The absolute coolest part of the World Orchid Show in Singapore was the bonus side trip that came with every ticket purchase: a preview of the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. Gardens by the Bay is an enormous eco project under development next to Marina Bay Sands. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who is largely responsible for the vision and development of Singapore over the past 50 years, spoke at the Flower Dome preview about the importance of green spaces like Gardens by the Bay. You can read his address on the GBB website.
Gardens by the Bay is nothing short of phenomenal — a marvellous trifecta of plant life, technology and architecture. The gardens have been created in what I’m learning is true Singapore style — imaginative, beautiful and forward-thinking. The Supertrees that have taken root around the site will continue to fill in with growing bromeliads, orchids and ferns. These are not ordinary “trees”. They’re equipped with panels to provide solar power, they collect rainwater for the gardens and they act as venting for the domes.
Entering the Flower Dome is like walking into the belly of a monumental spaceship. The striated dome arcs and soars over head creating a balloon-like environment filled with natural light. Wide pathways lead through the various gardens — from Baobab trees to succulents to a “California” garden.
The incredible variety of trees and plants will continue to fill in as the dome is completed and scheduled to open to the public in 2012. Until then, even a walk around the exterior is full of exploratory opportunities and memorable views of Singapore that change with each hour of the day. I can’t wait to go back again.