140323 Gardens by the Bay

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.

Author: @colinspain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

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140323 Gardens by the Bay

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.

 

Author: @colinspain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

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