Johor Green's Garden Party

Johor Green, a group of people in Johor Baru who aims to inform, inspire, influence, encourage and connect with the community on a social path to a greener Johor, recently held their annual Garden Party.  

Johor Green founder, Chris Parry [3rd from Left] with
guests from the Singapore Consul Office in Johor Baru
in the Tropical Cottage Garden
Guests at the party themed, “It’s Time” met with like-minded people to exchange views and inspire with more sophisticated ideas of garden design elements and precise plant choices.  With a year round growing season, abundant sunshine and rainfall, they learnt to take advantage of the micro climates to transform outdoor spaces into useful and aesthetically beautiful backyards.

Guests were introduced to three garden areas, each with very different personalities and planting choices: a Native Garden that showcases flora native to the South East Asia region, a Dry Garden that encourages potential gardeners to use a hostile, dry and sunny space that requires little watering and maintenance, and a Tropical Cottage Garden filled with useful, edible, medicinal and decorative plants.  Since the inaugural Garden Party held three years ago, the three gardens have grown fairly mature and were able to show the potential of gardens to satisfy a variety of lifestyle needs like outdoor entertaining spaces, and food and decorative elements to bring into the home. 

DIY enthusiasts, Alex Kee [Left] holding a jar of harvested
rain water from the rain water harvesting tank,
with Koh Jit Huat
The garden also showcased sustainable methods like organic gardening and was an example of how a garden can thrive without resorting to the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  An interesting talking point was a rainwater harvesting tank, installed by DIY enthusiasts, Alex Kee and Koh Jit Huat, who talked to guests about the benefits of installing a similar system in their own garden. 

“Every home should seriously consider having a rainwater harvesting system,” said Cheng Yun Wan, who already has plans to build this feature in her own home.  After the recent 2-day experience when water supply was disrupted in various parts of the city due to reservoir contamination, she wanted to be sure that she will not be at the mercy of such mishaps. 

Another guest, Sharon Teh, said she was inspired to make better use of the garden in her semi-detached home.  “It’s so creative and refreshing,” she said, impressed by the creative use of space in the Tropical Cottage Garden and where decorative solar lanterns provide light at night.  “My husband also enjoys gardening and we want to plant fruit trees so that we can enjoy eating the fruits,” she added.

Composting experts, Ataka Yang [Right] and Alex Kee
[2nd from Right] explaining the basic steps of composting
Johor Green regularly hosts workshops, outdoor classes and nature walks with students to encourage youngsters to get closer with plants to learn more about the roles we play in our ecosystem and understand their significance from various viewpoints like art, science and culture.  

Students who participated in these activities were at the Garden Party as volunteers and drew attention to the newly set up website:  This website is being developed with more details about garden plants and planting techniques and will become a reference tool for further engagement with gardening enthusiasts in future gardening workshops.

“It’s heartening to see how Johor Green brought together a community of like-minded people to talk about environmental conservation, raise awareness and spread more interest on sustainable issues,” said Singapore Consul General for JB, Ian Mak.

Johor Green believes that art is a powerful way to engage people with ideas and emotional responses to our environment and its problems.  Two exhibitions were presented in the form of an Ikebana show themed “Summertime” and three exciting exhibits in “A Time for Action,” a showcase of collaborative works with artists and voices, with a strong message to rally civil society to become more aware and proactive in dealing with environmental issues.

Garden Party guests with "Reluctant Star", an art
installation with TapiTapir in its center
The Ikebana exhibition was a collaboration between Johor Green and Ohara Circle, a study group in the Ohara school of Ikebana.  While all botanic materials were sourced from sustainable non-toxic sources, containers used for the arrangements were earthy, rustic and organic – some being the work of ceramic artist, Datin Ong Kid Ching - including artisanal baskets from East Malaysia and antique wood containers.

“A Time for Action” featured a digital wall art entitled, “No Smoke Without Fire,” a collaboration by artist Limei Shimmen with Greenpeace Malaysia social activist, K C Heng, that illustrates the choking haze in Johor during dry seasons as a result of spiraling demand for oil palm based products and our role in creating change in this issue. 

“Requiem for a Sea Meadow” was an installation that represented a small sea meadow with a live acoustic performance of “The Sounds of Silence” and “Big Yellow Taxi” by musician, Ong Tee Yau, to mourn the devastating impact of urban development on our environmental assets and the silent helplessness of ordinary citizens.  Representatives from Kelab Alami provided reading material on their work in Tanjung Kupang.

Johor Green adopted TapiTapir, a ceramic artwork created by Kuala Lumpur social activists and gave it a “star” turn as the “Reluctant Star” in their land art green star, an installation to draw attention to the protection of our black and white wildlife icon.  For more info, visit website:

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 29 May 2015

1 comment:

  1. where? how to learn these tips for gardening? what exhibition? can i go now?