Monday 14 November 2011

Gardens by the Bay open to public for week-long sneak preview from 14 Nov 2011

By Hetty Musfirah, Channel NewsAsia, 12 Nov 2011

Some key features of Gardens by the Bay, including one of the two conservatories, are open to the public for a week-long sneak preview from Monday.

The preview is being held in conjunction with the 20th World Orchid Conference.

Spanning some 1.2 hectares, the flower dome is the larger of the two conservatories.

It features plants from semi-arid subtropical regions like the Mediterranean Basin and South Africa.

Highlights include the baobabs and olive trees - some of which are over 1,000 years old.

Kenneth Er, Chief Operating Officer of Gardens by the Bay: "What you see today is really what we have prepared over the last five years, beginning from how we have sourced the plants. And some of these plants, because they require a cool and dry environment, we could only bring them in when the air conditioning systems were up, sometime in June this year."

Most of the flora and fauna there are permanent fixtures. But displays at the flower field will be changed from time to time, to reflect the different seasons and festivals.

For now, some 14,000 orchid plants are on display as part of the World Orchid Conference.

Another key feature is also open during the preview - the Heritage Gardens, comprising the Indian garden, the Chinese garden, the Malay Garden and the Colonial Garden.

Visitors do not need tickets to enter the Heritage Gardens.

These gardens reflect the history and culture of Singapore's three main ethnic groups and the city-state's colonial heritage.

"We are a country of multi-cultures and the gardens offer the perspective from the viewpoint of plants. These plants had also accompanied the different culture groups when they came to Singapore. The Indians, when they came to Singapore, brought along many of the exciting herbs and spices," said Dr Kiat W. Tan, CEO of Gardens by the Bay.

NParks said the preview will help them gauge the public's interest and will be useful in its pricing strategies for tickets when the attraction officially opens in June next year. The promise is to keep it affordable where there could be discounts and annual passes.

At least 300,000 visitors are expected at the preview.

Let's build a "city in a garden" home together
By Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 14 Nov 2011

Former minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew said Singapore's vision of a city in a garden needs innovation, ownership and dedication from all levels of society.

Speaking at the Flower Dome preview, Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to work with the government to realise this vision and improve the living environment.

Mr Lee recalled that the first tree he planted was in 1963 at Holland Road Circus.

He stressed cities cannot just be made of buildings, tarmac and pavements.

It has been almost 50 years since Singapore started the garden city movement.

Mr Lee said becoming a garden city took strong political will, and dedication and support from Singaporeans.

And as the country moves into the next phase of its green development, Mr Lee said he is confident Singapore is a step closer to its vision of a city in a garden.

Mr Lee noted Singapore has become greener despite increasing urbanisation.

He said the Gardens by the Bay, which comprises three gardens, shows how far Singapore has progressed in greening the country.

He highlighted the need for support from the corporate community and individuals as the gardens continue to grow.

"Many countries now do tree planting and call themselves garden cities," Mr Lee said.

"To retain our edge and continue to improve our living environment, we have been transforming Singapore into a city in a garden.

"This city in a garden vision is not just about developing green infrastructure. We are actually building a home to be proud of, in the next few decades."
The public saw the variety of plants at the Flower Dome, opened for preview until Sunday.

The Flower Dome features rare plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions.

It is part of the government's S$1 billion Gardens By The Bay South project, that's due to officially open in June next year.

Garden state
Seductively curvaceous greenhouses and eccentric ‘Supertrees’ are transforming Singapore
By Edwin Heathcote, The Financial Times, Published 18 Nov 2011

It may sound odd but since the 1960s Singapore has been slowly remaking itself as a garden city. Tiny, dense, hyper-urban and constantly clawing back land from the sea to accommodate its booming centre, the city-state has nevertheless seen green tentacles creeping into every corner, every central reservation, every sliver of leftover sidewalk. Plants here thrive in the year-round tropical climate and grow in the most obscure places. The effect is impressive: a skyscraper city framed by palms and blooming bougainvilleas.....continue reading at

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