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Archive for the ‘Gardens and Parks’ Category

After the soothing mistiness of the Cloud Forest Dome, the Flower Dome came on strongly. I wish I had my shades cos it was a riot of colours.

The Flower Dome showcased countless flowers and plants from almost all the continents of the world; too many to enumerate but I had a few favourites.

Topping the list were the clumps of red and yellow Anigozanthos. I could have been in Australia; the kangaroo paws looked that good. I guess the microclimate in the dome suited them to a T.

Other Australian natives I saw were the xanthorrhoea, leptospermum and protea – lovely. I was looking forward to seeing the grevillea but unfortunately they were not in bloom. I guess the other flowers and plants kind of made up for that.

There were lovely fuschia standards, clumps of hydrangeas, unusually colored liliums, clematis, camellias and more.


There were some unexpected finds; I chanced upon a small lavender plant in one of the flower beds almost overwhelmed by the more flamboyant roses, clematis, foxgloves and rambling sweet peas. A fragrant treat that had me wishing for more.

And somewhere near the cacti and succulents of the semi-arid section I saw a most unusual plant with what looked like the pyramiding shell of a tortoise.  This was the Dioscorea Elephantipes or hottentot bread plant. Apparently its thick and massive stem is a source of food and is rich in starch. Utterly fascinating.

And then there were the baobabs from Africa with their huge swollen trunks, and the intriguing monkey puzzle tree from South America – the first I’ve seen in this part of the world.

But surely the real aristocrats at the Flower Dome had to be the 1000 year old olive trees from Spain. I was awed by their gnarled trunks and slivery grey leaves – it just isn’t the same seeing them in the olive groves of France or Italy. I wonder at the logistics involved in transporting these precious living fossils across the oceans; an amazing feat.

The latest updates shows the Flower Dome reflecting the splendour and charms of autumn. If only I could be there right now! If you’ve yet to visit GBB and you love plants, then you’re in for a huge treat! Happy mid-autumn festival, everyone!

And to my three dear friends who walked me through GBB and gave me that great tour, many thanks once again. I had a whale of a time!

 

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I think I know how Aladdin felt when he stepped into a cave filled with treasure.

I stopped in my tracks when my friends swung the doors open. I was speechless.

Who would have thought that a 35-metre high manmade hill would make such an impact? But it did.

The Cloud Forest Dome enveloped me in its cocoon of misty coolness. Shrouded in mist, it felt like a mysterious forest glade out of which elves and fairies would emerge.

I felt I had stepped into a dream where anything was possible;

a hollowed out hill; caverns, elevated walkways, waterfall and water features …

Someone pinch me.

I revelled in the lush growth; rhododendrons, begonias, nepenthes, orchids, gesneriads, bromeliads, epiphytes, huperzias, platyceriums, fuschias, ferns … with some rare gems in between.

There were fir trees, tree ferns, maple, mulberry, brugmansias and many more plants from higher altitudes and cooler climes.

I felt a little dazed– as one would be when faced with endless buffet lines; tables of delectable food and insufficient time to savour it all.

But what fascinated me most was a carnivorous islet of sarracenias, pinguiculas, drosera and dionaea muscipula.

To the uninitiated, this pretty islet looks innocuous enough, but I wonder how many unsuspecting victims have fallen prey to its lethal charms.


I would have remained a willing captive under the spell of the Cloud Forest Dome I had to take a reality check. Time was running out and I had to move on …

Cloud Forest, I’ll be back.

(Next up, the Flower Dome)

 

 

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I was in Singapore for my cousin’s wedding and had mentally penciled in a mandatory visit to the Gardens by the Bay. I was going with friends; one knew the gardens inside out and had promised to give me a tour. What a treat!

First up were the twelve Supertrees. Despite having seen numerous photos of these giants, I was still amazed!

These mega structures, inspired by towering trees of the rainforest, soar up to 50m high dwarfing almost everything else by the bay. I craned my neck to gaze up at the branches which etched geometric patterns in the sky. Aweeesome!

The Supertrees aren’t just ornamental either. These workhorses capture rainwater for the gardens and generate enough solar power to light up the place in technicolor by night.

The Supertrees were festooned with countless bromeliads. Strange. I had expected to see a riot of climbers attempting to outdo each other in their quest to smother the pink metal frames.

Why pink? My friend explained that the colour reflected the vibrancy of the Singapore society. Mmm ….

I didn’t have much time to ponder over the choice of either as the lift whisked us up to the 128m OCBC suspended skywalk and 360 degrees worth of panoramic views.

Beneath us sprawled four thematic heritage gardens and lakes that had been shaped out of 380 acres of reclaimed land.

A friend pointed out another six Supertrees located at the Silver and Golden gardens; and I thought 12 was plenty! Those at the Silver Garden were planted with silver and grey epiphytes while plants at the Golden Garden were selected for their gold and yellow hues.


By the time we were done with the Skywalk, the morning sun had risen somewhat and so had the ambient temperature. We had to move on.

Will I visit these majestic Supertrees and take to the Skywalk again? Without a doubt.

But before that, I’m sure I’ll be seeing many Supertree-wannabes. In fact I saw a couple of scaled down, improvised versions not too long ago. I don’t suppose Gardens by the Bay should be too bothered by this; after all, isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Next up … Stepping into ‘Cloud Forest’

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