Carpet Of Green

Posted: November 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                           Stardate: 63360.1 (Nov 10th, 2009)

The last time I’ve visit the Singapore Botanic Garden was two years back on a family outing. As far as I can remember, it was my younger sister’s birthday at that time, so my dad decided to treat the whole family there since my sister loves nature.

So two days ago (Nov 8th, Sunday), I was there again. This time, on solo. This is regards to the reality game “Uncover Singapore” which I had describe it when referring to my destination to the National Museum of Singapore for the Singapore Stone on my previous log entry. For this one, was the picture of a heritage tree which can be found at the back of the Singapore five dollar note. Also, in postage stamps.

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Familiar with it? If you are the type who treasures history or nature, or even feed this part of information into your mind as part of your learning process, than you definitely know the answer.

Its the grand old Tembusu tree.

My main objective for this mission was to identify the tree, and to locate it. Also, to pose with the tree, and at the same time, revealing the paper where “Uncover.Sg” were written on it. An evidence to show that I was there. Haha! =D

As what I did when spending my time in the Singapore Museum, I will also spend my free hours there exploring the garden. Heard there’s some changes been patch around. Probably turning it into a paradise more than just a garden =)

Besides, had nothing on for that day, and better take this opportunity to kill the boredom. Apart from that, I really needed this break, after all that tedious assignment due to my career as a law enforcement, that involves big meeting from the world leaders. I really need this break just to have some peace in my mind.

First thing first, before I carried out my mission, I had conducted research from the internet to learn more about the garden. Sure, some would say its a common sight of green with lush meadows of flowers, series of plantation, orchid growing and so forth that deals with nature. But who knows, especially for first timers, there could be more than meets the eye.

According to its natural habitat, the garden is a 63.7-hectare (157-acre). Amazingly, it is half the size of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew which was in South West London or around one-fifth the size of Central Park in New York. It is the only botanic garden in the world that opens from 5am to 12midnight every day, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden. Its the main attraction within the botanic gardens which store a huge collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids. Wow! Talk about a load of paradise needs to be enhance!

Also, I came to find out that the garden was been categorized in three zones. The Tanglin Core, Central Core and Bukit Timah Core. Here’s the edited map:

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There are several major gates circulating the garden. As I had pinpoint the exact root of the Tembusu Tree; it was located at Tanglin Core, and I had to use that particular main gate nearest to it. This goes to show that I can get there easily before proceeding to explore the rest of the garden. Also, as you can see from the map, each of the cores had one lake each.

From the internet, it had introduced some of the most interesting attractions that can be found there. Sounds catchy, and hope I can find them.

From where I lived, I arrived there nearly an hour by bus. Thought that I might missed a stop. But luckily, the main gate of the garden that I’m aiming could be seen from a distance before reaching to the bus stop where I will disembarked.

Finally, Home of the Green!

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Before I go boldly where no nature lovers had gone before, I make my way to the Green Pavilion, which was also the visitor center to grab a copy of the map. From the map given, I began to familiarize with some of the locations, especially the one that I was aiming and best spot in attracting visitors. There’s even the Library of Botany and Horticulture, that store topics such as wildlife, natural history, conservation, scientific journals, landscape architecture references, bibliographies, botanical reprints, gardening, health and well-being and many more. Great for book lovers, as well as nature lovers, as it provides the wonders of the natural world within beautifully illustrated pages.

Here’s some of the pictures taken at Green Pavilion:

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I began my move. Intrigued by the landscape and lush of green along the way.

Its amazing to notice that majority of the visitors here had used certain areas of the garden for their picnic. Sure, without a doubt, the space here were spacious and open. A perfect place for such. Also, among the visitors here who went for their picnic were mostly foreigners. Either coming from Thailand or Philippines.

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An interesting sculpture I came across. It was title as “Stream of Life 011” designed by Mr Seo Jung Kug. Another one of these was located a few meters down below the path.

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I came across the Swan Lake, the first lake I take note of. As according to its history, the lake was added as a feature of the garden back in 1866. There’s big clump of elegant nibong plams that has become a timeless facet of the landscape. The pair of mute swans that glide gracefully across the lake was imported from Amsterdam. Besides providing scenic vistas, the lake is also an important water supply for the gardens.

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From the map shown, the heritage tree was somewhere nearby. I went up and down the landscape, searching for it. There’s few times where I though some of the trees there were the one I’m looking for. Few of them does held some resemblances.

And within five minutes estimated, the tree was sighted. Its located on an open field. A vast spacious area that seems like an ideal place for a game of soccer.

It thrills me to finally found the tree. Or the so-called “Money Tree” in which Agent Damon, who was in-charge of the reality game had identify it as =)

Pictures taken below were at each angle as I study the tree. Through history of nature, Tembusu are very hardy trees which can thrive and bloom even under adverse conditions. A native tree of secondary forest, it is well adapted to grow on poor soils in open areas. A long-lived tree, it can live up to 150 to 200 years. It can reach a height of about 25 metres. Its wood is very hard and resistant to rot and termites. It can be used for making bridges, rafts, chopping boards, furniture, and house building.

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Photo of me posed with the tree. Thanks to the gentleman who had helped me to take a shot of it. Agent Damon, here’s my evidence =D

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Didn’t know that his kid were on it. Oh well, at least Agent Damon accepts it =)

Then, I spend a few minutes gluing my eyes to this part of the garden. Families on their picnic were lay out at different corners of the field. Perhaps due to the shade provided by the trees there.

An interesting plantation =)

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I continued my destination. Following the map provided, I visited the Sundial Garden as well as the Bonsai where it houses the growing plants in pots. This is getting really interesting.

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From the Bonsai, I followed a sharp right turn – towards the Sun Garden where it displays succulents and other plants of arid regions. Other than that, it actually reminds me of those plants usually found on deserted land. Texas, you named it 😉

These pictures will tell =)

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Most interesting on this part of the field.

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Passing of Knowledge

The 4-Way Test:
Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

From here, I followed a straight path, which later curves up to the main public footpath. Nature lovers were seen here photographing the scenery due to its open and unique natural environment. Without a doubt, dating couples were hard to be missed =)

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Soon, I came across the location of the National flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim. But turns out to be an experimental field of its roots. Wonder if the botanist team were growing more of them. Cause as to what I noticed, it seems most likely…..

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Nearby, was the rainforest where I began my trekking. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve might had the looks as this one. But this is the only piece of original jungle left on the island. It gives the visitors some idea of the wonderful richness of tropical vegetation. Ultimately, this is still true today, where about 314 species jostle for space in this 6-hectare fragment of forest that forms a multilayered complexity of herbs and ferns, shrubs, climbers and small, medium and large trees. Nature lovers, without a doubt, were crazy into this!

Not only that, the rainforest also includes a wealth of species with economic importance, such as the rattans, fruit trees and the towering jelutong.

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Soon, I came across this enormous living plant deep within the jungle terrain. I spend a few minutes studying it. I’m amazed by how those large vines and roots been tangle together and reaches all the way up and across the bark of the tree. Seems like nature does have its purpose, for some. And I wonder if there’s any small creatures, the squirrels especially lived behind those thick vines.

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I continue my trekking. With all the trees towering over you, the atmosphere here was much more cooling. Birds chirp and tweet among the trees. Squirrels could be seen hopping from tree to tree. Nature has it saying, as due to Nature Conservancy, and that these areas are considered important for the survival of certain species, ecological studies, solitude, and recreation.

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I exit the rainforest, and stepped onto Orchid Plaza. Time for a break, I decided, and treat myself for some ice-cream that were available here.

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Next to it, was the Palm Valley. Another perfect open field where you can relax and enjoy the peace. A picnic for some, to be obvious =)

So do I. Managed to locate a shady spot where I took the time to relax the mind. At the same time, led my attention to my mini laptop where I had bring it along.

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I spend my time there for an hour. Then moving across the field where I caught sighted of another lake, which was the Symphony Lake.

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An artificial lake, it features a large stage known as the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage built on an islet in the middle of the water body. The stage is most known as the venue for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s monthly SSO in the Park open-concept concerts, hence giving the lake its name.

Down here, more nature lovers was spotted photographing the place. Surprised me too, that some of them even brought along those huge lenses, that were commonly used when photographing soccer matches. Probably wanted to have a bigger picture out of it =D

Around this time, the weather had cooled down. The wind had started to pick up. Not to mention, how dull the weather had turned out to be. Just hope it didn’t rained…

From the map shown, the nearest point was this Evolution Garden. Sounds interesting, and I believe, its another one of those visitor’s attraction.

Its a long walk. But I enjoyed it, as I get to make the sense of the surroundings around me. Truly an achievement for the gardens! =)

Finally, I reached my next point of destination.

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It was a new attraction, which was a 1.5-hectare area dedicated to tell the evolution story of how plants gave us life, and how long before we humans arrived, where they started to evolve into the myriad complex life forms that we see today. Its a journey through time, at the start where our world was once a fiery planet through ancient times before memory…

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As much as I’m able to anticipate, this is probably where dinosaurs started to roam the Earth. Some of the rock here appeared to tell by its age. The roots of a billion years old! The prehistoric moment was revealed here to share its tale.

I’m truly fascinated by these trees. Or were they? I suddenly felt like as though I just set foot on an alien world….. =o

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Remarkable. Those “branches” looked like claws waiting to grab you….

I move on. Amazed by the sight here. Does felt like time travelling as I advanced deeper into this evidence of evolution. What’s been seeded the plant life at the beginning of time, still had the ages that followed. This place may seems more of a scientific mode of exploration for some. They would preferred it that way, and even started analyzing the similarities of one rock to the next. Its astounding from the way I see it.

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I came to the end of the evolution cycle. Arrived back in year 2009! =D

I followed a path that were linked to it, that soon directs me to Eco-Garden, where the Eco-Lake was located.

With its irregularly sinuous shores, it brings a soft and natural atmosphere. Fish swim in its clear waters, and waterhen, heron and migrant ducks call this home. It is delightful to see the colourful bee-eaters swooping and turning as they catch insects above the lake surface. Of course, no visit would be complete without a sight of the black swans. These natives of Australia have been associated with the gardens, and the Eco-Lake is a beautiful setting in which to admire them.

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Seems a lot quieter down here. Not much visitors roamed this part of the garden. The land here was spacious and many of the areas were dotted with flowers. I supposed when nightfalls, this part of the garden would be perfect for romantic couple on a date. Hehe…=) And you could probably catch some stars twinkling in the night sky =)

The last place that I’m going to visit was the Jacob Ballas Childen’s Garden. Obviously, as the name stated, it was meant for the kids =)

It was actually Asia’s first children’s garden. Dedicated to all children of Singapore, it is designed to provide unique discovery and learning experiences in a garden setting. Through play and exploration, the Children’s Garden will cultivate an appreciation for plants, nature and the environment among the young. It meets the demands for nature education in an increasingly sophisticated tropical Garden City. It is created as a unique and interactive fun place where children up to 12 years of age can discover how plants provide their daily needs. It also gives children a first introduction to the life sciences – an important branch of science as Singapore embarks on life sciences research as a new thrust for economic growth.

Of course, I had no intention of going in. I just wanted to get a glimpse of how it look like from the outside and took at least two shots of it.

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That’s for the day, I told myself, and track back to where I first started.

Along the way, I snap more interesting areas within the garden.

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Now this tree really amazed me!

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Also named as the Tembusu. Just take a look at those roots. It coils from the ground, and snake up to the top. This is fascinating! They remind me of ropes, and I wonder if we were able to climb up using this “ropes” =D Indeed, an eye-opener, and nature lovers will definitely start photographing by every corners and every inch of the tree. “This is great! This is definitely cool!” This is what they might say =D

Here’s some of the tallest tree I’ve came across.

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Though I didn’t really completed the entire ground of the garden, I’m still glad that I had taken the opportunity to be there, rather than rot at home! Haha! =D Though my intention was based on locating the so-called “Money Tree” it still worth for me to explore the rest of the garden. Some of the areas, I realized, I never came across when I was with my family back then. Especially the Evolution Garden. Its great to catch up to those. I wouldn’t want to miss those either =)

Of course, its never too late to explore here again. Especially those areas I have yet to set foot upon.

Never knew that nature could be so fulfilling! Other than that, it will be more fun if you had a friend, especially who was engrossed into nature to accompany you.

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Comments
  1. Steve says:

    Yo dude, great writing! So what’s next? Bukit Timah Nature Reserve? =)

  2. Don says:

    Nicely done and well-detailed =) Despite of not being able to covered the entire garden, you have at least introduced many of the interesting areas that couldn’t be missed. Sure does have a taste of tourist’s attraction. Keep up with the good work! =D

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