If there is anything that perks me up, it is having the opportunity to plant a bare area and see it come alive and transform into a beautiful landscape. This was precisely what happened at this toilet block area of the Fragile Forest.
I took over the Fragile Forest from a colleague recently and I wasn't the one who planted the palms behind the toilet block and on the slope. When I first came to the site, the bare earth in front of the toilet and below the existing Khaya senegalensis trees made me feel very uncomfortable that I had to plant up this area first.
The theme for this area is palms (Family: Palmae/Arecaceae), so I planted up a number of Kerridoxa elegans (common name: White Elephant Palm, King Thai Palm), which is a fan palm with large fronds with a silverish underside. That immediately gave the place a different look and shielded the dry fronds of the Borassodendron machadonis. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos before the planting to show the stark difference after the planting. This first set of photos captured the look soon after the palms were in.
I added a clump of Elaeocarpus grandiflorus (common name: Fairy Petticoat, Fringe Bells, Lily of the Valley Tree; Family: Elaeocarpaceae) with red flowers near the southern part of the site and a Elatiospermum tapos (common name: Kra, Perah, Tapos; Family: Euphorbiaceae) beside the car park.
Subsequently, I added clusters of Areca catechu (common name: Betel Nut Palm), a few Rhopaloblaste singaporensis (common name: Keringtin Palm), Areca vestiara (common name: Orange Crownshaft Palm, Orange Palm, Pinang Merah) which further added to my delighted mood over the week. I was so excited about the bountiful opportunities offered by the site and kept thinking and dreaming about it. I am planning to gradually add the following to this site:
- a collection of Aglaonema
- a collection of terrestrial and epiphytic orchids
- a collection of butterfly host and nectar plants
- a collection of pitcher plants
- Caryota mitis
- Cyrtostachys renda
- Euterpe oleracea
- Iguanura species
- Johannesteijsmannia species
- Licuala species e.g. L. mattanensis 'Mapu'
- Phoenicophorium borsigianum