Singapore Garden Festival Part 4 : Borneo Exotics Booth

July 29, 2008 at 8:19 am | Posted in books, exhibitions and events, nepenthes | Leave a comment

Together with the orchid show in Hall 401 is a range of stalls set up by nurseries and plant growers from both local and overseas. Having been overwhelmed by the magnificent display of Nepenthes by Rob and Diana, I quickly made my way to Borneo Exotics’ Booth on level 4. The booth was still in midst of being set up on the first day. Apart from a range of lowland and intermediate species and hybrids on sale, there were two interesting finds at the booth.

Firstly, a new edition to “Pitcher Plants of Borneo” by Lamb and Phillippe with new contributions from Ch’ien Lee.

 Some random pictures taken from the book.



 Second interesting find is the exquisite Nepenthes prints done by Mr Wiliam Richard Taylor, who’s currently based in Kuching. The details on each one of them is amazing. Heard from Rob the prints were all drawn based on live specimens and not through photographs. Taylor had spent a considerable amount of time doing up these beautiful art pieces in situ at Rob’s facilities in Sri Lanka. Absolutely stunning work.


















Several interesting hybrids are avaiable at the booth, the most anticipated of course, was N. xGardenTech, which is a N. ventricosa x ampullaria  . This is the intensity of one of the larger plants on sale.


And this is one of the S-sized plants available. Cute lil’ fella!

















to be continued….


Singapore Garden Festival Part 3 – Orchid Show (2) : Dendrobiums

July 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Posted in books, exhibitions and events, orchids | Leave a comment

Next comes the Dendrobium. Decide to take pictures of the more unusual ones.

D. erosum?

 D. farmeri

 D. macrophyllum

A lot of aunties were fascinated by how D. braeteosum could have flowers growing near the base. *laughs*

And other same aunties commented how the flowers of D. similieae look more like bunches of berries than flowers.

 Then comes my favorites, the antelopes of the Spatulata tribe. yummy!!!

D. lasianthera, one of the most flamboyant of the spatulatas.

D. sutiknoi. one of my personal favs!

A down dropping D. lasianthera. 

More D. lasianthera!

D. strebloceras 

The elegant D. stratiotes. This shot kinda reminds me of the cover of Lavarack’s latest edition of “Dendrobium and its Relatives”, except that the featured dend on the book cover is D. anntenatum I think.

 Speaking of which , there is a book on sale at the show on the Spatatula Orchids of Papua New Guinea, published two years back by the Orchid Society of PNG. This beautiful book covering all the known species from PNG then as well as some probable new species yet to be described. The only place I could find this book for sale online is over at orchidbooks, at twice the price of what’s being offered during the show. Wasted no time in getting a copy for myself. 🙂

 to be continued…

SGF 2008 part 1 :

SGF 2008 Part 2 :

 SGF 2008 part 4 :


Book Review – A to Z South East Asian Orchid Species

July 8, 2008 at 5:03 am | Posted in books | Leave a comment

I’m a sucker for books. More so for books on orchids and related paraphenalia. This is a book that I had been wanting to get for quite some time now. His earlier publication on “Lowland Orchids of Papua New Guinea” was interesting but not really hobbyist-friendly; too much “science” involved and too few colour plates. In contrast, ” A to Z South East Asian Orchid Species” (A to Z for short) published by the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA) seems precisely to be targeted for the average orchid lover, one who’s interested to find out a bit more.  

Don’t get deceived by the name. “A to Z” does not contain all the known orchid species describe from SEA, nor did it profess to have contained so in the first place. But for me, this book does not fall short of any of the other areas it aims to fulfil.

Firstly, it serves well as a guidebook for floral identitification to more commonly seen orchid species from SEA, both in cultivation and in nature. But being common isn’t exactly just what O’Bryne had intended to be; it also contains photographs and information on rare and unusual orchid species which at the point of its publication, known from drawings and sometimes only textual description. There’s also an inclusion of several species which had been described by him around the time of publication, one most notably interesting for me is Malaxis hoi. A distribution map and a “plant habit guide” for each species is also provided for every species featured. The taxonomic details are also up-to-date e.g. Bulb. putidum instead of Bulb. fascinator.

Secondly, it contains information on cultivation requirements e.g. temperature, shade and watering requirements, the last being decided upon by the raining patterns of regions where the species is endemic to. It even contains advice on cultivation treatment pertaining to the choice of pot, as well as lime requirement for certain species. In short, its a wonderul book to own and read for the novice orchid gardener like yours truly.

This book contains 168 pages and covers 400 species across 94 genera. To speak fairly, no book of such a size would be able to contain the plethora of orchid species from the SEA region and at the same time give each description a fair treatment. But the choice of species O’ Bryne had put up in “A to Z” is both sound and satisfactory. It is highly graphic and photographs are of very high quality. One can probably only quibble over the lack of pictures of foliage which many of the orchid species included have been widely admired for and might be instrumental for their identification, e.g. Malaxis spp. Paphiopedilum spp. , Phalaenopsis celebensis, Phal. schilleriana etc. There’s also no photo entry for Zeuxine spp.

Despite the title, the book covers species all the way to the Vietnam-China border, e.g. Paph. malipoense. It’s also very portable and handy, making it convenient to bring along to nurseries for identification needs. Overall, its an wonderful book to have and most certainly earns a worthy place in any orchid lover’s reference library.



Book Review – Aquarium Plants by Christel Kasselmann

July 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Posted in books, cryptocoryne | 1 Comment

Aquarists of the planted tank hobby should be not unfamiliar with Kasselmann’s book “Aquarium Plants”. Herr Kasselmann is a respected aquarist, the chief editor of the famed publication, Aqua Planta as well as noted author of several books on aquaria hobby, the current title showcased here being probably the most well-known and widely owned.

The content pages

 One of the numerous strengths of this book is its discussion on the science behind the survival and evolution of these aquatic plants, e.g. understanding their inflorescence morphology, pollination and reproduction biology, detailed information on the water chemistry of various types of water systems. It provides the reader, presumably an aquaria enthusiast, with information which might not be readily available  otherwise.

And the reason why this is a must-have for crypt fanatics is its coverage on these aquatic aroids, which is the most extensive to date in aquarium literature.  Not only are there pictures of inflorescence for ease of identification, there are also photographs of crypt localities taken in situ by the author during his crypt hunting days, most notably with Bogner to Sri Lanka. One can only drool and dream about visiting these sites someday.

What’s even more curious is his inclusion of the taxa from the genus Laganendra, amphibious aroids which are closely related to their Cryptocoryne cousins but one would not necessarily associate them as being “aquatic”, let alone being used in aquascapes. Has it been done before even!? This section is refreshing and nonetheless valuable, as finding information on Laganendra spp. is as difficult as getting a wooden chicken to lay eggs, or as I always tell my students, getting papayas to grow on watermelon trees. The premise of the argument is of course, watermelons don’t grow on trees in the first place!

If one was to find fault with this publication in deliberation, one could probably only criticise that the information in the book is not as updated as we would have wished. Sounds familiar? 🙂 Some taxon like “C. diderici ” had already been lower to a morph of C. cordata. Same with ‘“C. zewaldiae” being synonymised as C. minima variants from Sumatra. It would be even better if it had contained information on the demands of an emerse crypt setup and related aroid species. A  large pullout map denoting the distribution of the various Cryptocoryne species would be great, more precise information down to the last bearing on collection locality would be ideal but then again, that would be just shameless nit-picking from the forever insatiable. 🙂

In summary, its a very enjoyable book both in textual and graphical content. It is a book to be savoured by both emerse crypt lovers and general aquaria hobbyists who wants to know more about these green thingies they deal with, be it an a master scaping artist or a Day 1 novice. I most certainly did.

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