Have a Singapore fling
Now famous for its gardens don’t miss this city – it’s more special than ever
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
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.
CLOUD FOREST BIODOME
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.
A SLICE OF AUSTRALIA
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.
NATIONAL ORCHID GARDEN
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.
SINGAPORE GARDEN FESTIVAL
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 VALUABLE TREE CANOPY
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.