Indian flora by the bay

Snug in the centre of Singapore's latest attraction, Gardens by the Bay, is a space dedicated to Indian ethnicity. Called Indian Garden, it has a handsome banyan tree - the national tree of India - standing proudly in the middle while the periphery is laden with tamarind trees, jasmine plants, Asian Palmyra palm trees that are common in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and other Indian flora that have medicinal, cultural and religious value to the community.

Adding to the Indian cultural setting are some elephant statues that stand around half a metre tall and a floral motif inspired by a Kolam design.

The Indian Garden is part of the Heritage Gardens which also includes the Chinese, Malay and Colonial Gardens and they are located within the Bay South Garden - one of the three distinctive waterfront gardens that make up the Gardens by the Bay.

The Gardens by the Bay is an initiative by the National Parks Board (NParks) to help develop Singapore from a "garden city" to a "city in a garden".

The Bay South Garden, scheduled to open on June 29, is a lively and vibrant garden which showcases the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry, with a mass display of tropical flowers and coloured foliage. A ticketed attraction is the cooled conservatories located within Bay South Garden and houses plants from different parts of the world. One of the conservatories, the Flower Dome, replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean and semi-arid subtropical regions.

Visitors can find plants from South Africa, Madagascar, western Australia, the coastal high plains of South America, the west coast of North America and the Mediterranean Basin. The plants are selected to educate visitors on the adaptations as well as raise awareness of the environment and the threat of climate change on these plants.

A key feature in the Flower Dome is the Flower Field that will have a changing display of flowers during different seasons.

The other conservatory, the Cloud Forest, will boast the cool-moist climate and plants from South America, Africa and even Malaysia. More than 130,000 plants are expected to be displayed in this conservatory.

Another important feature in the Bay South Gardens is the Supertree Grove that has 18 tree-like structures ranging in height from 25m to 50m and an aerial walkway that is open to the public for a fee. These tall, eye-catching structures provide the additional wow factor to the Gardens and are destined to become part of Singapore's skyline.

Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers will be planted on the 18 Supertrees. The tallest structure will also house a rooftop bar which has a spectacular 360-degree view of the Garden.

jamunas@sph.com.sg

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