It all started when the number of members of Green Culture Singapore in the KL-Selangor region hit a decent double digit figure. Suddenly someone had this brilliant idea of having a get-together. “We can have a potluck and chit-chat session. Let’s all cook something and meet at someone’s home.” The question was, whose home? Thank goodness we didn’t have to mull over it for too long.
That evening my sister asked if I’d been to the Secret Garden. “Secret Garden? What Secret Garden?” It was like manna from the sky! Surely, everyone would love a Secret Garden! The pamphlet piqued my interest further; 500 species of plants in a 2787 sq metre rooftop garden with flowers, herbs and fruit trees, and a temperate section to boot!!
We kept the venue secret due to security reasons and that generated more interest than it would have done otherwise. Most of the forumers in Selangor confirmed their attendance and a couple from Singapore indicated their interest as well.
And then the day came. As we gathered for breakfast at the venue, the skies opened and it poured. We decided to brave the weather and collected our passes to the Secret Garden. Then wonder of wonders, the rain stopped.
With our passes safely in hand, we took the elevator up to the roof level. A luxuriantly green backdrop of foliage and huge suspended containers of nepenthes and lycopodiums greeted us as we stepped out. Everyone gasped in unison, “Are they real?” They looked too good to be true, so we put them through the ‘touch-n-feel test’ and whipped out our cameras.
It was amazing to discover this lush oasis on top of a shopping mall. Most of us did not even pay heed to the security guard who needed to collect our security passes! We were just too overwhelmed. And Nature had come up trumps by cooling the garden considerably with the morning shower.
“What’s that?” “Hey, look at this!” Curiosity got the better of us and we started to wander off in every direction. Before we lost each other entirely, we warned the gang not to leave before the obligatory group photo was taken.
There was so much to see. Flowers, climbers, herbs, spices, fruit trees, carnivorous plants, cacti, succulents, tillandsias, palms … you name it. There were meandering paths between beds of colourful hydrangeas, cannas, gerberas and coleus. There were plants and flowers we recognized and even more that we didn’t, so we were thankful that the owners had the foresight to label (almost) everything.
Plump longan beckoned invitingly and glossy passion fruit tempted from above our heads in the Secret Garden. The subtle fragrance of the quisqualis indica and telosma cordata enticed as we walked past. There were ripened oranges and variegated limes, and herbs and spices like rosemary, basil, miracle fruit, peppercorn, coffee and tea. Voluptuous bottle gourds and plump pumpkins were ripe for the picking.
The Garden even had a temperate section with apple, plum and peach trees. It would take forever to list all the species in the garden and I bet we only registered a small fraction of what we saw. This place needs to be savored and explored at leisure.
We had confidently assumed that an hour at the garden would suffice. In retrospect, that seems like a huge joke. We spent two hours exploring and would have appreciated another. All too soon we had to disband and leave our newfound Secret Garden behind.
I visited the garden again the following week. This time I saw something else – not at the Secret Garden, but at the Rainforest section – the incredible Victoria Amazonica. The gargantuan lily pads were leather-thick and the huge thorns beneath looked lethal. They were just amazing. For a while I was rendered speechless by the wonder of God’s creation. I was contented just to rest my hand on a cool pad and feel it beneath my palm. What a sight to behold. I felt truly blessed.
Oops, how can I go on and on about the Secret Garden and the Victoria Amazonica and not disclose where they are located? How remiss of me. 😛
location: Level – UR of 1 Utama of Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya
visiting hours : 10am – 6pm, weekends only
entrance fee: NIL
(take a elevator up to the rooftop from the new wing)
location: Ground level of Rainforest section, 1 Utama
(the raised pond is out in the open)