When plant enthusiast Darren Ng moved house six months ago, it took, not one, but three van loads to transport all his plants to his new abode. The 52-year-old, who handles global processes for Swarovski, estimates he has about 300 to 400 plants in total.
His plant collection now takes centrestage in his new home, a 2,050 sq ft conservation shophouse. In fact, passers-by can already get a glimpse of the lush garden even from the outside, where rows of lush greenery line the exterior, and tall bamboo plants peek out through the walls of the patio, hinting at the green wonderland that lies behind those gates.
Visitors who walk through the front gate will immediately be greeted by a verdant mini jungle.
While most of his plants are housed outdoors in the front yard, there are some that he keeps indoors as well, including new plants that he's now propagating to add to his extensive collection.
Darren started building his plant collection six years ago, but always had a blooming interest in gardening. In fact, he was in the gardening club in primary school, secondary school and junior college.
But like most plant hobbyists, it was the pandemic that spurred his interest further.
“I bought 50 per cent of my plants within the last two years because it was during the pandemic that I had more time to dedicate to gardening,” Darren tells 8 Days.
He estimates that he’s spent about $5,000 to $6,000 on plants over the years. “The maximum I’d spend on a plant is $400 to $500,” he says.
Darren’s interest in gardening extends beyond his mini jungle. He’s also a garden leader at the Siglap South CC community garden, and takes care of the orchids, ferns and some of the exotic aroids in the garden.
On top of that, he takes part in competitions such as the Singapore Garden Festival’s (SGF) horticultural competition in 2019, where he bagged a second prize. He’s planning to send in an entry in this year’s SGF Hort Show horticultural competition, where plant hobbyists can send in entries in categories like edible plants, aroids and succulents.
This year’s SGF runs from Oct 9 to 31, with a variety of activities taking place at Singapore Botanic Gardens and Jurong Lake Gardens, as well as a host of online events. The horticultural competition takes place from Oct 9 to 13. More info here.
On regular days, though, you’ll find him tending to his garden at home for about two hours daily. He sets aside an hour in the morning to water the plants, and another hour or so in the evening to maintain them and look for pests.
“It’s not a big garden but you still have to spend time looking at the nitty gritty in case there are pests,” he explains. “I had a huge problem with grasshoppers. Because I don’t spray any pesticides, they had a buffet here," he says with a laugh.
Photos: Kelvin Chia