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Stepping through the amazing flora of the botanical gardens that most of us have only seen before in greenhouses

 

Arriving in Singapore I was still very sore from breaking my ribs a few days earlier but I was determined to see some of the sights of Singapore. On a previous visit to this island country, I had visited the Singapore Botanical Gardens and the image of these amazing verdant gardens had stuck with me over many years.

Getting to the Botanical Gardens is very easy as there is an MTR (metro) station that conveniently arrives at one of the entrances to the gardens, which in my conditions was perfect! It was a grey day and the skies looked very threatening, but we were not deterred from visiting.

The nice thing about visiting here is that it is free to enter. Only the National Orchid Garden has a fee to enter, and that is only five Singapore dollars for adults.

The concept of a national garden in Singapore started in 1822 when Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore and a keen naturalist, developed the first ‘Botanical and Experimental Garden’ at Fort Canning. It moved to its current location in 1859. In 2015 the Gardens were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The gardens are huge, covering 82-hectares with dense, lush foliage. As the climate of Singapore is tropical plants grow naturally there that would be in a house or a greenhouse in other parts of the world. It was amazing to see how many plants we recognized from our visits to the local home improvement stores and garden centres.

We walked, albeit slowly through the gardens passing through areas of jungle, open spaces surrounding lakes and some very private and intimate spots.

 

     

     

 

After walking for 3 miles I was in serious need of a rest and some revitalisation, so I was very happy when we stumbled upon the main cafe and gift shop. Refreshed, we carried on our tour of the Gardens. Close to the cafe were some ponds with the most amazing giant water lilies; although not in flower they were still stunning.

 

 

To finish off our tour we decided to visit the National Orchid Garden. The weather had not improved, indeed it was worsening and the storm clouds were building. Despite the gloom, the orchids were fabulous. I was amazed by the range of shapes, colours and sizes of these orchids. Eventually, the heavens did open so we sought shelter in one of the gazebos in the Orchid Garden. This gave some time for me to reflect on the last few days and for Karen to engage in conversation a very nice lady doctor who was visiting from England.

The Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit, even when the weather is slightly inclement.

 

     

 

About the gardens:

Singapore Botanical Gardens is open from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every day of the year. There is no admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden within the main gardens.

 

Mark & Karen Hobbs

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