Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flower Dome [花穹] in the Daytime @ Gardens by the Bay, Bay South [Singapore]

Gardens by the Bay - an introduction is unnecessary when so many people have already blogged about it since June last year. Should you be interested, read the wikipedia page.

Together with my dad, i went over to see what the hoo-ha was all about for the PAP government to generously dispense such a big sum of public fund (roughly S$1 billion) and also allocate an enormous piece of reclaimed land for the gardens.

Today, we shall immense ourselves in one of the two conservatories; the flower dome. The name is a dead giveaway on what to expect from this iconic structure.

Once you enter, be greeted by lighted electronic panels featuring close up of flowers. Oh please! I am here to see, feel and smell the flowers; not to look at pictures and videos that could easily be found on google and youtube.

*Speechless* Honestly, that was what my dad and i felt when we pushed the doors and officially entered the flower dome; its coolness, spaciousness and massiveness blew us away!

Another picture to justify what i have just mentioned.

Made up of eight themed gardens [The Baobabs, Succulent Garden, Australia Garden, South African Garden, South American Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Olive Grove and Californian Garden] and a Flower Field that houses temporary display of flowers beds signature of seasons and festivals.

Succulent Garden - i would have thought this was a section where the plants and flowers can be cooked to make up a succulent meal. Wrong; this zone exhibits desert plants and succulent refers to their ability to store water.

In order to hype up visitors' experience and keep those pesky children from plucking the flowers, it was necessary to provide life-sized superficial materials as backdrops for photographs. You really could not see much of the plants and flowers if you want to have a full body picture.

Interested in these cacti for your office? I don't know where you can find them in Singapore but i know for sure you can get them really cheaply in Cameron Highlands.

The Baobabs - the name is funny as i had the initial impression this has something to do with baboons! Truth is they are commonly known as bottle trees.

Northern side of Singapore, where i stay, has two bottle tree parks and i have already gone past the stage of marveling at their pear-shaped beauty.

Of course, what i was accustomed to belongs to one species and there are eight in the world. This one in the photograph should be the African Baobab which i think is the tallest tree in this conservatory.

Mini bottle tree - i could easily hold this with two hands!

On one hand, i would appreciate if the management can install more information panels that would help visitors like myself, understand what these flowers and plants are.

On the other hand, too many panels would no doubt clutter and destroy the beauty of a seamless layout painstakingly designed by the gardeners.

Alternatively, you can opt to rent the Conservatories Audio Tour Headsets at S$4 each. The traditionalist in me detests hearing from an electronic device.

Crystals - they have no horticultural benefit and were placed likely for aesthetic purpose.

Walk to the end of the Baobabs and you would be greeted by the top-down view of the rest of the gardens and the flower field. The Christmas decorations were still up when i visited on 01 January 2013; more on them later.

Have you realised something by now? The conservatory has no column supporting the roof; the innovative design required an external steel grid to hold the 3,332 glass panels in place!

Dad loved the temperature in the dome, which was set to hover between 23 and 25 degree Celsius. He would much prefer a lower temperature but this is Singapore where heat and humidity prevail.

Australian Garden with its bushes of small colourful flowers.

This garden showcases plants that "have adapted to survive long dry seasons and fires from two regions in Australia". Despite their hardy evolution, i am more keen in the flowers.

These are weirdly known as cousin it she-oak; a badly structured chain of English words that would be met with distaste from Ms Bun.

Think for a moment, what does the above remind you of? I will give you a hint - the national animal of Australia. Yes, these are the aptly-named Kangaroo Paws!

Don't they look similar to those fibre optic lights?

Boomerang - yet another Australian national icon.

South American Garden - even though it was tagged as South American, the specimens were taken from just one country; Chile (pronounced as Chi-lay and not chilli).

Monkey Puzzle Tree is the national tree of Chile and has the shape of a Christmas tree with oddly shaped branches. Why the name "monkey puzzle"?

It was first coined in England when people expressed that "it would puzzle a monkey to climb the tree"! The entire species has to be stuck with the name forever since then.

Chilean Wine Palm is prized in Chile for its multiple uses. However, over-harvesting (the useful sap can only be collected when you cut down the whole palm) has resulted in the species being partially protected under Chilean law.

View of the Baobabs from the viewing platform at the South American Garden. 

Mediterranean Garden - these trees are Canary Island Palms. By this time, my attention has waned and the lack of identification tags means i would have passed by an exotic tree thinking it is "once again another tree".

Like the son, dad was also very impressed with the dome. Its height measures 38 meters from floor to ceiling, which puts it as tall as 12-14 storey public housing block. 

Interesting although i could not put a finger to what this tree is; to me, it appeared to look like a very untidy willow tree or one with a bad hair day.

The conservatory has a maximum capacity of 1,400 people although i was glad that the number was much lower on my day of visit. Guess it helps to go after a public holiday filled with countdown parties on the eve! 

Kissable lips! 

These ancient looking trees attracted my attention; guess what they are! Hint: Ancient Olympics used its leaves to make the crown for winners and its oil is well known for its health benefits. 

They are olive trees! 

According to this placard (thank god for its existence), olive trees have a long life with many in the Mediterranean region surviving hundreds and even thousands of years. 

Californian Garden was closed for upgrade on the first day of new year! 

For a moment, i was half expecting the flowers to turn into butterflies and quickly flutter away! 

Proceeding down to the Flower Field which is on the lower level of the Flower Dome. 

Dad taking a rest while enjoying the cool temperature and the parade of trees, shrubs and flowers in front of him. To him, he would have much preferred Cameron Highlands but this is so much closer to home. 

Hibiscus flower that was bigger than my dad's face! Singaporeans are aware that Singapore's national flower is an orchid. Are they also aware that hibiscus is the national flower of our closest neighbour; Malaysia? 

Marina Bay Sands looked fake in this photograph and that's precisely the reason why i like it. Maybe i should set it as my facebook cover page! 

The Flower Field had a Christmas theme and i bet the next theme would be related to the Chinese New Year (CNY) starting from 10 February 2013. This would put it in direct competition to the annual Sentosa Flowers held during CNY. 

I would also bet that these chickens would be dressed in traditional Chinese costumes. 

Since it would be the year of the snake this coming lunar year, these penguins might be replaced with slithering snakes! Hell no although there might be cute snake plushies similar to those found in the CNY bazaar at Chinatown

Taking a shot with the trees! 

Trumpet flowers or Qian Niu Hua as we used to call them in the village. 

Roses of different colours; there wasn't any barrier to speak of and i wonder how many cheapo visitors have attempted to pluck away the flowers. 

They should in fact be the main worry for the Gardens. The bald flower totems along Orchard Road were classic examples.

Red packets of various shapes and sizes would likely take the place of Christmas presents soon. The path bordering one section of the flower field was narrow and could only afford a one-way traffic.

Things turn bad only when you have an enthusiastic visitor who needs to take a photograph every few steps. In a way, i am not blaming the design as the path could have been the queue and i have stupidly joined it. 

Be mindful not to step on the flowers! 

Wooden ducks and their supposed conversation. 

Father polar bear lecturing baby polar bear. The scenario could be baby polar bear was tearing away at the presents when father polar bear decided to lecture baby polar bear on the true meaning of Christmas. 

What's a Christmas without Santa Claus?! Given the space at the conservatory, you could even find the present-giver with a sleight drawn by eight reindeers! 

For corporations, you might wish to note that there is an indoor event hall that you could utilise for a maximum of 1,000 people. 

A panorama of the lower level. 

Exiting the Flower Dome to the Canopy, which is the connector between Flower Dome and Cloud Forest; another conservatory that i would cover soon. 

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For detailed information, including ticketing, directions, operation hours, please visit http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/the-gardens/attractions/flower-dome.html

Kindly note that the conservatory might be closed for maintenance. To avoid any disappointment (especially if you prefer to visit on a weekday), please click here for the maintenance schedule. 

4 comments:

  1. Nice blog! Thk u for the explanation for each photo.

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    1. I am glad you are reading the text! Quite a number of readers prefer to just look at the pictures and skip all the text!! haha. Thank you; at least i know someone does appreciate the explanation! :)

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  2. Anonymous2:57 AM

    Im surprised you didnt know that about olive trees. They are like oak trees, live for a very long time. There were olive groves in Montenegro where the trees were hundred of years old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, i am ignorant. but with ignorance comes with question and realisation; hence, i think it's still an overall positive learning experience. :)

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