These last few weeks I have been privileged to travel overseas again and visit the stunning (albeit hot and humid) city of Singapore. I hadn't been before and wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I’d already heard about the Singapore Botanic Garden since its been suggested to be one of the best in the world and who hasn't seen those magnificent tree structures on the Singapore landscape at Gardens by the Bay? But all in all, I had little knowledge.
I am not blogging about travel and the city overall here, it’s all about the gardens, but I did love Singapore overall and I really do mean love it and the main reason is IT’S SO GREEN, so lets talk gardens…
Gardens by the Bay
A vast area of gardens in the city, easy to access plus if you wander through Marina Bay you’ll find a whole load of greenery, a lovely view across the bay and top class shops along the way. By day the garden is an unbelievably beautiful place that can take hours to see - especially if you struggle with the humidity. Firstly there are views from up high, mid way and ground level, then there are different style gardens such as Malay, Chinese and Indian. Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes with fountains and long boardwalk shows the ecosystems irreversible outcomes in nature due to humans actions. It is especially beautiful and thought provoking, plus there are waterways and bridges with some shade around and benches. Educational areas include palm tree walks and the life cycle of trees, areas for children, the importance of leaves. But let me assure you, these are not like any you have seen before - they are expertly and meticulously thought through and perfectly well maintained to a standard I’ve not ever seen before.
Expect to see every houseplant you have ever owned plus all of the ones you really want - they are all planted in swathes across the landscape and they look spectacular. Lush and green due to the climate with large and colourful foliage to rival any landscape full of ‘flowers’. Think Crotons, Calathea, Marantha, Monstera, Peace Lily, Ferns, Tradescantia, Orchids then multiply them by as many varieties as you can think and bingo you’ve got the picture.
At the time of year I visited flowers in bloom included Frangipani, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Orchids (thats another blog because wowzers they are stunning), Heliconias, even the odd Rose. There are also Cacti like I’d never seen! Huge, tall and some supported by scaffolding to keep them safe. Blooming brilliant.
There are two Domes at Gardens by the Bay - the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest Dome. Both are essentially huge greenhouses, but they are used to cool plants rather than keep them warm. The Flower Dome is full of themed areas from around the world showing plants that can’t be grown so well in tropical environments. A lovely Mediterranean garden along with an Australian garden, Californian garden which to be honest was much like UK kitchen gardens and there was planting similar to the English cottage garden, although it wasn't named as such. Full of Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Cyclamen, Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Alstroemeria. Plus a whole lot more, its enormous!
The Cloud Forest Dome literally took my breath away. After looking in absolute awe for over an hour and I still wasn't finished, I actually felt slightly emotional! I know, maybe I am crazy but it stirred a whole load of thoughts. Just like being in a cloud forest, you can climb up to the top and look down at the jaw dropping planting below. The sheer number of plants is something else, again many of our very own house plants. Maidenhair Ferns for example were thriving - not like the ones I keep trying to grow at home! I was inside the dome during misting time, so whilst my hair was very frizzy, it was almost magical to watch the mist cover the plants giving them just what they need to grow. I was blown away by the range of Begonia’s - the incredible foliage and varieties. I have one at home a Begonia ‘Rex’ but I will definitely be on the hunt for some more. Those along with more Orchids, which again in the dome just like all over Singapore, are simply stunning.
At night time, each and every night twice, the tall plant covered super trees in the centre of the garden come alive with the sound of music. A magical, fun and entertaining light show which can be seen from just about every skyscraper around the city. Each month has a different theme and I caught the 70’s with pin ball machines, juke boxes and Saturday Night Fever, each tree is full of changing lights to the music. It was stunning and super good fun. As I was walking back, it started to rain and the fragrance around the meadow area of the garden was undeniably heady.
Whats more, apart from the Domes, the whole garden including the light show is free and open to the public.
If you do go to Gardens by the Bay and especially if you love plants, you could easily be there the whole day and night but a short walk around would at the least take half a day so be prepared for that. Take lots of water and use an umbrella if you need shade. There are some places to eat although not a huge choice and a gift shop. You could always take a break half way and pop into the Marina Bay shopping mall for some treats.
The whole package at Gardens by the Bay is inspiring in many ways, I have come home with so much buzzing through my mind that I would love to do - most probably unlikely in the UK climate but I’ll give anything a try!
For more photos click HERE
plus a short video HERE