Friday, January 22, 2016

A World Heritage Site: Singapore Botanic Gardens

Park Visitors Enjoy Twilight at Eco Lake 
Smell the Frangipani, lay under a palm tree, feel the mist of the rainforest, taste the ginger, and be engulfed by thousands of colorful orchids. Taking a stroll through  Singapore Botanic Gardens  isn't just a walk in a park, it is an exploration of all of your senses. The 156 year old garden was first developed as an English colonial garden on grounds that were formerly overgrown plantations and virgin tropical rainforest. With such cultural and educational significance, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was honored last year as an UNESCO World Heritage Site; only 1 of 3 gardens have been granted that distinction along with England's Kew Gardens and Italy's Padua Gardens.  I was lucky enough to visit the garden on my first day in Singapore and couldn't help but return 3 more times before my trip home. The Park is organized into 3 "cores": Tanglin (the oldest part of the garden; heritage core;Swan Lake), Central (tourist belt;National Orchid garden, ginger garden), and Bukit Timuh (educational; Eco Lake, children's garden).  It is little wonder that the Park is well- loved by locals and visitors alike. On each of my visits (even in the rain), I saw friends and families enjoying picnics, couples strolling hand in hand, many runners and walkers, practicers of tai chi, kite fliers, an impromptu soccer game, and a wedding. Life was happening in this green space. All parts of the gardens are connected by looping pathways so there are multiple ways to get to any one destination. You feel completely separated from the skyscrapers and bustle of the city even though the Garden is located a mere 5 minutes from the busy Orchid Rd.

Swan Lake in the Rain; Swan Lake is the oldest ornamental water feature in Singapore (1866)

Bonsai Garden: a collection of 48 dwarfed tropical and subtropical trees

Inside the Bonsai Garden

Frangipani Garden

Princess Vine covering walkways; Princess vine is a close relative of the common grape

Ginger Garden; if you get a change stop by the Halia restaurant located next to the garden. DELICIOUS
National Orchid Garden; over 1000 species of orchids and 2000 hybrids

Symphony Lake in Palm Valley; free concerts can be enjoyed at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage 

Families Enjoying Palm Valley 
Black Swan in Eco Lake

Nesting Black Swan; black swans are native to Australia but have been introduced to other countries as an ornamental bird since the 1800's 
Singapore Orchid Garden: so stunning it deserves it's own blog entry 
Singapore Botanic Gardens is one place that you'll never grow tired of visiting.
Open from 5am - midnight daily
free; (other than Singapore Orchid Garden $5)

Up Next: A stroll inside the Singapore Orchid Garden.

Stay Green,
The Bayou Botanist


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