Sowing Seeds Of Friendship At Lakeside Grove
Whether you live in a bustling HDB estate or a quiet residential suburb, you may have experienced difficulties in getting to know those living around you. Residents in many neighbourhoods seldom have the chance to come together socially – unless they have a common shared interest.
At Lakeside Grove, a quiet community tucked away near Corporation Road, a good many of the residents bond over their hobby of gardening. Their neighbourhood garden is modelled after a Chinese scenic painting: it incorporates a mountain spring trickling down rocky slides, and meandering across the land. Sitting by the resultant river are bonsai, Chinese architecture, and other ceramic figures symbolic of ancient Chinese culture.
The catch? Unless you are extremely petite, you may have difficulties taking in all the intricate details. This garden is built on a smaller scale than the usual, and has been dubbed the ‘miniature garden’ by residents of Lakeside Grove.
Launched in January 2010, Lakeside Grove’s garden is a relatively new addition to the neighbourhood. “It started last year, when our gardening club members thought of creating a community garden within the playground. We were hoping to create opportunities to connect with more residents,” said Mr Tony Yau, 56, founder of the gardening club.
Gardening In Your Neighbourhood
If you and your neighbours are interested in gardening, how about setting up your own community garden too?
For more information on how you can get started, visit the Community In Bloom website at http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cib
The estate originally started off with individual roadside gardens, which each household tended on their own. Over time, the gardening club members saw the need to create a bigger gardening space for the ever-increasing number of eager gardeners seeking to beautify the estate.
Two months was all it took for the miniature garden to take shape. Led by Mr Tony Yau who handled the landscaping, the core group involved in its creation also included Mr David Tan, 46, who did the waterproofing, and Mr Kelvin Tan, 44, who took care of the hydraulic system. None of them had professional training in the task they performed in setting up the garden. Nonetheless, they plunged into the project with a passion.
And so, the miniature garden was born. Almost overnight, the once-underutilised playground was transformed into a hub for the community to gather and socialise. Alongside the children running around and having fun, older residents now find the garden a pleasant place to relax in after a hard day's work. The senior citizens of the neighbourhood also enjoy it as a green haven where they can meet and catch up with each other.
There has been immense support for the gardening club and miniature garden. Even residents without green thumbs have been taking part enthusiastically in activities organised by the club. The garden has brought the community closer together, according to Mr Sim, chairman of the gardening club. “Although most of us have stayed here for more than five years, we only became friends recently.”
It is these strengthened ties of friendship which have influenced at least one family not to sell their property at Lakeside Grove, despite favourable offers. Said one resident, Mr Desmond Leow: “It’s hard to find another estate where you can share such strong bonds.”
By Maxel Ng
The miniature garden comprises materials from as far as Guangzhou, China. Some of the materials were recycled from elsewhere in the estate, such as the tables and chairs.
Lakeside Grove resident Mr David Tan laying gravel over wet cement, to create a gravel wash surface for the miniature garden’s ‘river’.
Lakeside Grove is also a venue for events where residents and students from neighbouring schools can learn more about fun of gardening
Residents of all ages have adopted the miniature garden as their gathering spot of choice.
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