S'porean man grows 57 plants in misty DIY garden set-up along HDB corridor

Neat and nifty.

Ashley Tan | November 12, 2021, 06:58 PM

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An increasing number of people in Singapore have taken to gardening as a new hobby, and one Afiq Omar is no exception.

Afiq's videos of his garden along the HDB corridor outside his unit, which he has dubbed "Gardens by the HDB corridor", have gained attention on TikTok.

The misty set-up with its bright purple lights, combined with the dim setting of the corridor, make for a rather ethereal sight.

Here, Afiq appropriately paired the clip of the lush greenery with the Jurassic Park theme.

@afiqomaraliNEA lai liao and approved! They said amazing setup, zero pests! Welcome my friends, to my gardens by the corridor! ##LazWinACondo ##plantsoftiktok ##fyp♬ Jurassic Park (From "Jurassic Park") - Big Movie Themes

Plants were not thriving indoors

Speaking to Mothership, the self-professed "plant-daddy" shared that he started off with his first philodendron, a type of indoor houseplant.

From his research, he read that philodendrons thrive in rainforest habitats with tropical climates.

Wanting to recreate the humidity and temperature of his plant's natural habitat, he placed a small humidifier next to it.

However, the light conditions were not suitable for the plant, and he started to move his set-up outdoors.

This gave him the idea to create a "terrarium-like environment" for them along the HDB corridor.

@afiqomaraliMy gardening journey started quietly in the toilet of @thecolossalstudio. I just wanted one plant, bro..... ##gardensbythecorridor ##fyp ##fypsg♬ original sound - Sarah Cothran

Smart system with automated features

In the past six months, his garden has since evolved, and now consists of 57 plants, such as philodendrons and anthuriums.

The set-up is completely DIY, and consists of four small metal racks with two tiers.

The top tier is packed with smaller plants, while the taller and larger ones are situated on the bottom tier.

Photo courtesy of Afiq Omar

The garden also features LED grow lights, as well as automated humidifiers and a misting system which keep the space humid enough for the plants.

This ensures that the optimal environment for the plants is maintained throughout the day, even when Afiq is working.

GIF from video courtesy of Afiq Omar

Organic pesticide and plant conditioner is also fed to the plants via the misting system.

The garden has gone through several modifications, and Afiq is unable to estimate how much it has cost him, but he believes that it is not as expensive as some might think.

Garden has brought him and his neighbours together

In spite of the set-up's impressive appearance, Afiq reveals that he is merely a beginner, having started this hobby as a means to relieve stress.

He says he is still learning the ropes from Singapore's plant community.

"I feel the plant/gardening community in Singapore is really amazing, super kind and sweet people of all ages, races, cultures & backgrounds," he said.

Video courtesy of Afiq Omar

A number of comments on his TikTok point out that the garden could affect his neighbours, but Afiq shares that this has not been the case.

He has lived in the estate since he was a kid, and has grown up alongside his neighbours.

The garden has also "brought everyone together", Afiq says, with the plants being a common conversation topic.

"We say 'hello' all the time now, and people from the other floors have started coming by to have a look at the garden. Everyone loves it because it’s super neat and keeps the corridor clear for movement."

Here's a clearer view of how the garden is neatly kept to one side of the corridor without obstructing human traffic.

@afiqomaraliKeep it neat & tidy, friends! ##plantsoftiktok ##fyp ##fypsg ##singapore ##plantlover ##sgtiktok ##hdbgarden♬ original sound - Titibeauty ✨Makeup Artist✨ - ✿ Titi ✿

'NEA-approved' garden

Officers from the National Environment Agency (NEA) have even dropped by Afiq's garden and given it the green light.

The officer checked for mosquitoes and stagnant water following a call the agency received, and found no issues.

According to Afiq, the officer also observed that there was "ample walking space" along the corridor.

For now, Afiq manually waters his garden twice a week and on most days, simply spends time drinking coffee while tending to his plants, as well as hanging out with his wife and son along the corridor.

Afiq's wife doesn't seem as amused whenever he brings back another new plant to add to his collection though, as seen from her reaction in one of his TikTok videos, which has racked up over 2.7 million views.

@afiqomaraliBrought home another plant after I promise no mo' plants. ##fyp ##fypsg ##gardensbythecorridor ##boyswithplants ##plantsoftiktok ##sgtiktok♬ Originalton - Andre Dunn

Nevertheless, Afiq's growing garden has certainly been a source of inspiration to neighbours and those on TikTok alike.

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Top photo courtesy of Afiq Omar