well-attended by members of the press and TV media, e.g. LianHe Zaobao, ST, ZaoAn NiHao, Morning Singapore, Peak Magazine etc. After a short introduction by the CEO of National Parks (NP) we were divided into groups led by NP personnel on a tour around exibition Hall 601.

 

 

Some exhibits are really interesting, designed to astound one’s senses in sound, sight and even smell! Others unfortunately IMHO are lesser desirable. What really caught my eye was the dome-shape structure which was constructed for a feature by Robert and Diana Cantley from Sri Lanka showcasing a glimpse of Nepenthes and some other tropical plants in their natural habitat. To be able to see such a wide variety of tropical pitcher plants all at once, outside their natural habitat, I got very excited about this and decided to “abandon” the other media folk and the tour and indulge myself in this tropical paradise!

 The ambience was just right…

 The chorus of Nepenthes!

 

 

 

 

The highlight of the feature was three gigantic pitchers of what is supposed to be N. truncata. Those pitchers are massive! Easilt the size of a young baby. Not to mention rare too! Having their natural habitat destroyted, the world is with no more than a handful of N. truncata specimens from the wild. Thanks to the dedication of Rob and Diana, this species which was almost driven to the brink of extinction was given a new breath of life through cultivation in their facilities located in Sri Lanka.

One of my personal favorites at the show however was N. lowii, which produced bizarre toilet-bowl like pitchers. And toilet-bowls they are indeed. Scat have been found within the pitchers and on the narrow opening of the peristome, suggesting that animals like tree shrews and birds have visited the pitchers to enjoy the rich source of resin-like nectar secreted through glands under the lid. As these animals enjoy their free meal while perching on the peristome, they “conveniently” defacaete into the pitcher, much to the delight of the plant of course, as that would provide nitrogeneous matter which is in turn injested by the latter. What a unique case of mutualistic symbiosis! Nature’s profound meaning to barter trade I guess!

This particular plant displayed within the feature is not quite within the visionary enjoyment of the public; due to the delicacy of the pitchers, the dome-shaped enclosure would be out-of-bounds to the public during exhibition days. Members of the public could only see the pitchers from afar outside the enclosure, being separated from it by a water feature which runs around the external perimeters of the enclosure like a moat. However, I had the rare opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with this highlander to admire its sheer beauty.

The first pitcher, which has a dark burgundy peristome shows an accumulation of the crystaliised resin which the animals feed on. The second pitcher however, shows a more colourfully variegated peristome. And if my eyes do not fail me, they are produced by the same plant!

to be continued….

SGF 2008 Part 2: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/singapore-garden-festival-part-2-orchids-show-1/

SGF 2008 Part 3: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/singapore-garden-festival-part-3-orchid-show-2/

SGF 2008 Part 4: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/singapore-garden-festival-part-4-borneo-exotics-booth/

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