first supertrees – now super domes

singapore conservatory dome.jpgAfter goggling (a mixture of gobsmacked & ogling) the supertrees, our little party of escapees from the day’s official IBO program made our way into the Flower Dome, the first of the two great conservatories in Singapore’s Gardens in the Bay. Cue more ‘oh, wow!’ moments as the scale of the building became apparent – this is what it looks like once you’re through the doors (& into the wondrous coolness of the huge space):

singapore - entrance to flower dome.jpg

This dome contains gardens, or garden collections, from around the world, including the displays of flowers that give it its name. I was fascinated by the visual juxtaposition of the gardens with the almost futuristic cityscape beyond the conservatory walls.

singapore - flower dome & cityscape.jpg

singapore - flower dome hibiscus.jpg

From some perspectives the dome’s interior gives the impression of being heavily forested, & it’s at this point I had to keep reminding myself that none of this was here even 4 years ago: all the mature trees were brought onto the site from elsewhere…

singapore - flower dome forest look.jpg

 … including a 1000-year-old olive tree. We could only guess at the huge amount of work (by goodness knows how many gardeners) to get all these plants established.

singapore - flower dome with olive tree.jpg

There’s also a wonderful collection of xerophytes: plants adapted to life in a dry environment. The plants in the following photo show a range of interesting adaptations related to this lifestyle.

singapore - xerophytes.jpgAnd scattered through the dome is a range of artwork, including this lovely botanically-based eagle, developed from the roots of a tree. (I am always amazed at how some people are able to ‘see’ the form within something, and work to bring it forth.)

 singapore - flower dome eagle.jpg


4 thoughts on “first supertrees – now super domes”

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    I didn’t go in: $28 for non-residents, and no beer kiosks.
    The whole Gardens by the Bay complex struck me as extremely disturbing. The concept of setting up two vast glasshouses the size of entire suburbs *in Singapore’s climate*, then refrigerating them so they can be stocked with cool-climate plants ripped up from around the world, is just surreal — more than anything it’s a statement of the government’s power, and about the resources they can afford to squander.
    And then it is billed to the population as part of the New Green environmentally-conscious Singapore! I couldn’t help wondering what occupied the Gardens site before it was landscaped and and engineered… whether it was rain-forest or wetlands. Now it is an expanse of concrete and steel, with a few hundred square metres of photocells covering the tops of the Supertrees to justify their existence, and signage proudly explaining that the electricity powers the machinery and is so much better than boring old plants.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    Beer kiosks – yes, well, you were on a hiding to nothing there.
    I suppose they could argue that it’s ‘environmentally conscious’ in the sense that they’re showing bits of other environments to people (& most of the locals aren’t going to get to see them any other way), but OTOH complete ecosystems they ain’t. No animals. They must spray the blazes out of the place – the island, not just the Gardens – as we saw hardly any insects at all in the week we were there. I had to wonder what the little golden gecko outside my room actually found to eat.
    AFAIK the whole Gardens area wasn’t even there a few years ago; it’s all reclaimed land. Looking at the nature of the rest of the coastline there I seriously doubt it was even wetlands. There’s very little rainforest left, & what there is, is inland.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Looking at the nature of the rest of the coastline there I seriously doubt it was even wetlands.
    OTOH complete ecosystems they ain’t
    The whole high-maintenance complex did have the feel of a job-creation scheme for gardeners and engineers…

  • Alison Campbell says:

    Well, walking out to it from the train station, we certainly saw a fair bit of what I’d call landfill materials poking up from the soil.

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