Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens were just lovely. The idea of a national garden in Singapore started in 1822 when Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore and a keen naturalist developed the first Botanical and experimental garden at Fort Canning. (The Raffles Hotel which is named after Sir Stamford is synonymous with Singapore and another must do here.) The Gardens were opened at their present site in 1859 - a 74 hectare paradise of a wonderful diversity of tropical plants.
We tramped around the Ginger Garden, where I learnt that there are seven other closely related plant families to Zingiberaceae - Bananas, Bird of Paradise, Heliconia, Costus, Canna, Prayer Plant, and Orchidanthas (which are not really my favourites as they have orchid-like flowers which appear near the ground and smell like rotten fungi or dung to entice a particular species of beetle to pollinate them). 

A beautiful Heliconia
Flower of the Scarlet Banana

We enjoyed the Heritage Trail and I guess the thing that gave me a real buzz was to see these steps and bricks which were made by POWs during Japanese occupation of Singapore. As a sign of defiance the POWs imprinted arrows on most of the bricks to indicate that they were 'detained by the authorities'. In Aug '95 at the 50th Anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, 8 former Aussie POWs return to the Gardens to see their workmanship.

POW bricks and stairs

Also on this trail we saw iconic trees and other historical landmarks.

Rainforest walk

The rainforest walk has more than 300 species of plants. We were a little surprised that there were no epiphytes to see though.

This is the only Botanic Garden in the world that is open from 5am until midnight every single day of the year. It must be just wonderful by night - perhaps next time!

Perhaps our favourite of the day was the National Orchid Garden - just so many beautiful orchids. There are many elements to this Garden - VIP orchid garden where orchid hybrids have been named after visiting VIPs; a wonderful display of the National Flower of Singapore - Vanda Miss Joaquim; an Orchidarium where most of the wild orchids are displayed; Heritage orchid display - because Singapore has been a centre of orchid breeding since the 1930s; the beautiful Tan Hoon Siang Mist house; the Yuen-Peng McNeice Bromeliad collection and the Cool House  (a real relief from the heat....);

Diana in memorium

The mist house

The Dancing Lady Orchid
The Cool house

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