I have often thought about my own garden as being in heaven. The lush green leaves and new growth excites me during the spring and the yellow, orange, and red colours of autumn tell me that, I’ve had a good summer.
It was not until I entered the brilliant “Gardens by the Bay”, that I realized Eden has moved to Singapore. I had heard Singapore had created a different way of displaying exotic flowers and brilliant plants, so a visit was definitely warranted.
An even greater garden in Singapore is what I call the first wonder of the modern gardening world the “Gardens by the Bay”. Someone in Singapore has a great imagination; setting up gardens is some chore, but the design of “Gardens by the Bay” is very well thought out. The gardens have been designed and built on reclaimed land, just in front of the now famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Featured are more than 500,000 plants from over 2,200 species. They are contained both in two large glass-cooling houses, and sprawling grounds along the waterways of the Singapore foreshore.
The first cooling house, the Flower Dome, displays plants from around the world, including an extensive array of cacti, plants from South Africa, the Mediterranean region, and Australia – yes, kangaroo paw of many varieties. Exotic, colourful blooms are in abundance here in this magnificent garden. The smell of flowers is captivating. The quietness captivates the way flowers and plants grown, without the noise of the city or busy commercial enterprises. Within the Dome is a special display of interest or theme, which rotates during the year. At present, the War of the Roses is featured and soon, the Tulipmania will return.
The second glass dome, the Forest Cloud, is set around a tall structure, similar to a rainforest mountain. It is here you can feel like you are in a ‘different’ garden and you realise that it is predominately vertical. An imposing waterfall drops 35 meters from the top of the dome. I took the elevator to the top and wandered down the suspended walkway taking pictures of the exotic flowers and plants as I descended. Tender orchids showed their brilliance amongst the many varieties of ferns in their natural habitat. People gazed in awe at this magnificent vertical masterpiece as bright hardy anthuriums displayed their enticing colours.
As I descended, the automatic “misting” session created a sublime atmosphere of a tropical rainforest. I could smell the rain as it watered the plants.
On completing the descent of the Cloud Forest, and wandering through an exotic fernery and well-placed waterfall, I paid $2 to board a shuttle bus to enjoy the commentary on the “outside” gardens that are sprawled along the reclaimed land. The super tree grove is a must see, where 18 tall, metal structures are the forms where more vertical gardens are growing. You are able to wander along the 22-meter Skyway to view these ‘clinging’ plants close up. In the evening, these trees are centre-stage for the fascinating light show, another must-see in Singapore.
I have been taken to “heaven”. The reds and greens, the blues, the yellows, and the pink and mauves, make the effort of that elevator-ride all worthwhile. Never have I seen a garden presentation so intricate, tender, captivating and so brilliantly put together to enhance the plants available to display. Yes, this is “eden” re-created.