Parks and gardens of Singapore

You might know that our little red dot is a garden city, more precisely the government wants to turn it into a city within a garden. You might have read about how our little island have linked up various parks into a walking trail that one can ‘hike’ on (here). And you might on occasion of reading our MRT series (here), come across photos of parks and gardens.

Indeed if one were to try counting how many parks/gardens we have on this island, one could get confused. Sort of like a kungfu master asking you to count mixed up brown and white rice with chopsticks… heheh. Not sure if they really do that, but some slapstick movies apparently suggest so.

But we digress.

We’re about to start exploring more of our island gardens for a new series. One that examines the parks and gardens, green spots in the little red dot. Wow. Can you imagine that? Have you counted the number of gardens and parks in your hometown?


The garden on an island

If you thought this post is one more piece about our island home (aka the little red dot), well sorry. Not so! Well it is about an island, though one that is not set in the sea. Huh? Yup, this island is now lush with vegetation where it was once barren and devastated. And it is now home to an incredible assortment of residents.

This is definitely dedication.

Jadav spent the better part of his life planting a tree every day on the river island of Majuli in north-eastern India (story here). Here is a man who spent time and effort performing this tree planting feat which covers more than NYC’s Central park over a period of almost 40 years (wow this number seem to be repeated oft times on this blog).

It is stories like this that provide some hope that indeed we just might have a chance at working to mitigate the effects of climate change, albeit a little limited now that we are so far along the curve.

Our little red dot has been fortunate that we had a leader who had that vision more than 50 years ago to do the same. And today we reap the rewards of living on a lush island full of green too. Don’t you wish there are more people like Jadav? Can we be like him too?

A UNESCO site in Singapore?

Yes. After a pretty long journey, we (ie the little red dot) have finally our own UNESCO heritage site in 2015. To be honest, it wasn’t a place that we had visited regularly. The idea actually came about in 1822 by our island’s modern founder, and it has surely gone a long way from being an experimental garden to the present day.

You see, you need to understand this. That Sir Stamford Raffles wasn’t just another colonial official. He was also a very keen naturalist and geographer. His travels had taken him all over the southeast Asian archipelago and he is credited with have discovered the world’s largest flower. Do you know what that is? Well Google it since we won’t tell you!

Our botanical gardens is not huge at 82 hectares. And we’ve been to much larger gardens elsewhere in the world. But it packs a lot of punch into that considerably compact yet well thought layout. It is an important piece in the puzzle that is our city state’s path towards a city in a garden. Did you know you can have an Orchid variery named after you? Join us here as we show you what you can see and do here in our UNESCO heritage site.

Do you love gardens? Hope you enjoyed our showcase!

Morning walks at the Chinese & Japanese gardens


Yes we have finally come around to posting again about our beloved little red dot. It has been such a long time since the last one. Not quite the Gardens by the Bay, the green of the Chinese and Japanese gardens in the western side of Singapore offers you an entirely different experience. Whereas the gardens at the bay are more about ‘in your face’ impressive, this corner of the little red dot offers more poetic solace.

And that is partly because it is set in the heartlands, our local term for the suburban towns and neighbourhoods where most people live. You’ll need to know that Singapore is more than just the shiny skyscrapers and beautiful glitzy hotels in the CBD area. And that not everyone lives in a nice condo.

Home to the workhorses of the country, it is also the place where you’d see more local inhabitants than tourists, so those travelers out there (hey remember to come get your certifications) will be most delighted you can immerse into local culture. Just remember not to overuse the ‘lah’ when you interact and try to blend in like a local. Heheh.

But most importantly, come for a morning walk when the sun rises and reflections of the ball of fire is rippled in the waters surrounding the gardens. Yes! The gardens are set within a body of water, the Jurong lake. Which serves not just as a water catchment (recall this post?) but also a leisure area where folks can take to the water – not swimming, just canoeing etc. You’ll get a fine for getting into the water…sorry.

Recall that the gardens by the bay have otters? Well guess what these gardens have? You’d be surprised with what you see here in the gardens. Find out more here!

Green gardens, even in winter!

Why would you visit a garden without flowers? Now you know that in the eastern world, you have zen gardens, rock gardens (not music), bonsai etc. And in the west most people might associate gardens being adorned with flowers to some degree. What if we were to tell you that gardens in France are mostly designed not to have flowers in mind?

Would you believe us?

Actually we did not believe ourselves too. At least not when we started out driving all over France. And of course we made a sweeping statement. Not ALL gardens in France are without flowers. It is the concept that flowers are not a centrality – that is key!

In this essay, we want to share with you some gems of French gardens that we discovered through our driving journeys. They have been painstakingly built to be enjoyed throughout the year. Thus flower gardens that you might find less attractive in the depths of autumn and winter, you will still be able to find solace within these creations. Many of them can be found within the beautiful manorial palaces and homes of the former aristocracy.

Take a tour of le jardins du France and tell us if you like them!