Singapore Travel: The Botanic Gardens
Singapore does not have much by way of natural resources, but they make good use of what they have and skillfully acquire what they need from the outside world. The Botanic Gardens of Singapore, founded in 1852 by an agri-horticultural society and later handed over to the government, reflect this outlook of life. They house an extensive collection with 10000 species of tropical plants and trees from Africa, Asia as well as South America, which are studied for both their scientific and practical values. The most notable achievements of the Gardens include the introduction and development of rubber tree in Southeast Asia, and the orchid breeding programme.
Even if botanics is not your thing, the Gardens are also a splendid place for a rest from the busy city's excitement. There are large grassy areas with shades provided by trees or trellis, and the designs of signs, seats, and other things are eye-catching.
The Gardens' Highlights
As indicated by the plural "gardens", the Botanic Gardens are a large park consisting of several botanic/horticultural collections with different themes. Such groupings can be based on taxonomy highlighting a particular prominent or important for human life botanic family (e.g. the bamboo family), on a certain characteristics (e.g. vines), on a particular use by human (e.g. medicine), or to illustrate a narrative (the Evolution garden, which displays tree fossils and trees in their theoretical evolution order).
As such, there are many ways to enjoy the Gardens. You can just walk randomly enjoying the greenery and the silence; you can have a particular science project in mind; you can go searching for the pretty and/or fragrant plants.
The major Gardens (as in, those that have their fences and gates) are as follows in no particular order: the National Orchid Garden, the Healing Garden, the Evolution Garden, and the Children's Garden.
National Orchid Garden of Singapore
The Orchid Garden is the crown jewel of Singapore's Botanic Gardens. It is the main tourist attraction, the only Garden you have to pay to get in and the one with its own souvenir shop that sells house-bred orchids for your garden. The price is worth it because not only the amazing diversity in shape and colour of orchids on display is fantastic for photos (there are helpful signs of "photo spots" throughout the garden), the Garden also features greenhouses that simulate orchids' natural habitat, which themselves have beautiful views and are educational.
In addition, while it is not reflected in the name, you can find here an extensive collection of bromeliad (pineapple and its relatives) and a collection of carnivorous plants (which apparently have the same habitat as the orchids).
Another collection of the Gardens that I find worth mentioning is the so-called Healing Garden, which, as its name shows, is a collection of medicinal plants and trees. The theme itself is fascinating, and the guide for each specimen (where they are from and what they are used for) is remarkably extensive.
- Website: http://www.sbg.org.sg
- Walking through the garden can feel like a mini trek as the terrain is not completely flat but hilly. Additionally, walking around in the 30+ celcius tropic climate can get draining. Therefore, good shoes and plenty of water are recommended.