|The award winning supertrees of the Garden by the Bay|
I'm not surprised this Garden won so many awards - it's not just an architectural show piece or an amusement park, the Garden and its man-made 'supertrees' serve a function in urban climate modification. These trees collect rainwater, generate electricity via solar cells and they also maintain the micro climate inside two massive glass domes by dispersing heat. Excess water collected by the supertrees are drained into a man-made lake called the Dragonfly lake.
|Dragonfly Lake helps to store excess water collected by the supertrees|
The Garden by the Bay also provides recreational activities and is fast becoming a tourist attraction. The ultimate aim is to attract 5 million visitors a year (!!!) which I suppose would make it self-sustaining, financially. Besides the visual feast, the park is positively educational and provides an opportunity to exercise both your brains as well as your muscles. The dizzying sky walks will take your breath away.
|Take a walk in the sky! In the background is the equally spectacular Marina Bay Sands Hotel.|
All pictures taken by Tutu Dutta, using an Olympus camera as I disdain camera phones.
|Moon Gate entrance to the Chinese Garden. Note the fake-looking concrete coloured rocks.|
What were truly impressive were the two glass domed conservatories: a tall narrow one which simulated a hill housed the Cloud Forest and a long low one, which housed the Flower Garden.
|The Flower Dome as seen from a distance|
The interior of these domes are climate controlled- the mountain like Cloud Forest is chilly and moist while the Flower Dome replicates the cool and dry of the Mediterranean and cool semi arid regions such as South Africa. The roof gardens are in the Cloud Forest.
As the entrance fees were quite expensive, we decided to only visit one of the domes. We love flowers but we chose the 'Cloud Forests' because of its more interesting ecology. The pictures speak for themselves...
|The cloud forest has a towering indoor waterfall...|
|Metal walkways circle the dome at a few levels...|
|Shona had to conquer her fear of heights to traverse these walkways...|
|Insect eating pitcher plants up close...|
|Plant diversity on a man-made mountain.|
This is a remarkable project which one hopes will serve as a model for future parks and tourist attractions. Instead of the multitude of theme parks with roller coasters, fake cliffs, caves and castles which only serve to entertain, perhaps we will have parks which serve a biological and educational purpose.