I’ve often thought about my own garden as being in heaven. The lush green leaves and new growth just excites me during the spring and the yellow, orange, and red colors in the autumn tell me that ‘I’ve had a good summer.”
It was not until I entered the brilliant “Gardens by the Bay” today, that I realised Heaven has moved to Singapore. If you ever take a flight to Europe, and you’re the slightest bit interested in gardening, take a few days off in Singapore. I stayed at Hotel Fort Canning, which is a boutique hotel with 86 rooms just close to Orchard Road. You need to be prepared for some walking but the parkland around the hotel is great to enjoy that early morning walk before a day of retail therapy.
The first wonder of the modern gardening world, the “Gardens by the Bay” is what I just said – it is WONDERFUL! You can travel by train or taxi or by ‘leg’ from the city or from your accommodation. A walking frame would make the journey quite arduous indeed, but for those fitted with a comfortable pair of sneakers, the walk through the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and shopping complex is well worth-while.
Someone in Singapore has a great imagination. Setting up gardens is one chore but the design of Gardens by the Bay is another. Featured are more than 500,000 plants from over 2,200 species. These plants are featured outside and inside in the very large ‘cooling’ houses. The Flower Dome features 9 different gardens from 6 different countries – an extensive array of Baobabs, cacti, plants from South Africa, South America, California, the Mediterranean region, and Australia – yes, kangaroo paw of many varieties. The changing Flower Field Display currently displays the War of the Roses. In the next couple of months, there will be many tulips shipped in especially from Holland.
The second ‘cooling’ house , is the Cloud Forest. You can explore the highlands amidst orchids, pitcher plants and ferns from the cool-mist Tropical Montane region. Featured is the World’s tallest indoor waterfall at 35 metres in height. In this cooling house are 7 ‘discovery’ zones; the Lost World, a Cloud Walk, a Treetop Walk, Crystal Mountain, Earth check, +5 Degrees and a Secret Garden. Each two hours, automatic misting is turned on to water the gardens, and you feel like you are in the highlands of a tropical rain-forest.
After taking the lift, you stroll along suspended pathways around the forest. The vertical garden is covered with various kinds of orchids and other tropical plants. These plants expose some beautiful blooms of magnificent colour.
As you exit the dome, the gift shop is filled with souvenirs of top quality surprises for friends and family, as well as to keep the memory of a great garden vividly in your mind.
I took an Audio Tour through the extensive themed gardens outside – there can be lots of walking if you wish, as an alternative. You can stroll the 22-metre high OCBC Skyway. In the evening, there is a free light and sound show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody using these large man-created metal trees. These structures have more vertical gardens growing up the entire ‘tree’.
This area is permanent and is a must see whenever you come to Singapore. In fact, Singapore used to be a ‘stopover’ point but today, it is a ‘destination’ in its own right.
In a fews days, I will have to return to my ‘summer burnt’ heaven in Australia. Now, thats not a good ‘gardeners’ thought at all.