Given the tropical climate of Singapore, I had used its Botanic Gardens already for some two decades to go for a run at the end of the evening. The gardens close at midnight, the temperature was better, and it was always very quiet. Furthermore, most paths are lit. I loved running here: the only sound would be birds and frogs, and there was often an attractive smell of flowers. This time around, I decide to finally see the Botanic Gardens by daylight. I take the subway to the Botanic Gardens stop at the north side and make my way south, taking lots of detours. The Botanic Gardens consist of many sections, where you can learn more about plants and trees, their use, history, and importance. On the way between them, I find an enormous array of flowers, plants, and trees, as well as elements to give the gardens a more natural feel, like waterfalls, rock formations, lakes, and streams. Walking past a collection of bamboo and bougainvillea, and herbs and spices, I reach the Foliage Garden, where I find a collection of plants with all kinds of impressive leaves. Next up is Fragrance Garden, where I learn more about how flowers use their scent to attract insects. It is almost by definition pleasant to walk around, with my nose open to enjoy the amazing perfumes used by nature.
Close to the Fragrance Garden, I find the Healing Garden, which is organised like a human body. In subsections, it explains the use of various plants for medicinal purposes for the respiratory, reproductive, nervous, and digestive systems, as well as the head, muscles, and skin. It is interesting to see common plants turning out to be aids in relieving pain and solving other health related issues. At the entrance of the toxic plants section, I find a notice saying it is closed whenever there is no guided tour, which somehow makes sense. Nearby, I find plants with enormous, sturdy leaves; the sun shining through them makes for a beautiful light show. From here, I walk towards the Evolution Garden, which takes me on a journey through time: it relates the story of our world, from its birth as a new planet, to the emergence of life, creatures, and vegetation. Amidst the abundance of tropical plants, I find petrified trees here, a curious addition to the Botanic Gardens. There are also giant clubmosses and ferns with incredible leaves.
Further south, I reach Symphony Lake, where I stop for a while watching turtles swim in the water, and see them climb ashore on a tiny beach. At the end of the lake, I see the stage which I have seen so often running by, always lit: it is surrounded by Victoria Regia water lilies and their enormous leaves floating on the surface of the water. A little higher up, I enter the National Orchid Garden, the only section of the Singapore Botanic Gardens for which you have to pay. I enjoy a huge collection (with over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids, the largest collection of orchids in the world) of the colourful, amazing flowers. The orchid has become a symbol of Singapore, and the Singaporeans have developed breeding new orchids. There is a VIP section as well: as part of the orchid diplomacy programme, Singapore has developed the habit of naming a newly developed orchid after visiting celebrities and heads of state. I find tropical flowers named after Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher, Lady Di, and indeed, more than a hundred others, including the prime minister of my own country. Meanwhile, I discover that there is a partial eclipse going on, and whenever there is a thin cloud suppressing the harsh tropical sunlight, I try to watch it through my sunglasses. Continuing my amble through the Botanic Gardens, I walk through the Ginger Garden with a surprising number of ginger plants, then around the Swan Lake in which I, indeed, see the gracious white birds, I walk to the Sun Garden with a sundial telling the time. Nearby, I see bonsai trees, various frangipani trees with only a few of the adorable flowers, and various statues further embellishing the Botanic Gardens. I am close to the southern side of the Botanic Gardens, and use the Tanglin Road exit, through which I always enter on my evening runs, to leave, happy to have finally seen them by day.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Singapore Botanic Gardens (Singapore). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Singapore Botanic Gardens. Read more about this site.