On our second day in Singapore (after an absolutely exhilarating tour of the National University of Singapore’s Central Library) we took a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Singapore Botanical Gardens. When I learned we were going to the Botanical Gardens I was expecting a sort of manufactured garden with greenhouses and manicured lawns similar to those in New York or Pittsburgh. Instead, Singapore’s Botanical Garden is like a large open-air park that is free to the public.
During a leisurely three hour walk through the gardens we saw all varieties of bamboo, palm trees, flowers and plants that are native to Singapore and flourish in the tropical climate. The winding park contains different sections ranging from palm tree gardens, a Healing Garden, parts of an ancient rainforest, and a historical walk through botanical time. All of this was lush and beautiful, but my favorite part of the Gardens by far was the National Orchid Garden.
Singapore’s National Orchid Garden boasts the largest collection of tropical orchids in the world, and is indeed extensive and exquisite. We wandered through paths lined with boughs and boughs of bright orchids, some named after visiting dignitaries like Kofi Annan and Laura Bush. There was even a refrigerated cool house with varieties of orchids grown on high mountain slopes, which was a welcome retreat from the sun and humidity of the day. However, walking through the Eden-like garden was worth braving the heat.
We ended our tour of the Singapore Botanical Gardens with a stroll by the Swan Lake, home to a few swan couples and a bunch of friendly fish and turtles. Seeing this conserved nature garden in the midst of an urban city-state really helps illustrate how dedicated the country is to maintaining its “garden city” aesthetic. Though this is a national garden, there are many smaller gardens and parks sprinkled all throughout the city. Singapore is, truly, a garden city.