Singapore…A City in a Garden!
Trip Recap August 27th - September 3rd, 2013

September 2
I was moving hotels this morning – going to stay in the gorgeous ParkRoyal on Pickering, for what I thought would be two nights, but more on that later…. The ParkRoyal is an oasis of green offering 15,000 square metres of lofty sky gardens. What a treat to stroll through these gardens and discover waterfalls and plants. The swimming pool area is here as well and so well placed with in the gardens, it is a true pleasure area – you cannot believe you are in the middle of Singapore. The Orchid Club lounge was so nice to go to, sit and go through books on Singapore, sip a gin and tonic and just relax. I cannot get into the Singapore Sling thing, just too sweet for me. The lounge offers all day refreshments, champagne breakfast and afternoon tea plus each evening club guests can bring in another guest for evening cocktails. The hotel is really a hotel in a garden concept with plant material dripping off the sides of the building, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and such vertical greenery to sooth the tired travelers soul and really lift the spirits of the garden lover. As you can see my room was lovely.
Up early to have one of the local favourites for breakfast at Yakun Kaya Toast before our first visit to HortPark.

Ya Kun’s specially formulated kaya (or egg and coconut jam) is made from a recipe comprising coconut milk, sugar, eggs and fragrant pandan. No preservatives, artificial colouring and artificial flavouring are added, and only the best ingredients are used. Now it was good, and that was rather a surprise.

HortPark is a 23-hectare park located in the South-Western part of Singapore. It is the first one-stop gardening lifestyle hub in Asia that integrates a plethora of activities together under one roof in a park setting. One can find gardening-related, recreational, educational, research and retail activities here at this gardening hub that also doubles as a knowledge hub for gardening information, training & value-added services such as networking opportunities. The 2-storey HortCentre building also serves as the Visitor Centre. It showcases gardening attractions, which include the Green Roof and the Lifestyle Corner. The building was one of the winners of 2008 International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design. It is also one of the 11 finalists for Urban Land Institute's (ULI) Awards for Excellence 2009.

Green Roof is a rooftop display of the different types of green roof systems and plants suitable for green roof planting. Lifestyle Corner is where visitors can see how flora-themed furnishings can complement the homes, through the showcasing of interior scaping and lifestyle-gardening ideas. HortPark features 21 theme gardens. Each theme showcases the unique and distinctive qualities of the carefully selected plant species.

My favs were seeing the smiling children who had come as a school group to learn more about their world and where their food comes from and the vegetable garden…just fantastic and the fellow working in it was so proud. This was his garden to tend to. There is also a great garden shop/café to enjoy.

Henderson Waves is a 274-metre long pedestrian bridge. At 36 metres above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. The bridge has a wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within. Slats of yellow balau wood, an all-weather timber found in Southeast Asia, are used in the decking. I thought it was much more impressive from down below….

Gardens by the Bay – Where Wonder Blooms!
We are here!! Cannot believe I am actually standing here looking at the sign of the gardens with all the wonder of a kid seeing a ride they long to take at the carnival. It so exceeded my expectations…from our lunch at pollen!/welcome  in the Flower Dome at the Gardens….awesome meal served with such class and elegance surrounded by flowers…it doesn’t get much better than this to walking through the two domes laded with plant material. I sounded quite foolish as I oohed and awed out loud at some of the things I saw for the very first time… you know that feeling and some times words just come out of your mouth without you knowing you are saying them out loud.

101 hectares or 250 acres of sheer joy, even in the heat, it was incredible. Costing 2 Billion Singapore Dollars just for the gardens, not including the reclaimed land it is sitting on. Amazing to see those trees in the Supertree Grove and just about the time we will take our 2015 tour, they should be full up to the top with vegetation. Reaching heights of between 25 to 50 metres tall and filled with exotic fern, vines and orchids, they dominate the Bay. They are not just another pretty face though…they play a role in air intake, cooling and exhaust and tap solar energy through solar panels on their canopies. Two Domes await your discovery, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Each totally different. The Cloud Forest just stuns you as you walk through the doors and see that vertical planting. You cannot believe how big it is and likely will never see anything that size. The Flower Dome has 1000 year old olive trees and Baobob trees adding substance to everything else. They have a wonderful map of the gardens telling you about all the other gardens found on the site…this is a whole day experience as you walk from the Indian Garden through to the Colonial Garden and then wander through the Secret Life of Trees down to the Discovery area. I did not have the time to see it all so I am eagerly waiting for that opportunity.

Oh yes, and if you manage to get through all the gardens and still have time, there is a huge shopping mall connected to the MBS Hotel.

On the way back from the gardens we made a stop at 6 Battery Road to see the only vertical planting of Patrick Blanc here in Singapore. Now I hear there will be another in 2015 so we wait to hear more about that. This one is lovely and adds so much to the lobby of this huge office building. Rainforest Rhapsody includes about 120 species of plants. I took a photo of the sign there so you can read more about its design and reasoning behind it.

Dinner at Coriander Leaf on the waterfront was magical. We decided to sit outside rather than in and found the perfect spot to enjoy all the boats going up and down the river. Established in 2001 and centrally located in Clarke Quay, Coriander Leaf is a well-established fixture in Singapore’s fine dining scene. Coriander Leaf features an exciting Pan-Asian menu, which embraces highly flavorful dishes from Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and a well-developed range of interpreted dishes. Coriander Leaf’s highly popular Cooking Classes, which cover over 15 different cuisines, command a loyal following.

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  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row