FANTASTICO ! Gardens By the BaY –
What God has made, man can hardly surpass for He truly is the Ultimate Creator. But there are times when his best creation ( yes MAN) conspires with nature to make an object of beauty and wonder that is truly remarkable. When man and nature combine together, using technology and natural beauty, the outcome is simply FANTASTICO !
The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is one such example that leaves you stunned and wordless. WOW is the only word that escaped my lips when I first spotted the eerie looking grove of Supertrees with their barren outstretched arms reaching out to harvest solar energy with embedded photovoltaic cells. Each Supertree consists of a reinforcement concrete core,the trunk , planting panels with thousands bromeliads, orchids, ferns and creepers for the living skin and the canopy. They did look kind of strange – leafless branches all wired for a stunning display of lights in the evening but starkly futuristic and unreal.
While I shuddered at their other worldliness, I couldn’t help but admire the technology that went behind it.
However, the two places that I did visit were the Flower Dome and the adjoining Cloud Forest. Both are essentially greenhouses with different kinds of plant life.
The Flower Dome has wonderful collection of driftwood sculptures, the wide range of cacti, the varities of Baobab and the different kinds of desert flora on one side. On the other, is a collection of different gardens found in different climatic conditions. Imagine walking through gardens in the Mediterranean, the Andean Highlands, the tropics and the scrub lands of the desert ? All at the same time and in the same place? Truly, this is FANTASTICO!
If the riot of colour in the conservatory is not enough to take your breath away, a walk in the Cloud forest definitely will especially as you begin walking up the ramp. With a huge artificial mountain taking pride of place, the entire dome is sprayed with droplets falling from a waterfall from the top, enveloping you in a fine mist that instantly transports you to a tropical forest. As you climb to the top, you can see the different vegetation, rare plants and flowers that you would normally have to walk miles to see.
The Gardens By the Bay are spread over 101 hectares of reclaimed land which in itself is a technological marvel. Where else can you see such a diversity of plant life all literally under one roof? Truly there is no other place in the world that can showcase such plant life.
There are many other gardens too in this complex of gardens – like the Heritage Garden that explores the cultural and ethnic heritage of the Island City and the World of Plants which is a botany student’s delight or the Bay East Garden where you can just enjoy leisure activities like cycling, skate boarding or simply walking along the scenic beauty of lush green gardens along the waterfront.
In a city committed to the pursuit of progress and technology, isn’t it fantastic that they have also spared a thought for our environment?