Today, Gardens by the Bay commemorated the occasion of its 100-millionth visitor alongside the launch of Christmas at the Gardens – the largest Christmas celebrations in Singapore this December.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong marked the significant milestone of the 100-millionth visitor – just as he did for Gardens by the Bay’s 20-millionth visitor in 2015 and 50-millionth visitor in 2018 – by presenting Lester Er and his wife June Tan a commemorative gift hamper. The couple, who often visit the Gardens with their two young children, received a two-year Friends of the Gardens Family Plus membership and a two-night stay in the Garden Pod hotel, among other Gardens’ memorabilia.
DPM Wong also launched Christmas at the Gardens, a series of yuletide-themed events taking place across December. As a People’s Garden, Gardens by the Bay organises diverse events and activities throughout the calendar year to provide a verdant setting for the community to gather and bond with friends and family on a variety of occasions. This year, for the first time ever, Gardens by the Bay is celebrating Christmas in a big way – as a one-stop venue where people can join in several major festive events all in the same month. Christmas at the Gardens includes:
Assistant CEO of Gardens by the Bay May Yeo said, “Gardens by the Bay is committed to curating diverse and inclusive experiences for people all year round. With Christmas at the Gardens – the largest Christmas celebrations taking place at Gardens by the Bay this December, we have put together a rich line-up of events where there is truly something for all to enjoy. Christmas is a season of giving. Against the magnificent backdrop of the luminaries, we hope to gift to all the joy of celebrating this special season in the Gardens. This Christmas is also especially heartening for the Gardens as we mark a significant milestone in our journey, with the welcome of our 100-millionth visitor in just over a decade since our opening in 2012. We thank all for the years of support and love for Gardens by the Bay!”
Director of Blue Sky Events Kevin Soh said, “We are delighted that Gardens by the Bay has reached a significant milestone during our 10th anniversary of Christmas Wonderland. Since our debut in 2014, Christmas Wonderland has attracted some five million visitors, and has grown to become an iconic annual highlight on Singapore’s year-end festive calendar. We are proud to be one of the key attractions that have contributed to the Gardens’ success. For our 10th edition, we look forward to bringing the joy and magic of Christmas to even more visitors.”
Today, to mark the occasion of Christmas Wonderland’s tenth anniversary and in the spirit of giving back to the community this yuletide season, Blue Sky Events donated $30,000 each to the Children’s Cancer Foundation and St Luke’s ElderCare respectively. Beneficiaries from both charities will also be invited to experience the magic of Christmas Wonderland.
Gardens by the Bay’s 100-millionth visitor Lester Er said, “It is my family’s honour to be the 100-millionth visitor to Gardens by the Bay, a place that holds immense significance for us. Throughout the milestones of our life, the Gardens has been a constant backdrop, evolving from a romantic dating spot for me and my wife, to a cherished family destination when we had children. Its diverse offerings through the years, from captivating floral displays to engaging events, offer new experiences each time and has drawn us back on repeated visits. We look forward to being part of Gardens by the Bay’s continued growth as visitors.“
Today, DPM Wong also met with childhood cancer survivors and their families who lent a hand to the Christmas decorations at the outdoor gardens. In a collaboration between Children’s Cancer Foundation and Gardens by the Bay, they decorated several community Christmas trees dotted around the Gardens. In addition, DPM Wong toured the Christmas Wonderland grounds.
Please refer to the Annexes for more information on:
· Christmas Wonderland
· Celebrate YOUth!: Electric Garden concert series
· Poinsettia Wishes floral display
· Profile of the 100-millionth visitor, Lester Er and his family
Many visitors to Gardens by the Bay come to enjoy the beauty of its signature floral displays in Flower Dome, yet the techniques behind growing temperate plants from seed to flower in the tropics remains a mystery to most. Tomorrow, Gardens by the Bay’s research glasshouse opens to public for the first time to give people a rare glimpse of how the plants are cultivated.
Called “From Seed to Bloom”, the free behind-the-scenes tour opened to Friends of the Gardens members and Gardens by the Bay volunteers today, and the regular public tomorrow. Response to the tour has been overwhelming, with both days fully subscribed and some 1,600 people expected to attend.
The research glasshouse, which is among the Gardens’ on-site plant cultivation facilities, is the largest at 1,250 sqm. Every year, Gardens by the Bay grows up to 30,000 plants in-house at these facilities.
A highlight of the behind-the-scenes tour is that people can vote for their favourite flower, and this People’s Choice flower will be featured prominently in Flower Dome next year.
Senior Director of Horticultural Operations Gary Chua said, “Creating the beautiful landscapes that people see at Gardens by the Bay is a journey, yet most people only get to see the end product –flowers. Getting to this stage from the beginning, which is the seed, is a hidden world that few will get to experience unless you are from the horticulture industry. As such, this behind-the-scenes tour is a rare opportunity for plant enthusiasts or simply the curious among us, to learn more about plant propagation and growing techniques. It is also a chance for the public to step into a professional plant cultivation facility and preview how our horticulturists work.”
During the tour, how research horticulturists cultivate plants to support the floral displays in Flower Dome will be divided into three different aspects. There is also a guide on hand to answer questions from the public on each aspect.
1. Plant propagation
Here, the focus is on plant propagation methods, including the use of seeds, cuttings, tissue culture, and tubers. Participants will get to see examples of each propagation method, as well as an explanation of each method.
2. How dinner plate dahlias are grown
The annual Dahlia Dreams floral display in Flower Dome, a Chinese New Year staple, is well known for its dinner plate dahlias. These are dahlias that have been nurtured to grow to up to 30 cm across, hence the name. Participants will learn the techniques and care required to grow such massive flowers.
3. What are flower trials in the horticulture industry?
Delve deeper into the work that research horticulturists do, such as flower trials. The aim of flower trials, which are highly anticipated events within the horticultural industry in USA and Europe, is to allow the industry to preview new cultivars by breeder companies, before they are introduced to the market.
Last year, Gardens by the Bay held the first flower trial in Southeast Asia for industry players in the region, and this year marks the second. The seeds for the plants in the flower trials were supplied by well-known international companies PanAmerican Seed, Suntory Flowers, Syngenta Flowers and Takii Seed, and grown in-house by Gardens by the Bay’s’ horticulturists. The results are relatable to regional growers and have the potential to increase the range and quality of the potted plant industry.
Participants of the tour will be among the first to see the new cultivars of the 2023 flower trial, as well as vote for the flowering plant which they would most like to see in Flower Dome next year. This People’s Choice winner will be revealed on Gardens by the Bay’s Facebook and Instagram on November 27, Monday.
A postcard wall filled with heartfelt messages to Santa Claus features in the Flower Dome as part of Gardens by the Bay’s yuletide floral display Poinsettia Wishes. Reflecting the hopes, greetings and well wishes of young beneficiaries from the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF), these postcards will be delivered to Santa’s post offices in Rovaniemi, Finland, and Drøbak, Norway. They are part of a series of engagement activities organised in conjunction with Poinsettia Wishes to bring Christmas cheer to children who have experienced cancer.
Besides the penning of wishes to Santa, some of the beneficiaries also joined in an exclusive, after-hours treasure hunt amidst the Viking-themed Poinsettia Wishes display yesterday evening. Like the mighty Vikings of yore who traversed vast lands in search of spoils, the children traversed the landscape of Flower Dome in their treasure hunt. Other activities lined up for the beneficiaries include Christmas tree decorating and a Christmas party with a special guest appearance by Santa Claus, who will be visiting all the way from Finland. For many of these children who have had their childhood disrupted, these social activities are a step back into normalcy and a fun way for them to make new friends and reconnect with the community.
At today’s launch of Poinsettia Wishes, Guest of Honour Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development, interacted with some of the children and their families, and participated in a sand art terrarium making session to craft Christmas gifts for CCF beneficiaries. Visitors who wish to lend a hand in making terrariums for the beneficiaries can do so during a public session conducted by Gardens by the Bay volunteers on December 7.
Gardens by the Bay Assistant CEO May Yeo said, “Christmas at Gardens by the Bay is always a magical time as we bring yuletide cheer to visitors through our various festive offerings. This year, to make the season even more meaningful, we are bringing Christmas to the beneficiaries of Children’s Cancer Foundation. Through the activities planned out by our staff and volunteers, we hope this holiday will be especially memorable for the children as they spend time with their loved ones at the Gardens.”
Children’s Cancer Foundation Chairman Ho Cheng Huat said, “Gardens by the Bay's heartfelt partnership in the Poinsettia Wishes floral display brings Christmas joy and, importantly, serves as a beacon of hope for children battling cancer. The beautiful floral display in the Flower Dome and the moving postcard messages to Santa Claus touches the lives of these children and their families.”
The collaboration with CCF, part of Gardens by the Bay’s Gift of Gardens community outreach programme which enables beneficiaries in Singapore the opportunity to enjoy what the Gardens has to offer, adds special meaning to the Poinsettia Wishes floral display.
A Viking-inspired yuletide display
This year, Gardens by the Bay’s yuletide display is transformed into a Viking-themed winter landscape inspired by the legendary seafaring voyagers from the 8th to 11th centuries. On display are iconic symbols and representations of the Viking age, such as the longship, the set-up of a traditional Viking feast, as well as elements of the Festival of Yule – the historical pagan winter solstice festival celebrated by the Vikings which has in many ways inspired the modern Christmas celebrations today. Also decked in Viking garb and yielding sword and shield are adorable Nisses – mythological creatures from Nordic folklore that look like a hybrid between a garden gnome and Santa Claus.
Presented in partnership with four Nordic embassies in Singapore – Royal Norwegian Embassy, Royal Danish Embassy, Embassy of Sweden, and Embassy of Finland – and supported by Bloomberg, the display is set amidst a picturesque backdrop of fishing villages evocative of the Nordic region’s nautical heritage, with the distinctive red and white fishermen’s cabins of Norway’s Lofoten Islands, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. At night, the landscape takes on a magical glow when the spectacular luminarie light installations are lit up.
Poinsettia Wishes features over 20 varieties of poinsettias, including unconventional ones that are bright yellow, have a plum tint, or have bracts with a rounded shape resembling mouse ears, as well as more than 20 real Christmas fir trees of up to 6m tall and other winter blooms like Helleborus (Christmas Rose) and Cyclamen (Persian Violet).
Complementing the floral display will be a string of festive programmes for the public to enjoy, including the ever-popular Finnish Santa meet-and-greet sessions and music performances presented in partnership with the Nordic embassies.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/poinsettiawishes2023 for more details.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on poinsettia varieties of note and information on Nordic Day performances.
Some 90 gardening volunteers made their debut today as Gardens by the Bay’s new “citizen horticulturists”, when they rolled up their sleeves and put their training to use with the refresh of the Heritage Gardens. It is the first time that the Heritage Gardens, a 3.4-hectare space that comprises the Indian, Chinese, Malay and Colonial Gardens, is experiencing a refresh since Gardens by the Bay opened in 2012.
The Citizen Horticulturists programme, which rolled out in October, is Gardens by the Bay’s newest volunteer initiative to offer a structured, six-month training course conducted by its horticulturists, to nurture a pool of dedicated and committed volunteers who will eventually maintain the landscape of its outdoor gardens.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance, and Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah joined the citizen horticulturists today by planting a Red Saraca (Saraca declinata) in the Indian Garden. The uncommon tree with highly ornamental flowers is of cultural significance as it is revered in Hinduism and is a close relative of the more common Saraca thaipingensis, also known as the Sorrowless Tree.
Gardens by the Bay’s CEO Felix Loh said, “Through the Citizen Horticulturists programme, we aim to build up a strong community of volunteers who have a sense of ownership and pride in Gardens by the Bay. Not only do they serve as stewards of their national garden, but they also gain enriching opportunities and enhance their skills as gardeners. The roll-out of the Citizen Horticulturists programme this year marks a significant milestone as Singapore commemorates the 60th anniversary of the first tree planting campaign initiated by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Just as Mr Lee once rallied the people to green up our nation, we hope to continue this good work by uniting our citizenry to shape and enhance our green spaces.”
Six months of comprehensive training for potential citizen horticulturists
The Citizen Horticulturists programme, which is free to join, is an in-depth blend of classroom lessons and hands-on practice. Under this programme, volunteers will learn:
Since its roll-out in October, 250 individuals have signed up to be citizen horticulturists and are undergoing training at various stages of the programme – including the 90 who participated today. The next recruitment exercise will be in March 2024, and more details will be made available on www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/citizenhorticulturist.
The first refresh of Gardens by the Bay’s Heritage Gardens
At the Heritage Gardens, many of the plants have been curated specifically for their links to Singapore’s rich multicultural heritage. These plants have a role to play in varied aspects of our nation’s culture, heritage and history – and some of these plants may have become hard to find these days or even forgotten as society evolves.
For example, for most people, Chin Chow is something you eat and not plant in soil, even though the name of the local dessert is derived from the Chin Chow plant (Mesona chinensis). Little known too, is the Ulam Raja (Cosmos caudatus), an ingredient in the traditional mixed herb rice dish of the Malay and Peranakan communities called Nasi Ulam, that has become increasingly hard to find beyond home cooks. Then there is Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) – while it may be a famous aphrodisiac, few are aware that there is a female version called Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila), which is believed to have similar benefits for women. These plants were added to the landscapes of the Chinese Garden and Malay Garden respectively, as part of the ongoing refresh.
Other plants added include Lawsonia inermis, also known as the Henna tree, to the Indian Garden. Its leaves, ground into a paste for henna, are essential to traditional Indian body art. The Clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum), the source of the spice that was once a valuable commodity that put Singapore on the world map, is a reintroduction to the Colonial Garden. It joined other historically significant cash crops like Gambier (Uncaria gambir), hardly found in Singapore nowadays, and Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), as well as the Vanilla vines that Minister Indranee helped to tie to poles to support good growth. These vines were sponsored by Mireia.
Joining in the refresh of the Heritage Gardens – and getting a taste of what it means to be a citizen horticulturist – were also 140 residents from Tanjong Pagar and Jalan Besar GRCs.
Assessing what are recyclables and “feeding” them to Bloobin in an air hockey game is one of the fun activities more than 2,000 primary and secondary school students attempted on the first day of Gardens by the Bay’s Race to Sustainability.
For the first time this year, Gardens by the Bay has collaborated with seven government agencies for its signature two-day post-examination programme for primary and secondary school students, to make concepts under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 relatable to the younger generation. The agencies are Energy Market Authority (EMA), Housing & Development Board (HDB), Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Environment Agency (NEA), Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Today’s race was flagged off by Guest-of-Honour, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law, Ms Rahayu Mahzam.
As part of the Sustainable Singapore Exhibition in Race to Sustainability, students were exposed to different sustainability pillars and concepts. These include Singapore’s plans to ensure food and water security, the country’s journey towards Zero Waste, and future plans for the Marina South precinct – a sustainable, car-lite and community-centric district that illustrates what the future of Singapore could look like.
In addition to this, students also went around Gardens by the Bay to complete different activity stations that leverage on the Gardens’ existing features – for example, the Supertrees and the display of carnivorous plants in Cloud Forest – to bring across sustainability-related concepts such as renewable resources and the impact of climate change.
Gardens by the Bay’s Assistant CEO May Yeo said, “The collaboration with the seven government agencies for this year’s Race to Sustainability has enabled us to expand the depth and breadth of our content, to bring students closer to key sustainability concepts relating to the current and future state of living, and hence the importance of conserving and managing our limited resources. This is in sync with Gardens by the Bay’s educational objectives – to nurture a culture of sustainability in the younger generation.”
Augmented reality app for public to participate in Race to Sustainability
This year’s edition of Race to Sustainability also marks the first time the event will be made available to the public to participate in. From October 28 to December 3, the public can download the free Race Trace digital trail app from the Google Play and App Store, a 5G augmented reality (AR) app which will allow them to unlock location-based activities around Gardens by the Bay.
Produced in partnership with M1 and with support from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the public can answer questions and complete tasks, including “decorating” the Supertrees and learning about Singapore’s sustainability agenda at the Sustainable Singapore Exhibition.
The app uses AR elements to bring to life different experiences that would not be otherwise possible, such as bringing visitors closer to the monitor lizards and otters that occasionally call Gardens by the Bay home, illustrating how a Venus flytrap captures its prey, as well as taking users on a journey through the falls and cloud forests of South America that inspired the Gardens’ own Cloud Forest, guided by the quetzal, a bird endemic to the region.
Those who complete all the tasks in the Race Trace digital trail app will be able to enter a lucky draw, where they will stand a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. One prize will be given out each week.
An art exhibition of upcycled waste portraits
In another first, this year’s Race to Sustainability also includes an art exhibition which is open to public for free. In collaboration with the Embassy of Türkiye in Singapore, 14 portraits by Turkish visual artist Deniz Sağdıç composed of waste materials will be on show until December 3 outside Flower Dome.
Sağdıç has exhibited all over the world, including New York and Hong Kong, with her Ready Remade art series, where everyday items such as zippers, cables and even unwanted pills and pill boxes are given a new lease of life and elevated into lifelike, thought-provoking portraits.
With a strong theme of sustainability and zero waste running throughout the exhibition, her portraits emulate classical painting styles – for example, utilising old zippers to create the texture and depth of an oil painting reminiscent of Van Gogh’s self-portraits – through unconventional and upcycled mediums.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/RacetoSustainability for more details.
Using floral artistry to convey the important message of conservation – that is the intention of the Colombia: Biodiversity exhibition that opens today at Gardens by the Bay’s Floral Fantasy.
The golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis), the blue anole lizard (Anolis gorgonae) and the Chiribiquete emerald hummingbird (Chlorostilbon olivaresi) are three threatened species endemic to Colombia that have been reimagined by Gardens by the Bay’s horticulturists and volunteers into floral sculptures, created using more than 6,000 preserved roses from the country.
In collaboration with the Embassy of Colombia in Singapore, the exhibition, which runs until 31 December 2023, hopes to raise awareness of the beauty of fauna there, and in turn, why conservation of habitats is so important – for fear that we lose such wonders of nature.
The Colombia: Biodiversity exhibition was opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat.
Colombia is estimated to have the world’s greatest biodiversity per square kilometre, with an estimated more than 75,000 species of flora and fauna. All three species of wildlife featured in the exhibition are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Colombia is also one of the world’s top exporters of flowers, including preserved roses, which are processed from freshly harvested ones and are made to maintain their fresh appearance from for several months or even years, without the need of water or light for upkeep.
Gardens by the Bay’s Floral Fantasy is home to creative floral artistry and diverse garden landscapes. It is also home to a poison dart frog vivarium, where visitors can catch a glimpse of these beautiful sized amphibians in a gamut of stunning hues.
A majestic Mongolian ger, with intricate detailing and craftsmanship fit for nobility, stands prominently within Flower Dome as part of Gardens by the Bay’s Chrysanthemum Charm (菊之韵) floral display. Specially commissioned and handcrafted from scratch by ger craftsmen living in the remote province of Uvs, such a ger is rare to see even in Mongolia.
Mongolian for “home”, the tent-like structure is an iconic part of the country’s nomadic culture, and remains a dwelling for many Mongolians today, especially those living outside of the city.
Chrysanthemum Charm marks Gardens by the Bay’s inaugural collaboration with the Embassy of Mongolia in Singapore. Inspired by the open grasslands and wild beauty reminiscent of the steppes of Mongolia, it features over 80 varieties of chrysanthemums, including more than 10 making their Southeast Asian debut.
Launched today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, the floral display will run until November 13.
Gardens by the Bay’s Senior Director of Gardens Operations Gary Chua said, “Mongolia has unparalleled wild beauty often untouched by urbanisation, and a rich and fascinating culture. As a horticultural show garden, Gardens by the Bay hopes to bring some of the country’s essence to visitors through the Chrysanthemum Charm floral display, not only through the myriad of beautiful flowers in a landscape inspired by Mongolia’s steppes, but also the authentic elements of their culture that visitors will not be able to experience anywhere else in Singapore.”
Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore H.E. Enkhbayar Sosorbaram said, “Although Mongolia is located on the Central Asian plateau and the climate can be harsh, the spring and summer brings a vibrant burst of colour and life and steppes and hills turn into carpets of flowers. Through this collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, we hope to introduce to Singapore the wild beauty of Mongolia’s vast lands, amidst the rich tapestry of Mongolian culture.”
New chrysanthemum varieties make their debut in Southeast Asia
Among the more than 10 new varieties of chrysanthemums making their debut in Southeast Asia, there are five new cultivars that have yet to be named.
Some of these new varieties include:
Other interesting varieties include Chrysanthemum Bombellini, a spider-type chrysanthemum with small, quill-like petals. Unlike other spider-type chrysanthemums where petals are long and drooping, Chrysanthemum Bombellini retains its tight, ball-like shape even when fully bloomed. It also comes in a distinctive bright green colour, which is unusual for chrysanthemums.
These flowers are interspersed with other pretty blooms such as dianthus, asters and scabiosa – flowers that pepper the wild landscapes of the Mongolian steppes. Many of these were grown in-house at Gardens by the Bay, nurtured to bloom by horticulturists.
A cultural display of Mongolian heritage
Of the two gers taking centrestage in the floral display, one is a more ordinary version that shows the everyday life of Mongolians, and the other is an elaborate one with intricate hand carvings, not only on the pillars and central support, but also on the door. Set up as halves, visitors can step inside both gers for an immersive experience. The gers were assembled with the support of the Mongolian community in Singapore, in honour of the country’s tradition where families set up their own gers.
As a result of a nomadic way of life, sustainability is a key aspect of the Mongolian lifestyle – as families move from place to place, everything is packed up or used up, with nothing left behind. For example, the Mongolian games on display are constructed using animal bones. Other items visitors can see include Mongolia’s national instrument – the morin khuur or horsehead fiddle (so-called because it can imitate the sound of horses), as well as the traditional clothing of Mongolia, the deel.
In addition, animals, an important aspect of Mongolian culture, feature in the landscape. Mongolians are heavily reliant on animals such as horses and camels as a form of transportation – when it is time to pack up and move off, a family’s entire life is literally carried on the backs of these animals to their next destination. Wolves, on the other hand, are deeply revered as a potent symbol of Mongolian identity and nationhood.
Chrysanthemum Charm also has a recreation of the Orkhon Waterfall, situated in the Orkhon Valley in central Mongolia. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape has served as a major intersection between the East and West over the centuries.
Traditional Mongolian performances in Flower Dome
“Rhythm of Mongolia”, a celebration of Mongolian culture through art and music, will take place over the weekend of September 30 and October 1.
In a mesmerising display, 16-year-old contortionist Khulan Serdamba will showcase just how flexible the human body can be by performing this centuries-old art form. Traditionally regarded as showing the beauty of the human form, contortionism used to be the domain of female performers, with dramatic bending, folding and flexing positions that integrate traditional Mongolian dance elements.
Shinetsog-Geni Dorjnyam from popular Mongolian folk-metal band Uuhai will return to his roots of Mongolian folk music, and demonstrate the art of throat singing while playing the horsehead fiddle. Through his voice, he will create a harmonically rich sound with multiple pitches, complemented by the wild and lilting music of his horsehead fiddle.
Master calligrapher Oyunpurev Nyam-Ochir will showcase calligraphy of classical Mongolian script, offering a visual journey into the ancient Mongolian empire.
All performances will take place in Flower Dome’s Flower Field Hall, at 2pm and 4pm on both days.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/chrysanthemum for more details.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on chrysanthemum varieties of note and the Rhythm of Mongolia performances.
From making cherry blossoms bloom in the tropics, to hybridising a rare orchid that can thrive in both cool and warm climates, Gardens by the Bay has been pushing the boundaries of horticulture. This year, the Gardens created the largest flower carpet in Singapore – a showcase of horticultural art.
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat, along with volunteers from the community who have been working on the project, placed the final touches of flowers along the border of the Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Carpet (花毯) today, signifying its completion. It was also certified Singapore’s largest by the Singapore Book of Records.
The Flower Carpet will be on show at the Lawn at Supertree Grove for nine days until Oct 1. There is no admission charge to view it. It measures 34.2m across, almost the length of a Boeing 737 aeroplane. More than 100,000 potted plants and 20,000 cut flowers make up its batik-inspired design. Among the flowers used are seven different cultivars of chrysanthemums, oxalis, loropetalums and marigolds.
Gardens by the Bay Senior Director of Gardens Operations Gary Chua said, “Flower carpets are works of horticultural art, yet they are rare to see in the tropics because our weather conditions make it horticulturally challenging to pull off the idea. But challenging does not mean it cannot be done, and our horticulturists created the display with live potted plants besides the flower petals usually used in temperate countries. In the spirit of innovation and sustainability, these potted plants can subsequently be repurposed for other landscaping works around Gardens by the Bay.”
A Flower Carpet for Singapore to call its own
Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Carpet is a truly Singaporean effort. The intention is to reflect the fusion of diverse cultural influences and encapsulate the broader theme of unity.
The design is batik-inspired, with our national flower the Papillionanthe (Vanda) Miss Joaquim as a central motif, complemented by native orchids, the Spathoglottis Lion of Singapore, and the leaves of the raintree.
In the petals of the Flower Carpet are representations of the four races such as a lantern, ketupat, diya candle and bell. These are done through Rangoli, the traditional Indian art of creating designs with coloured sand and are the work of renowned local Rangoli artist Vijaya Mohan.
Some 300 people – from Gardens by the Bay’s horticulturists and volunteers taking the lead, to volunteers from groups like Council for Third Age, SG Assist, Heartware Network and beneficiaries from MUIS lending a hand – worked across an estimated more than 200 hours to place in every pot of flowers, as well as the cut flowers, by hand.
A challenge in Singapore’s tropical weather
Earlier this year, the Embassy of Belgium in Singapore put a team from Gardens by the Bay in touch with the designers of the renowned Brussels Flower Carpet. The Gardens’ horticulturists made a trip to Brussels to understand more about the process from the city that has been putting together a biennial flower carpet since 1971.
In addition to Belgium, Spain, Italy and Japan are some countries where flower carpets are an attraction – but it is not the norm to attempt something like this in a tropical climate like Singapore’s. The heat and humidity, coupled with the unpredictability of rain, make it challenging to do so.
Horticulturists also had to find a way to make sure hundreds of thousands of flowers would bloom at the same time when the Flower Carpet opened to public. The horticulturists wanted Gardens by the Bay’s version to last for more than a week – significantly longer than the lifespan of flower carpets overseas, which are designed to be on show for only a few days. Hence, potted plants are used in our first ever floral carpet.
The Flower Carpet was an opportunity for horticulturists to test their horticultural skills. With the use growth regulators and precise adjustment of lighting conditions – which had to be catered specifically to each variety of plant used – they coaxed different flowers to bloom at the same time just before opening day.
To produce a seamless design, horticulturists and volunteers placed each pot as closely to one another as possible. This also created its own set of challenges when it came to making sure the plants could receive sufficient water during watering. As such, new watering techniques were devised.
Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Carpet is made possible with the support of Tote Board, Yeo’s, OCBC and Tanoto Foundation.
Vantage points to view the Flower Carpet are from the OCBC Skyway or the World of Plants outdoor gardens.
Celebrations for Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay (滨海花园庆中秋) kicked off this evening with a lantern walk at Bayfront Plaza against a dramatic backdrop of the Magpie Bridge (鹊桥). This massive 20m-long lantern set that floats on the waters of the Dragonfly Lake depicts the Chinese love story of the mortal Cowherd and the fairy Weaver Girl reuniting on a bridge formed by sympathetic magpies.
A total of 5,000 lanterns were distributed to the public for free for the lantern walk. These lanterns featured the fantastical animal characters of the Our Secret Garden (我们的秘密花园) lantern set, which is at Supertree Grove and designed by autistic artists from non-profit ART:DIS. With the lantern walk concluding at Supertree Grove, participants saw the designs on their lanterns come to life in 3D lantern form.
In the same spirit of bringing the community together, 465 participants of the lantern walk who are beneficiaries of Gardens by the Bay’s Gift of Gardens community outreach programme – elderly from Fei Yue Community Services and Salvation Army – received a box of Gardens by the Bay and The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore mooncakes. This initiative was jointly sponsored by Perennial Holdings Private Limited and the Gardens as part of both companies’ corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Prior to the commencement of the lantern walk, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information & National Development Tan Kiat How launched Mid-Autumn Festival by lighting up the Magpie Bridge lantern set. The lantern walk then began with a dragon dance leading the way.
Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay will run until October 1.
Gardens by the Bay’s Senior Director of Programming Dinesh Naidu said, “As a People’s Garden, Gardens by the Bay’s Mid-Autumn Festival event is a chance for friends, family and community groups to gather, connect and enjoy this beautiful spectacle in our city. It was wonderful to see how the return of the lantern walk this evening brought so many different people together. We hope this year’s bigger Mid-Autumn Festival with nine lantern sets helps people create cherished memories with their loved ones.”
Mid-Autumn Festival returns bigger with more lantern sets
This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival returns bigger with nine spectacular lantern sets that are inspired by the rich tapestry of Chinese mythology, legends and cultures, and linked by the theme Garden of Blooms (花缘), which commemorates the deep connections between people and joyous reunions between family and friends.
At Golden Garden, take a walk through the eponymous Garden of Blooms（花缘）lantern set which features a 7m tall moon gate – a traditional Chinese architectural feature that symbolises completeness as well as the reunion and cohesiveness of family – and opens to a boulevard lined with 12 peach blossom trees that symbolise springtime and romance.
At Supertree Grove, the Pavilion（凉亭）, the first ever lantern set at Gardens by the Bay that doubles up as a performance stage, is a highlight. From Friday to Sunday for the duration of the festival, free cultural performances featuring music and dance will take place here.
The Gardens is partnering with the Royal Thai Embassy for the first time to present Traditional Lanna Lanterns (传统兰纳灯笼). Inspired by the Lanna Kingdom that reigned in Thailand 700 years ago, an archway inspired by the Lanna architecture style is decorated with colourful traditional lanterns. Blooming in Dance (缘之舞), presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, features dancers performing four types of Korean traditional dance.
The Butterfly Lovers（化蝶）near the Floral Clock portrays the poignant love story of the star-crossed lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, who are reunited in death and transformed into a pair of butterflies that will never be separated again.
Lanterns put together by the community include Our Secret Garden lantern (我们的秘密花园), as well as Colonnade of Lights (灯廊), where 1,000 lanterns handpainted by people from various walks of life light up the walkway along Supertree Grove.
The popular free Garden Rhapsody light and sound show, where lights on the Supertrees “dance” to music, will have a Mid-Autumn theme, Tales of the Moon, during the festival.
Visitors can also feast on Asian street fare at Food Street in Supertree Grove and take part in curated cultural activities and workshops in Cannonball room.
On September 29, the actual day of Mid-Autumn Festival on the Chinese lunar calendar, there will an additional lantern giveaway at Supertree Grove, while stocks last.
Special discounts for Gardens by the Bay’s first mooncake collaboration with The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore during Mid-Autumn Festival
Enjoy special promotional rates of Gardens by the Bay first mooncake collaboration with The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore at Food Street at Supertree Grove.
Each two-tier box set, illustrated with the icons of Gardens by the Bay such as the Supertrees, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, comes with eight mini baked mooncakes – two pieces of White Lotus with Egg Yolk, one piece of Red Bean Almond, one piece of Walnut Lotus, two pieces of Rose Macadamia and two pieces of Chrysanthemum Melon Seed. The Rose Macadamia and Chrysanthemum Melon Seed are special flavours created to symbolise Gardens by the Bay’s floral displays.
Each mooncake set retails at $88, while the addition of a special edition canvas tote bag in dusty rose or pastel pink retails at $112. Visit the stall to enjoy 30 per cent off mooncake gift sets.
Enjoy a special promotion only valid during the opening weekend of Gardens by the Bay’s Mid-Autumn Festival, until Sunday, September 17.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/mooncake for details.
Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay
Date: Until Sunday, 1 October 2023
Time: 6pm to 10pm
Location: Gardens by the Bay
For more information, visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/midautumn.
Please refer to:
Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest will soon be the only place in Singapore where visitors can see more than 30 unusual orchid species and hybrids found in Machu Picchu in Peru – including the national treasure of Machu Picchu, intriguingly named “You Will Cry”.
The Masdevallia veitchiana, also known as the “Waqanki” orchid – translated to “you will cry” in the Quechuan language, is a highlight of the Orchids of Machu Picchu (马丘比丘古城之兰) floral display, a collaboration between Gardens by the Bay and the Embassy of Peru in Singapore. This vibrant orange and fuchsia-hued bloom with drooping sepals is named for the tears an Inca princess shed for her warrior beloved who left to fight in a war.
The orchid display was launched today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah. It will be on until 18 February 2024.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu is more than an archaeological wonder. Nestled within the Andean cloud forests, a natural abundance of orchid species is found there. Other unique orchids on display include:
· Epidendrum cylindrostachys, an epiphytic orchid with beautiful miniature yellow and purple-spotted flowers that look beautiful but smell like a beast
· Phragmipedium caudatum, a lady slipper orchid with unusually long petals that can grow up to 30cm in length
Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh said, “Beyond being a renowned heritage wonder, Machu Picchu, located amidst the Andean cloud forests, harbours another treasure that is often overshadowed – a diverse and captivating array of orchids. With climate change being a clear and present danger, Gardens by the Bay is honoured to work with our Peruvian counterparts to spread the important message of conservation by showcasing such special orchids, both live and preserved, to a wider audience in our Cloud Forest.”
Ambassador of Peru to Singapore His Excellency Carlos Raul Vasquez Corrales said, “Visitors to the Orchids of Machu Picchu display can experience the historical significance of Machu Picchu, which stands not only as a testament to the Inca civilisation’s advanced understanding of engineering, agriculture, and astronomy, but also as a culmination of centuries of preceding cultures. The replicas of artifacts from these cultures that are on display are a homage to the rich and intricate tapestry that has been woven together to create the remarkable Inca civilisation. We also wanted to give a sense of the diverse flora and fauna of Machu Picchu, many of which are endemic to the region. The lush vegetation and unique microclimates of Machu Picchu have given rise to a rich botanical garden, where the orchids at the display are but a glimpse of that diversity.”
In addition to the more than 30 live orchids, another 80 species of orchids that have been carefully preserved in glass resin will be showcased in an “Orquideario” (Spanish for orchidarium) spanning 5m across. These orchids are not only difficult to spot in the wild, but they also bloom infrequently. Export of these orchids out of Peru is prohibited due to their conservation status.
This preserved collection is perhaps the only way most people will ever get to see such rare orchids – and they have been brought out of Peru for the first time through the support of Inkaterra, which promotes ecotourism and sustainable development in the country.
The Orchids of Machu Picchu display is designed in such a way that visitors will feel like they have been transported back to the Inca Empire in the 15th century and journeying along the Inca Trail, where they can see replicas of the artifacts of ancient civilisations, as well as the flora and fauna of Peru, such as its birds and llamas. This route of pilgrimage was once used by emperors, and it will lead to a recreation of the Sun Gate, the primary entrance to Machu Picchu, named for its precise alignment with the rising sun during the summer solstice.
Please refer to the Annex for the orchids of note in the Orchids of Machu Picchu floral display.
The five Southeast Asian countries that are jointly nominating the kebaya to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity share a connection that goes beyond the traditional garment. The link is the orchid – a flower that has been widely hybridised into a multitude of diverse and beautiful forms. Many popular hybrids we see in the region have origins that can be traced back to native orchids of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. This botanical connection is explored in Gardens by the Bay’s latest floral display in Flower Dome, Orchid Extravaganza: Orchids of the East Tropics (兰花盛事：东亚异彩).
Designed in collaboration with the Embassies of Indonesia and Thailand, as well as the High Commissions of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, it is a showcase of elements that unite the five countries – from orchids to architecture to culture – and is the biggest multinational effort by Gardens by the Bay’s horticulturists to date. There will also be a showcase of kebaya, with the respective Embassy or High Commission curating two kebayas to best represent their country’s culture. Singapore will present four kebayas curated by National Heritage Board (NHB).
Beyond recreations of traditional houses and cultural artefacts interspersed throughout the floral display, visitors can also experience free traditional performances presented by the Embassies of Indonesia and Thailand, and the High Commission of Malaysia, in Flower Dome on selected weekends. The cultures of each country will be conveyed through music, dance and beautiful costumes.
The floral display was launched today by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong and will run until September 17.
Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh said, “Gardens by the Bay is honoured to join hands with our neighbours Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for the first time to put together a floral display that is a celebration of our common love for orchids and culture. With stunning tropical orchids, the different types of kebaya of the region, as well as the culture of each country on show, it is our biggest multinational floral display to date.”
His Excellency Dato Paduka Haji Sidek bin Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to Singapore said, “It is an honour for Brunei Darussalam, together with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to participate in the Orchid Extravaganza: Orchids of the East Tropics initiated by Gardens by the Bay. We extend our highest appreciation to Gardens by the Bay for their invitation to participate. We believe that the display of the orchids, kebayas and traditional houses helps to showcase the richness of our diverse culture.”
His Excellency Suryo Pratomo, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Singapore said, “The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore welcomes with utmost joy the invitation for collaboration from Gardens by the Bay with the three ASEAN countries namely Malaysia, Thailand, and Brunei Darussalam, through an orchid exhibition. Besides orchids, the cultural performances and kebayas from the four countries also show the diversity of the ASEAN countries. Through this collaboration, we can show the other beautiful and diverse side of ASEAN countries to the public in Singapore.”
His Excellency Dato' Dr. Azfar Bin Mohamad Mustafar, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore said, “The High Commission of Malaysia is delighted to collaborate with Gardens by the Bay, and colleagues from the missions of Brunei Darussalam, the Republic of Indonesia, and the Kingdom of Thailand on this Orchid Extravaganza. Culture is the heart and soul of any community. By intertwining orchid and floral displays with our cultural heritage including the kebaya, we aim to create a powerful narrative of unity and understanding, and envision a world where differences are celebrated and cherished, where each culture’s unique charm enriches the collective fabric of our region and societies.”
His Excellency Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Ambassador of Thailand to Singapore said, “In Thailand, orchids convey a warm welcome and mark special occasions. We are deeply honoured to be part of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore’s celebration of our shared culture and tropical orchids. The kebaya and orchids beautifully embody our shared heritage, appreciation and friendship, symbolising the strong people-to-people ties between our ASEAN nations."
Countries united by rich orchid diversity
The orchid family is one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world, and Southeast Asia is home to at least a third of the 28,000 documented orchid species around the world.
The orchid is a flower of significance in each of the five countries. For example, it is one of the national flowers of Indonesia, the state flower of Sarawak in Malaysia, an integral aspect of Thailand’s economy vis-a-vis plant exports, and in the forests of Brunei Darussalam, some of the rarest species in the world exist. In Singapore, the orchid is not only the national flower, but also a medium for soft diplomacy in the form of orchid naming.
The more than 7,000 orchids in Orchid Extravaganza: Orchids of the East Tropics have origins that can be traced to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. In addition to orchid hybrids, there will also be native species from each country on display, some of which were grown in-house by Gardens by the Bay’s researchers.
Orchid species occur naturally in the wild, while hybrids are generally created through crossbreeding between different orchid species or hybrids. Orchid species are unique because they illustrate specific adaptations to their natural environments. They are examples of how orchids have evolved to diverse forms and colours, to survive in various ecosystems.
A showcase of cultural elements
Cultural aspects of each country where commonalities can be found are also spotlighted in the floral display.
Across the five countries, traditional houses share common features like raised platforms and steep roofs, which are designed to adapt to the tropical monsoon climate. A showpiece of the floral display is recreations of traditional houses of each country, such as the ancestral house of the Torajan people in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, with its distinguishable oversized boat-shaped roof.
Other cultural elements showcased include traditional games that are shared among the countries, like Congkok and Gasing, as well as artefacts that present the lesser-known side of each country. Some examples are Tindulang, an ornate food cover decorated with colourful patterns using dyed pandan or nipah leaves and used as ornaments or wedding gifts in Brunei Darussalam; the Rindik, a Balinese bamboo music instrument; the traditional headgear of the indigenous Bidayuh women of Sarawak; and Bencharong, a unique type of Chinese porcelain made exclusively for Thai royalty in the late 18th and 19th centuries. These artefacts are selected by the respective Embassy or High Commission.
Orchid Extravaganza: Orchids of the East Tropics is supported by Bloomberg – the second floral display to receive its support after Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip in April this year. Bloomberg will also support Gardens by the Bay’s year-end floral display Poinsettia Wishes in November.
Fringe activities complementing the floral display
Love, Kebaya, a travelling exhibition curated by NHB will return to Gardens by the Bay. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey to discover the iconic kebaya, and its significance to our region’s shared cultural identity and living heritage. It was launched at the National Museum of Singapore in April this year before travelling to Gardens by the Bay. This second run at the Gardens will be for the duration of the floral display.
In addition, botanical illustrations of Southeast Asian orchids by local and international artists from the Botanical Art Society of Singapore will be on show in Flower Dome.
There will also be a limited-time exhibition of Ikenobo ikebana, a style of Japanese traditional flower arrangement, with the orchid as a theme, in the Mediterranean Garden and South American Garden of Flower Dome from August 18 until August 27.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/orchidextravaganza for more details
Please refer to the Annex for more information on:
In Bay East Garden, which will be undergoing development and slated to open in 2027, the new wetland habitat there will be expanded to accommodate more mangrove species, based on the encouraging results of the first public study on the carbon sequestration ability of mangroves in man-made systems.
The 5,148 sqm wetland habitat at Bay East Garden – slightly bigger than four Olympic-sized swimming pools – is a continuation of Gardens by the Bay’s efforts to enhance habitats for biodiversity to thrive and engage the wider community on nature-based climate solutions for cities.
The potential of man-made wetlands in urban environments
A pilot study was conducted at Kingfisher Wetlands, the first wetland habitat at Gardens by the Bay, that opened in November 2021. The study, which took place from January to December last year, is by DHI Water and Environment, and supported by NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, Temasek and SG Eco Fund. The results were released at a public lecture today, as part of Go Green SG, a whole-of-nation movement to rally the community to take collective action towards a sustainable future for Singapore, led by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment. The event was attended by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah.
The study identified mangrove species – which otherwise thrive in coastal saline or brackish water – that do well in Gardens by the Bay’s freshwater conditions, and as such, can be planted in man-made wetlands to provide more habitats that are attractive to biodiversity. These mangrove species include:
The study also showed that carbon content in the sediments of the ponds within Kingfisher Wetlands was higher than natural “blue carbon” ecosystems in Sungei Buloh, Seletar Island and Chek Jawa – likely due to the low environment variability such as tides, currents and inundation frequency. Blue carbon refers to carbon captured by marine and coastal ecosystems in the world. In addition, carbon sequestered by the planted mangroves at Kingfisher Wetlands has increased as the plants grew over the monitoring period, contributing to the mitigation of carbon emissions. These findings point to the potential of man-made wetlands as feasible sites for urban carbon capture.
The ecologists from DHI monitored the biodiversity at Kingfisher Wetlands over the same one-year period, and a total of 65 species of fauna – including locally endangered and vulnerable species – were documented at the site. Based on these observations, there is potential for man-made wetlands to attract diverse biodiversity – another intention of the wetland habitat at Bay East Garden.
Endangered species of fauna found at Kingfisher Wetlands:
Vulnerable species of fauna found at Kingfisher Wetlands:
Taken together with the biodiversity it supports, man-made wetlands are a potential nature-based climate solution that can improve the resilience of cities against climate change.
Bay East Garden, when completed, will be divided into two zones, the past and the future. The wetlands centers around the Biophilic Pond in the Future Zone. Based on the positive results of the study, the planting area for mangroves will be expanded beyond the original intended sites of the Biophilic Pond to now include the edge of the pond, as well as further extended to other areas in the Future Zone such as the Nature Trail Rain Garden and Biophilic Swale. Mangrove species that have been observed to do well in man-made wetlands in the study will be planted in these new areas. In total, the areas dedicated to planting mangroves is now twice the size of the original plan.
Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh said, “With urban, man-made wetlands in Singapore relatively rare, we are glad that Kingfisher Wetlands could serve as a platform for ecologists to conduct such an important study on the carbon sequestration ability of man-made wetlands. Gardens by the Bay is taking a cue from the positive results of the study in developing our second wetland habitat at the upcoming Bay East Garden. Such wetlands bring biodiversity closer to city-dwellers and are also a platform to educate people on the potential of man-made wetlands as a way for cities to contribute to the fight against climate change.”
The wetland habitat at Bay East Garden will also be a platform for community engagement, so that the public can learn more about the importance of mangroves. Gardens by the Bay is also making plans to involve citizens in planting up the landscape, including these mangroves.
The community was already engaged in the mangroves of Kingfisher Wetlands. Students from Republic Polytechnic and ITE planted some of the mangroves, and subsequently, both students as well as the public were involved in the carbon sequestration study.
A special needs edition of the Nature and Sustainability Tours
A second sustainability-related initiative announced today is the start of a new edition of Gardens by the Bay’s Nature and Sustainability Tours. The Nature and Sustainability Tours, which take place every Saturday and Sunday and are free for the public thanks to the sponsorship of Keppel Corporation, were first launched in December 2022.
To make the wonders of nature more accessible to everyone, Gardens by the Bay has customised one of the most popular tours in the series, titled “Seeds and Senses: Smell”, for individuals with autism and mild intellectual disabilities.
“Seeds and Senses: Smell” takes participants through a route in the outdoor gardens, where they can learn about the fascinating connection between plants, the scents they produce, and how they use those scents to communicate with other plants and animals.
To curate the content of the tour so it would be suitable for a different audience, Gardens by the Bay worked closely with facilitators from APSN over the past two months. There are now more examples of how smell can help to identify plants. A fun activity, where participants can sniff different plant scents and share their feelings about each scent, has also been added. For instance, some people love the smell of durian while others hate it. Everyone may interpret or have different opinions about the same scent – a sentiment that ties in with the idea that nature is for everyone to enjoy.
This version of the “Seeds and Senses: Smell” tour was launched today with the participation of Minister Indranee Rajah alongside 15 beneficiaries from APSN’s Centre for Adults.
Social service agencies can fill up the form on www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/sustainabilitytours to arrange the tour for their beneficiaries, at no charge. If the other tours are of interest to beneficiaries, they are also available to social service agencies for free.
The Nature and Sustainability Tours is a series of four different guided walking tours that showcase real, and often little known, examples of flora and fauna found at the Gardens, to illustrate important sustainability concepts to the layman. To date, more than 3,000 people have experienced the tours.
Given their popularity, Gardens by the Bay with the support of Keppel Corporation, will be scaling up the existing tours. In addition to the launch of the special needs “Seeds and Senses: Smell” tour, all the Nature and Sustainability Tours will also be extended to local institutes of higher learning, community groups and social service agencies.
For the first time in four years, the Gardens by the Bay and Mediacorp National Day Concert returns to a full-scale extravaganza on 5 August at The Meadow, the Gardens’ largest event venue. Occupying a space of 22,000 square metres, the size of about three football fields, this free concert aims to bring different communities together to celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday with mesmerising performances by multicultural local talents. Into its fifth edition, this concert will also feature an inaugural fireworks display that will illuminate the night sky at Gardens by the Bay in a myriad of colours. In addition, there will be pre-concert activities such as a carnival and mini performances.
Hosted by all-rounded artiste Vernetta Lopez and Pesta Perdana 2023’s “Best Host - Info-Ed” winner Fauzie Laily, this year’s celebration promises to captivate audiences with a dazzling lineup of beloved homegrown personalities. Well-loved local gem Kit Chan will headline the concert and serenade audiences with the nation’s all-time favourite National Day tune Home, a performance made more meaningful given the 25th anniversary of the song this year. Meanwhile, Fauzie will also display his versatility by pairing up with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Umar Sirhan to put up a specially curated mash up of chart-topping pop tracks.
In a rare appearance, singer Mavis Hee will present stirring ballads including the classic Moon River and 城里的月光 (Moonlight in the City), theme song for the 1996 Chinese drama 豆腐街 (Tofu Street). Audiences will also enjoy a multi-cultural performance featuring traditional musical instruments like the erhu, guzheng, kompang and tabla by Mediacorp artistes including Ayden Sng, Fadli Kamsani and Jaynesh Isuran among others, while the multi-talented Suthasini Rajendran will showcase her electrifying viral Tamil National Day song Nam Singapore live.
But that’s not all! Concert goers will continue to be treated with top-notch stage acts like the catchy Singapore-themed track Call Me (Not Maybe) from local Mandopop duo 插班生 The Freshman, as well as jazzy tunes from award-winning Joanna Dong as she delivers a captivating medley of familiar and popular Chinese numbers including 天黑黑 (Stormy Skies). In a series of fresh collaborations, Joanna will also team up with the young stars of Mediacorp’s reality singing competition Juara Mic Junior S2 to rehash the nostalgic tune Semoga Bahagia, while the latter are subsequently joined by volunteers from Team Nila and Gardens by the Bay in an energetic flash mob, grooving to the catchy tune of I Feel Like Dancing. Meanwhile, inclusive choir Voices of Singapore will also be treating audiences to an exclusive performance of Our Story, an uplifting original song that celebrates unity in diversity, while renowned acapella groups Vocaluptuous and MICappella will join forces in an inaugural collaboration and belt out hit songs from the 1990s and 2000s.
Please refer to Annex A for the bios of the hosts and performing artistes.
Concert goers looking to start their day early can also head down with their picnic mats and join the pre-event festivities. These include a carnival with free family-friendly activities and photo-worthy spots, featuring inflatables of well-known Singapore landmarks such as the iconic dragon playground, giveaways of plants grown in Gardens by the Bay, a pet’s walk programme, and distribution of old-school snacks such as kacang putih to bring communities together as they celebrate the nation’s birthday. Concert goers can also look forward to three uniquely Singapore ice cream flavours concocted specially for the event by MasterChef Singapore Season 4 Top 18 contestants! The public will be able to try the ice creams for free onsite, while stocks last, and vote for their favourite flavour.
Early birds can also look forward to a pre-show with appearances by Mediacorp DJs as well as performances by community partners such as APSN Chaoyang School and Fei Yue Community Services.
Organised with the support of five partners including Dads for Life, Families for Life, NTUC, People’s Association and SAFRA, this year will see the most community partners on board for the event since its inception in 2019. Collectively, they provide activities and opportunities for Singaporeans from all walks of life to enjoy the celebrations.
Please refer to Annex B for more details on additional activities happening as part of the pre-concert festivities.
The Gardens by the Bay and Mediacorp National Day Concert 2023 will be graced by Guest-of-Honour President Halimah Yacob and Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, as well as Senior Minister of State for National Development Ms Sim Ann.
President Halimah said: “The Gardens by the Bay and Mediacorp National Day Concert has sought to bring the community together through fun, family-friendly entertainment right from its first edition in 2019, and even through the challenges of the pandemic. As such, I am heartened to see the concert returning to its full scale for the first time since it began, to bring even more people together.”
Felix Loh, CEO, Gardens by the Bay, said: “This year’s edition is a special one as we can finally have a full-scale concert without the restraints of the pandemic. To celebrate the return to our original venue at The Meadow, we will be staging a crowd favourite - fireworks - for the first time. We look forward to seeing more people come to Gardens by the Bay to soak in the festivities this year.”
Tham Loke Kheng, CEO, Mediacorp, said: “We are happy to collaborate once again with Gardens by the Bay to bring communities together to celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday. We hope everyone will enjoy the fun line-up of activities and performances by our talented homegrown stars.”
The Gardens by the Bay and Mediacorp National Day Concert 2023 will take place on 5 August, 7.30pm to 9.00pm at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay.
For more information, please visit mediacorp.sg/ndc2023.
Experiential and immersive learning take centre stage at Gardens by the Bay’s Children’s Festival 2023: Nature’s Imaginarium, as Supertree Grove is transformed into a supersized nature-inspired playground where kids can play amidst six larger-than-life flora and fauna installations.
Now into its ninth year, Gardens by the Bay’s Children’s Festival is a signature school holiday event. This year’s edition, which opened today and runs until June 25, has an emphasis on nurturing a curiosity about biodiversity and sustainability among the young.
Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing launched Children’s Festival 2023: Nature’s Imaginarium today. He was joined by 650 beneficiaries from TOUCH Community Services and The Salvation Army, who were the first children to experience the various activities.
Entry into the Children’s Festival 2023: Nature’s Imaginarium is free, with charges applying for selected activities and workshops.
Supersized flora and fauna playground and caterpillar train tour
In a first for Supertree Grove, children – and their parents – can slide into the area, as a flight of steps is transformed into a 20m-long slide. As children play amidst elephant ear figs, mushrooms, honeybees, kingfishers, a painted jezebel butterfly and poison dart frogs – the six flora and fauna installations based on plants and animals that can be found at Gardens by the Bay – they can learn how each contributes to the ecosystem in its own special way through colourful storyboards.
For a more in-depth experience, children can hop on a tour onboard a caterpillar train that will weave its way around the installations. This guided tour will provide more details about the function in nature of each flora and fauna installation.
Gardens by the Bay Assistant CEO May Yeo said, “Gardens by the Bay curates fun and educational activities for families each year for Children’s Festival, providing parents with the opportunity to bond with their children over play. Inspired by the popularity of our ongoing Nature and Sustainability tours for the public, we wanted to create something similar for children, with the intention of nurturing an appreciation of nature and an awareness of sustainability among the young. With this in mind, we’ve transformed the iconic Supertree Grove into a flora and fauna playground, complete with a kids-focused guided nature tour on an adorable caterpillar train.”
Under partnership with ITE, student volunteers lead the first caterpillar train tour on weekdays
In a collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), 12 students from Nitec in Urban Greenery & Landscape and Higher Nitec in Landscape Management & Design courses will be leading the first tour of each weekday on board the caterpillar train. These students volunteer with Gardens by the Bay as part of their course, and leading tours is a platform for them to combine their horticultural learning with a front-facing role dealing with visitors, albeit little ones. After all, Gardens by the Bay is an attraction as much as it is a garden.
ITE’s involvement with Children’s Festival is an extension of an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding with Gardens by the Bay. As part of this partnership, students from horticulture-related courses have been coming to the Gardens on a regular basis for various learning opportunities, such as mangrove planting and monitoring of the blue carbon levels at Kingfisher Wetlands, as well as maintaining the landscape of the outdoor gardens. In addition, ITE students can also be attached to Gardens by the Bay on internship as well as under the Work-Study Diploma programme. Collectively, these opportunities provide them with additional exposure and practical, real-life work experiences.
ITE College East School of Engineering Director Alfred Tan said, "This partnership with Gardens by the Bay is a great opportunity for our Landscape student volunteers to impart their horticultural knowledge to visitors whom they will be leading on a tour during Gardens by the Bay's Children's Festival. This would help build their confidence in public speaking and allow them to bring out their classroom knowledge into the real world for sharing."
Gardens by the Bay also has ongoing partnerships with the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Republic Polytechnic (RP). Under the partnership, students support the design of programmes and events, and help to develop content to raise awareness on nature, sustainability and climate change for various platforms.
Largest number of partners ever to provide more fun for everyone
For this year’s Children’s Festival, Gardens by the Bay is working with nine partners – the largest number ever – to provide families with an even wider range of activities when they visit.
Each weekend of Children’s Festival: Nature’s Imaginarium will also follow a specific theme, with the first being Family Weekend (June 10 and 11), followed by Pets Weekend (June 17 and 18) and finally Nature Weekend (June 24 and 25) to round up Children’s Festival.
During today’s launch, Minister Chan also tested the new Dino-topia augmented reality experience, which is developed by Gardens by the Bay in partnership with M1. With this app, children can go on an immersive journey to learn and appreciate the plants and eco-friendly features found at the Gardens. The experience will be rolled out at a later date.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on the activities at Children’s Festival: Nature’s Imaginarium.
Gardens by the Bay’s Rose Romance（玫瑰之恋）floral display, which opened today in Flower Dome, features more than 16,000 roses of over 70 varieties. Back for its fourth edition, this year’s Rose Romance is inspired by Puglia, an idyllic region in southern Italy famed for its quaint whitewashed hill towns, the beauty of its coastlines and a relaxed pace of life.
One of Puglia’s icons is the trulli, or the picturesque, traditional limestone houses with conical roofs that are located in the village of Alberobello. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the trulli of Alberobello feature in the floral display. Rose Romance is presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in Singapore, and will be on until July 16.
Puglia is also popular internationally as a wedding destination. For the first time, Gardens by the Bay is collaborating with the Registry of Marriages (ROM) to offer couples an opportunity to hold their solemnisation at a section of a floral display. For the duration of the display, a pocket garden in Flower Dome will be transformed into a rose-filled, Puglian-inspired summer wedding setting for solemnisations arranged by ROM at selected timings on weekday mornings.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah launched Rose Romance today, alongside the Ambassador of Italy to Singapore and Brunei Darussalam H.E. Mario Andrea Vattani. Minister Indranee also extended her congratulations to the first couple to solemnise their marriage at Rose Romance.
Gardens by the Bay Assistant CEO May Yeo said, “As a People’s Garden, Gardens by the Bay provides Singaporeans with a beautiful verdant space to celebrate key moments in our lives, and our collaboration with ROM is but an extension of this. We are delighted to offer couples a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to say ‘I do’ amid a spectacular, rose-filled setting specially put together by our horticulturists, which we hope will be a wonderful memory they can look fondly back on through a long and happy union.”
Registrar of Marriages, Timothy Pak said, “The Registry of Marriages is happy to partner with Gardens by the Bay to host couples to solemnise their marriage at the exquisite Flower Dome against the backdrop of the Rose Romance floral display. Couples can also opt for the Ficus Room, nestled within the vibrant Active Garden. With these venues, we hope that couples can celebrate this special occasion and create beautiful memories with their loved ones at the floral display during this National Family Week celebrations, which is dedicated to honouring family ties.”
Ambassador of Italy to Singapore and Brunei Darussalam H.E. Mario Andrea Vattani said, “The Puglia event in Rose Romance is dedicated to one of the most beautiful regions of southern Italy, its territories rich with many UNESCO sites such as the famous trulli of Alberobello which will be displayed at Gardens by the Bay, but also other artistic and handcrafted creations, and of course the local food and wine excellences. The region is also famous for being a renowned wedding destination where lovers choose to take their vows against the backdrop of Puglia’s beautiful landscapes, in iconic rural estate buildings called ‘masserie’. We are delighted that Gardens by the Bay is collaborating with the Registry of Marriages to offer solemnisation sessions in Mediterranean Garden for the whole period of the Rose Romance event.”
When the pocket garden is not used for ROM solemnisations, it is open to the public.
Diverse rose forms and authentic performances from Italy
The hybrid tea rose may be the rose form that most people are familiar with, but there are also other less common and intriguing forms on show in the Rose Romance floral display. Some highlights include:
Amid a field of diverse – and sometimes fragrant – roses stands a heart-shaped topiary interspersed with more than 1,000 roses. In addition, plants such as snapdragons, delphiniums and digitalis in shades of blue and purple, complement the roses of the floral display, which are predominantly in shades of red, pink and white.
Visitors to Rose Romance can also experience a slice of one of Italy’s biggest music festivals La Notte della Taranta (Night of the Tarantula), which features Italian folk songs and dances of Salento in Puglia. Musicians and dancers of Orchestra Popolare la Notte della Taranta, who have flown in from Puglia, will perform in Flower Dome this weekend (June 3 and June 4).
There are also two social media contests where participants can stand a chance to win either beautiful rose bouquets, or return air tickets to Italy sponsored by Turkish Airlines.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/roseromance for more details.
ROM solemnisations at Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is ROM’s only official external solemnisation venue partner. Since November 2022, couples can choose to register to solemnise their marriage at Ficus Room in Active Garden. Active Garden is located within Gardens by the Bay’s Family Zone, which was jointly developed through a partnership between Families for Life, Gardens by the Bay and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Beginning June 6, Gardens by the Bay will be giving each couple who have registered with ROM to solemnise their marriage in Ficus Room, a complimentary pair of two-way Shuttle Service tickets from Bayfront Plaza or Flower Dome to Active Garden. Couples can present their ROM booking confirmation to Shuttle Service staff to redeem the tickets.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on:
Gardens by the Bay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew today. It will facilitate collaboration between the two institutions in the areas of staff exchange, cooperative scientific research, as well as the exchange of plant and research materials.
Gardens by the Bay is a national garden and premier horticultural attraction located in the heart of Singapore’s downtown. With a collection of more than 1.5 million plants from all over the world, it is renowned for its 18 groundbreaking vertical gardens known as Supertrees, as well as its two climate-controlled cooled conservatories, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, which allow temperate plants to thrive in the tropics for all to enjoy.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is respected internationally for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development. Kew Gardens is a top attraction for visitors to London and its wild botanic garden in Sussex, Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank. Kew has one overseas research base in Madagascar also.
The MOU – the first between the two institutions – was signed by Mr. Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Mr. Felix Loh, CEO of Gardens by the Bay. Mr. Loh is in London with Gardens by the Bay’s Chairman Mr. Niam Chiang Meng and its Board of Directors, as part of a study trip to understand leading horticultural practices and keep abreast of the latest international garden trends. The delegation also visited the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show and iconic British gardens such as RHS Garden Wisley and Eden Project.
As part of the MOU, there will be opportunities for staff exchange to increase understanding of plant species in both gardens, as well as the care of flora from all over the world. Such exchanges will also facilitate a wider understanding of the operational aspects of how these gardens are managed, as well as the research and development climate of each garden.
In addition, there will be opportunities for both parties to exchange plant germplasm, which are catered to tropical climate and climate-controlled greenhouses.
Gardens by the Bay CEO Mr. Loh said, “The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a renowned botanical institution, and we hope this partnership will open up new and exciting opportunities, particularly in Gardens by the Bay’s core mission of horticulture, conservation and environmental sustainability. These are areas that both gardens feel deeply passionate about, and that gardens of tomorrow play a key role in, to create a better and greener future.”
Mr. Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said, “We are a global institution with three sites – at Kew, Wakehurst and Madagascar – and our partnerships globally are critical to efforts to address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. We are thrilled to be working more closely with Gardens by the Bay in Singapore to ensure that we not only train the next generation of experts but also share knowledge and data in a productive way to support science and inform strong environmental policy for the future.”
In 2022, Gardens by the Bay joined more than 220 gardens in the UK and overseas to become a Partner Garden of the Royal Horticultural Society.
With long, pointed petals often in red and yellow, Tulipa acuminata bears little resemblance to the conventional cup-shaped tulip. Also known as the Fire Flame or Turkish Tulip, it is one of the three tulip varieties cultivated from native tulip species originating in Türkiye, that are a highlight of the ninth edition of Gardens by the Bay’s Tulipmania floral display. Such tulip varieties are a rare sight in this part of the world.
Opening today in Flower Dome, Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip（梦幻郁金香：起源）features a Turkish theme for the first time in the well-loved floral display’s history. Held in collaboration with the Embassy of Türkiye in Singapore, the floral display is supported by Bloomberg. Tulips are native to Eastern Türkiye and were first cultivated by the Ottomans. The tulip is also the country’s national flower and interwoven into the country’s culture and history.
Senior Minister of State for National Development and Foreign Affairs Sim Ann, along with the Ambassador of Türkiye to Singapore H.E. Mehmet Burçin Gönenli launched Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip by “setting off” hot air balloons in Flower Dome – a scene reminiscent of the region of Cappadocia’s landscape at sunrise.
SCDF officers from the Operation Lionheart contingent who were in Türkiye to aid in international rescue efforts after the earthquake in February also graced the launch and were hosted on a tour of the floral display.
Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip runs until May 21.
Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh said, “Gardens by the Bay’s Tulipmania, which began in 2013, has always been a popular display among our visitors. This year, for the first time ever, our horticulturists are featuring tulip varieties cultivated from native species of Türkiye, the centre of origin of these floral bulbs. To better understand their native growing conditions, our team travelled to beautiful Türkiye, to learn more about the history of tulips, as well as experience its rich heritage. We are grateful to our partners, the Turkish Embassy and Turkish Airlines for this collaboration.”
Ambassador of Türkiye to Singapore H.E. Mehmet Burçin Gönenli said, “As we mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye this year, we are particularly pleased to organise the Tulipmania floral display, featuring indigenous tulips from Türkiye, along with few cultural highlights from Istanbul and Cappadocia, in partnership with Gardens by the Bay. This exhibition provides a glimpse into Türkiye’s cultural and natural richness and diversity. At the same time, it constitutes a concrete expression of our willingness to deepen people-to-people bonds between our countries. Partnering with Gardens by the Bay in preparing the Tulipmania floral display has been a distinct privilege. We are truly grateful for their professionalism and solidarity.”
Thirty varieties of tulips of diverse colours and forms
Beyond the three unique tulip varieties whose ancestry can be traced back to native species in Türkiye, Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip also showcases 27 other varieties of tulips with forms that people are more familiar with.
These include lily-flowered tulips (so called because their flowers resemble lilies) such as Tulipa Pretty Woman, which has bright red, goblet-shaped flowers with pointed petals; Tulipa Leo with its scarlet fringed petals; and Tulipa Grand Perfection, a cream coloured tulip with unique deep red feathering on its petals, a trait that was deliberately created by breeders to mimic the variegated pattern of broken coloured tulips, which itself was the result of a virus.
Making a debut this year are crown tulips, which like their name, can be easily identified by their elegant, crown-shaped flowers – a fortuitous genetic mutation of the conventional cup-shaped tulip that breeders later capitalised on.
Complementing the tulips are blooms native to Türkiye such as hyacinths and fritillarias.
The beautiful landscape of Türkiye recreated in Flower Dome
Some of Türkiye’s most beautiful landscapes from across the country have also been recreated for Tulipmania: Origins of the Tulip. These include:
● Galata Tower – One of the oldest towers in the world and an icon in the city of Istanbul, it was first built as a watch tower during the Byzantine empire.
● Safranbolu houses – These houses showcase traditional Ottoman civil architecture. In the floral display, visitors can step inside a house and experience what it is like to be inside an Ottoman-era home with Turkish mosaic lamps, kilim rugs and windows looking out to a view of tulips.
● Library of Celsus – Located in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city located in present-day Western Türkiye, this is one of the last remaining great libraries from the Roman period.
● Hot air balloons – Nine hot air balloons create a landscape reminiscent of the scenic Cappadocia region at sunrise. The 6m-tall one at the entrance of Flower Dome was specially created so that visitors can sit inside and enjoy a vantage point of the floral display below.
There will also be a curated exhibition of traditional Turkish art pieces in Flower Dome’s Mediterranean Garden, featuring art forms such as Iznik ceramics, copper works and kilim rugs, many of which are adorned with botanical motifs like tulips. These art pieces are on loan from the Turkish embassy and specially shipped from Türkiye.
Visitors can take part in a social media contest to win a pair of return air tickets to Istanbul, sponsored by Turkish Airlines. There will also be demonstrations of Ebru, the traditional art of paper marbling, and performances of the Kanun, a Turkish string instrument, by artists from Türkiye this evening as well as on Saturday, April 22.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on:
● Tulip varieties of note
● Turkish performances and craft workshops
● Turkish Airlines social media contest
The launch of Gardens by the Bay’s annual Sakura floral display today was marked by a special visit by Sakura Afro Pikachu – the first time ever it is making an appearance outside of Japan.
This year’s Sakura, which is the eighth edition of the well-loved and iconic floral display in Flower Dome, was launched by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat. DPM Heng, together with the Ambassador of Japan to Singapore His Excellency Hiroshi Ishikawa and CEO of Gardens by the Bay Felix Loh, broke a traditional sake barrel to symbolise the official launch. DPM Heng also toured the floral display and engaged in a meet-and-greet session with Sakura Afro Pikachu.
Gardens by the Bay’s Senior Director of Conservatory Operations Gary Chua said, “The essence of cherry blossoms is in their fleeting beauty. Such ephemeral fragility is a reminder to everyone to slow down, take notice of our surroundings and cherish each moment. As such, the theme of Sakura this year is travel in Japan, where on a leisurely journey, visitors will enjoy picturesque sights of a Japanese landscape amidst cherry blossoms. We also wanted to explore showcasing cherry blossoms through different interpretations, from ikebana to the more traditional representation of trees in bloom. Coupled with an exciting line-up of Japanese-themed activities for the public, this year’s Sakura will be a beautiful, fun-filled experience as we strive to welcome both local and overseas visitors back to Gardens by the Bay.”
A scenic train journey across a Japanese landscape
This year’s floral display highlights the beauty of cherry blossoms through different interpretations, from using the cherry blossom in floral art, to the more traditional representation of cherry blossom trees.
Inspired by the theme of travel across scenic spots in Japan, visitors are taken on a sight-seeing trip through a changing landscape that features scenes such as a lake where animals associated with Japan like deer and cranes gather, as well as toy trains making their way across picturesque scenes dotted with cherry blossoms, torii gates and iconic Japanese landmarks such as Mount Fuji.
Along the journey, visitors will also see four ikebana pieces specially created for the Sakura floral display by Ikebana International Singapore (Chapter 135). With cherry blossoms as the main theme, the simple yet structured art form not only accentuates the delicateness of the blooms, but also evokes an air of elegance and traditional Japanese charm.
Visitors can also spot several first-generation Pokémon interspersed throughout the floral display – another highlight of their train journey.
The return of Japanese-themed public programmes
For the first time since the pandemic, Gardens by the Bay will be bringing back a series of public programmes to Flower Dome, to complement the Sakura floral display, and for visitors to experience and appreciate both Japanese traditional and popular culture. These activities will take place on selected weekends.
The public will have a chance to meet and greet Sakura Afro Pikachu up close. In addition, there will be dance performances put up by adorable Pikachu.
There will also be a myriad of cultural activities, such as ikebana workshops, traditional tea ceremony, mochi pounding, as well as folk dance and musical performances, organised in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in Singapore’s Japan Creative Centre.
Please refer to the Annex for the Japanese-themed public programmes of the Sakura floral display.
Visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/sakura for more details.
Close to 22,500 beneficiaries visited Gardens by the Bay under its Gift of Gardens community outreach initiative in 2022, which is about 74 per cent of the number of beneficiary visits in 2019, before the pandemic hit in 2020. With the lowering of Dorscon status from yellow to green and daily life returning to normal, Gardens by the Bay hopes to be able to welcome back even more beneficiaries to enjoy its cooled conservatories for free under Gift of Gardens.
Gift of Gardens provides complimentary access to Flower Dome and Cloud Forest for beneficiaries of social service agencies, and Singapore residents who may not have the resources to visit or are individuals with disabilities.
To date, more than 180,000 beneficiaries have visited Gardens by the Bay under Gift of Gardens since the initiative was launched in 2012. During the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, the average number of visits from beneficiaries per year dropped to 2,600.
Today, 33 beneficiaries from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance of Singapore (CPAS), accompanied by their caregivers, visited Cloud Forest, where they got to enjoy the ongoing Avatar: The Experience immersive exhibition. Avatar: The Experience is a collaboration between Singapore-based NEON, Disney Location-Based Experiences, and James Cameron and Jon Landau’s Lightstorm Entertainment. One of the highlights of the beneficiaries’ visit was the opportunity to interact with an animatronic mountain banshee and its baby at a special session organised just for them. The beneficiaries also visited Flower Dome.
One such beneficiary is Thimajit Singh, 32, who was excited to experience the alien environment of Pandora come to life at Cloud Forest. He said, “I love nature and the life-like creatures from the world of Avatar. I hope I can go on more trips like this to be part of the community and meet new people.”
CPAS Executive Director Latha Kutty said, “With the lowering of the Dorscon status from yellow to green, CPAS is looking forward to organise more outings and visits so our beneficiaries can experience and participate in a diversity of events and activities, with the help of donations from sponsors and corporate donors.”
Executive Chairman and Group CEO of NEON Global, Ron Tan said, “Through our collaboration with Gardens by the Bay’s Gift of Gardens, close to 2,000 beneficiaries have visited Avatar: The Experience since it opened at Cloud Forest in October last year. We hope to continue our outreach efforts and play our small part to give back to society. As a Singapore-based company, we are happy and heartened to be able to contribute to the community we live in.”
Visitors to Gardens by the Bay’s first floral display of the year can look forward to seeing a myriad of vibrant dahlias from Europe as part of the Gardens’ annual Chinese New Year floral display Dahlia Dreams (大丽花之梦), which opens today in Flower Dome. Dahlia Dreams will run until Feb 26.
Dahlia Dreams will feature close to 40 dahlia varieties from Europe, nurtured to bloom from tubers by the Gardens’ horticulturists, throughout the duration of the floral display, including large, dinnerplate dahlias of up to 25cm in diameter. Dinnerplate dahlia varieties displayed include:
· Café Au Lait Rosé: a deep pink dahlia tinged with lavender hues
· Kelvin Floodlight: a large, bright yellow dahlia
· Holland Festival: a dahlia variety with double orange flowers with contrasting white tips
· Striped Vulcan: a large dahlia with spiky yellow and red-striped blooms
These will be displayed alongside other popular Chinese New Year blooms such as azaleas, celosias, chrysanthemums, cymbidiums, guzmanias, marigolds, mandarin oranges, oncidiums, peach blossoms, and pussy willows.
With 百兔 (băi tù) or a hundred rabbits being a homonym of 白兔 (bái tù) or white rabbit, various incarnations of 100 bunnies – including cute figurines, rabbit-shaped lanterns and a 1.5m artistic sculpture made of driftwood – also frolic among the more than 2,000 colourful flowering plants to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.
The centrepiece of the floral display is a 6m tall River Hongbao lantern set of a majestic magnolia tree in the shape of the word 兔, or rabbit in Chinese. Part of a scene that re-imagines the Chinese idiom 狡兔三窟, which translates to the wily rabbit has three burrows, Gardens by the Bay’s horticulturists are leveraging on this idiom to convey how it takes creativity and innovation to overcome challenges and succeed, to create a better tomorrow.
An interpretation of the renowned Aesop’s fable The Hare and the Tortoise also plays out across various scenes in the floral display and in the spirit of togetherness, the two animals work together to win the race. Well-known aspects of Chinese culture, including paper-cutting, lion dance, Chinese New Year goodies and spring couplets, are also integrated throughout the floral display.
In addition to Dahlia Dreams, there will be a special Spring Blossoms (春暖花开) edition of the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show at Supertree Grove, where the lights of the Supertrees dance to well-loved Chinese New Year tunes from Jan 20 to Jan 29 at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. Visitors can also look forward to a new series of Chinese New Year-themed Get Crafty! workshops in Flower Dome, featuring card painting and keychain making. More details can be found in the Annex.
River Hongbao 2023 will also be returning to Gardens by the Bay from Jan 20 to Jan 28. As part of the celebrations, visitors can look forward to 30 giant lantern sets spread out across Supertree Grove and The Meadow, alongside amusement rides, carnival games and nightly performances. Visitors to River Hongbao 2023 can also look forward to the well-loved River Hongbao Food Street, which will be returning for the first time since the pandemic.