Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bonsai Gallery, Singapore

My Singapore bonsai saga continues. I already talked about one of Singapore’s bonsai nurseries earlier ( Here is another one called “Bonsai Gallery”. It is run by a father-and-son team, jovial and friendly people, passionate about bonsai. It started for them as a hobby and then turned into a business. At present Bonsai Gallery is located at Garden Hub, but it is going to move to a new place within a year. The type of material sold at their nursery is shown below.

A little note about the tree marked with asterisk. It is a 2.5 m tall Podocarpus imported from Japan and priced at SG$88,000. I felt that the prices for bonsai in Singapore were considerably higher than in Australia. I also found that a significant proportion of the plants at Bonsai Gallery was imported from China. And one of such plants was very interesting indeed. It was labelled as "Ponamalla(see its Chinese name below) and I couldn’t find anything about it until one of the blog readers pointed out that its correct name is Ponamella fragilia . At the nursery, I was told that it is endemic to Hainan Island. It is a tropical evergreen with growth habits and morphology suitable for bonsai. Its dead wood is hard and naturally black, which is striking (see images below). But wait, there is more, this plant can survive indoors for at least six months without any ill effects. 

Another curiosity imported from China were these trees with rocks imbedded in their trunks. They looked bizarre (see images below). The rightmost image shows a tree that pushed its rock out. All these trees are dug out from the wild.

One final observation. The two nurseries I visited in Singapore had quite a poor selection of bonsai pots. A bonsai pot collector I met there, told me, that there is just no place in Singapore where you can go and buy a new pot of your specifications. On the other hand, it is possible to buy a vintage Chinese pot from a dealer or a collector, which usually is not possible in Australia.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stone lanterns at Singapore Japanese Garden

Singapore Japanese Garden is located right next to the Chinese Gardens (same train station). The garden is very large which is impressive and grand. Large pond frames the most picturesque areas of the garden (see images above). However, flat relief of the garden made it hard for the designer to create points of interest. Most of all, the focal point of the entire garden is an unremarkable modern building. Several features of the garden like the red bridge, the tori gate and the red garden umbrella looked a little tacky. On the positive side, the garden has a tremendous potential. For me, the most impressive feature of the garden was its collection of stone lanterns. They are shown below.

I put together descriptions for the images above. They are mostly compiled from the explanation plates placed next to the lanterns in the garden. However, I have noticed inconsistencies in them, plus some plates were damaged or absent. So, I got the missing information from the Internet, hence 100% accuracy can’t be guaranteed. Anyway, here it is.

1 – Rankei Yukimi-dōrō (one-legged snow-viewing lantern)
2 – Tachi-dōrō type of lantern (pedestal lantern)
3 – Mizubotaru dōrō (‘water firefly’ lantern)
4 – Kogei-dōrō (Koggei lantern)
5 – Kanjuji-dōrō (Kanju-ji Temple lantern)
6 – Kusaya-dōrō (‘grass house’ lantern)
7 – Yukimi-dōrō (snow-viewing lantern)
8 – Ikekomi-dōrō type of lantern (buried’ lantern)
9 – Kasuga-Okazaki dōrō (a kind of Kasuga Shrine lantern)
10 – Rikyu-dōrō (Rikyu’s lantern)
11 – Kasuga-dōrō (Kasuga Shrine lantern)
12 – Tachi-dōrō type of lantern (pedestal lantern) 
13 – Eto-dōrō (Eto’s lantern)
14 – Rengeji-dōrō (Rengeji Temple lantern)
15 – Omokage Yukimi-dōrō (a kind of snow-viewing lantern)
16 – Tachi-dōrō type of lantern (pedestal lantern)
17 – Nishinoya-dōrō (Nishinoya lantern)
18 – Oribe-dōrō (Oribe’s lantern)
19 – Kodai Rengeji-dōrō (Old Rengeji lantern)
20 – Tenkachaya-dōrō (Tenkachaya Teahouse lantern)

P. S. For my blog posts on Japanese gardens in Kyoto see the following links:

Kyoto Gosho -