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Friday, October 9, 2009

Caressed by dad's floral magic

NSTP Saturday,April15,2000


Caressed by dad's floral magic


A garden of life, a place where art and nature combine. For ANDREW WAN, warmth and familiarity are to be found at his father's house in Bukit Baru, Malacca.

We live hectic lives in the city, where every minute buzzes with the opportunity to get ahead in life or career and every heartbeat has to face up to stress of noise or choice. And thus, like a plant which sprouts new buds with each season, we too need to be rejuvenated sometimes.My way is simple and effective-I return to my parent's home in Bukit Baru , Malacca. I return to the house and my little Eden.

My little Eden

I remember it as a simple garden. It was an orchard back in the 70s, dotted with varieties of mango, ciku and rambutan trees. The mango tree had an especially dominant presence, and they provided much shade and climbing opportunity during my juvenile years.

Playing with my brother, Lenny, under the mango tree

Even back then, my dad had started to work his magic on our garden. We had row after row of orchids, which filled both the front and backyard with their unique vibrant colour.

Orchids once filled the garden

Later, he indulged in roses which in bloom, filled every heart with wonder.
My sister, Anita and brother in the garden

The garden was part of nature and subject to change. As the seasons passed, there was always something new, added on, or lost from the garden. We the children grew up too.I left home for further education and it was only occasionally when I was back for the holidays, that I paid any attention to the garden. Perhaps Dad too was busy with those comings and goings to indulge in it. The orchids now grew in scant patches and one by one the mango trees and rose bushes disappeared, leaving the bare carpet grass in the sun.

The untended garden

Then Dad retired from his job as a lecturer. For the garden it was a rebirth, a second bloom! Now, he would translate his inborn talent and life-long interest into a new life for the garden. Using malleable wires and white cement, he fashioned animals that appear to come alive and born to this Eden,to nestle, perch or just wallow in the green surroundings. Dad even constructed a mini waterfall from recycled materials.

'Animals' in the garden

The garden was now both art and nature, in combination and in harmony.Painted rocks blend in with natural pebbles. Living plants clambered on concrete branches. Both ceramic and organic animals mingled with one another.

Nowadays when I come home from vacation, I can no longer ignore the garden as I walk up the driveway.
The driveway
It has become part and parcel of Dad's life, of our lives. Daily I sit on the front porch enjoying the caress of the fresh breeze that blows in from the garden, relishing the gurgle of water that trickles down the mossy stone of the waterfall. I listen to the singing of the magpies, doves and the deep-throated calls of the greater coucal.

The mini waterfall

And I think how the life of the garden, running in parallel with our lives, has touched us once again.


  1. I have always admired your creativity and enjoyed your garden. I still keep and treasure the 'mushroom' you gave me. Keep it up man.

  2. Thanks for the positive comments and thank you for all the useful gardening tips which have contributed to the beauty of the garden.