Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gardens by the Bay - A Stunning Park in Central Singapore

Gardens by the Bay is a park spanning 101 hectares ( 250 acres ) of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. Gardens by the Bay is an integral part of a strategy by the Singapore government to transform Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden". The stated aim is to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.

The sprawling 250-acre Gardens by the Bay is an incredible public space with gardens, bridges, skywalks, parks and plants. The green development has been proclaimed a " horticultural heaven". The attractions of this grand park is the two massive climate-controlled biomes or conservatories called Cloud Forest and Flower Dome and of course the massive man-made supertrees. The conservatories are intended to be an energy efficient showcase of sustainable building technologies and to provide an all-weather edutainment space within the Gardens.

The Flower Dome is the larger of the two, at 1.2 hectares ( 3.0 acres ). It replicates cool dry conditions and will feature permanent displays of plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical regions. A changing display field has also been incorporated to enable flower shows and displays to be held within the conservatory. The Cloud Forest is slightly smaller at 0.8 hectares ( 2.0 acres ). It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres ( 9,800 ft ) above sea level. It features a "Cloud Mountain", accessible by an elevator, and visitors will be able to descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre ( 115 ft ) waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air.

Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens' landscape with heights that range between 25 metres ( 82 ft ) and 50 metres ( 160 ft ). They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.

The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, just like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems.

There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a breathtaking aerial view of the Gardens. A food and beverage outlet is planned atop the 50-metre ( 160 ft ) Supertree. At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody. Now take a look at some more photos of this unique garden...

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