Have a Sin­ga­pore fling

Now fa­mous for its gar­dens don’t miss this city – it’s more spe­cial than ever

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - June Contents -

Ex­plore this gar­den city

the Sin­ga­pore stopover might once have been about shop­ping, but now it’s about gar­dens. Sin­ga­pore is con­serv­ing an eighth of its land­mass as nat­u­ral rain­for­est and wet­land, and turn­ing what it can of the rest into pub­lic gar­dens – no won­der it’s called the Gar­den City. Want to see the best? Add these to your itin­er­ary.


Gar­dens by the Bay is a jaw-drop­ping 121-hectare, three-stage hor­ti­cul­tural ex­trav­a­ganza on re­claimed land at the mouth of the Sin­ga­pore River. It’s big, vi­sion­ary and gen­uinely ex­cit­ing. The South gar­den is the first stage to open and it fea­tures three high­lights – two mas­sive biodomes and also a grove of ‘su­pertrees’. The biodomes are the largest in the south­ern hemi­sphere, and are mar­vels of en­gi­neer­ing as well as hor­ti­cul­ture. The in­cred­i­ble struc­tures of the su­pertrees dom­i­nate the Gar­dens by the Bay. See them by day to ad­mire the com­plex­ity of the plant­ing, and don’t miss them at night, when their so­lar pan­els power up a light show. The show runs for about 10 min­utes ev­ery night, at 7.45pm and 8.45pm.


Head to the Cloud For­est biodome in the Gar­dens by the Bay to view in­cred­i­ble orchids. A huge wa­ter­fall thun­ders from the top of the ‘moun­tain’, its spray keep­ing long arch­ing blos­soms of bril­liant white moth orchids per­fectly happy. Up the path to the top of the moun­tain, gar­den­ers on cherry pick­ers at­tach more orchids to the trunks of trees and ferns. The orchids are ini­tially im­ported, mostly from Tai­wan, and then are re­flow­ered on­site in the Gar­dens nurs­ery.


The ad­join­ing glasshouse cel­e­brates the plants of dry cli­mates, such

as those of the Mediter­ranean and parts of Aus­tralia. Kan­ga­roo paw and Queens­land bot­tle trees give way to a grove of thou­sandyear-old olives, then to roses and flow­ers galore. Both glasshouses are cooled by steam power, us­ing a steam tur­bine fed by the prun­ings from the gar­dens them­selves.


Get in­spi­ra­tion for your own gar­den at the Na­tional Or­chid Gar­den in Sin­ga­pore Botanic Gar­dens, where you can see orchids grow­ing in trees, and on what look like dead stumps but are ac­tu­ally con­crete forms wrapped in black co­conut fi­bre. Also here are pots of white vanda orchids sunk into a bed with the broad leaves of ele­phant’s ears.


Time your visit with the Sin­ga­pore Gar­den Fes­ti­val. Set in amongst the Gar­dens of the Bay precinct, this gar­den fes­ti­val runs from 21 July to 3 Au­gust from 10am– 10pm each day. The or­chid ex­trav­a­ganza dis­plays over 10,000 orchids and should not be missed.


Sin­ga­pore’s canopy of trees dis­tin­guishes it from other Asian cities. The roads are shady av­enues of ma­ture trees, of­ten sport­ing ferns and orchids in their forks and cracks, and the parks fea­ture much-loved grand old spec­i­mens. In fact, the tree that fea­tures on the Sin­ga­pore $5 note is in the Botanic Gar­dens and has been so well-loved it has had to be fenced off to al­low its roots to re­gen­er­ate. Trees on the her­itage list are pro­tected by a 10m ex­clu­sion zone and the city en­cour­ages cit­i­zens to nom­i­nate trees they think need spe­cial pro­tec­tion.

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