Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s newest development is Gardens by the Bay which cost one billion Singapore dollars and is located near the new Marina Sands Hotel (the first phase is slated to open in June, 2012). It occupies more than 250 acres of prime reclaimed land by the water which will soon become known as the “Central Park of Asia.” There are three waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central.  In them are these remarkable “Supertrees” that are tree-like structures between 80 and 160 feet and are designed as vertical gardens. Flowers, epiphytes and ferns have been placed throughout them all.  At night, they will come alive with lighting and projected media. What’s remarkable is that they are more than just nice to look at; the Supertrees will also help to alleviate the tropical heat by providing shade and shelter under the canopy.

The Gardens are a showcase of horticulture and artistry and will bring the world of plants to Singapore. Walking in one of the two cooled conservatories I felt like I was in a Tim Burton dream. They have plants from five continents including a 1,000 year old olive tree from Spain, Baobabs from Argentina and an underwater cactus garden from Mexico. Temperatures range from 17C to 25C with 60 percent humidity. They achieve this by having chilled pipes under the floor and three of the man-made supertrees act as chimneys.

Driving around the park in a golf cart, I felt like I was in a Flintstones movie – Butterflies flying around, an aerial walkway wrapped around some of the artificial trees and a meadow for outdoor concerts that can hold up to 30,000 people. Other themed gardens include the Indian Garden with Ficus trees and lots of purple and pink flowers. There’s a Chinese Garden with bamboo and willow trees, a Malay Garden with huts and lots of orange and yellow flowers and a Dragonfly bridge. The Colonial Garden has lots of spices like nutmeg and coffee and is surrounded by darker colored foliage. It’s really going to be something. For more information go to: www.GardensByTheBay.org.sg

Did you know it costs residents of Singapore $100 just to walk into one their casinos? What a great way to keep them from getting a gambling habit.

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