Mar 21, 2014

All Things Prickly at Gardens by the Bay

(Daddy blogs)

The prickly plants have descended on Gardens by the Bay - and they are set to spike up the fun factor! 

Hot on the heels of the opening of the Children's Garden, the Sun Pavilion is the latest attraction to be added to Gardens by the Bay and admission is all FREE.

As its name implies, the Sun Pavilion houses more than 1,000 desert plants of almost 100 species and varieties, and forms one of the largest cactus and succulent collections in South-east Asia.

Located next to the Children’s Garden, the cacti and succulents found in the Sun Pavilion originated from semi-arid regions, such as Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar and were chosen for their ability to survive in Singapore's climate.

One interesting point to note is that none of the plants were taken from the wild, but from nurseries in places such as Thailand, the Canary Islands and Florida.

And in case you thought that the 800 square metres pavilion has a shelter that was built with the visitors in mind, you are wrong. The shelter is actually for the plants' benefit, as it keeps out rain and prevents excess water from reaching the plants.

Okay so I have to admit - I always had the impression that desert plants are not only boring, but also not exactly the prettiest to gawk at. Ditto for the boys.

But after one round through the Sun Pavilion, we were pleasantly fascinated by the wide variety and colours that some of the cacti and other desert plants have to offer. One such plant that caught my fancy was the Turk's Cap.

This Brazilian cactus begins inconspicuously as a green spiny ball. As it matures, it develops a felt-like pillow on top which resembles a fez or red cylindrical hat worn by Turks during the late Ottoman era. Small pink flowers bloom and the cactus eventually bears small, carrot shaped, red fruits, which are edible.

For the boys though, they are always on the lookout for things that are grotesque or plain gross... which they gleefully found in the form of the Brain Cactus.

I suppose the visual aspect of the cactus is adequate explanation as to how the cactus got its name. More interestingly though, the shape of this cactus is due to a genetic anomaly that caused it to lose its ability to grow upwards and hence grow sideways instead, to form the shape of the human brain.

And should you be still in the mood for all things prickly (and thorny) after that but would gladly swap the sweltering heat for something cool, gallop into the Flower Dome where a battle of epic proportions (and blooms) awaits.

From now until 6 April 2014, visitors to the Flower Field in the Flower Dome will be transported back to the medieval era, complete with a battlefield featuring armoured knights on wooden horses, as well as 60 varieties of England's national flower, the Tudor rose.

Entitled 'War of the Roses', the floral display draws inspiration from an event of the same name that took place in 15th century England. The historical “War of the Roses” was a series of civil wars between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that were vying for the throne of England.

Its name drew reference to the emblems associated with the two Houses – the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York.

The war lasted 30 years and Lancastrian Henry Tudor eventually won and became King Henry VII.

So if you are one who love roses, be sure to head down and marvel in the colourful floral display... and maybe steal a sniff too.

Be sure to get a copy of the trail map entitled “A Tale of Roses” too, where you can embark on a self-guided adventure to discover the history and significance of roses within the Flower Dome!

And this March School Holidays, Gardens by the Bay will be organising the Children's Festival at the Gardens - A Magical Spring Garden just for the kids!

It will be a weekend of exciting performances and installation inspired by some of Britain's best-loved children's authors and stories, including performances of Alice in Wonderland and by the Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir. Details of the Children's Festival and its programme schedule are as follow:

Click to view in detail

Dates: 21 -23 Mar 2013
Time: 21 Mar 10am - 3pm | 22 & 23 Mar 10am - 6pm
Venue: Children's Garden, Flower Dome and The Canopy
Charges: FREE, but admission fees to the conservatory apply

Useful Information

Sun Pavilion
Beside Children's Garden, Gardens by the Bay
Time: 9am - 9pm daily
Charges: FREE

War of the Roses
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Date: 26 Feb - 6 Apr 2014
Time: 9am - 9pm daily
Charges: Entry fees into the Cooled Conservatories apply. For admission charges, click HERE.

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