New Community Garden Trails open
24 Oct 2017
- Guided tours of two new trails in Central and Southwest districts in conjunction with NParks’ Community Garden Festival 2017
The National Parks Board (NParks) today unveiled two new trails of Community in Bloom (CIB) gardens in Bukit Gombak-Hong Kah North and Teck Ghee, bringing the total number of community garden trails to five. The other trails are at Bukit Panjang, Tampines, and Fengshan. NParks will be organising guided tours of the two new trails on 11 and 12 November in conjunction with the Community Garden Festival. These garden trails offer members of the public who wish to find out more about gardening in their neighbourhoods the opportunity to meet the gardeners in their community and learn more about plants. A number of these gardening groups organise frequent gardening programmes for schools in the vicinity or share their harvest with neighbours outside their regular gardening groups. NParks worked with the CIB community to develop these trails to create greater awareness of these gardens, bring like-minded residents together to share their love for gardening and create opportunities for the community to interact.
During the guided tours, community gardeners will be present at these gardens to host visitors and exchange gardening tips. These gardens along the trails were curated based on their proximity to each other, the involvement of the community gardeners and the variety of plants showcased in these gardens. The five community garden trails have planting themes, namely edibles, ornamentals or biodiversity-attracting plants. Plants at these gardens may range from leafy greens and fruit trees to orchids and plants which attract butterflies.
Online guides of the two new community garden trails are already available. Members of the public may explore all five trails at their own leisure by downloading the DIY trail guides from the NParks website www.nparks.gov.sg/gardening/community-garden/garden-trails. These guides include a map of the gardens along the trail, the gardens’ distinctive features, opening hours and contact information for the gardeners.
Positive response to earlier garden trails
The earlier garden trails were welcomed by the community. Residents in Fengshan who visited the community garden trail learnt about the diversity of plants in the gardens and environmentally-friendly gardening practices. Residents who are not part of the gardening group have also been able to harvest different edibles, such as pandan and lemongrass, from those grown by community gardeners in Bukit Panjang trail just outside the community gardens.
In addition, some of these gardens serve as outdoor classrooms for schools and pre-schools in the vicinity to learn more about growing edibles from the community gardeners. Gardeners at Bukit Gombak Goodview Garden have reserved garden plots for nearby pre-schoolers to have a hands-on experience in gardening, while gardeners at Ang Mo Kio-Hougang Zone 1 invite students from Xin Min Primary School to their harvesting sessions to immerse themselves in the community “kampong spirit”. Over the past eight years, the garden has been dividing their harvest with over 60 needy or senior residents in their neighbourhood.
NParks’ Chief Executive Officer Mr Kenneth Er said, “Since the NParks CIB programme was initiated in 2005, the number of community gardens has surpassed 1,300 and continues to grow. The participation of community gardeners is key to Singapore transforming into a City in a Garden. The gardeners’ enthusiasm in sharing tips, bonding over harvests, as well as taking part in various activities and events such as the Community Garden Edibles Competition and Community Garden Festival is heartening. We hope through the garden trails more people will join the CIB programme and help spread the message that everyone can garden.”
Registration for the two community garden trails opens on 29 October. Members of the public may choose to sign up for 8.30am or 10.30am sessions of the Teck Ghee community garden trail on 11 November, or the Bukit Gombak-Hong Kah North community garden trail on 12 November. The first 50 participants who sign up for the guided tours will be able to claim a free pot of Ceylon spinach (Basella alba) at the upcoming Community Garden Festival which will be held at HortPark from 3 to 5 November 2017. Interested participants may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating which session they would like to register for.
Community Garden Festival 2017
The biennial Community Garden Festival returns for its second year at HortPark from 3 to 5 November. It provides gardening enthusiasts with a platform to exchange tips and bond over a shared passion, as well as the opportunity to learn from the experts and pick up bargains from the MarketPlace. In addition to gardening plots set up by community gardeners, the Festival will feature landscape displays created using edible plants, as well as tours, workshops and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. There will also be the “Designing with Edibles” competition and the Community Garden Edibles Competition. Details of the Festival can be found in the www.nparks.gov.sg/gardening/community-garden-festival